St. Philomena Book Review
Review of the Book My Name is Philomena by Fr. Peregrine Fletcher
I have the joy of sharing with you the book My Name is Philomena by Fr. Peregrine Fletcher, O. PRAEM. Fr. Peregrine’s desire to share St. Philomena with the world is evident in the beautiful illustrations he created that help to tell the story of this faithful saint. His beautiful drawings show a vivid young woman full of love for and devotion to God. (In case you are wondering, O. PRAEM. means that Fr. Peregrine is a Norbertine priest.)
The poetic form of the book adds to the story of St. Philomena by focusing on the most meaningful words and expressions to explain this wonderful saint.
Who is St. Philomena?
Have you heard about St. Philomena or know about her life?
St. Philomena was born about three hundred years after Christ to loving Christian parents. From a young age, she loved God. As she grew, she desired to forsake marriage to a man and be Jesus’ bride, to belong to Him alone.
Fr. Peregrine explores the trials her parents went through before St. Philomena was born and what lead them to turn away from their pagan ways and become Christians. They fully embraced their Christian faith, as one fruit of their faith is the devotion their beloved daughter had to Christ.
What happened to St. Philomena?
When Emperor Diocletian saw Philomena, he wanted her to be his bride. Her parents were delighted, but she refused. Why? She had devoted her life to God and wanted to be the bride of Christ.
Fr. Peregrine’s beautiful images show the events and trials St. Philomena faced when she refused Diocletian.
Since she chose Jesus Christ over Diocletian as her bridegroom, Diocletian ordered that she be scourged as Jesus was.
This touching illustration shows St. Philomena and Jesus bound to the pillar together about to be scourged. He is consoling her and giving her strength. She relies on His strength to sustain her in this horrible fate.
After her scourging, St. Philomena is healed! Two angels visit her in her dungeon cell and heal her wounds. However, Diocletian then has more atrocities in store for her.
How strong was St. Philomena’s faith?
St. Philomena’s faith was extremely strong! In all her sufferings, she held fast to her faith. As Fr. Peregrine shows, St. Philomena’s faith was strong enough to sustain her in all of her trials until her ultimate death as a martyr.
The Blessed Virgin Mary holding Jesus visited St. Philomena when she was in the dungeon. Mary told her how much longer she would suffer (three days) and that she would have angelic help in her trials over those three days.
Some of St. Philomena’s angelic help occurred when she was sent to the bottom of the Tiber with an anchor tied to her so she would drown. Instead, two angles lifted her out of the river, taking her high above it before setting her completely dry on the bank of the river.
This event was the catalyst for many people to become Christians. What pagan god could do this? Only the Christian God could.
Diocletian reminds me of the Pharaoh in the time of Moses. Pharaoh refused to believe in God even after the ten plagues devastated his land or after the death of his oldest son. Diocletian likewise remained hard-hearted about Christ. After St. Philomena’s miraculous recovery from being scourged and after she was saved miraculously from death multiple times, he still did not stop persecuting her.
She was ultimately killed for her faith.
My Name is Philomena is a wonderful book.
Fr. Peregrine Fletcher, O. PRAEM.’s wonderful book shows the great love and devotion St. Philomena had for Christ Jesus. Her experience reminds us that God will be with us in all of our trials. He will help and sustain us when we keep Him as the focus of our lives.
St. Philomena’s martyrdom lets us know we, too, can have a faith like hers. It shows our children an amazing example of a young woman who was willing to give her life for God.
Her feast day is August 11.
You can find My Name is Philomena by Fr. Peregrine Fletcher, O. PRAEM at:
Below is a short video showing more from My Name is Philomena.