Saint Philomena was a young consecrated virgin whose remains were discovered on May 24/25 1802 in the Catacomb of Priscilla. Three tiles enclosing the tomb bore an inscription, Pax Tecum Filumena (i.e. "Peace be unto you, Philomena"), that was taken to indicate that her name (in the Latin of the inscription) was Filumena, the English form of which is Philomena. Philomena is the patron saint of infants, babies, and youth.
The remains were removed to Mugnano del Cardinale in 1805. There, they became the focus of widespread devotion; several miracles were credited to the saint's intercession, including the healing of Venerable Pauline Jaricot in 1835, which received wide publicity. Saint John Vianney attributed to her intercession the extraordinary cures that others attributed to himself.
In 1833, a Neapolitan nun reported that Philomena had appeared in a vision to her, and the Saint had revealed that she was a Greek princess, martyred at 13 years of age by Diocletian, who was Roman Emperor from 284 to 305.
From 1837 to 1961, celebration of her liturgical feast was approved for some places, but was never included in the General Roman Calendar for universal use. The 1920 typical edition of the Roman Missal included a mention of her, under August 11, in the section headed Missae pro aliquibus locis ("Masses for some places"), with an indication that the Mass to be used in those places was one from the common of a virgin martyr, without any collect proper to the saint.