In 1527, the bishop of Porto, Italy, Cardinal Antonio de Monte, ordered the altar in the Church of St. Lawrence in San Severino to be renovated. This required the altar to be dismantled. Upon disassembly, a crypt was discovered with the uncorrupted body of St. Philomena inside, where it had laid for a thousand years.
St. Philomena was said to be clothed in a beautiful sapphire-colored dress and the powerful scent of roses, often associated with the bodies of saints, was experienced by all those present.
Attached to the body by a thin cord around her neck, was a parchment, supposedly inscribed by the then-bishop of Severino himself.
The parchment read: "The body of Saint Philomena, of the noble Clavello lineage of San Severino, in the time of the Goths, transferred into the Church of Saint Lawrence under the major altar."
The bishop had signed the parchment and dated it, with the date translating to the sixth century.
The Bishop de Monte ordered St. Philomena to be reinterred with honor.
Several great healing miracles have been attributed to this enigmatic saint.
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By Rev. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.
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