Philumena one of the youngest, and in Italy one of the most revered of saints, especially as the protectress of the imprisoned, deserves to be mentioned here as one of the most extravagant examples of Romish credulity and superstition. Her remains were reported to have been exhumed in 1802 from the catacomb of St. Priscilla (q.v.) at Rome. Her history is claimed to have been revealed at the time to three different persons, and according to this she was the descendant of a Greek prince, and in her thirteenth year was brought to Rome as a Christian devotee, and came under the notice of the emperor Diocletian, who desired her for wife — an honor which she refused on the ground that she had two years previously wedded herself to her Lord in her virginity. For this refusal the emperor condemned her to death by martyrdom. In 1805 her remains were removed to her supposed birthplace — Mugnano, twenty miles from Naples. The wonders wrought at her tomb were related far and near, and soon her resting-place became the object of many pilgrimages, and she is now known as the "wonderworker of the 19th century." Pope Gregory XVI put her in the calendar of saints, and she is commemorated August 11. See Sintzel, Verehrung der heil. Philomiena (Munich, 1844); Wetzer u. Welte, Kirchen-Lexikon, 12:984 sq.; Abel, Die Legende vom heil. Johann v. Nepomuck (Berl. 1855), page 6. (J.H.W.)

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