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The pious practice, born spontaneously amongst the Saint’s devotees, was approved by the Congregation of Rites on September 15, 1883. Later, on April 4,1884, Leo XIII enriched it with precious indulgences. It consists in carrying, tied around the body, a cord of wool, linen or cotton, colored white and red to indicate the virginity and martyrdom of Saint Philomena. The devotion is very widely practiced, especially outside Italy, to obtain spiritual and corporal graces.

It has been made obligatory for those who carry the Cord to recite each day the following prayer: Oh Saint Philomena, Virgin and Martyr, pray for us so that through your powerful intercession we may obtain that purity of spirit and heart that leads to the perfect love of God. Amen.

Of the several forms which devotion to St. Philomena has taken, perhaps the one that is best known and most used is that of her Cord. The use of her Cord has been from the beginning a favorite way of honoring the saint and invoking her protection. The holy Cure of Ars himself blessed and distributed a great many. The cord is white and red, and may be made either of linen, woolen, or cotton threads, so interwoven as to give an almost equal preponderance to both colors; it has two knots at one end. The white color represents virginity; the red, martyrdom. The cord has been approved by the Sacred Congregation of Rites and is enriched with indulgences. The formula of blessing is found in the Roman Ritual, and the needful faculties may be obtained from the Brothers of St. Vincent de Paul, 3 Square Leon— Guillot, Paris 15, France. It is usually worn under the outer garment as a girdle. No ceremony is required in conferring it, but it should be blessed. When replacing a worn Cord with a new one, this too, should be blessed. Wearers of the Cord ought to have the intention of honoring St. Philomena to the best of their ability in order to merit protection against evils of soul and body, and to obtain through her prayers perfect chastity and the spirit of faith. It is also recommended that the following prayer be said daily:

Saint Philomena, Virgin and Martyr, pray for us that through thy powerful intercession we may obtain that purity of mind and heart which leads to the perfect love of God. Amen.

The Cord of Saint Philomena has been the instrument of innumerable favors. It is used by the sick, and is a protection against accidents and evils of ever, kind. Those suffering from temporal trials, or spiritual temptations, have found it a wonderful help. It is especially recommended that children be given the Cord, for it is a marvelous protection in the many mishaps which threaten them. But the Cord is worn especially as a safeguard of the virtue of chastity. St. Philomena is regarded as a powerful protectress of this virtue because, if the reputed facts of her life are true, her own virginal purity was so outstanding. Hence her clients believe God has given her a special power of assisting those who are tempted against this virtue. The story of her life indicates that she realized the full value of the angelic virtue, having bound herself to it by vow at the tender age of eleven; that she preserved her innocence in spite of the temptations to which she was subjected in a sensuous Greek court at a time when heathenism had full sway, and when the immodest images of the Greek gods and most shameful scandals everywhere shocked the modesty of innocent eyes and blighted the purity of innocent hearts. According to the same legend, a mighty emperor offered her a kingdom and a crown. The anger of a wrathful father, the tears of an affectionate mother, stormed her heart; she stood alone, abandoned and forsaken. But she trusted her Divine Bridegroom; she remained faithful to her vow, and conquered. The Lord was her strength in the combat and He will like temptations; He will glorify again her name and her virtue. Let those who find themselves carried away by passion, and tempted to disregard the laws of Holy Mother Church by entering into marriages which are sinful in the eyes of God and man, or engaging in homosexual acts which defile those who do them and violate the natural las as well as Divine law, implore Saint Philomena’s kindly assistance. She has conquered in similar circumstances. Grace came to her aid, and the enemy will be put to flight again through her intercession if it is confidently asked and the fear of God allowed to rule the mind and will.

The purposes of this devotion are:

1. To obtain, through the intercession of St. Philomena, the means adequate to conserve purity, in conformity with our own situation;

2. To combat increasing unbelief and to reinforce oneself in the
spirit of our faith;

3. To profess a special love for St. Philomena the wonder worker
and deserve her protection against sickness of the body and soul.

Every priest has the faculty to bless the Cord of St. Philomena according to the formula in the Roman Ritual. Many faithful followers of St. Philomena prefer to have the cord blessed in churches where a special devotion to St. Philomena is observed and have it blessed after it has touched a relic of the saint. When the cord is worn out and replaced the new cord should also be blessed.

Plenary Indulgences of The Cord of Saint Philomena

1. On the day on which the cord is worn for the first time.
2. On the 25th of May, the anniversary of the opening of St. Philomena’s tomb in the Catacombs of Saint Priscilla.
3. On August 11, her proper Feast.
4. On December 15, the anniversary of the approbation of the cord by the Holy See.
5. At the moment of death, under the ordinary conditions.

With the exception of the last, it is necessary for gaining the above indulgences to go to confession, receive Holy Communion, make a visit to some church and there pray for the intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff.


Many clients place great confidence in the medal of the Saint. Wonderful favors have been obtained through faith in its efficacy.


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The Church’s Year
By Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine

St. Lawrence, a youth endowed with rare gifts of body and soul, who had the best of fortunes to expect from the world, for the love of God and from zeal for the salvation of his soul put the world with all its honor, and riches and pleasures, beneath his feet, and dedicated himself to the priesthood, at a time when the Christians and especially the clergy, were continually persecuted. He was at a very early age, on account of his remarkable merit and knowledge, his fidelity and prudence, and notwithstanding his youth, appointed archdeacon by Pope Sixtus, in which office, besides his service at the altar, he had charge of the Church treasury and the money for the poor, which led to his martyrdom. By command of the Emperor Valerian, who ordered the bishops and priests to be sought after to be executed, the holy Pope Sixtus was taken prisoner, sentenced to death, and executed. Lawrence burning with desire for a martyr’s death, wished to die with his spiritual father, and for this purpose followed him to the place of death, saying: “Where are you going, my father, without your son?” But the pope ordered him to return and guard the treasures of the Church. When these words were reported to the officers, Lawrence was taken and the treasure demanded of him. He asked for three days in which to consider the demand, and at the end of that time called the poor and sick to him, led them before the tyrant, and said: “These are the treasures of the Church which I promised you.” The tyrant became furious and ordered the saint to be bound and burnt upon a glowing grate. The saint bore this horrible death with joy and with indifference to the fire, and after a time said to the tyrant: “I am now roasted enough on this side, let them turn me over.” And the tyrant had him turned to the other side, upon which the saint remarked: “My flesh is now well roasted, eat if, if it pleases thee.” Having then with his eyes raised to heaven, prayed for the conversion of Rome and for the spreading of the gospel throughout the whole country, the saint slept quietly in the Lord, on the tenth of August, 258. 
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Saint Lawrence

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Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr

“Once the mother of false gods, but now the bride of Christ, O Rome, it is through Laurence thou art victorious! Thou hadst conquered haughty monarchs and subjected nations to thine empire; but though thou hadst overcome barbarism, thy glory was incomplete till thou hadst vanquished the unclean idols. This was Laurence’s victory, a combat bloody yet not tumultuous like those of Camillus or of Caesar; it was the contest of faith, wherein self is immolated, and death is overcome by death. What words, what praises suffice to celebrate such a death? How can I worthily sing so great a, martyrdom (Prudent. Peristephanon, Hymn ii).”

Thus opens the sublime poem of Prudentius, composed little more than a century after the Saint’s martyrdom. In this work the poet has preserved to us the traditions existing in his own day, whereby the name of the Roman deacon was rendered so illustrious. About the same time St. Ambrose, with his irresistible eloquence, described the meeting of Sixtus and his deacon on the way to martyrdom (Amber. De offic. i. 41). But, before both Ambrose and Prudentius, Pope St. Damasus chronicled the victory of Laurence’s faith, in his majestic monumental inscriptions, which have such a ring of the days of triumph (De Rossi, Inscript.ii. 82).  Continue reading