Saint Philomena was, as believed by her devotees within the Catholic Church, a young virgin martyr whose remains were discovered in 1802 in the Catacombs of Priscilla. Three tiles enclosing the tomb bore an inscription that was taken to indicate that her name (in the Latin of the inscription) was Filumena, the English form of which is Philomena.
The remains were removed to Mugnano del Cardinale in 1805 and became the focus of widespread devotion, with several miracles 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 in a vision Saint Philomena 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.
On February 14, 1961, the Holy See ordered that the name of Saint Philomena be removed from all liturgical calendars that mentioned her. Accordingly, the 1962 Roman Missal, the edition whose continued use as an extraordinary form of the Roman Rite is authorized by the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, also has no mention of her.
The shrine of her relics in Mugnano del Cardinale continues to be visited by pilgrimages from many countries, an Archconfraternity in her honor exists, as does popular devotion in various places around the world.