Saint Philomena’s life and death are shrouded in mystery. Her name means “daughter of light.” She is thought to be a young virgin martyr in her early teens who lived during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, and who died in fidelity to her vow of virginity. She was beheaded by Diocletian after multiple other execution attempts failed because of angelic rescue and divine intercession. These failed attempts included being scourged, being drowned with an anchor tied to her neck, and being shot with arrows.
The sources of knowledge about her is limited to her bones and the artifacts found in her tomb, mystical visions, strong devotion to her by other saints – most notably Saint John Vianney – and many testimonies of miracles attributed to her heavenly intercession.