ORIGIN: Tuscany, Italy
AGE: 19th century
DIMENSIONS: 20” l x 8” w x 30” h (statue 21" h)
MATERIALS: Wood, glass, plaster, paper
CONDITION: Excellent, with minor repairs and age-appropriate wear
Antique plaster sculpture of Santa Filomena in beautiful antique wood shrine. The painted statue holds an arrow and lilies and is surrounded by handmade paper flowers. The hand holding the lilies appears to have been repaired at some point. The wood and glass case is masterfully handcrafted and painted - faux marble from top to bottom and the letters "SF" for Santa Filomena.
Santa Filomena (St. Philomena) is the patron saint of babies, infants, and youth, also of lost causes. Filomena – which means “daughter of light” – was a Greek princess who was born in the 4th century. When she was 13 years old, she and her family moved to Rome. The Emperor Diocletian, having seen Filomena’s beauty, asked for her hand in marriage. Her parents accepted the offer, but because Filomena had vowed her virginity to God, she refused the marriage proposal. Diocletian put her in jail and ordered her to be executed. While in jail, she had a vision of the Virgin Mary, who warned her about her fate, but promised heavenly glory and protection when she endured tortures. Filomena was tied to a post, flogged, and left to die in her jail cell, but angels healed her wounds with a miraculous balm. The Emperor then ordered her drowned with an anchor tied to her neck. Again, angels saved her. She was then ordered to be killed by archers. But, as she was shot, the arrows returned upon the bowmen and killed them instead. Filomena was finally decapitated and died in Rome. Her remains were discovered in 1802 in the Catacombs of Saint Priscilla at the Via Salaria in Rome. An inscription containing the Latin words “pax tecum filumena” (transcribed as “peace be with you, Filomena”) was on the tomb.