Chapter 1. Of the miracles performed by Philip with the sign of the holy
Chapter 2. Of the miracles wrought by the touch of Philip's hand.
Chapter 3. Of the miracles Philip wrought by means of prayer.
Chapter 4. Of Philip's miracles, which he worked by commanding the disease to depart.
Chapter 5. Of the miracles Philip worked in many different ways.
Chapter 6. Philip delivers many women from the peril of childbirth.
In the first four books we have recounted Philip’s actions from his very birth up to the last moment of his life, together with all the circumstantial details which were necessary to prove his sanctity. It new remains for us to give a fuller account of his miracles, as well those which he performed during his lifetime as those wrought by his agency after his death. We have already on different occasions spoken of Philip’s miracles, and especially of his having raised a young man to life; but for many reasons it will be well to speak of them at greater length; and by making a collection of them, so to speak, those who may wish to read an account of them can do so without breaking the thread of the narrative. In truth, I believe that as much benefit may be derived from reading a detailed account of the Saint’s miracles as from reading the history of his life, inasmuch as they are so numerous and of so striking a nature, that they effectually confirm us in our belief of his sanctity, and urge us to follow in his footsteps.
Promoteo Peregrini, a priest of the Congregation, was attacked with such violent pains, that it seemed as though his bowels were being forced out of his body, and he could find nothing to give him relief. The pain continuing to increase, the holy father went to visit him. He placed his hand on the sick man’s head, made the sign of the cross, and prayed for a few minutes. After this he said in a half joking sort of way as he left the room, “You won’t take any harm.” Not many minutes after he was gone the pain was entirely removed, and Promoteo felt just as well as if he had never had the attack. Antonia Caraccia, wife of Antonio Pasquini, and sister of Gherardo Caracci, who have been mentioned before, suffered from pain in the side, and was brought so low by a malignant fever, that she was unable to stir a limb. She was in this state for fifteen days, and found no relief from human remedies. Her husband then consulted the holy father about his wife’s illness. Philip answered, “Get you gone; there is not much the matter: we will pray for her.” But the disease increased, until at length she could neither eat nor sleep. The husband therefore returned again to Philip, and said to him, “Father, Antonia is dying.” Philip replied, “Never fear, I tell you all will be well; now I’ll go and see her.” He went at once to the sick woman, and said to her, “Where do you feel the pain?” “In the right side,” she said. Then Philip put his hand to the place and made the sign of the cross upon it, saying, “O it’s nothing at all; all will be well.” At that very instant pain, fever, and all left her. The husband and others wished to publish the miracle, but Antonia told him to say nothing at all about it, because if they did Father Philip would be angry, for that he had expressly ordered her to remain two or three days in bed, so as not to let it appear that she had been instantaneously cured. Angela Lippi had for many years suffered from a pain in the shoulder, which tormented her day and night, and made her hard of breathing, and also had paralysed her right arm, so that she could no longer use it. One morning her daughter Giulia said to her, “Go to Father Philip, and tell him to say a Pater Noster and an Ave Maria for you, for I am sure he will do you good.” Angela went accordingly, and said to the Saint, “My daughter Giulia told me that I was to beg you to say a Pater Noster and an Ave Maria for me, that I may be cured of my complaint.” Philip answered, “And why could not she say them for you?” When Angela heard this she went away quite in despair. Then Philip, pitying the poor woman, called her back and said, “Well now, suppose we say them together;” and then, without her having so much as told him where she felt the pain, he placed his hand on the very place and made the sign of the cross upon it. The pain instantly ceased, and she returned home perfectly cured, and never after suffered in the same way. Virginia, wife of Giovanni Battista Martelli, was troubled before her marriage with a very bad eye complaint. She went to the Saint’s confessional and begged him to do something to relieve her eyes. Philip merely took a little water out of a bottle and made the sign of the cross with it on her eyes, and she was cured.
Maria Paganella was many times cured of headache by the holy father simply making the sign of the cross on her as he passed through the church, even though she had not said a word to him about her suffering from headache. She had observed that this happened several times, and therefore one day when she was in great pain from a severe bowel-complaint, she begged the Saint to sign her with the cross. He did so, and the pain instantly ceased. Isabella Mareria had a cell in the Torre di Specchi, near which a lime-kiln had been made. One evening when they wanted to extinguish it, they did not throw sufficient water upon it. The consequence was, that the cell was completely filled with smoke; and when Isabella attempted to get up and dress for matins, she was seized with such a giddiness, that she fell backwards; she made a second and third attempt, and the same thing happened. She was carried back to her bed, and was confined to it for nearly a month; every time that she tried to raise her head, this faintness and giddiness came on, so that at last the physician made them watch by her the whole night through, fearing lest she should die suddenly. But the Saint happening one day to go to the convent, Isabella was determined that come what might she would get up and see him. She went to him, and told him of her illness; Philip said, “O! you need not be afraid, I’ll cure you;” he then took her head between his hands, pressing them together, and made many crosses over her. He did not remove his hands until water began to issue from one of her eyes where she had felt most uneasiness, and at the same time her nose discharged a quantity of water; she was then instantaneously cured, nor had she the slightest return of sickness.
There was a Roman gentleman who had a bodily infirmity, which occasioned him great pain, and had all the outward appearance of erysipelas. Being therefore a good deal alarmed about himself, and not well knowing what to do, he betook himself to the Saint. Immediately on his entering the room, and before he had spoken a word, Philip said, “Shut the door, and show me where the pain is;” he did so, and the Saint then raised his eyes to heaven, prayed with his wonted trembling, and twice touched the seat of the pain. The gentleman was completely cured on the instant. Seeing this he began to cry out, “A miracle! a miracle! you are a Saint; I will go all through Rome and tell them you are a Saint.” The father said, “Hush, hush!” and placed his hand on his mouth; nor would he allow him to go away, until he had first promised the Saint not to say a word about it to any one. The gentleman kept his promise, and never related the incident until after Philip’s death. In 1560 Pietro Vittrici of Parma, being in the service of Cardinal Buoncompagno, afterwards Pope Gregory XIII., fell dangerously ill. He was given up by the physicians, and supposed by all to be as good as dead. In this extremity he was visited by Philip, who as soon as he had entered the sick man’s room, began, as was his wont, to pray for him. He then put his hand on Pietro’s forehead, and at his touch he instantly revived. In two days’ time he was out of the house, perfectly well and strong, and went about telling people how he had been cured by Father Philip. This man was so devoted to the Saint in consequence of his cure, that from this time forth he became his spiritual child, and went to confession and communion three times a week, and at length, full of merits, he passed to another life in his ninety-seventh year.
Maurizio Ancrio was a penitent of the Saint’s, and had a grievous infirmity, which was accompanied with excessive internal pain, and many dangerous symptoms. Indeed, the physicians were of opinion that he could not possibly live, as he had lost the use of his speech, and his pulse could hardly be felt. Philip went to visit him, and after he had come into the room and prayed as usual, he said to those who were standing by, “Say a Pater Noster and an Ave Maria, for I should not like this man to die yet;” then he placed his hands on the sick man’s head and stomach, and immediately afterwards went away without saying a word. At the moment of Philip’s touch the sick man perfectly recovered his health; his speech was restored, and his pulse became strong and even; all the pain ceased, and not a trace of weakness was left behind. On the following morning he was about and busy as usual. Before he was acquainted with the holy father, this man was of a very worldly disposition. Now, as is usually the case with persons who themselves go but seldom to confession, he could not bear that his wife, whose name was Fulcinia, and who has been mentioned before, should be constantly going to confess her sins; and since Philip was her confessor, the poor woman was one day forbidden to go to him any more. She went to the Saint to ask him what she ought to do; he said, “O, go on as if nothing had happened, and never mind; in a very little time your husband will come himself to confession to me, and he’ll be better than you, I can tell you:” soon after this he became one of the Saint’s regular penitents, and ended by being a very spiritual person. One of his sons, called Giovanni Francesco, when he was about fourteen years old, fell ill of a pestilential fever. The physicians had given him over, and for seventeen days he was almost like a corpse; he did not move or speak, he recognised no one, and took no nourishment of any kind; in fact, the only signs of life were the warmth of his body, and a scarcely perceptible respiration. It was thought so wonderful a thing that the boy should have lived so many days in this state, that Giulia Orsina, the Marchioness Rangona, went to the house to see so great a prodigy. Philip hearing of this, and being moved to compassion for the poor lad, also set off to see him. Having entered the sick room, he ordered those who were standing round to say a Pater Noster and an Ave Maria; then he placed his hand on the boy’s forehead, and prayed, keeping his hand upon him the while. Afterwards he called the mother to him, and said in a bantering tone of voice, “A pretty thing, indeed, to let this poor fellow die of hunger; come, bring me that wine here, I want to cure him.” The wine was brought, and the Saint held some to the sick boy’s mouth. He at once began to sip it, and in a few minutes returned to himself. The Saint then said to him, “Don’t be afraid, you won’t take any harm; before long you’ll be coming to me in church.” Giovanni quickly recovered, and in a few days he was out of bed safe and sound, and able to go to church and kiss Philip’s hand.
Carlo Orsino, a youth of fourteen years old or thereabouts, was grievously ill. He had a violent pain in his side, and had lain four or five days without touching any food. He was at length despaired of by the physicians. His mother, Livia Vestri, sent for the Saint, begging him to come and confess her son, for that he was at the point of death. Philip having come to the boy, sent every one out of the room, and asked Carlo what was the matter with him, and where he felt the pain. “Under the left breast,” he said. Then the Saint knelt down by the bedside, and put his hand on him where he had said the pain lay, pressing with such force that the touch thrilled through his whole body. He then heard his confession, and insisted on remaining on his knees whilst Carlo was telling his sins, all the while keeping his hand on the place of the pain. When the confession was finished, seeing the poor boy much exhausted, Philip told him that he would do his penance for him, and added, “Don’t be afraid, you will not die this time, and to-morrow you will be quite well.” The Saint being gone, the mother returned to the sick room, when Carlo immediately said to her, “Mother, I am cured:” and when she marvelled at it, and could not believe that it was true, he answered, “I tell you, mother, I am cured; I can breathe freely, and nothing now ails me.” He then asked for something to eat, and ate heartily of what was brought him: that night too he fell into a sound sleep, and when the physician came in the morning he pronounced him perfectly cured. Fabio Orsino was ill, and in a very reduced state of body, when in addition to this he caught the measles, which brought him to death’s door. He received Extreme Unction, and soon lost all consciousness. Before he had lost his speech, he had mentioned to his aunt, the Marchesa Rangona, that he had great faith in Father Philip: she therefore sent to the Saint to beg that he would come and see her nephew. On his arrival he took the sick man’s head between his hands and pressed it to his bosom, and instantly Fabio’s speech was restored to him, and he said, “Who are you?” the Saint replied, “I am Philip:” and then asked him where he felt pain. Fabio said, “Here, at my heart.” Philip then placed his hand on his heart, and the touch seemed to the invalid as cold as ice; immediately he began to cry out, “Dear aunt, I am cured!” He then got up, and to the astonishment of the physicians and his relations, in a very short time he was completely free from every trace of his illness.
Giovanni Battista Boniperti, a priest of whom mention has been made before, was once seized with so violent a headache, that he was forced to take to his bed. Philip went to visit him, and after he had laid his hand upon the sufferer’s forehead, and sighed deeply twice, the pain was wholly removed. The Abbate Marco Antonio Maffa suffered from fever, which was accompanied with excruciating headache. This was in 1590, when in consequence of the over-flowing of the river there was much pestilence and disease amongst the people of Rome. Nothing seemed to give him any relief, neither bleeding, nor medicine, nor any other remedies. One day the holy father went to visit him, and moved with compassion at his sufferings he pressed his head to his bosom, holding it between his hands, and prayed with his usual palpitation of heart. The pain ceased, the fever entirely vanished, and Marco Antonio was perfectly cured. Giovanni Battista Cresci had a fever, together with such violent pain in the head, that it seemed to him as though hammers were at work within his brain; and at last, overcome by the pain, the idea came to him of throwing himself from the window into a well, in order to escape the intense suffering, and he screamed and moaned both night and day. Nothing could be done for him; and so despairing of human help, he sent a message to Father Philip, recommending himself to his prayers, and begging him to come and see him. Philip came, and the invalid entreated him to obtain for him either a decrease of pain, or else that he might die, for that he could endure the agony no more. Then Philip placed his hand on his head, telling him that he must be devout to Our Lady, and keep himself from sin. Upon this the pain instantly ceased, and in a short time the fever also left him. This same person, when a child, was troubled with bad eyes; they were much inflamed, and there was a constant issue from them of blood and water, accompanied with a burning heat, he had been in this state for twenty days, neither medicine nor anything else giving him any relief, and being so blind that he could not distinguish the light of day, when Philip paid him a visit, and by simply putting his hand to his eyes, and saying, “There is nothing the matter with you,” he was instantly cured. Livia Vestri, wife of Valerio Orsini, had been in bed forty days troubled with faintings and giddiness, together with severe headaches, and could find no relief. The pain, however, at length seemed to decrease a little, and she was able to go one morning to the Chiesa Nuova. When she was there, and at confession, one of her fainting fits came on. Her confessor, Father Angelo Velli, sent her to the holy father, who said in his accustomed manner, “O! it’s nothing:” then he put his hands on her head, and it seemed to her as if he was touching her very brain. In an instant, before she had time to get upon her feet, she was completely cured, and never again had the like infirmity.
Sigismonda, wife of Alexander Vitelleschi, suffered almost without intermission from such violent pain in the head, that for the most part she was forced to keep to her bed. One day when she was able to get out of doors, she went to a garden near the Fontana di Trevi, where at that time the holy father was wont to go for recreation with his spiritual children after the exercises of the Oratory. She was still suffering much pain, and indeed her walk had made her worse than usual. The Saint held her head with both his hands, and pressed them forcibly together; and forthwith the pain was gone, and Sigismonda had no more headaches from that time. There was a girl named Caterina, daughter of Girolamo Ruissi, who when she was five or six years old began to have a dreadful tumour on her nose. Many medicines were tried, but all in vain; for if it sometimes seemed that the tumour was somewhat diminished, in a day or two it would always begin to grow again. Her mother saw that natural remedies were of no avail, and as she had great faith in the holy father, she determined one morning to take the child to him, and earnestly entreated him to do something for her. When Philip saw what a state the poor girl was in, he was moved with compassion both for herself and her mother. He touched the tumour and said, “There, my child, don’t be afraid; you won’t be troubled with it any more, it will soon be well.” As soon as he had touched the child’s nose in this manner, the tumour began to diminish, and in a few days it was so perfectly cured that not even a mark was left, and it never returned again. Pietro Ruissi, brother of Caterina, who has just been mentioned, being very ill with violent headaches, was visited by the Saint at his father’s earnest entreaty. Philip, seeing that the father was very desirous that his son’s health should be restored, said, “Ah! Pietro, death would be preferable for you than life; however, I pity you, and will do all I can to obtain your cure from God:” he then placed his hand on his forehead, and the pain ceased at the instant. In consequence of this cure, Girolamo, Pietro’s father, acquired such faith in the Saint, that when another of his Sons, named Gasparo, was suffering from headaches and fainting-fits, his father sent him to Philip to be cured; and as soon as ever the Saint had touched his head, the boy was cured, and his illness never returned again.
Vittoria Varesi was seized in the beginning of October by a pain in the left shoulder, which was so acute that she could scarcely draw her breath. She not only could not sleep at night, but was unable even to lie down upon her bed. Wherefore, remembering that she had on other occasions been cured of sicknesses by Philip, she had recourse to his help. When she told him of her suffering, the Saint replied, “Why, what a pity it is, that you have nothing to talk about but yourself;” and then in a bantering tone he added, “And whereabouts is this pain?” She pointed to her left shoulder. Philip then raised his arm and struck her shoulder, saying, “There now, have courage, you will be quite well;” and immediately she felt the pain diminish, and by the time she reached her house, which was no great distance off, she was wholly cured, and had no return of the pain. Ersilia Bucca was so ill, that her life was despaired of by the physicians, and her relations were mourning and weeping for her seemingly inevitable death. But Giovanni Francesco Bucca, her husband, having great faith in Philip, besought him to visit her. He went, and as soon as he had arrived, he said, “This time Ersilia will not die, but will recover without doubt.” He then went up to her, and after praying for a while, laid his hand on her head, saying to her, “Never mind, you will not die.” So great a joy and consolation did the lady experience simply from the Saint’s presence, that she affirmed she had never in her life felt the like, and at his touch the malady was instantly subdued, and in a very few days Ersilia was perfectly well. Lucrezia Gazzi had a cancer in one of her breasts, and the physicians had determined to apply the hot iron to it, and ordered her to remain in bed for the operation. She however in the meanwhile, moved with faith in the holy father, betook herself to the Chiesa Nuova, and related her case to him. Philip answered, “O! my poor child, where is this cancer?” She, pointing to it, said, “Here, my Father:” then the Saint touching the diseased part, added, “Go in peace, and doubt not that you shall recover.” When she was come home, she said to those who were present, “I feel neither pain nor oppression, and I firmly believe that I am cured;” and so it proved to be. Soon after the physicians came to cauterize the cancer, and were lost in astonishment at finding not a trace of the disease.
Girolamo Moroni had a daughter of twelve or thirteen years old, called Laura, who was visited by a grievous sickness, which so reduced her that she was despaired of by the physicians, and her friends were almost inconsolable. Already the priest had given her the last Sacraments, orders were given for the funeral, her friends had prepared their mourning, and the grave and grave-clothes were provided. Now when the child was in this extremity the father and mother bethought themselves of sending for Philip, in the hopes that if he could do nothing towards her recovery he might at least assist her in her agony with his holy prayers. The Saint came, and found her with her eyes closed, and unconscious to what was passing around her. He went up to the bedside and breathed upon the sick child’s face, and then, as though he was playing with her, he gave her a blow upon the cheek; afterwards he shook her almost violently by the hair, bidding her utter the Name of Jesus; at these words Laura opened her eyes and said distinctly, “Jesus.” She now returned to consciousness, and was soon very far recovered, so that in a few days she was free from all trace of illness. Giulia Lippi had suffered constantly for two years from headache, which generally lasted two or three days at a time, and seldom less than four-and-twenty hours. It happened that one morning, when one of these headaches was upon her, she went to the Chiesa Nuova to hear mass, and while she was there the pain became so violent, that on her attempting to go out of church she found herself unable to bear the exertion of moving. She therefore sat herself down at the foot of the confessional, into which after a while came Father Philip, to whom she said, “Father, I have not strength to go home, for my head is well nigh bursting with pain.” Then Philip, trembling as usual, began to pray, and took her head between his hands, pressing them gently together, and then said to her, “Well, how do you feel now?” “Better, Father,” she said, “but not well.” Then Philip again pressed her head, and asked a second time how she felt; and this time she answered, “I am quite well.” The Saint then gave her his blessing and desired her to go home. A lady, named Caterina Corradina, was grievously ill, and had received Extreme Unction. The holy father came to visit her, and brought with him some musicians. Having come up to her bedside, he placed his hands on her head, and then desired the musicians to sing some hymns, and especially one in which the Name of Jesus was often repeated. Whilst this hymn was being sung it was evident that the sick woman was reviving; and in fact shortly afterwards she came to herself entirely, after which she gradually recovered, and was ultimately quite cured. As the holy father was taking his leave he said to the husband, “This lady was at the point of death, but God has spared her to take care of your family.” During her recovery the devil visibly appeared to her, and making the most frightful and hideous gesticulations, kept repeating over and over again, “What did that fellow Philip come here for?” Recommending herself, however, to Almighty God, the Evil One disappeared without doing her any injury.
The holy father having heard that his Holiness, Clement VIII., was laid up with the gout in his hand, felt himself moved to pray for his recovery, it being so desirable a thing for the public good; because, as he said to Nero del Nero, the infirmities of persons who have great and important business on their hands, are felt not only by themselves, but by people in general, and on that account their cure is the more to be sought for from God. He went therefore one day to see the Pope. When he came into the room, his Holiness, who from the acute pain could not bear any one to touch even the bed he lay on, told him not to come any nearer. Philip, however, continued to advance until he was close by the side of the Pope, who again bade him stop and not on any account to touch him. Philip then said, “Your holiness need have no fear:” and forthwith he caught hold of the Pope’s hand, and with much affection and zeal, and with his wonted trembling, he pressed it, and the pain ceased; so that the Pope said, “Now you may continue to touch me, for I feel great relief.” Clement himself many times related this miracle to Cardinal Baronius, and moreover he told it once in presence of eight or ten Cardinals of the Congregation for examining Bishops, and used often to urge it in proof of Philip’s sanctity. From that time forth, even after the Saint’s death, whenever his Holiness was troubled by the gout, if only be recommended himself to Philip, the pain was always mitigated. A. case similar to the above occurred to Attilio Tinozzi. He was attacked by a very violent fit of gout, so that he could bear no one to touch him; and while in this state was visited by Philip, as being his penitent. When the Saint entered the room, he inquired how the patient was: Attilio answered, “Father, I am very bad, pray do not touch me.” The Saint replied, “Have courage:” and immediately touched his feet, making the sign of the holy cross, and the pain instantly subsided; and although he had previously been used to suffer often from fits of the gout, yet from this time he never had a return of it. Giovanni Manzoli, who has been mentioned before, asserted that as for himself, whenever he suffered from an attack of gout, he never would use medicine, or any other remedy, but went off instantly to the Saint, who used simply to touch the seat of the disorder, and then the pain subsided. Many others have affirmed the same thing. It was quite an ordinary thing with Philip, merely by laying his hands on persons’ heads to cure them of headaches.
Angelo Vittori da Bagnarea, his physician, used to say, that many times instead of curing, he was himself cured; for being a great sufferer from headache, Philip who used to know by his look when it was upon him, would often lay his hand upon his head, and in this case the pain never failed to abate. Nor was it only headache which he cured in this manner, but all kinds of complaints; so that Cardinal Tarugi used to say, that Philip’s holy hand had within it a medicinal virtue, and that its touch consoled the afflicted, and healed the sick.
Lorenzo Christiani, a beneficed clerk of S. Peter’s, and one of the Saint’s penitents, was so ill as to be in danger of death; he had already received the Viaticum and Extreme Unction, and had lost the use of his speech. When he was at the point of expiring, Philip came to visit him, and with his wonted trembling and agitation betook himself two distinct times to prayer. After this he rose up and said, “This time Lorenzo will not die;” then he went up to the bed, and placing his hand on the sick man’s head, called him by his name, saving, “Lorenzo! Lorenzo!” upon which he instantly opened his eyes, recognized the Saint, and answered him. Then the holy father ordered them to bring him something to eat. The fever at once subsided, and to the astonishment of all Lorenzo was completely cured, so that when shortly afterwards the physician, Pietro Crispo, came and found him absolutely well, he could not help exclaiming aloud, “This is a great miracle!” But when he heard that the holy father had been to him, he said, “Oh! then I do not wonder, for Father Philip is a Saint.”
Bartolomeo Fugini, a Roman, fell grievously sick, so that he was at the point of death; the Holy Oil had been already administered to him, the physicians had given him up, and he had lost the use of his speech. In the evening when Father Angelo Velli, the sick man’s confessor, had returned home, Philip inquired of him how he had left his penitent. He replied, “Oh! he is going fast, and the doctor says that he can scarcely live until the morning.” Many of the fathers were present at this conversation, and presently the Saint said, “Do you wish this young man to die or no?” they all answered, “We should wish him to live, were it possible;” then the holy father added, “Well then, he shall live; you must say five Pater Nosters and five Ave Marias for him this evening, and God will aid him.” Next morning Father Angelo went very early to see how the sick man was, and he found him not only not dead, but perfectly recovered.
Barsum, archdeacon of the church of Alexandria, whom we have had occasion to speak of before, lay ill of fever and spitting of blood, accompanied with cough and difficulty of breathing. He was so reduced that his physicians declared it next to impossible that he should recover. Wherefore Girolamo Vecchietti, who had come with him from Egypt to Rome, went to S. Philip, whom he found on the point of saying mass. He recommended Barsum to him, and begged him to pray for his recovery. Philip did so, and during the time that he was celebrating, it was observed that the invalid fell into a sleep, which lasted for several hours, although before this he had not closed his eyes for days together. As soon as the Saint had finished mass, he exclaimed, “Barsum will not die this time;” he then gave orders that Barsum should be brought to him, and Girolamo made him raise himself up in bed, telling him that he must get up, for that Father Philip wished to see him. The sick man answered, that it was impossible for him to do so, for that he could barely support himself in a sitting posture in bed: Girolamo however told him that in some way or other it must be managed, because the holy father had so ordered. Barsum having taken courage at these words, dressed himself as best he could, and was taken in a carriage to the Saint, who as soon as he saw him, got up to meet him, and throwing his arms round his neck, kissed him and pressed him to his bosom with much tenderness. He held him in this manner for a short space of time, during which the sick man felt much revived, wherefore he begged Philip to pray for him, having, as he said, faith that he could obtain all things from the Most High God. Philip replied that he would pray for him very willingly, and sent him with Girolamo to Cardinal Frederic Borromeo.
As they were on their way Barsum said to Girolamo, “Girolamo, I am cured;” in fact in a day or two he was so completely recovered, that those who saw him could scarcely believe that it was he; and some would joke with him and say, “You are not really Barsum, but some one else very like him.” After his cure this archdeacon went back for a time to Alexandria, but having returned again to Rome on a certain occasion, he obtained an audience of the Pope, who was then Clement VIII., in presence of an assemblage of cardinals and prelates, in the course of which he delivered a Latin oration, recounting all the blessings and favours he had received during his former stay in Rome, and amongst the rest he made especial mention of his being restored to health by S. Philip, in the manner we have related. Giovanni Manzoli, of whom mention was made a short time ago, when he was about seventy years old, had a bloody flux, with constant fever of a very pestilential nature; so that the medical men looked upon it as a hopeless case; the Holy Oil, moreover, had been already administered to him, and he was fast losing the use of his speech: he was, however, just able to articulate sufficiently to make his nephew understand that he was to go to Father Philip and ask him to send one of the fathers to recommend his soul, and to tell him that he wished to be buried wherever the holy father might direct, and he added, “and bid him pray for me.” The nephew obeyed, and the Saint sent a priest named Mattia Maffei, the same we have spoken of elsewhere, to the house. In the meantime the physician had pronounced that within an hour’s time the sick man would breathe his last, and in consequence his family provided themselves with mourning, and sent word to the compagnia della misericordia that they were to be in readiness on the following day to accompany Manzoli to the grave. The next morning Monte Zazzara, and several of the compagnia, told the Saint that Manzoli was dead. Philip answered, “Not so, he is not dead, and moreover will not die of this illness.” He then called Maffei, and asked him what news he brought of Manzoli; he answered, “I went this morning to the house, and I learned that he was dead.” The Saint replied, “No, Manzoli is alive; go back and see how he is, and mind you see him with your own eyes.” He went, and found him not only living, but very fairly well. He therefore returned, and told the blessed father what had happened, and saluted him on the part of Manzoli; upon which Philip smiled and said, “So you see you are one of those persons who cannot be trusted to do a commission well the first time.” For Philip had prayed for him during the night, and already knew that he had obtained from God the health of the sick man, as it eventually proved. It may here be mentioned, that some years before Giovanni fell ill, he had begged the Saint to be with him if possible at his death, and that Philip’s answer was, “I shall die before you;” and this he often repeated in different conversations. This proved a true prediction, for Giovanni survived the holy father many years.
Alessandro Corvino, a person of some note, fell ill; and one morning, when he was growing worse, the Saint exclaimed, “We must go and assist Alessandro:” then he went towards the house of the sick man together with some of his penitents. Now in those days license was given in some cases for priests to say mass in private rooms; as soon, therefore, as he had entered the room he said mass, having promised Alessandro to pray for him. During the celebration, he was overcome by so copious a flood of tears and such vehement sighing, that one might easily suppose he was about to obtain from God that which he desired. When mass was over he went up to the invalid and said, “Be of good heart; you will soon be well,” and immediately took his leave. In two days’ time Alessandro was out of bed, and was able to go out of doors to the great marvel of all who had seen him in his illness. Pompeo Paterio, a priest of the Congregation, was seized with a very violent fever. Philip went to visit him, and having heard his confession, placed his hands upon his head; then came the usual trembling, and he prayed a while and said, “Courage, courage:” suddenly the fever ceased; and although the physician had left orders that he was to eat nothing until a certain hour, his appetite became so good that he ate heartily, and was in short totally cured. One day when the Saint had been at vespers with his spiritual children at the Minerva, he proposed that they should take a walk; and when those who were with him inquired of him where he thought of going to, he replied that he was going towards the popolo. Presently he turned into the hospital of S. James, which is for incurables, and there he went up to a sick man who was insensible, and had some time lost the use of his speech, and was now in fact supposed to be in his agony. Philip betook himself to prayer with his usual palpitation of heart, and also bade those who were with him say some prayers in behalf of the poor sufferer. Thus being done he ordered the attendants to raise him up in a sitting posture in bed: they did so, and he instantly came to himself. Then the Saint bade them give him something to eat, and went away. The next morning when one of those who had been of the party went to see this patient, he found him absolutely recovered. Vittoria Varesi, who has also been named before, had a disease in her right-hand, accompanied with much pain and a feeling of coldness, which extended up the whole arm, and there was a good deal of inflammation about the hand, especially at the part next to the thumb. She had tried many remedies, but all to no purpose; indeed, she grew worse and worse, and the nerves of the hand were beginning to contract. She came, therefore, to the holy father, in whom she had great faith, and said to him, “Father, I feel as if this catarrh was extending to the rest of my body, and my hand is already rendered useless: I am almost beside myself with fright lest I shall have to lose it.” Then Philip, touching the diseased part with his hand, raised his eyes to heaven, and with his usual trembling of body pressed the tumour, saying at the same time, “O, you will be cured, never fear,” and immediately sent her away. When she was come home, she began to think within herself that it was time to look at the sore and apply fresh plaister to it, and in short began to dress it as she was used to do. She stopped suddenly, however, and said to herself, “Do I not believe Philip to be a Saint, and a true friend of Almighty God? and had I not firm faith that he would cure me? why then do I doubt?” Then she pulled off the plaister and threw it into the fire, and immediately she was able to move her hand about; next she put it into some water, although the physician had told her to be careful not to wash it, and after that she was able to use it almost as usual; finally, without the aid of medicine or any other remedy, she was perfectly cured in the short space of a day or two.
Giovanni Battista Guerra, a brother of the Congregation, one evening about midnight when he was preparing the chapel of the Pietà in the church, fell from a ladder a height of about twenty-five palms, and came with his head upon the slab of a tomb, and appeared to be killed by the fall. He was carried into the house, and upon the arrival of the medical men, they pronounced him to be past recovery; it was however proposed as the only chance that Giovanni should submit to a painful and dangerous operation. When Philip heard of the accident and of what the opinion of the physicians was, he immediately withdrew to pray, and also gave orders that evening that others in the house should offer prayers for the poor sufferer. Presently Angelo Vittori, the physician, came to the holy father and told him, that he must now pronounce the injuries to be mortal; to which the Saint, smiling at the same time, replied, “Oh! I do not wish poor Giovanni Battista to die this time, and I mean to pray so much for him, that I am sure God will restore him to us.” And in fact so it was; for, after Philip’s prayers in his behalf, the invalid slept well that night, and awoke in the morning at his usual hour, absolutely forgetting for the moment all about his fall, so that he would have begun to get up and wash, had he not been made to return to bed. The physicians came expecting to find the patient in a violent fever, or in convulsions, but instead of that he appeared to be suffering from little else than the stiffness usually consequent upon a fall.
Bertino Riccardi of Vercelli, a brother of the Congregation, fell sick of a malignant fever, which before long issued in violent delirium. He was now at the point of death, and had not made any settlement of his worldly affairs, nor received the usual Sacraments administered in extremis. The holy father visited him, and began to pray that he might be sufficiently restored to prepare for death. Soon afterwards Bertino came to himself, made a good confession, received the Viaticum from the hands of the Saint, and had just sufficient time to make his will before the delirium returned. The holy father then gave him Extreme Unction and he died. A similar case to this happened in the person of Flaminia, sister of Father Antonio Gallonio, who, being seized with delirium before she had made her peace with God in the Sacrament of Penance, was restored to consciousness by the holy father’s prayers. In this instance Philip had previously said that the sick woman would have time for preparation granted her. Another case of the like sort occurred in the hospital of San Spirito. For one day, Philip, happening to go there with several of his spiritual children, said to them, “Now let us go wherever the Lord wills,” and he began to walk towards the room where the wounded are, saying at the same time, “I feel a something at my heart, which calls me there.” He then went straight up to a bed where a sick man lay, whom he had never seen before, and who seemed to be at the last gasp. After he had prayed for him, he placed his hand on his forehead and called him, upon which the sick man immediately recovered his senses and began to speak. He had not had time either to go to confession or receive the Viaticum, for his accident was a sudden one, but now he did both one and the other with signs of great contrition, and, having received Extreme Unction, he devoutly ended his days, blessing God for having sent that good father to him, who, though a stranger, had done him so great a service.
Moreover by dint of continual prayer, and the union with God which Philip enjoyed, he not only obtained from His Divine Majesty the power of delivering others from different evils, but besides this he himself was singularly protected from many dangers to which he was exposed. One day he went with some of his penitents in a carriage to the Seven Churches, and such a heavy rain began to fall, that when they were in the street of S. Paul they were forced to turn back again, and at a place called the Marmorata, in consequence of the water rushing in such torrents that it was impossible to distinguish objects that were before them, the carriage and horses suddenly fell forward into a great hole, so that it was thought that the horses must be killed, and the carriage broken to pieces. Philip and his companions got out as best they could, and the holy father immediately went to pray in the church of S. Maria in Portico, telling the rest that he would wait for them there. Many persons who were by ran off to fetch some oxen to drag out the carriage and horses; but, behold! as soon as the Saint had begun to pray, in an instant, without any visible help, both carriage and horses were seen to come forth without a scratch or injury of any sort. They went to tell the holy father what had happened, but he had already left the church and met them on the way, as though he knew beforehand that they were coming and for what purpose.
Another time when he was going in like manner with several of his spiritual children in a carriage to visit the Seven Churches, his companions after a while got down to walk, and he remained alone. Now as the carriage was passing over an exceedingly narrow bridge, those who were walking perceived that the two wheels on one side rested, so to speak, on the air, whilst the two on the other side alone remained on the bridge. They began to cry out in terror, “Jesus! Jesus!” the carriage however passed on in perfect safety, just as though all the four wheels had been on the bridge. This they all agreed in attributing to Philip’s sanctity and to his constant prayers. Afterwards, in the course of the same drive, as he was passing close by a lime pit, which was of exceeding depth, the wheels seemed to skirt the edge of it in such a manner, that they who were behind thought it impossible for him to escape being thrown headlong into it; yet the carriage seemed to be mysteriously borne along in safety. Shortly after, however, another carriage passed by the same pit, belonging to a lady who had been strongly urged not to go that way, because of the great risk; she persisted, however, in going, and both carriage and horses fell: the former was completely shattered to pieces, and one horse was killed on the spot; the lady herself broke her arm, and her companion’s leg was fractured.
Anna Morona, wife of Matteo Massa, fell ill, and at length became so much worse, that each day was supposed to be her last, and her friends and relations were mourning and weeping over her. After a while the holy father went to see her, and placing his hand upon her, with his usual trembling, he called her by her name and said, “Anna, repeat after me, what I am going to say: Lord, Philip has bid me say in Thy name, that he does not wish me to die yet.” He made her repeat these words several times, she immediately began to amend, and finally was cured. Maria Felice of Castro in Torre di Specchi, had been gradually wasting away for the space of a hundred successive days with fever, until feeling that she was sinking fast, she sent for the holy father, who immediately went to her and asked her what it was that ailed her; she answered that it was the fever. Philip then bid her trust in God, and not be cast down, and asked her what she most wished for. “To be cured,” she said. Then the Saint put his hand on her head, and holding it there for a while, spoke these words, “I command thee, fever, to depart, and leave this creature of Almighty God:” and from that day forth the fever was stayed, and Maria was completely restored. Sigismonda Capizucchi, also in Torre di Specchi, was attacked by a quartan ague, of a very severe kind, which commonly lasted from August to the end of the year. The holy father happening to go there on one of the days when Sigismonda was suffering from this ague, she recommended herself to him, begging him to pray for her that the complaint might be removed. The Saint raised his hand and said, “Well now, for the future it is my will that you,” meaning the ague, “should return no more:” and he was obeyed.
Philip was once with several of his spiritual children, when a stranger came into the room, and recommended a dying person to the Saint. He smiled and said, “Are we all agreed in wishing she should be cured?” and when they answered in the affirmative, he bade the person who had come to recommend the sick woman to him, to return and tell her that it was not his wish she should die and no sooner had she received this message than she recovered. And it happened very frequently indeed, that if he said, “I wish such a one to be cured,” the person was healed on the spot. The cook of the house once fell sick; he was so spiritual a person, and so much favoured by Almighty God, that even the dumb animals would obey him; so that if he was washing fish for dinner, and happened to be called away for a while, he had only to command the cats not to touch them during his absence, and they would obey him. Now because the saint loved this man exceedingly, he ordered Baronius to attend upon him himself until his death; and in consequence of the great fatigues he endured in this occupation, Baronius also caught the fever. Philip, as soon as he was aware of it, ordered him to send the fever away in his name. Then Baronius, full of holy faith, said, “Fever, I command thee in Father Philip’s name to leave me:” and no sooner had he said so, than he was able to dress himself and walk to the Basilica of the Vatican, which was half a mile distant. Once the holy father said to Antonia Raidi, “Antonia, take care you are never ill without my leave: “and ever after that, if she felt indisposed, and was afraid she was going to be ill, she would go to Philip and say, “Do you wish me to be ill, Father?” and it always turned out, that if the Saint said “No,” her indisposition proceeded no farther. This occurred times without number.
Lucrezia Giolia had a fever, which had lasted many days. The Saint visited her, and ordered her to go the very next morning to San Girolamo and hear mass. She replied, “Father, how can I go with this fever upon me?” The Saint answered, “O! to-morrow morning you will be quite well, do not be afraid;” and wonderful to say, during the night she was perfectly cured, and went in the morning to San Girolamo, heard mass, and from that time forth had no more illness. It happened one day that Alessandro Illuminati, who was a brother of the house, and who was in the habit of assisting the holy father in his illnesses, broke a blood-vessel in his lungs. When the Saint heard of it, he immediately sent for Alessandro, and by simply saying, “I do not wish you to be ill,” he was instantaneously cured, and thenceforth spat no more blood, but was as healthful as before the rupture of the blood-vessel. A similar thing took place in the person of Pietro Focile, named elsewhere, who being at the point of death was visited by the Saint. The mother met him as he entered the house, and said, “O, Father, help me; my son is dying!” Philip answered, “Don’t be afraid, I do not wish him to die;” and it was as he had said. He was entreated by a father of San Girolamo to go and visit a sick man named Ambrozio, who lay in bed in a lamentably helpless state, not being able even to raise himself in a sitting position, without the aid of several other persons. He went, and said on coming up to the invalid, “Ambrozio, raise yourself up,” and immediately, without any kind of assistance, he sat up, upon which those in the room began to cry out, “A miracle! a miracle!” In a short time the man who before could scarcely move a limb, was out of bed and completely cured.
Torquato Conti was seriously indisposed, and Father Francesco Maria Tarugi advised him to go to confession to Father Philip, and that he would certainly be cured. He sent for Philip therefore, and in the middle of his confession his complaint left him, and he was instantaneously cured. A poor peasant, full of faith, came to the holy father from Palombara, a place in the neighbourhood of Rome, in order to recommend himself to his prayers, as he was suffering from an infirmity which ceased not night or day to torment him. The Saint gave him no other remedy than that of confession, and the man was instantly cured. When the people of Palombara heard tell of this wonderful cure, effected by simply going to confession to Father Philip, several who were troubled with the same disease set off for Rome, and came to the Saint, saying, “We wish you to cure us in the same way you cured such an one.” Then Philip, when he saw their holy simplicity, heard their confessions, and sent them back full of consolation. Eugenia Mansueti of Colliscepoli, for the space of eighteen months, had a disease on her nose, which was swelled and inflamed in such a terrible manner, that she was ashamed to go out of doors, and blood constantly issued from it. Besides this, which was outward, the nose was dreadfully ulcerated within, and discharged large quantities of matter. Many different remedies had been tried, but to no purpose. This woman was in the habit of washing certain bits of rag which Philip used in dressing a sore on his body; one day therefore, happening to see one of these pieces of rag much covered with blood, with great devotion and faith she applied it to the ulcer, which was instantly healed up; the swelling also subsided, and the disease never returned again, even partially.
Lucrezia of Citara was four months advanced in her pregnancy, when she was seized with a bloody flux of a very dangerous nature. Every kind of remedy was tried, but in vain. One day, however, Cassandra Raidi, who used to wash the holy father’s linen, and who was a friend of the sick woman’s, brought her some garment of the Saint’s, telling her to put it about her, and that if she had but faith in the goodness and sanctity of Philip she would be cured. Lucrezia did as she was told, and the same instant the blood miraculously ceased to flow. Philip knew of this miracle in spirit, even as Christ knew of the woman who touched the hem of His garment; wherefore he bade Antonio Gallonio take away all his clothes from Cassandra, and himself gave her a good scolding; for he could not endure being esteemed by men as if he were some great one. Stefano Calcinardi had been for nearly thirty days with continual fever, and great weakness of stomach, which prevented his retaining food of any kind. He had received the Viaticum and Extreme Unction, and was attended in extremis by Father Francesco Zazzara, who told him that he had in his possession some hair of Father Philip’s (who was yet alive), and that if only he had firm faith that the holy father, as a true servant of God, could obtain his health for him, he would put it about his person. Stefano with a lively faith received the hair, and placed it on his stomach, which he had no sooner done than he fell asleep. In an hour’s time he awoke, and food was brought him, of which he ate, and found himself for the first time able to retain it in his stomach; at the same time the fever subsided, and in the space of four days he returned to his former state of health. There came to Rome, to the house of Monte Zazzara, a merchant named Ercole Cortesini of Carpi. This man heard a great deal of the charity, virtue, and miracles of Philip, and in consequence conceived a great desire to see him and speak with him. Father Francesco Zazzara therefore brought him to the holy father; and when Ercole saw the Saint, he knelt before him and begged his blessing, recommending himself earnestly to his prayers. When he was come away from Philip he said, “I believe that I have seen a great Saint; at the first sight of him a trembling seized my whole body.” Such a devotion did this person obtain towards Philip, that he wished in some way or other to get into his possession something that belonged to him, by way of a relic; and he obtained a pair of slippers and some of the Saint’s hair: moreover, he managed to prevail on Philip himself to give him a rosary. In the month of August Ercole set out from Rome to return to Carpi his native place; and although ordinarily he was accustomed to ride, this time he determined to go on foot; but when he got into the country he was seized with a violent headache, and grew almost delirious. Things being come to this pass, he bethought himself of the relics of the Saint, which he had brought from Rome; he therefore told his wife to take the things which were in a certain part of his baggage, and apply them to his forehead. When the wife saw the old shabby-looking slippers she began to laugh, and said, “Why, what are you going to do with these slippers?” “Never mind, but do as you are bid,” replied the husband; “I know well what I am about.” Now when his wife had placed the slippers as he had told her, Ercole began to pray in this fashion: “I beg of Thee, O Lord, by the devotion I bear to Father Philip of the Chiesa Nuova, that Thou wilt cure me of my pains.” Scarcely had he finished this prayer, when both headache and feverishness suddenly left him, and he continued his journey in perfect health. Another miracle occurred in the person of this same man’s nephew, which was in like manner worked by means of these identical relics. It happened during the Saint’s lifetime. The nephew was ill of a violent fever, accompanied with much pain from a tumour which had formed upon his body, so that he was thought to be dying. In this state they placed one of the slippers on the tumour, which instantly broke with the contact, and the fever entirely ceased, and the nephew was cured.
Patrizio Patrizi, who has been mentioned several times before, was ill of the colic and a disordered stomach; upon which the holy father sent Father Germanico Fedeli to visit him. On his arrival the sick man said to him, “You must know, Father Germanico, that during the night my pains increased to such a degree that I thought I must die; and when I knew not what to do I suddenly bethought me of the holy father; and placing myself before him in spirit, I recommended myself to him, saying, ‘Father Philip, help me, and pray to God for me.’ When I had said these words the pain suddenly subsided, and now I am almost well.” This same Germanico was attacked by hernia, and when he found no relief from medicine or any other remedies he made use of, he had recourse with great faith to the prayers of the Saint, saying to him, “Father, if you will you can cure me by your prayers.” The Saint replied, “Do not be afraid; you will get well;” and so it turned out, for Germanico left off his medicines, and was soon perfectly restored to health. Bradamanto Pacelli, of Narni, a very spiritual woman, and one completely given up to works of piety, suffered from headache of an unusually severe character, and which continued almost without intermission. Medicine was of no avail, and at length the Saint, as her spiritual father, went to visit her. He found her with a linen cloth wrapped about her head, which he instantly pulled off and threw upon the ground, saying at the same time, “What are you doing, simpleton that you are, with this cloth?” No sooner had Philip said these words, and accompanied them with the action we have described, than the pain suddenly ceased, and the good woman remained free from the like infirmity until her death.
Philip had an especial grace from Almighty God in delivering women from the perils which they ordinarily endure in childbirth. Isabella Baciocca, of Novara, had a kinsman in Rome, named Giovanni Battista Boniperti, whom we have already mentioned several times. This woman was eight months advanced in her pregnancy, when she miscarried, and was in imminent danger of death. Her relations wrote to Giovanni Battista concerning her, and he immediately recommended her to the holy father, who said, “Write word to your relation that I do not wish her to have the like misfortune any more.” Giovanni wrote as Philip had bid him, and his relation not only found herself delivered from her present danger, but afterwards gave birth to twelve sons successively, and in each case no difficulty or alarming symptom accompanied the confinement. Delia Buscaglia Vicentina, wife of Gasparo Brisio of Padua, musician of the castle of S. Angelo, had been seven months advanced in her pregnancy, and was just entering upon the eighth month, when she was surprised by the pains of childbirth, but the child was dead in her womb, and she was unable to deliver herself of it. Her pains were so great, that at length life seemed to be ebbing fast, her heart had almost ceased to beat, and she had long lost the use of her speech; her body too was cold as marble, and notwithstanding all the endeavours of those about her, no means could be found of restoring the circulation. They sent for the physicians, but the midwife said there was now no need of any physician save God; and she added, “And take care what you do, for if they should attempt to extract the child, they will have to do so piece by piece, and the mother must die.” Delia was in this condition from nine o’clock in the morning, until an hour before the evening Ave of the next day, and during this time her husband was going about from place to place begging people to pray for her: after which he went to the holy father and besought him to come and see his wife, who was in the extremity we have described. Philip went, and having entered the room he took the cap which he had on his head and placed it on the sick woman; then he raised his eyes to heaven, and threw himself on his knees, crying out with sighs and tears, “Let all kneel down and say five Pater Nosters and five Ave Marias.” Which being finished, the Saint rose up, and going quite close to the ear of the sick woman, said in a loud voice, “Delia!” At the sound of the Saint’s voice her consciousness returned, and as though she was awakened out of a deep sleep, she replied, “My father, what is it you want?” The Saint twice repeated, “That you and I may become Saints.” She replied, “God grant it;” and then added, “Father, I am very bad.” Philip said, “Have courage, you will recover;” he then signed her with the sign of the cross, and left the room; and when he was half way down the stairs, he caught hold of the husband’s hand, and said to him, “Return up stairs again, for Delia your wife has received mercy, and remember both of you to serve God faithfully.” He went up stairs, and found that his wife had been delivered without any pain or danger of death; in fact, that same evening she got up, as though nothing had ailed her. When this same person was dangerously ill with an abscess, the Saint sent her word by her husband that she was not to be cast down, for that she would not die, but would recover that very evening; and indeed, she had no sooner received Philip’s message than she began to mend, and in a very short time was quite well. When Faustina Capozucchi, wife of Domizio Cecchini, was seven months advanced in her pregnancy, she fell so dangerously ill, that continuing so for two-and-twenty days, her life was despaired of by the physicians, and she was in fact at death’s door. The holy father paid her a visit, and touching her he raised his eyes to heaven and said, “O Lord, I beseech Thee, give me the soul of this child; Thou wilt give it me, O Lord;” and with this he left the room. Afterwards, however, he returned, and using almost the same words, went away as he had done before. The poor woman then gave birth to a child, a girl, who lived just a sufficient time to receive baptism, before both mother and child slept in peace.
Olimpia Trojani was at the last extremity, for she was in the pains of childbirth, and could not deliver herself of the child; so that her relations were in great affliction, considering her as dead. Not knowing, therefore, what to do, they sent, as a last hope, for Philip, whom they looked upon as a Saint, and as one who could work miracles. No sooner had the holy father arrived, than, compassionating the poor mother and the child, who was in such peril of dying unbaptized, he began to pray, placing his hand upon her the while, and immediately afterwards left the room. Olimpia now gave birth to a daughter with the greatest ease; the child received baptism, and Olimpia herself perfectly recovered. Ersilia, wife of Giovanni Francesco Bucca, who has many times been spoken of, was with child, when a fancy came into her head that she was certainly to die in her confinement, and so strongly was she possessed by this idea, that no one could persuade her to the contrary; and this brought on such depression of spirits, that it was really piteous to behold her. One morning when she was going out of church she met Philip by the holy water stoup, who no sooner saw her, than he said, “See here, this foolish woman’s head is turned;” and placing his hands on her head, he added, “You need not doubt but that these fancies of yours will soon be gone.” Ersilia then returned home full of joy, and in ten or twelve days had a most prosperous confinement. There were a great number of women who by Philip’s prayers obtained easy confinements and in these cases the Saint was not wont to ask the favour from Almighty God conditionally, as he ordinarily did; on the contrary, whenever there was danger of the child dying without baptism, he prayed absolutely and without condition, saying, “Lord, grant me this favour.” But lest the miracle should be attributed to himself, he always carried about with him a certain bag in which he used to say there were some relics; and he would add, that in the whole course of his experience he had never placed it on one who was pregnant, but either the mother or child was saved. Cleria Bonarda, wife of Claudio Neri, each time of her confinement was brought to death’s door, but upon her recommending herself to Philip, and begging of him to help her, he did but send her the bag we have spoken of, and this time her confinement was so easy, that she was scarcely ill with it. This happened to a great number of women. After the Saint’s death, certain persons wishing to know what was with in this bag, unsewed it, and found that it consisted of seven or eight folds of silk containing nothing more or less than a purificatory, with a cross of red silk in the middle, and a medal with the figure of S. Helen upon it, such as they usually hang round children’s necks. So that it was plain that the holy old man made use of it only to hide his own sanctity.
Bacci's Life of St. Philip, Contents Page