Chapter 1. Of the miracles worked by S. Philip's praecordia.
Chapter 2. Of the miracles wrought by means of Philip's hair, and how by means of it a child was raised to life.
Chapter 3. Of the miracles wrought by means of some rosaries which had belonged to S. Philip.
Chapter 4. Of the miracles wrought by means of certain rags stained with S. Philip's blood.
Chapter 5. Of the miracles wrought by means of some berrettas which had belonged to S. Philip.
Chapter 6. Miracles wrought by means of some of Saint Philip's skull-caps.
Chapter 7. Miracles which occurred on occasion of reading S. Philip's life.
Chapter 8. Miracles wrought with various other relics of S. Philip.
Chapter 9. Miracles wrought by means of vows made to S. Philip.
Chapter 10. Miracles wrought by means of apparitions of S. Philip.
Chapter 11. Miracles which happened upon visiting S. Philip's sepulchre.
Chapter 12. Of the miracles that were worked on persons recommending themselves to S. Philip, and at the invocation of his name.
Chapter 13. Miracles worked on persons recommending themselves to pictures of S. Philip.
Chapter 14. Favours received by different persons at the intercession of S. Philip.
Chapter 15. Some other miracles and graces wrought by S. Philip after his canonization.
Chapter 16. Of the persons that have been protected by S. Philip in earthquakes, and other miracles and graces worked by him in the eighteenth century.
It pleased the Divine Goodness not only to adorn His servant with such an abundance of miracles during his lifetime, as we have related; but in order the more to confirm his sanctity, He willed to glorify him also by miracles after his decease, which indeed have so increased in number, and are still of such constant occurrence, that were we to put them all together, they would fill a volume as large as the two which compose this Life. We must, therefore, content ourselves, as we have done in the last Book, with describing a few of the most striking, from which it may readily be seen, that as in life, so also in death, Philip was marvellous, or rather, to speak as he would have had us, God showed forth His marvels in His servant.
Sister Teodosia of Duca, a nun in the convent of S. Lucia in Silice, had suffered for fifteen years and more from the spleen, which gave her such inconvenience that she could scarcely breathe; she was also troubled with great weakness of stomach. Now it chanced that some relics of S. Philip were brought into this convent, and amongst them part of the praecordia, wherefore the nun with great faith and devotion placed the relics on the spot where she chiefly felt pain; and recommending herself from her heart to the Saint, she instantly received her cure, and was never troubled by the disease any more. Giovanni Antonio Lemmaro, a merchant of Naples, was in bed with a terrible pain in his side, and had used many remedies by order of his physicians, but to no purpose. He now recommended himself with all his heart to S. Philip, whose picture he had in his room, and at the same time one of his daughters, named Lucrezia, bethought herself of a relic of the Saint’s praecordia, which had been given her by the Fathers of the Congregation at Naples; having fetched the relic, she begged her father to take a small portion of it in a little wine, at the same time telling him to have firm faith in Philip’s assistance, and to say three Pater Nosters and Ave Marias. The sick man, when he heard his daughter’s advice, determined to follow it to the letter; he could not, however, on account of his weakness, say more than one Pater and Ave; but he made them carry him in front of the picture, and there invoked S. Philip to his aid, and drank the wine together with the portion of the Saint’s relic. After this he fell into a deep sleep, from which he awoke perfectly well. The poor man was overcome with astonishment, and wept for joy; then he went and took down the picture, and kissed it over and over again, shedding an abundance of tears, and he likewise made all who were in his house kiss it, and ordered a votive offering of silver to be given to the picture which is in the Church of the Fathers of the Congregation in Naples; moreover he desired all his family to fast every year on the Saint’s Vigil, and for himself, besides this fast, he never omitted to recite every morning the hymn, “Iste Confessor Domini sacratus,” out of devotion to the Saint. This man’s daughter, Lucrezia, had a quinsey, which at last became so bad that her life was thought to be in danger. Her father, remembering how he had been delivered from a dangerous illness by means of a relic of the Saint’s praecordia, placed the very same relic upon his daughter’s head, telling her that it was a relic of the Blessed Philip their patron, and that therefore she should have faith in him and say a Pater and an Ave Maria. The daughter obeyed, and the next morning found herself free from pain and every trace of inflammation, and got up just as though she had not been ill. A relation of this same Giovanni Antonio, named Giovanni Giacomo Lemmaro, being afflicted with gout, which usually tormented him for fifteen days and more together, was advised by Giovanni Antonio to drink a small quantity of water with a particle of the Saint’s praecordia infused in it. He drank the water, and fell asleep immediately afterwards, and in the morning found himself perfectly well. Out of gratitude for his cure, he forthwith sent a gilded taper of wax to the Saint’s picture which is in the church of the Fathers of the Congregation in that city.
Sister Geltrude Tartaglina, a nun in the convent of S. Lucia, was reduced to such a state that she could no longer speak or take any sort of nourishment by reason of an obstruction, from which, joined to headaches and fever, she had been suffering a long while. Moreover, for upwards of eighteen months previously she was subject to seizures, which usually came on every morning and evening, and brought her to death’s door. Now finding herself come to this pass, and not being able to speak, although she was perfectly alive to all that went on around her, she began to make signs, as well as she could, that she wished for the priest to come and give her Extreme Unction. In the mean while a nun, named Sister Girolama Marzani, entered the room with some relics of the Saint’s praecordia, which had not been brought before, because they had been lent out of the convent. The nun went up to the sick woman and said, “Here is the relic you have been asking for with so much eagerness and devotion.” The sick woman, although she heard what was said, could not speak or make any answer; but she heartily recommended herself to the Saint, and the relic was placed upon her body. Scarcely had a quarter of an hour gone by before Geltrude was filled with consolation; her speech was restored, and she began to return thanks to the Lord, repeating many times over, “These holy relics have cured me.” When the nuns who were around her perceived so sudden a change, they thought it could be nothing else but the forerunner of death or delirium. Geltrude, however, continued to amend, and in a short time her health was completely restored; so that not only was she freed from the present infirmity, but also from those seizures to which she was previously subject.
There were many persons who, on different occasions during the Saint’s lifetime, managed to obtain considerable quantities of his hair, which they preserved as precious relics, and by means of which it pleased the Majesty of God to work many miracles. Caterina Lozia, the wife of Girolamo Martignone, a Milanese, when she was eight months advanced in her pregnancy, was seized with a violent fever, which brought on a premature confinement, and she was delivered of a dead child, whose little face was quite black. The midwife, who was a person of great experience, took the child in her arms, and used every sort of means she could think of to see if it was really dead. When she found that there was no sign of life, she began to lament that the poor babe had died without baptism, and began to call on the Madonna; then remembering that she had about her some of Father Philip’s hair, she placed it on the corpse of the child, saying, “O Saint Philip, ask the Madonna to restore this little babe to life, in order that I may give it holy baptism!” Immediately the child began to struggle into life, and was baptized by the name of Giovanni Pietro: it lived only twenty days, and in five days more the mother also passed to the next world. The midwife ever afterwards kept the hair with so much devotion that she would not have parted with it for all the treasures of the world. When Caterina’s husband reflected on this miracle, he gained such confidence in the Saint, that he exclaimed, “Would to God that the midwife had placed the hair upon my wife, for then I am sure she would not have died!” Antonio Parma, a Genoese, had an imposthume in his bowels, which gave him greater pain than anything he had ever endured in his life. He found no rest day or night, and the physicians not being agreed about the complaint, prescribed very opposite remedies. The disease therefore went on increasing, and at length it was plain that Antonio was dying. Now his god-father, by name Camillo Relli, had in his possession some of S. Philip’s hair; and believing that it would benefit him, he brought the relic and placed it on Antonio’s neck, saying, “Have faith in these relics of the Blessed Philip, and recommend yourself to him with all your heart.” As soon as this was done, the pain suddenly began to subside, and the next morning the invalid was out of the house, and walked through the town, to the great marvel of all who knew the dangerous state he was considered to be in; for they had rather expected to witness his funeral, than see him thus safe and sound. Two days afterwards the pain returned again, and was more acute than ever, but it did not last for more than a quarter of an hour; for the imposthume in his bowels suddenly broke of its own accord, without the aid of medicines, and Antonio remained perfectly cured.
In the convent of S. Giuseppe, in the city of Naples, there was a nun, named Sister Agnese Minutola, who had suffered many years from divers maladies, and especially from certain hysterical affections, together with an issue so pungent and copious as to have formed a fetid and angry wound; added to this there was constant fever, and a liability to fainting fits; moreover for a very long time this poor woman had been subject to obstruction of the liver. She was attended by three eminent physicians, who tried all the resources of their art to lighten, if it were only a little, her intense sufferings; but they were not merely unsuccessful, the pain continued to increase, and the fever, far from abating, grew more and more violent; so that they were at length obliged to give her up as incurable. Not many days afterwards, however, one of these physicians, named Girolamo Tommasi, chanced to call at the convent, when to his unspeakable astonishment he found Sister Agnese quite free from pain and fever, and in fact perfectly cured. He eagerly asked what remedies had succeeded in overcoming her complicated infirmities. The nun answered, “After you had given me up as lost, Father Antonio Talpa, one of the fathers of the Congregation of the Oratory, brought me some hair of the Blessed Philip, and the Reverend Mother ordered me to take a particle of the relic in some water; which I had no sooner done, than my pains ceased, and I was restored to health as you now see me.” The physician went away lost in astonishment and awe. Giovanni Alfonso Destiti, doctor of law, and advocate in Naples, had a quinsey which totally prevented him from swallowing. He recommended himself earnestly to S. Philip, in whom he had unbounded faith; and as he possessed a few relics both of the praecordia and hair of the holy Father, he applied them to his neck, where he felt the pain, saying at the same time his usual prayer to the Saint. The result was the instantaneous removal of the quinsey; and a perspiration breaking out over his whole body, Signor Destiti was at the same time freed from the fever which the pain and annoyance of the quinsey had induced. But a farther marvel remains yet to be told; for before all this had happened, Signor Destiti had sent for a certain kind of oil, with which to make ointment for his throat, and which he had been ordered by the physician to procure. The oil arrived after the cure had been effected in the manner we have narrated; but thinking that it might possibly prevent a return of the complaint, Signor Giovanni applied it to his throat according to the directions of the physician. No sooner, however, had the ointment touched his skin, than the quinsey returned, giving him far greater pain than before. He then perceived and acknowledged his fault and his lack of faith, and hastily washing off the ointment, he again applied the holy relics, and for the second time received his cure. This gentleman, through the great faith he conceived towards the Saint, when he heard that his friend Pier Antonio Chiaravellotti, who was then in the service of the Bishop of Cerra, was dangerously ill with fever and delirium, and had been given over by the physicians, brought him the relics we have spoken of, and putting them close up to his mouth, he prayed to the Saint, and then said to his friend, “Come now, kiss these relics;” and at the very moment that the sick man touched the relics with his mouth, he returned to consciousness, and the delirium left him entirely; in fact, it was as though he was awakened out of a deep sleep, for he immediately recognized all who were around him, whereas he was before totally unconscious, and he who had been given over by the physicians was suddenly restored to health and strength. Fra. Simone of Figlini in the Valdarno, a Capuchin, was troubled with rheumatism in his arms, which made it very difficult for him to elevate the most holy Sacrament at mass. He had suffered in this way for ten months together, and had tried many remedies, but quite in vain. Now he had in his possession some of S. Philip’s hair, and one day it occurred to him to take a minute particle of the hair in a little water, making a vow at the same time to fast every year on the Saint’s Vigil. No sooner had he done this than he was enabled to raise his arms, and the pain was entirely removed, so that the next morning he went to confession, and celebrated mass. In order, however, the more to show forth the power of S. Philip’s intercession, his left arm still remained slightly affected, but on his return to Rome he had given him by Father Antonio Gallonio a piece of linen stained with the holy father’s blood, which he had only to apply to his weak arm in order to obtain an instantaneous and complete cure.
Gora, wife of Giovanni Antonio of Corneto, having been a sufferer for well nigh three years from a quartan fever, had a present made her of a few hairs of the holy father, and in the commencement of the fever she placed these hairs about her neck, saying at the same time five Pater Nosters and five Ave Marias in honour of the Saint. The fever instantly ceased, and she remained free from it for some length of time. One day, however, after her return from a journey by which she was much fatigued, she was induced to bathe, and the fever returned. Again she placed the relics about her neck, and as before she received her cure, the only difference being that from this time the fever never again returned. At Naples Marco Antonio of Santis fell sick of a pestilential fever, which lasted five-and-twenty days, and which had so reduced him that his pulse could be scarcely felt. Now while his death was hourly expected some one brought into the room a relic of the Saint’s hair, which was no sooner put about the sick man’s neck than he was perfectly cured. In thanksgiving for this miracle Marco Antonio sent to Rome a votive offering of silver for the tomb of the great servant of God. Giovanni Francesco Lemmaro, nephew of Giovanni Antonio Lemmaro, had a fever of a very dangerous nature; indeed, so much so, that his physician, Fulvio Verdiano, doubted whether he would live through the night. His uncle, Giovanni Antonio, happened to be with him at the time, and he had in his possession amongst other relics of the holy father a few of the hairs of his beard, which had been given him by a brother of the Congregation of the Oratory at Naples; he therefore took one of these hairs, and after cutting it into the minutest possible fragments, he put it into a tumbler of water, and gave it to the sick man to drink, bidding him recommend himself heartily to the Saint, saying that then God would grant him his health. Giovanni Francesco did as he was told; and on awaking the next morning after drinking the water, be found himself free from fever and perfectly cured.
In Palermo, in the Congregation of the Oratory of that city, there was a lay-brother, named Antonio Maria Martinelli, who was very ill, and every day at a certain fixed hour a fever came upon him, accompanied first with very great shivering and cold, and then with excessive heat, which caused the most intolerable thirst, so that he sometimes felt as though he was really burning, and no remedy could be found for his complaint. Now when the sick man was worse than ever, and was screaming out that he must die of thirst, Father Pietro Pozzo, founder of that Congregation, found some hairs of the Saint, and calling to mind the many miracles which the Majesty of God had wrought through his intercession, he began to relate some of them to the sick man, in order to quicken his devotion to the Saint; and then he took the relic, and with great faith, both on his own part and that of the invalid, placed it on his breast. The sick man immediately exclaimed, “Father, that burning thirst has quite left me!” and at the same time the fever subsided. The next day they anxiously awaited the hour at which the fever was wont to return, but the cure was permanent, and the invalid was soon strong and well. Ottavio Rositano, a Neopolitan priest, fell sick of a pestilential fever, which was accompanied by an issue of clotted blood, and he was quite despaired of by the physicians, so that he had already received the most Holy Viaticum. He was attended during his illness by Don Giovanni Battista Antonini of the city of Lanciano: this gentleman brought him some hair of the holy father, begging him to recommend himself with all his heart to the Saint, and to make some vow to him, for that then he would be sure to be cured. As soon as Don Antonini was gone, the sick man bade those who were about him cut one or two of these hairs with some scissors into minute fragments, and put them into a tumbler of water; then invoking S. Philip, he made a vow to enter his institute, and to send an offering of silver to his tomb in Rome, after which he swallowed the water with very great devotion, and that same night the fever left him, and in two days’ time he was free from every trace of illness. Shortly afterwards this same person was seized with a violent pain in the arm, which seemed to be of, the same nature as S. Anthony’s fire, and which prevented him from using the arm at all. Now when he could get no rest by reason of the pain he suffered, he applied to his arm what remained of the hair Don Antonini had given him; which was no sooner done than the pain ceased instantly, and he was completely cured; in token of which he sent a votive offering of silver, according to his promise, to Rome, and at once entered the Congregation of Naples, never wearying of proclaiming how great a saint the holy father was.
Fabio Apicella, a physician of great repute in Naples, being ill of the gout, was at the same time seized with a violent pain in the side, and likewise suffered so terribly from the stone, that he could not got a moment’s rest from pain, He had now left off taking medicine of any kind, as he found no relief from it, when he applied a relic of Philip’s hair to the seat of the pain, and was immediately cured; moreover, this time he passed the stone without any pain, although before he had always suffered a very agony. He afterwards had a return of his complaint, but was again instantaneously cured by the same means. A servant of Marco Antonio Vitelleschi fell from his horse, and was a good deal hurt, especially about one eye, over which there was a gash so deep that the eye itself was partially laid open, and he was very feverish and ill in consequence: however, a small relic of Philip’s hair was applied to the sick man, when the fever instantly sub sided, and in a very short time, both the eye and the wound over it were perfectly healed. Diana of Montopoli had a little nephew named Spaciano, who was so ill of the small-pox that he had ceased to take the breast, and seemed to be dying. His mother put upon him some of S. Philip’s hair, and the child instantly began to suck, and soon revived. As soon, however, as the relics were removed, the poor baby was as sickly as ever, but upon their being replaced a second cure was wrought, and the child was now permanently restored. Fabio de Amatir, a musician of the castle of S. Angelo, also had a little son, named Camillo, who was dying of a tertian fever; the physicians indeed had quite given him over. Some of S. Philip’s hair was now put about his neck, and the fever returned no more. Ortensia Lelli, wife of Mario Cavalleschi of Corneto, was ill of continual fever, accompanied by great weakness of stomach, and although many remedies had been tried, nothing seemed to do her good. When she was in this state she placed about her neck with great devotion some of S. Philip’s hair, and obtained an instantaneous cure; the fever left her, and she was as strong as before her attack. Livia, wife of Flaminio Mantellacci, of the same city, was ill of a malignant fever and weakness of stomach, and no remedy which the physicians recommended her had been of any avail, so that her life was despaired of. At this time Ortensia Lelli, whom we have just spoken of, went to visit her, taking with her the relic of S. Philip’s hair. She related to the sick woman the wonderful cure which had been vouchsafed to herself, and with great faith and devotion she touched her with the relic, when instantly the sinking at her stomach was relieved, the fever subsided altogether, and she received a complete cure, to the marvel of those who had looked upon her as dead. In short, the miracles which it pleased the Majesty of God to work with the hair of this glorious Saint are almost infinite. Pope Clement VIII., of happy memory, desired Cardinal Baronius to give him some, in consequence of the devotion he bore him, and kept it with the greatest reverence. Many who were in the habit of carrying some about with them, have affirmed that they were delivered from many temptations, and in particular from nightly illusions. Sestilio Mazzucca, a canon of S. Peter’s, and a favourite penitent of the Saint’s, had a reliquary made of solid silver, in which a good quantity of the hair is preserved, and which he presented to our church.
A year or thereabouts after the death of S. Philip, a daughter of Pietro Contini, named Barbara, was grievously ill of continual fever, and the physician doubted if she could survive, The mother told her to say a rosary on some beads which had belonged to the Saint, and the fever instantly ceased, so that the next day she was perfectly well. Felice Sebastiani, her mother, had suffered for eight successive months from a very painful disease in both her legs, which were absolutely covered with sores, one of which was so large that the bone was distinctly visible. The surgeon, when he saw to what an extent the disease had gone, said that he could by no means guarantee her recovery. This quite disheartened the poor woman, and she began to weep and recommend herself to the holy father. She begged him that, as he had cured her daughter Barbara, he would also obtain favour for her from God, making a vow that if she were cured she would make an offering at his tomb of two legs of silver; then with the same rosary with which her daughter Barbara had been cured she touched her legs four or five times wherever they were bad, after which she lay herself down to rest, and slept soundly all the night through, which she had not been able to do for eight months past. In the morning when she came to look at her sores, and lifted up one after another the plaisters which were upon them, she found them all completely healed up, with the flesh healthy and firm, and the skin perfectly formed; nor did she ever again suffer from this dreadful complaint. A child named Virginia, daughter of Pietro Ruissi, and Vittoria Frangipani, had a very severe fever, and her grandmother put about her neck a rosary which had belonged to the holy father; no sooner had it touched her than the fever left her.
There were four persons condemned to death, one of whom was named Agostino; this man was so obstinate that he wished, when he was to pass before the governor’s palace on his way to the scaffold, to cry out aloud and tell him that he had done him wrong, and that he summoned him before the tribunal of Almighty God; and they could not divert him from his purpose, although many had tried their best, and had spent great part of the night in doing so. At length it occurred to Monte Zazzara, who was one of those who were trying to comfort the prisoners, to take a rosary which had belonged to S. Philip; and he said to the condemned man, “I wish you to say this rosary once with devotion in honour of that holy father to whom it belonged, to the end he may intercede for you, and rid you of this temptation, and obtain for you true contrition for your sins.” Agostino took the rosary, and asked Monte what the name of the father might be: he answered that he was called Philip. Then Agostino, touched by the grace of God, knelt down and began to recite the rosary, when suddenly he broke out into sobs and tears, imploring pardon of his sins; he said that the temptation was gone; and he heard mass and communicated at it with great devotion, and persevered with every sign of contrition to the last, begging that he might be allowed before he died, instead of summoning the governor before the tribunal of God, to ask the people to say a Pater Noster and an Ave Maria for his soul; a request which was granted him. A young woman named Francesca, of Tivoli, who many years before had gone to confession to the holy father, was ill with continual fever of so bad a nature, that when the surgeon touched her with the lancet to draw blood, corrupted matter came out, so that she was given over by all. A rosary of S. Philip’s was given her, and she was told she must have faith. The following day the fever subsided, and Francesca was perfectly cured. When Tiberio Astalli was riding along a road above Tivoli, he saw at a little distance a crowd of people, and heard some one screaming violently; he therefore turned his horse’s head towards the spot, and found that they were taking a woman to a place called S. Angelo, whom they said was possessed, and they could not get her a step farther, because she had planted her face on the earth with all the force of a demoniac, so that although several men were there they were unable to drag her from that position. Tiberio recollected that he had about him a rosary which had belonged to the Saint; wherefore, he dismounted from his horse, and without her perceiving it placed the rosary upon her, when she instantly screamed out, “They are putting fire on me!” at the same time she began to run towards the castle, so that they were able to take her where they wished without farther trouble.
One day as Stefano Calcinardi, who has been named before, was taking a walk in the month of August towards the Trinità de’ monti, he was addressed by a person who said she wanted to speak with him, and who was in fact an immodest woman. Now while Stefano was on the point of yielding to the temptation, having on his breast some of the Saint’s hair, and one or two scraps of linen stained with his blood, he distinctly felt these relics strike him on the spot where they hung upon his breast with a blow like that of a hammer, and a faintness came over him, so that he was near falling to the ground; and he heard a voice which seemed to him like that of the Saint, saying to him, “Take heed what you do; get you gone hence, and flee from sin!” As soon as he came to himself he hastily went away, and did not fall into sin. A short time before, this same man received a corporal favour by means of these same bloodstained rags; for being troubled by a weakness of stomach, which prevented him from digesting anything, and indeed almost from eating at all, one day when he had managed to eat a mouthful or two, and the usual feeling of repletion had followed, he took one of the pieces of linen and placed it on his stomach, and although before this he had made use of many medicines, and they had been of no use to him, yet he had no sooner applied the relic, as we have related, than he was enabled to digest his food and eat with a good appetite, and in a short space of time he was totally free from that indisposition. Moreover, before this he had much difficulty in walking on account of his great weakness, so that he was forced to be constantly stopping to rest in the course of even a short walk; but after he had thus applied the relic to his stomach, he felt his whole frame invigorated, and was able to walk like any other person.
Marcello Vitelleschi was driving one day in a carriage, when a ball struck him in the right eye with such violence that he thought for certain he had lost the eye, and it swelled up to an enormous size. He quickly procured a bit of linen which had belonged to the Saint, and was stained with his blood, and placed it on the swollen eye, when, behold! the swelling soon went down, and the eye was safe and sound. His mother, marvelling that he had been so quickly cured, said to him, “Why you must needs have done something for the holy father to deserve this, or may be some one has recommended you to him.” Claudio Rangone, Bishop of Piacenza, was ill of an obstinate fever, and was in considerable danger; at any rate it was the opinion of the physician that he would not mend until the spring. Nevertheless his aunt, Giulia Orsina Rangona, having sent him a reliquary, in which was one of these pieces of linen, he had no sooner placed it round his neck than the fever left him, and never more returned, although he did not in the least know what the relic was. Count Prospero Bentivogli had an abscess in his tongue, and was ill for three successive months. The physicians were not decided as to what the disease was, and had consequently ordered him medicines which ran counter to each other, and he was reduced to such a state that he could scarcely speak, and it was with the greatest difficulty that he contrived to swallow; in short, he was suffering the most acute pain. Now when he was in this condition his mother-in law, the Marchioness Nannina del Nero Orsina, asked him if he would take a small portion of a relic of the Blessed Philip Neri; he answered that he had great faith in the Saint; wherefore this lady took a thread of one of the pieces of linen which was stained with the holy father’s blood, and put it into a tumbler of water, which she then gave him to drink. Instantly all the pain subsided, he began to speak with ease, and was able to swallow as well as ever. After two days he left Florence for Bologna.
Giomonda, wife of Ferdinando Sermei of Orvieto, had a son four years old, named Giuseppe, who fell ill of a pestilential fever, which was accompanied with great bodily pain, and for three days he had taken nothing; his little legs and arms were stiffening, and a cold damp sweat was on him, as though he was at the point of death; he had in fact for some hours been given over by the physicians. Now his mother happened to call to mind the Blessed Philip, in consequence of a picture of him which was in the house, and she immediately sent off to Father Agostino Manni, her confessor, begging him to give her some relic of the Blessed Father. He sent her a small piece of linen rag in a letter, which she instantly took, without so much as caring to see what it was, and put it on Giuseppe’s heart, saying to him, “This is the only thing, my son, that can cure you.” In less time than it would take to say a “Miserere,” the child opened his eyes, began to speak, and raised himself up in bed; then he asked for something to eat and drink, and next morning he was playing in the streets with the other children, and had nothing more the matter with him. Aloisia, daughter of Nannina del Nero, Countess of Pitigliano, when she was a child, was taken seriously ill at her mother’s country villa, and it being necessary to bleed her with leeches it happened that one of the leeches got into her stomach. The mother not knowing what to do, since she was in the country, and consequently had no one at hand to consult, she together with her waiting-maid thought it the best expedient, as they had no human remedy, to have recourse to God, and in particular to recommend themselves to S. Philip, the protector of their house; and taking a small fibre of linen stained with the Saint’s blood, they gave it Aloisia to swallow in some water; as soon as she had taken it she instantly brought up the blood and the leech, to the amazement and joy of the whole house. Sister Maria Francesca Strozzi, a nun of the Convent of S. John the Evangelist, which is without the walls of Florence, had a quinsey, which reduced her to such a state that she could neither swallow nor speak. The nuns who were the infirmarians mixed up in a spoon with a drop or two of holy water a shred of linen stained with the Saint’s blood, and after praying for a while they poured it into the sick woman’s mouth. The nun immediately revived, and in a very short space was totally cured: and whereas she had previously been wont to suffer twice a year, that is, during the coldest and hottest seasons, from a similar complaint, from that time forth she never had a return of it. This same sister Maria Francesca Strozzi was at another time grievously ill of fever, together with an abscess, and recollecting the favour she had received before, she took in like manner a spoonful of holy water with a shred of the linen rag in it, and after praying to the Saint, she cried out with a loud voice, “Marvellous is God in this Saints!” then she turned herself in bed and fell asleep. On awaking she felt no more pain, and found the abscess burst; in fact, she was completely cured, although the physician had pronounced her case hopeless. Sister Maria Maddalena de Tempis, when she was sixty-nine years old, fell from a considerable height in this same convent of S. John the Evangelist, and struck her head so violently against a wall, that she lay upon the ground like one dead, and was carried by the nuns to her cell, and at that time there was merely a slight flow of blood from her nose; afterwards, however, she bled in such quantities, that they sent in haste for the physicians, who tried many different remedies, but to no purpose. The priest now brought her the Holy Viaticum, and they sadly awaited her death. While things were in this state, sister Ottavia Strozzi, moved with compassion, put under the sick woman’s cheek in a little case the same relic of the blood-stained linen which had done such marvellous things for herself, and began to pray for her; then raising her on her feet, she made the sign of the cross upon her with the relic, and instantly the blood ceased to flow, and the nun was perfectly cured.
A nun, named Sister Ortensia Anelli, of the Convent of S. Cecilia in Rome, had a disease in her breast, and for many months she would tell no one of it, fearing lest she should be a burden to the other nuns. She became so much worse, however, that she at length told her confessor of it, who begged her to let the physician be sent for; but she seemed so averse to this, that, moved with compassion, he gave her a piece of linen rag stained with the Saint’s blood, bidding her place it on the ulcer and trust in God. The nun obeyed, and that night S. Philip appeared to her, and placed his hand upon the ulcer, saying to her, “Do not be afraid, my child, all will be well; see that you persevere in well-doing,” and then he gave her several spiritual maxims. In the morning she awoke and found herself safe and sound, nor did she ever again suffer from that complaint. Giovanni Battista Simoncelli’s little daughter, who was just three years old, caught the small-pox while she was in the house of Violante Martelli de’ Ricci of Montepulciano. When the child was dying, Violante put a reliquary about its neck, in which was a piece of linen which had belonged to the Saint, and which had been given to Violante by Father Angelo Velli, who himself also went to visit the poor child, and with his own hands placed the reliquary anew on its neck, saying at the same time, “Have faith, my child, you will be cured.” The little thing took the relic, and kissed it over and over again, so that Violante left the room from very tender-heartedness, and went to visit the Countess Santa Fiora, for she could not bear to remain to see that poor child breathe its last. When she returned, she asked the servants whether the child was alive or dead, and they told her that the physician had been and found her without fever, and in fact quite cured; so she ran up quickly to the child, and asked her if she felt better; and the little thing answered, that that father had cured her with the reliquary, and with the blood inside it, and then she kissed it again with the greatest devotion. Neither Violante nor the girl knew at all what was in the reliquary, but the child kept repeating that it was the blood on that cloth that had cured her. Violante learned afterwards from Father Angelo, that it was a piece of the Saint’s blood stained linen. Eugenia Mansueti of Collescepoli being once on a time ill of a fever, and growing continually worse, the physician gave orders that she should have the last Sacraments. When she heard this, she desired those who were waiting on her, to take from her desk one of these pieces of rag which had belonged to Father Philip and were stained with blood, and to bring at the same time a glass of water; when this was done as she desired, she took the piece of linen all covered with blood as it was, and put it into the glass, and then squeezed and rinsed it well: and as soon as she had drunk the water she was cured instantly. From that time she had such faith in the Saint and in whatever had belonged to him, that every time she was unwell she took some piece of linen that had been his, or something else that he had made use of, and applied it to the disease, and she was sure to be cured.
Sister Maria Vittoria Trevi was a nun in the convent of S. Peter Martyr in Florence, and niece of the holy father; and she being troubled with rheumatism in the left arm, which completely crippled her, so that she could not use it at all, bethought herself of praying to her uncle to obtain her cure from God. And so, having prayed to him every day for above a year, one particular evening, when she felt more pain in her arm than usual, she threw herself on her knees before an image of him, and said, “My uncle, I wish you to do me this favour; you have done the like for many others, and I am of your own blood;” then she took a piece of linen stained with the Saint’s blood, and made the sign of the cross many times upon her arm, and instantly the pain ceased, she stretched out her arm, and was completely cured to the marvel of the whole convent.
Margherita Caccia being ill in Novara with the most acute pains, Giovan Battista Boniperti, a priest of Novara, whom we have many times spoken of before, and who was her spiritual father, gave her one of the holy father’s berrettas, and as soon as she applied it to the disease, the pain totally subsided. Sister Ippolita Cipriana, a nun in the convent of S. Cicilia in Rome, having most violent pains in the side, of which complaint many of her family had died, and a fever attacking her at the same time, the physician pronounced her in danger. The father confessor of the convent when he heard this found a berretta of the Saint’s and sent it her, saying that she was to have faith in that holy man. The nun applied the berretta with great faith to the seat of her complaint, and instantly the pain and the fever ceased, and she was entirely cured. Antonio Fantini of Bagnacavallo, who has been named elsewhere, heard that a little boy of one of his neighbours, who had been a long time ailing, was now become so wasted away that he seemed to be nothing but skin and bone, and took no nourishment; in short, the poor child was dying fast. Moved with compassion, therefore, for the father and mother, he gave them a little piece of a berretta of the Saint’s, and the mother put it around the child’s neck, and he was instantly cured. The mother was overwhelmed with joy, and went immediately to the church to return thanks to the Saint, who had, so to speak, restored her dead son to life. This same Antonio Fantini, hearing that a gentleman in the service of Cardinal Tarugi was troubled with a very bad fever, and having had experience of the favours received by many persons by means of the Saint’s berretta, gave a small piece of it to him also, and as soon as ever the gentleman had applied it with strong faith to his body, he was cured at the moment, and the next morning rose up in perfect health. A daughter of Antonio Sciavo, a medical man in Naples, named Vittoria, was taken with the pains of childbirth, and experienced great difficulty in delivering herself of the child, so that she was in danger of death. One of her relations, named Don Bartolomeo de Curtis, sent her a berretta of the holy father’s, which she laid upon her body, expressing at the same time her faith and devotion towards Father Philip Neri, and immediately she was safely delivered, to the astonishment of all those who had given her case over as hopeless.
I must not omit to relate in this place, although it has no connexion with the holy father’s berretta, how this person, when she was a girl, had two dreadful fistulas, one in her hand and the other in her neck, which made her bend her head so forward, that her chin actually rested on her breast, and she was unable to move her neck ever so little; she was indeed a pitiful object to all who saw her. Her father, who was a medical man of considerable standing, had used every means in his power to cure her, but to no purpose, for she got worse rather than better. Now Bartolomeo de Curtis had sent him some of the flowers which were put upon the body of the Saint while it lay upon the bier; he therefore infused these flowers in some water, and with it washed the sores, and they instantly began to heal; and without applying any other remedy, the girl was just as well in a few days as if there had been nothing the matter with her.
Isabella Miramma, wife of Giovanni Antonio Lemmaro of Naples, was accustomed in her confinements to be brought to the last extremity, by reason of certain extraordinary pains which invariably tormented her for three or four days, and which were so excessive as to bring on delirium, in which she would bite and tear the bed-clothes; being on the point of her confinement, and fearing that she should suffer after the usual fashion, the fathers of the Oratory of that city sent her a berretta of the Saint’s, and as soon as she had laid it on her body she brought forth a boy, whom in acknowledgement of the favour she had received she named Philip. Diamante Pellegrini, a Venetian, as she was going to the Holy House of Loretto upon an ass after night-fall, fell off backwards and fractured the hinder part of her head in such a way, that after a considerable effusion of blood she began to vomit, and her throat swelled up, and the surgeon put into the wound an instrument the length of a finger, the poor woman being all the while in a sad state of depression and suffering. Now one morning at sunrise she began to recommend herself to S. Philip, whose Life she had read in Venice; and, lo! the Saint appeared to her clad in priestly vestments, and said to her, “Rejoice and do not be afraid, you will suffer no harm;” and she took the Saint’s hand, and kissed it over and over again, with wonderful lightness of heart; and as soon as S. Philip had disappeared, she felt herself filled with consolation, and found that she was cured; so that that very morning she got out of bed and went to mass. She afterwards went to Rome, and when she entered the chapel of the Saint, she could not refrain from shedding tears of joy, at seeing the picture of the holy father, which she had never seen before, and which she immediately recognised as the likeness of him who had appeared to her. Whilst she was thus weeping, a father asked her the reason of it, and she related to him the history of her recovery, and when she added that the wound in her head was not perfectly healed up, the same father put on her head the Saint’s berretta, and the following morning Diamante found the wound healed and perfectly cured.
In Rome, on the twenty-second of January, 1656, the Marquess Patrizio Patrizi, heir both to the wealth and name of that other Patrizio Patrizi, the beloved disciple of the Saint, who has so many times been mentioned before, was seized on a sudden by apoplexy, which left him quite a cripple, the whole of his right side being affected: besides this he had had two such violent bleedings at the nose, that all his strength was gone, and he was so helpless that it required four persons to move him to bed; moreover he had a difficulty of breathing, and a deadly sweat came over him, so that his life was quite despaired of, and he had received the Most Holy Viaticum and Extreme Unction. In this state he called to mind the glorious S. Philip, his especial patron, and asked for his berretta, which was brought to him by Father Prospero Airoli; he first kissed it, and then with lively faith in the presence of many persons applied it to his breast: when, behold! he felt himself on a sudden so marvellously strengthened, that by himself, without aid of any kind, he raised himself up and knelt upon the bed, and through very joy and surprise, as though beside himself, he began to cry out, “O God! O St. Philip! this is too much! I am cured! O! wonderful, wonderful!” and so saying he moved his right arm about briskly and with the greatest ease; in short, his arm, hand, and leg, which had been crippled, were perfectly restored. He now together with those who were present, returned thanks to the Saint for so great a favour. Neither was it only a partial or temporary cure, but from this moment Patrizio remained strong and well. The physicians too were all agreed in attributing the cure to miracle. Patrizio erected a tablet, in token of his gratitude for so signal a mark of S. Philip’s protection, at the Saint’s sepulchre, to which as long as he lived, and that was for many years, he used constantly to resort.
Girolamo Cardinal Panfilio, at that time Auditor of the Rota, returned home one evening with a very severe headache, accompanied with much giddiness. However he recommended himself heartily to the holy father, and put on his head a skull-cap that the Saint used to wear, and the pain left him in an instant. The same thing happened to the Abbate Giacomo Crescenzi, who was suffering from weakness of stomach, and was in like manner instantly cured, by the application of one of the Saint’s skull-caps. Pompeo Pateri, a priest of the Congregation, a short time after the death of the holy father, was attacked by a fever, which at first seemed to be only rheumatic, but in five or six days it took an alarming turn, and measles were superadded to a malignant fever, accompanied with the most intense headache. Three of the first physicians of Rome attended him, but they pronounced his case hopeless, especially since he received no benefit from the remedies they applied. The sick man being made acquainted with this, first recommended himself with all his heart to the holy father and his other patron saints, and then took a skull-cap which Philip had worn and put it on his head; and in less than an hour he was so far recovered that Bernardino Castellani, one of the physicians we have mentioned, who for many nights together had out of charity attended the sick man, was perfectly thunder-struck at finding such an unexpected change; and in the morning, when the other physicians arrived, they assured him that he was quite out of danger, and that he might get up as soon as he had a mind, which he did as soon as they left the room. In the town of Faenza, a child, named Antonio, son of Vincenzo Severoli, had rheumatism in the right cheek, which was so swelled and inflamed that it was difficult to recognise the poor boy’s features; the physician attended him for some days, and it seemed that the swelling was decreasing; but in nine or ten days it grew much worse, and was more inflamed than ever. Wherefore his father went in despair to a convent in that city, called S. Cecilia’s, in order to recommend his son to the prayers of the good nuns; and in speaking to his sister on the subject, who was a nun in that convent, she offered him a skull-cap of the Saint’s. Now he was well aware of Philip’s sanctity, and accordingly accepted it very willingly; but he said that he should wish to prepare himself in order that he might take it with becoming devotion. The next morning, therefore, he went to confession, and during the day went to the convent for the relic. In the evening he returned home and placed it on his sick boy’s head, and the following morning carried back the skull-cap to the nuns, saying, “My son is cured.”
Settimia Neri, when she was about ten years old, was inadvertently struck by her younger sister Olimpia on the left eye with the iron part of a pair of bellows, which happened to be almost red-hot, so that it made a dreadful scar, and gave the child intolerable pain, and she trembled from head to foot. When her mother saw her she began to sob and weep, and bathed the eye with rose-water and white of egg; but the pain continued to increase, and instead of human remedies they put upon the eye some relics of S. Philip, and in particular a skull-cap that had belonged to him, and the mother threw herself on her knees before the Saint’s image, and made a vow that if the sight of her child’s eye were preserved, she would offer a pair of silver eyes at his tomb. But as the pain continued, and the girl herself could bear it no longer, she also herself had recourse with great devotion to the blessed father, begging him at least to obtain some relief for her, and she applied the skull-cap again to the eye. When this was done, at the very same moment the pain ceased, the scar disappeared, and Settimia fell asleep, and awoke the next morning perfectly well. It was moreover observed that the eye that had been injured was ever after brighter and more beautiful than the other. The child herself went to the sepulchre of the Saint and fulfilled her mother’s vow. Lucia, wife of Geminiano de Vecchis, of the city of Bologna, suffered from such violent headaches, that some times from very pain she felt inclined to strike her head against the wall; and she had been subject to them for ten years. One day when she was in greater pain than usual, her daughter said that she would borrow a skull-cap of Father Philip’s from Lucrezia della Citara; she did so, and Lucia put it on her head, when the pain ceased instantaneously, and she never again suffered from headache. A nun, who was a lay-sister, by name Sister Teodosia, of the convent of S. Cecilia in Faenza, had a constant confused rumbling in her ears, which made her quite deaf; and this had gone on for two years; and although many remedies had been tried none were found to succeed. A nun of the same convent, named Sister Serafina Rondinelli, who had in her possession the skull-cap of white serge which has been spoken of elsewhere, placed it with great faith on the deaf woman’s head, and instantly her hearing returned, the confused noise annoyed her no more, and she never again suffered from the like.
Vincenzio Valesio, a priest, and doctor of both civil and canon law, suffered for twenty hours a great temptation which troubled him sorely, exciting his imagination to such a degree, that he was utterly unable to calm himself, nor was he even free from the temptation whilst saying mass. It happened that at this time the Life of S. Philip was given him to read, in which he lit upon the example of Stefano Calcinardi, when he was delivered from committing sin; wherefore raising his mind to S. Philip, he said from his heart the following words, “And to me also, O holy father;” meaning that like as Stefano had been mercifully aided in that peril, he also desired to be delivered from his temptation. As soon as he had said these words, in an instant he perceived the temptation had left him, and moreover, had left him in such a manner, that not only did it trouble him no more, but although he made two or three attempts to recall it to his mind, he was unable to do so; and the more he tried to force it to his memory, the farther it went from him. He, therefore, in thanksgiving made a vow that every time he went to the Chiesa Nuova he would say five Pater Nosters and five Ave Marias at the Saint’s sepulchre, and he erected a tablet with the following inscription: “In the year of the Lord One thousand six hundred, whereas for the space of twenty hours the angel of Satan did buffet me; albeit I oft times besought the Lord that he might depart from me, I prevailed not; nevertheless as I read the Life of the Blessed Philip, and the Book of his Miracles, and was come to that of Stefano in the year one thousand five hundred and ninety-five, after imploring the aid of this Blessed Saint, immediately he departed.”
Alessandro de Benedictis, a physician, being ill, and suffering from violent headache, a person was reading to him the Life of the Saint, and amongst other things he read the account of a favour done to a sick man who was suffering from the colic; wherefore Alessandro also recommended himself with, all his heart to the Saint, that he might be pleased to deliver him from his headache, like as he had delivered that other person from the colic; and in an instant he found himself free from pain and perfectly cured, to his no small astonishment. Tommaso Grifone, a Florentine, and doctor of law, when he was sixty-one years of age, was seized in the beginning of the autumn with great pains in his body, together with an issue and fever; thinking, therefore, that this must be his last illness, he went to confession and prepared for death. But having a short time before read the Life of S. Philip, and heard tell of all the marvellous things that God was still working through His servant, he began to trust that he also might be cured. One or two blessed medals and the like, which had belonged to the Saint, had been given him, and he now placed these with great faith on the spot where he felt most of the pain, repeating several times the following words: “Mary, Mother of Jesus, and you, O Blessed Philip, help me;” and having said this he felt no more pain, the fever left him, and he was perfectly cured. Natale Rondanini, a doctor of Faenza, was one day reading the Life of the Saint, and was come to the chapter where it is said that Philip having fallen into a deep moat as he was carrying bread to a poor family, was seized by the hair by an angel, and delivered from that danger; and also farther on he read how that Pope Clement VIII. was cured of the gout. Now he was a little incredulous about this, and many doubts passed through his mind as to whether these two circumstances were true or not; wherefore the Saint appeared to him in the night in a dream, clad in a bright and glittering vestment, and gently rebuked him for his lack of faith, in doubting whether what he had read of him in his Life were true. Natale, trembling and quaking, repented him of his unbelief, and the Saint’s admonition was so deeply impressed on his mind, that ever afterwards, it mattered not who was present, when he heard persons reasoning about the Saints or their miracles, he would say to them, “Play with children, but let the Saints alone.” Andrea di Saussay, Bishop and Count of Tul in Lorraine, who has been mentioned before, amongst the Notes which he has written upon the Bull of Philip’s Canonization, has these words: “Ever since I made it a rule to myself to read daily both morning and evening some part of his Life, I have derived no little consolation and advantage from the practice.”
Filippo, son of Nero del Nero, suffered from a very bad fit of tooth-ache, which tormented him day and night. Some relics of the holy father, which had been given him by the Marchioness Nannina his sister, were placed on his cheek, and the pain instantly ceased. Cesaro Marerio being laid up with gout and fever was visited by his sister, who with the slipper of the Saint’s in her hand went up very softly and placed it on the foot where he had the gout: he immediately fell asleep, and on awaking found himself perfectly cured of everything; neither did he ever again suffer in a similar way.
In the same house a servant was seized with a fit, which made him tremble from head to
foot, and as soon as this slipper was placed upon him he returned to himself, and was perfectly cured. Claudio Neri, a Roman, was attacked by a great
pain in the reins and back; so that he could not so much as turn in bed, and the slightest movement was so painful to him that he was forced to cry out, and
he lay in this state for two months. At the same time a violent pain seized him in the left knee, and since medicines were of no avail,
he made them bring him a skull-cap and some hair of the Saint’s, which he applied with great devotion to the disease, and the pain instantly left him. The following morning when he related to his relations and friends the favour he
had received, it was said by some, that it could have happened by natural causes; for since Philip had been dead but a few days, his sanctity was not as yet fully accredited. But God permitted that the next day
he should be visited by a new and still more grievous disease in his right knee; and after having
endured the pain until sunset, and when it was constantly growing worse, and the knee was more and more swollen and inflamed, he had recourse to
the same relics as at the first, and was instantaneously cured, nor did he have any return of the like pains again. Carlo, son of Paolo da Castra, a Roman, being afflicted with gout in his hands, and not finding any relief from medicines, went one morning to visit Father Angelo Velli his confessor, to
whom, after his confession, he related how much pain he was suffering. Father Angelo touched his hands, which were quite drawn in and cramped, and were excessively painful, with a small relic of the Saint; and as he touched them, he said, “Have faith:” and instantly the pain subsided, and never returned again. Giovanni Battista di Ridolfo, Count of Terni, took to his bed with a pestilential fever and measles, added to which he was attacked by S. Anthony’s fire throughout his whole body, and terrified all who saw
him, and the physicians themselves affirmed that they had never met with a similar case, so that they were afraid
lest it should reach his heart and kill him. The poor sufferer was moreover oppressed with such a melancholy, that he would suddenly break out into fits of the most heart-rending weeping and moaning, accompanied with a great trembling in the
hands; and having on the fourth day begun to be delirious, on the eleventh day he lost his sight. Now being come to this pass, and his life being despaired of by all, he was visited by some of the fathers of the Congregation, and since he had a great devotion to the Saint,
he made them understand that he was very desirous they should bring
him some relic of their holy founder: they, therefore, brought him a small piece of a shirt
he had worn in his lifetime, which being rolled up in a little picture of the Saint, was placed round his neck; then the sick man addressed himself to
S. Philip in his heart, and instantly felt such a burst of joy come over him,
that he could
scarce contain himself; he now raised himself up a little in bed, and instantly it seemed to him as though a cloth was falling from before his eyes, and he began to see the light, and to recognise the room, at the same time
that his speech was restored. After this some food was brought him, and he ate with an excellent appetite, and then fell into a good sound sleep,
which he had not been able to do for many a
long day and night; and in his sleep the Saint appeared to him all resplendent and glorious, clad in priestly vestments, and raising his hand
he gave him his blessing, saying, “My son, do not be afraid, for all will be well.” Then the holy father disappeared, and the sick man, still sleeping on, returned thanks to the Saint, and promised, in return for the favour shown him, to take a votive offering to his chapel: now when he awoke in the morning he found him self free from fever, measles, S. Anthony’s fire, and all his pains:
he was in fact perfectly cured, without even having to go through the process of convalescence. Nor did
he forget the particulars of his dream, but fulfilled the vow he then made, and gave orders for a painting of the favour he
had received to be executed, which
he himself took to the Saint’s sepulchre, together with a short narrative of the circumstances.
Bartolomeo di Leonardo Lazzarnoli, a tailor in Todi, had a very violent pain in the elbow of his left arm, which was swelled up to an immense size, and had been in that state forty-nine days without finding
any relief. He now placed a small shred of S. Philip’s shirt on the seat of the pain, and in the space of one hour the pain entirely ceased, the swelling subsided, and he was perfectly cured. Evangelista Mariotti, Canon of S. Angelo’s in Viterbo, fell ill of a pestilential fever, which was accompanied with very great pain, and reduced him to the last extremity, so that he had already received the Sacraments of Holy Church. He was advised at this last moment to have recourse to the help of S. Philip; where fore a little piece of the Saint’s stocking having been brought him, he placed a particle of it about his neck, and another particle he dropped into a small quantity of water and drank it, and was miraculously cured at the instant.
Prospero Luzio of Spoleto was ill of tertian fever, and to this were added measles and spitting of blood, so that he was in imminent danger of death. One of his sisters went to the convent of S. Catherine of the Rose in that city, and told Sister Arcangela Ancajana of her brother’s illness, who gave her a slipper of the Saint’s, saying at the same time, “Have faith in the Blessed Philip; I myself have received miracles in my own behalf.” The sister therefore took the slipper to her sick brother, and with devotion and faith placed it on him. The fever ceased, and the following day he was completely cured. Tecla Lipandini, of the same city of Spoleto, was ill of fever, which was accompanied with excessive pains in her body, and not being able to endure it any longer, she sent to recommend herself to one of her sisters, who was a nun in the convent just spoken of, and was named Sister Eugenia; she sent her a small piece of the Saint’s slipper, and Tecla placed it about her with very great faith and devotion, and she was immediately cured. After this, one of her nephews, son of one of her sisters, named Sensio Gigli, was ill of a fever, which was so severe that his life was despaired of. His mother, calling to mind the favour Tecla had received, placed the same relic on her sick son, who instantly said, “My mother, I am cured, I will get up;” and he got out of bed without any fever and perfectly well. Giovanni Battista Felice, a priest seventy-five years of age, suffered from a most acute and intolerable toothache, and full of faith he touched his mouth and gums with a handkerchief of S. Philip’s, and the pain ceased instantly. The same priest another time was attacked in the night with the cramp in both his thighs, and it was so bad that he could scarcely move. He recommended himself however to the Saint, and said, “Blessed Philip, deliver me from this pain:” then he bade another priest, who was with him, place upon him the handkerchief just mentioned, and he was instantly delivered from pain.
A child of rather more than two years old, named Annibale, son of Angelo Gerioni of Tivoli, was grievously ill, and they did not know what his complaint was; he had been so for fifteen days, and as he was now in great danger, the father and mother, who had no other child but this, called in the physician. As soon as he saw the child he thought it necessary to apply the hot iron to the disease: but this, far from having any good effect, did but aggravate the disorder, which when the father and mother perceived, they said, “Our son is lost to us!” The child still continued to get worse and worse, and could no longer take broth or any nourishment what ever, and at length it began to stiffen and grow cold, and its pulse could be felt no longer. The woman who nursed him now held a lighted candle to his mouth to see if the respiration had entirely ceased, and after watching carefully for a full quarter of an hour, she could perceive no sign of life. The father and mother therefore began to weep over him as dead, and prepared water to wash the body, and made arrangements respecting the funeral; their friends and relations also came to condole with them on their loss. In the meantime a lady, one of their friends, who had seen the child in the state we have described, came to them and implored them to do as she told them, saying, “Make a vow to Blessed Philip of the Chiesa Nuova in Home, and send to my aunt, who has some relics of the Saint, and place them on your son, and you will see the hand of God.” The father went for the relics, and when he had returned he placed them about the child’s neck, and instantly he opened his eyes, which had been before closed for two whole days; something was then brought him to drink, which he immediately swallowed, and he began to eat; to make the story short, in two days’ time he was out of bed safe and sound. One day when the physician saw the boy in his mother’s arms, he said to her, “What is that child’s name?“ She replied, “Annibale.” The physician rejoined, “Rather call him the child raised from the dead, for that is his true name.” Afterwards the father and mother went to Rome to visit the Saint’s sepulchre, and they presented there a votive offering in thanksgiving for the favour bestowed upon them. Francesca, daughter of Domenico. a weaver of Viterbo, having given birth to a boy, for the space of fifteen days the child would not take to its mother’s breast, so that another woman was obliged to suckle it. The nurse, who was a poor weakly woman, was desirous that the mother should suckle the child, and was hesitating whether to make use of some remedies which certain women had taught her; but since she feared God, she would not do it until she had first consulted the Penitentiary; she, therefore, went to him and laid the case before him, explaining what the remedy was she wished to make use of; he, however, told her that what she proposed was superstitious, and, therefore, might not be done; but the sister of the Penitentiary said to her, “Why do you not get my brother to give you some relics of a holy man, of whose miracles there is such talk in Rome?” The woman now begged the Penitentiary to lend her the relics alluded to, which he consented to do very readily, saying to her, “Have faith, and you will see a great marvel.” When she was returned home, it being then about five o’clock, she placed the relics about Francesca’s neck, who fell asleep soon after the Ave Maria; and as she slept there appeared to her a most beautiful lady, who said to her, “Francesca, rise and give your child suck, for he will now take the breast:” where upon she awoke, and insisted, contrary to the desire of all about her, upon getting up: and when she went to the baby, he at once, without any difficulty, took his mother’s milk, although before this he never could be induced to take it, neither was there from this time forth anything to hinder Francesca from nursing her own child: and what makes it more marvellous is, that although one of Francesca’s breasts was without a nipple, the child took to it as well as to the other, to her great astonishment; but she could not doubt but that the whole was owing to the Saint’s intercession with the Blessed Virgin by means of the relics she had worn. This same Francesca afterwards fell ill again, and was laid up for about a month and a half; and being very poor she was now driven to the last extremity of want, and could get scarcely sufficient to support life. She remembered, however, the miracle wrought upon her child, and took those same relics, and made her mother place them about her neck; then she raised her eyes to heaven and said, “O Blessed Philip, as thou didst enable me to give my child suck, so I have faith that now by the intercession I shall be cured!” and as soon as she had said this, to her wonder and joy, she was made perfectly whole. Moreover, the Penitentiary, to whom the relics belonged, by name Giovanni Lorenzo Massani, canon of the cathedral of Viterbo, affirmed that those relics of S. Philip had miraculously cured a nun, the Prioress of the convent of Santa Maria della pace of that city, named Sister Giulia, of the town of Borgo S. Sepolcro; for when she was attacked with a great pain in the side, so that she could get no rest night or day, and had tried many different remedies to no purpose, she was given a piece of the worsted of S. Philip’s stockings, a small particle of which she dropped into a tumbler of water and swallowed it, when the pain instantly ceased, and she was perfectly cured, nor did she ever again suffer in like manner.
There was a lady who had suffered a long time from sciatica, and Giulia Orsina Rangona sent her a pillow which the Saint had used. The sick woman kissed it with great faith and devotion, and the pain instantly ceased, and she was cured. Isabella Priorata, a noble lady of Vicenza, was sick of a fever, which continued to increase, and was accompanied with such violent headaches, that she could get no rest, and seemed almost beside herself; indeed the physicians had formed a very bad opinion of her case. One evening, when the pain was more acute than usual, her son, Federico Mariero, placed upon her some relics of the holy father, and she immediately fell asleep, and awoke the next morning cured of fever, headache, and everything, to the astonishment of the physicians and the whole house. Fiordalisa, wife of Barnabeo Sannesio, was ill of a catarrh, which had swollen up and, as it were, cramped the nerves of the neck, and no remedies had done her any good. Now her husband Barnabeo had heard it related by Orazio Miglioni of Ver celli, that a child in his house had been cured with a piece of S. Philip’s vestment, so he begged of him to lend him the relic; and one evening he touched his wife’s neck with it where the disease was, making upon it the sign of the cross; she instantly felt the pain subside, and begged her husband to repeat the touch, for that it had done her good; and as often as the relic was applied, the disease was visibly subdued, until at length an entire cure was effected. Settimia Ottoni do’ Brancadori had an incurable fever, which medicines and doctoring seemed rather to aggravate than relieve; after she was utterly despaired of by the physicians, a collar of the Saint’s was placed upon her heart, all that were present throwing themselves on their knees; and instantly, to the marvel of all, the fever left her, and never more returned. In the city of Corleone, in the diocese of Monscale in Sicily, Angela, wife of Filippo Nascia, had five times one after another given birth to a dead son, at the imminent peril of her own life; and when she was about to be confined for the sixth time, the usual faintings and other signs came upon her, and from former experience both herself and the midwife thought for certain that the child would be still-born. Now when she was about at the last gasp, she be thought herself of the miracles and favours she daily heard were being wrought by S. Philip, and she drank a little holy water, in which was a particle of his relics, and instantly the pains of childbirth came upon her, and she brought forth a live daughter, whom they baptized, and who was strong and healthy, to the great joy of her father and mother. In Florence, in the convent of S. John the Evangelist, one of the novices ate a piece of bread in which by some accident there was a pin, and it stuck in her throat and gave her excruciating pain. The nuns, not knowing what else to do, put some relics of S. Philip into some water, and made her drink it, and in an instant she brought up the pin, and her life was saved. In the convent of S. Peter Martyr in the same city, as one of the nuns, named Sister Maria Philippa, was carrying the bread to the grating of the convent in order to send it to the oven, she fell backwards with her head upon a stone, and remained stiff and in sensible as though she was dead. She was taken up and laid on her bed, and when the surgeons arrived they were unable to restore her to consciousness, although they bled and cupped her. She had been so for the space of five hours, when one of the nuns, who had a piece of S. Philip’s sleeve, placed it on her. Marvellous to say, that instant the sick woman gave a sigh and came to herself, and was completely cured. Sister Maria Maddalena Lauri, a nun in the convent of S. Lucia in Rome, had for eleven successive months suffered from headache, which increased to such a degree that she could scarce endure it; and already she was forced to keep to her bed. Now one of her sister nuns had an altar-cloth of S. Philip’s, together with other linen sent to her to wash, and she brought this cloth to the sick woman, who with her own hands wound it round her head, and instantly the pain subsided, and never more troubled her. A lady of Todi, named Candelora di Biagio, having been laid up with fever during the space of nine months, was so wasted away that she was no longer sensible nor could any relief be found for her, although the physicians had done their best in her behalf. however, moved with faith and devotion, she drank a little water in which a small particle of S. Philip’s shirt had been infused, and instantly the fever left her, and she was perfectly cured. Anna Srypovvka, of Tangoborz in Poland, the most noble lady of that kingdom, when she was suffering from an incurable infirmity, which had entirely deprived her of the use of her hands and feet, recommended herself to the Saint; and by the advice of her confessor she was touched with a veil that had been applied to S. Philip’s body before the coffin was closed, and she was miraculously cured; and in testimony of the favour she had received she sent a votive offering to his chapel. Lastly, Maria Paganella, many times mentioned before, used to affirm that as she had experienced the virtue of Philip whilst he lived, so after his death, whenever anything ailed her, if she did but apply some clothes of the Saint’s to the part affected, she was instantly cured.
In the same year that the Saint died, Sister Fiammetta Nannoni, a virgin of holy life, who had lived to the age of sixty-eight years, was kept to her bed for ten or twelve months, in consequence of her leg having been broken and bruised by a coach-wheel which had passed over it. She could get no relief from physicians, and suffered very great pain. She was at length inspired with the thought, that if she wished to be cured she must recommend herself to the Madonna, and make a vow to S. Philip that in case she obtained the favour, she would take to his sepulchre a leg of silver. Scarcely had she made the vow, than in an instant she was as perfectly cured as though nothing had ever ailed her; and it need hardly be added, that she fulfilled her promise to the letter. Giovanni Battista Magnoni of Cremona, a priest of San Girolamo della Carità, in consequence of two imposthumes which were formed in his ears, was quite deaf, so that he could not hear a person’s voice even though he were to shout. Now one day, when he came into our church during a sermon, he went as close as he possibly could to the preacher, in order to try whether he could distinguish anything that was said; and finding that he could not catch even one word, he despaired of all human aid, and went weeping towards the altar of S. Philip, and with lively faith besought him to bestow on him the gift of hearing, at least sufficient to hear the word of God, making a vow at the same time to say a mass in honour of him; nor did he pray in vain; for next day, after dinner, some of the fathers of San Girolamo were singing certain spiritual songs, and Giovanni Battista came up to listen, when on a sudden he felt both his ears opened, as though two balls of lead had been taken out of them; when therefore the song was ended, he said, “In good truth, my fathers, my hearing has been restored to me.” When they heard this they asked in astonishment how it had come to pass. He replied, “Yesterday when I was in the Chiesa Nuova, and could not hear the sermon, I made a vow to the Blessed Philip, begging that he would at least obtain for me sufficient hearing to hear the word of God; and whilst you have been singing he has granted me the favour, and I hear perfectly.” Many of them wished to try if it were really the case, and began to converse in a low tone of voice; and they found it perfectly true, for Giovanni Battista repeated to them all they had been saying. Afterwards he went and said mass at the Saint’s chapel, and fulfilled his vow.
Fra. Giovanni Battista Massia, of Valentia in Spain, of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity of Redemption, and Master in Sacred Theology, being seventy years old, and living in Naples at the time we are speaking of, had been ill for two successive years with rheumatism in one of his knees, and with a flux of blood, and inflammation in several parts of his body, and he was so crippled and wasted away that it was hard to recognise him for the same he used to be, and he could scarcely move across the room with the help of a stick; he had already spent more than two hundred scudi on physicians, and had endured several operations with the hot iron, and other excruciating and painful remedies, without the slightest benefit, but rather it would seem to his injury, for his complaints continued to increase. One day he heard tell of the miracles S. Philip was working in Rome, and calling to mind that he had many times been to confession to him, he felt inwardly moved, and with lively faith he had recourse to the Saint, saying, “Blessed Philip, if I receive this favour through thine intercession, I promise thee that I will go and visit thy holy body, and take a votive offering to thy holy sepulchre, and say mass at thy chapel.” This done, he wrote to Rome to a father of the same order as himself, begging him to say mass for him; and in the self-same time and hour that this mass was said in Rome, as they afterwards knew by letters, Fra. Giovanni Battista was entirely cured of his infirmities in Naples, and never again had any return of them; moreover, the very same day he walked through Naples, to the no small astonishment of all who knew him. Afterwards he went to Rome and fulfilled his vow, taking a picture to the Saint’s chapel, with an account of the miracle written and subscribed with his own hand. As was said before, the Saint many years ago had confessed this good father; once in confessing him, when he was at the point of giving him absolution, he said to him, “My son, I pray you think over your sins a little more, I will return to you,” and he went away. Then the penitent went over in his mind all the years of his life, and remembered a sin he had committed in his youth, which from forgetfulness he had never confessed. When the Saint returned, Giovanni Battista confessed the sin to him, and he, placing his hand on his shoulder, said to him, “Now you have told it, that is what I went away for;” then he gave him absolution, and the penitent was lost in astonishment at the time; but much more did he wonder afterwards, when having obtained the health of his body, he remembered this still greater miracle towards his soul.
Diego Ordognes, a Neapolitan, was ill of a grievous infirmity, arid for some months had suffered from inflammation of the right knee, by which the nerves were contracted, causing intolerable pain. One evening as he was going to bed, never being able to get a wink of sleep by reason of the excessive pain, he recalled S. Philip to mind, and with all the devotion and earnestness that he could, he exclaimed, “O Blessed Philip, grant me the favour that I may be cured, and I promise thee that I will take a tablet to thy tomb!” When he had said this he fell asleep instantly, and when he awoke in the morning he found himself free from his infirmities and perfectly cured. He went out and walked about without any difficulty, and having bought a votive offering, he carried it himself to the Saint’s sepulchre. Girolamo Tomasi, a physician, and reader of philosophy in the university of Naples, was attacked by a violent and burning fever, accompanied with very alarming symptoms, together with restlessness, a sinking of the vital powers, loss of appetite, nausea, angry pustules over the whole body, with delirium and palpitation of the heart; he was already despaired of by the physicians, and had received Extreme Unction. He now remembered S. Philip, and besought him in these words, “I beg of thee, O Blessed Philip, that if it be expedient for the health of my soul, thou wilt intercede for me to the Lord God, that he may be pleased to prolong my life, and give me time for penance; and I invoke thee as mine advocate, and in devotion to thee I promise, that in case I receive the favour, I will take to thy picture a votive offering of silver to the value of twenty scudi:” this said, he gently fell asleep, and awaking about midnight, he felt strong and invigorated, and when he put his finger to his pulse he found that he was all but free from fever; wherefore with joy he began to call his family around him, telling them to weep no more, for that he had received the favour of his health through the merits and intercession of the Blessed Philip; and when the physicians came in the morning they found it was the truth; and Girolamo fulfilled his promise, taking a votive offering of silver to the Saint’s picture, which was in the church of the Congregation of the Oratory of that city. Almost the same thing happened to Francesco Odescalchi Comasco, who being taken with fever and a violent headache, promised to take a votive offering of silver to the Saint, and at the same moment that he asked the favour he was delivered from both one and the other in disposition. Ottaviano Loffredo of the same city suffered from carnosity, which caused him the most excruciating pain, and when he thought he could endure it no longer, he recommended himself from his heart to S. Philip, promising him with a vow that he would go to confession and communion on the day of his feast, and that he would apply in honour of him all the little good he might be enabled to do on that day; and in an instant, as soon as ever his vow was made, the pain ceased, and a piece of wax came forth, which when it was being siringed had many months before remained in the part affected. A little boy of two years old had not as yet begun to speak, nor did he give any signs that he would ever do so. The father fearing that his child was dumb, promised S. Philip to take a votive offering of silver to his picture. This being done, the child on a sudden began to speak, and from that time forth always spoke with remarkable fluency. Another child, son of Alessandro Presciati, was reduced to such a state, that his relations really thought he was gone, and sent for Cristofaro Roncalli, commonly called Il Pomarancio, a painter of considerable note, and who executed the drawings of the Saint’s Life, which are in his chapel, and who was their most intimate friend, that he might take his portrait; moreover they had already stitched the grave-clothes together, and had prepared the garland to place upon the corpse when it was sent to burial. When the brother of the painter, whose name was Donato Roncalli, and who loved the child very tenderly, saw this, he thought of S. Philip, and raising his eyes towards heaven be said, “O Blessed Philip, I know that thou hast restored others; wherefore I beseech thee that by thine intercession and merits thou wilt grant us the life of this child, and I promise to take an offering to thy tomb.” No sooner was this said, than the child instantly returned to itself, and next day with the very same white garments and the wreath of flowers on its head, with which he was to have been carried to the grave, he was taken to Donato’s house, who with great joy and contentment fulfilled his vow.
A professed nun of the convent of S. Peter Martyr in Florence, named Sister Maria Purità Generotti, fell into a dyke of considerable depth, striking her head and face against some stones; she was much hurt, and the bone of one of her jaws projected from the cheek, pushing out the right eye, so that she had completely lost the sight of it. The physicians came and pronounced her to be past recovery, at the same time that they tried every means they could to restore her, and agreed that it would be necessary to saw the jawbone away. Now a nun, named Sister Cherubina Gucci, having compassion upon her, made a promise always to fast on the vigil of S. Philip’s day, if he would obtain for her the recovery of the poor sick woman. When she had made the vow she went to visit her, and found that her sight had been restored, and that it was no longer necessary to saw away the bone, or in fact to use any other remedy; and contrary to the opinion of the physician, she was entirely cured, without the slightest deformity. Many other favours, both temporal and spiritual, have been granted to the vows of those who have recommended themselves to the Saint, as may readily be seen from the pictures hung around his chapel; and in particular there was a father of a family, named Mariangelo Cheli, of Terni, who fell out with his father-in-law on the subject of the dowry, and in his passion had turned his wife out of the house two of the sons went in great affliction to pray at the Saint’s tomb, making a vow that they would hang up a tablet there, if he would grant them a peaceful termination to the business; when they had made this vow, they returned home, and found to their surprise that the father-in-law as well as their father and mother had made peace and settled the whole matter: they recognised in it the power of the Saint’s intercession, and hung up at his tomb the promised offering.
Two months after the Saint’s death, Drusilla, wife of Antonio Fantini, fell from a balcony at the height of twenty palms into a court-yard, striking her head against some pieces of iron which were lying on a table; her lower lip was cut through in three places, and her right eye protruded from the socket; both her eyes indeed were so much injured that her sight was entirely gone; her nose was crushed, and her teeth broken, and there was a deep gash in her left hand; moreover, great quantities of blood issued from her mouth, and she was to all appearance a corpse. She was found in this state by a barber’s apprentice, at whose cries the neighbours ran to the spot, and she was carried to bed insensible. Not a limb stirred, nor was there the least sign of life, so that a rumour spread amongst her relations and neighbours that she had died of the fall. Antonio, her husband, was not in the house at the time, and when the sad news was brought him he instantly ran to the sepulchre of the blessed father, and earnestly recommended his wife to him. In the meanwhile Antonio Franco, the surgeon, arrived, and when he had examined the wounds and injuries, he gave it as his opinion that it was quite impossible she should survive; and consequently he would not sew up the wounds either of her hand or lip, but merely applied a little white of egg to the wound in her hand, and rubbed some white ointment on her eyes, thinking that she would die in a very short time. However, she lay for fifteen days in a state of insensibility, deprived both of sight and speech, and they were forced to pour nourishing liquids down her throat to sustain life. After these fifteen days, when everybody still looked upon her as past recovery, her husband Antonio, who was in the habit of visiting the Saint’s sepulchre daily, recommended her to him with increased earnestness, adding to his prayers a vow, that in case his wife’s health was restored he would have the miracle represented in a painting, and would carry it himself to his sepulchre; then he continued his prayer, which to his consolation was soon to be graciously answered. For one morning, when he was gone to mass at the church of the Saint, and the sick woman was left alone in the house, she recommended herself in her heart to S. Philip, who formerly was her spiritual father; and as she prayed she felt on a sudden a great weight in her breast, and it seemed as though a handkerchief were forced down her throat, and then gradually drawn up again; whereupon her sight was instantly restored, and she saw the holy father vested as a priest, with a glory around his head, and he was holding the handkerchief in his hand all covered with blood; he said moreover, “Do not be afraid, for thou wilt not die this time:” and in an instant she was cured of all her wounds in head, ear, lip, nose, and hand, as perfectly as though she had never been hurt. In the meantime her husband returned from mass, and on his entering the room Drusilla said to him, “God forgive you for coming here; for as soon as you opened the door, the Blessed Philip vanished, who has appeared to me, and has cured me.” But since, in consequence of her fall, her right knee was so much swelled and inflamed that the surgeon said it was necessary at all hazards to amputate it, she begged him to wait until the following morning. She had told her husband to bring her the Saint’s picture, and he had accordingly done so; in the evening, therefore, the picture was placed on her knee, and that night she again recommended herself to the holy father, beseeching him that he would also cure her knee, that she might be spared the great pain of an operation; and about midnight S. Philip appeared to her a second time, with the same splendour as at the first, and he unbound the knee, and touched it, and she was completely cured. Then she called to her husband to look at the Saint; but before he awoke Philip had disappeared. When, therefore, the surgeon had arrived in the morning, he found the limb sound and well, nor did Drusilla ever again feel the slightest inconvenience from it. Still she was so completely shattered and weakened by her fall, that she was unable to leave her bed or attend to her household duties: she, therefore, prayed again to the Saint that he would cure her completely; her prayer was heard, and he appeared a third time to her, beautiful and radiant as at first, and at the sight of him the sick woman felt invigorated throughout her whole frame; he then took her by the head, the shoulders, and the feet, and thus stretching her he completely restored her to her former strength and health, so that on the very same morning she got up and went to the market, and set about her usual work with the same activity as before her illness: those who knew the circumstances of her accident were lost in astonishment at seeing her alive, to say nothing of her being perfectly cured.
Sulpizia Sirleta, wife of Pietro Focile, who has been so often mentioned before, spat blood in so large a quantity, that she seemed at times to bring up pieces of her lungs, and the spitting was accompanied with a great trembling throughout her body: the physician indeed had already given her up. The following night towards break of day, she recommended herself with all her heart to the Saint, and, lo! on a sudden he appeared to her vested as a priest, his face radiant and most beautiful, and he said after his usual manner when he was alive, “Do not be afraid, foolish child, it will be nothing;” then he made the sign of the holy cross three times upon her, and she was instantly cured; so that the following morning she spat no blood, neither did she ever have a return of the same complaint. Lionardo Rovelli, a Roman, was ill of a constant and malignant fever, which had been upon him three-and-twenty days, accompanied with very great pain in the reins: he was despaired of by the physicians, on account of the violent attacks of pain which he suffered. Now the feast of the holy father was drawing nigh, and on the eve of the feast the sick man recommended himself to him with much affection, and in the morning before sunrise he awoke, and by the light which was burning in his room he saw S. Philip at four or five palms’ distance from the bed. After looking at the Saint for a while, he burst into a flood of tears, and began to recommend himself to him with very great devotion; then the Saint said to him, “Peace be with you, my son,” and disappeared. Wonderful to say, that same morning he got out of bed, free from fever and pain, and completely cured in every respect, and he went to the Chiesa Nuova to hear mass in the Saint’s chapel in thanksgiving for so great a favour. Felice Sebastiani, wife of Pietro Contini, was ill with spasms, and the physicians looked upon her case as hope less, especially since she was with child, in consequence of which they were afraid of using powerful medicines. When the seventh day was arrived, recollecting that she had some relics of the Saint’s praecordia, she mixed one or two particles of the relics in a cup of broth, and after recommending herself to S. Philip with all the affection of her heart, she drank it immediately; although she had been in a constant state of restlessness before, she lay down to repose; and after a short time when she was between sleeping and waking, she heard a voice calling her, and on turning round she saw the holy father clad in the usual habit of a priest, and he was holding an infant in his arms; and he said, “Do not be afraid, for I will have a care for you, and for this infant also;” and so saying he vanished. That same night she began to mend, and when her time was come she was safely delivered of a child, who was baptized by the name of Domitilla. This same person, in another confinement, was for eight successive days seized with such violent pains, that her life was despaired of; no sooner, how ever, had she made a vow to visit the Saint’s sepulchre, than she was safely delivered of a male child, who was named Philip, in thanksgiving for the favour. Girolama Vascona was six months gone in her pregnancy, when she was suddenly seized with the pains of child-birth; and being alone in the house, (for her husband was gone to fetch the midwife,) she recommended herself with all her heart to the holy father, saying, “O my blessed Philip, assist me;” and in an instant, it being now about eight o’clock in the evening, she saw a splendour throughout the room, and heard a voice saying to her, “Fear not, I am here to help thee;” and it seemed like the voice of the Saint: and upon that, all alone as she was, she was delivered of two boys, without any injury either to herself or to the infants, one of whom survived seventeen days, and was named Philip, and the other died soon after its baptism.
A person, whose name for divers good reasons is suppressed, previously to the Saint’s beatification had been in the habit of saying out of devotion every evening before going to bed, “I fly to thy protection, O Blessed Philip; despise not thou my prayers in my necessities, but ever deliver me from all dangers, blessed, glorious, and beloved spirit:” and he used to add thrice, “Blessed Philip, pray for me.” Now it happened that when this man was in one of the principal cities of Italy, and had on a certain evening been transacting some business with a friend of his, in returning home he was attacked by three armed men, who began to beat and maltreat him in so unmerciful a manner, that at length they threw him on the ground, and he felt the points of their swords pierce him in several parts of the body. Whilst, however, they were thus ill-using him he raised his eyes to heaven and repeated the aforesaid prayer; at the same instant he saw the Saint appear in a cloud just above him, and he was in the act of assisting him; and before he had even finished the prayer, the people in his friend’s house hearing the scuffle, ran down to his rescue with lights and arms, and the ruffians, fearing they should be taken, fled away, thinking they had killed their victim. He then got upon his feet and returned to his friend’s house, and they found his cloak, his coat, and his waistcoat cut through and through in numberless places, and nevertheless there was not a single mark upon his shirt, to the astonishment of those who saw it; especially since the cuts in the cloak, coat, and waistcoat exactly corresponded to one another; wherefore they concluded that S. Philip, who had appeared to him, had come to his defence and held back the swords from piercing him. After this he came to Rome, to visit the Saint’s body and render him due thanks.
Caterina, daughter of Giuseppe Castiglioni, doctor of civil arid canon law, and a great devotee of the holy father, fell ill of a very dangerous fever and a flux of blood, and was given up by the physicians. Now her mother, who tenderly loved her, and was therefore in great trouble at
her illness, begged her to recommend
herself in her heart to the Blessed Philip, in order that, as he was of old full of burning devotion to the glorious Mother of God, he might obtain from her the health of his client;
she then placed a picture of the Saint in Caterina’s hands, who recommended herself to the holy father with much earnestness. In the night the girl awoke, and joyfully called to her mother, saying, “My mother, the Madonna has been here with me, and has touched my heart, telling me to be of good cheer, for that she will cure me because of the prayers of the Blessed Philip.” In the meanwhile her illness increased, and she was reduced to the last extremity, having already lost the sight of her eyes. When her father returned home, and found her in this condition, having marvellous faith in the Saint’s intercession, he too immediately had recourse to his assistance, and went to the Chiesa Nuova, where he begged one of the fathers to give him a small particle of the linen stained with the holy father’s blood, and with much devotion he placed it on his daughter’s neck.
When this was done, trusting in the Saint as certain to obtain the favour
he wished for, and having occasion to go with all his family to Corneto, he determined, contrary to
the orders of the physicians and the wish of all his friends and relations, to take his daughter with
he placed her in a litter as one on the point of death, and set out; and when they were come to a place called Barbarano, the child, no longer being
able to take any nourishment, was almost at her last breath; indeed, the physician of that place thought at one moment that she was really dead. Scarcely was
the physician gone, when the child called her mother, and said to her, “Do you not see
the Madonna clothed in white, with a blue mantle? O how lovely she is! O how bright! she has bid me not give ear to the physician, for that I am cured; and I have promised that I will dress in white like her.” This said, she began to take some food, and the following
morning she continued the journey full of joy, and they came to Corneto, where in three days she was perfectly restored to health, and went out of doors as though nothing had ever ailed her, to
the no small amazement of those who had seen her in Rome:
wherefore her father sent a garment of white serge to the Saint’s sepulchre, together
with the following verses:
“Mota Dei Genitrix precibus studiisque Philippi,
Depositam eripuit morti, incolumemque puellam
Servavit, senum solatia magna parentum:
Castalio, vestem natae, pictamque tabellam
Appendi jussit, voti damnatus in aede.”
A soldier who was in Rome was taken one morning by a friend of his into our church, and was shown the chapel of the holy father, and many of his miracles were related to him, together with other things concerning the exercises and institute of the Congregation this inflamed his love and devotion towards the Saint, and he began to pray in his chapel, and recommended himself to him in his heart. The same evening at five o’clock, when two servants who were in the palace of a nobleman were threatening to murder one another, the soldier interposed; on which account one of these two being infuriated against him, went behind him with a knife which was sharp and long like a stiletto, and placing one hand on his shoulder, with the other he plunged the knife into the centre of his heart, and then took himself off and fled. The soldier man aged to walk a few steps, but feeling that he was about to faint, he threw himself on to a bed in a friend’s house which was close to the palace, and recommended himself in his heart to S. Philip. He was visited by many surgeons, and Monticoli, the most eminent of them, said that by seven o’clock the wounded man would be dead; wherefore two fathers of the Servants of the Sick were sent for in order to attend to his spiritual wants. Now whilst the wounded man was expecting every moment to breathe his last, suddenly the Saint appeared to him clad as a priest and with a joyful countenance, and said to him, “Fear not, for thou wilt not die, only change thy life.” The following night at about the same hour he appeared to him a second time and said the same words; the same thing happened again on the third night, the Saint telling him as before, not to fear, but to change his life; at which words the sick man felt greatly consoled. The following day at break of day he made his confession with very great sorrow for his sins, forgiving from his heart the man who had injured him, and promising to marry a woman with whom he had had intercourse for two years, which promise he performed; and after he was married, on the seventh day all the pain went away, and he left his bed completely cured. But it happened that not living conformably with his promise to the Saint, he was brought to the scaffold for certain crimes. At his death he repeated several times that this disgrace had come upon him in consequence of his not observing his promise to the Blessed Philip; he died however in good dispositions and with perfect resignation to the Divine Will.
Ilario Colli, a priest of the city of S. Severino, while yet a youth, was sent by his master together with other scholars to go to confession to a church without the city, called the Madonna dei lumi, which at that time was under the care of our Congregation; and like a child as he was, instead of going to confession he climbed up into a pulpit close to the confessional where his companions were at confession, and there he made so much noise that every one in the church was disturbed by it; at last the confessor was forced to get up from his seat and give him a good scolding, upon which the boy got down from the pulpit and went towards the sacristy, where all of a sudden the holy father appeared to him: now Ilario had never seen S. Philip, although he had some notion of his features, inasmuch as he had been told that he was exceedingly like a certain person of his acquaintance; the Saint took him by the hand and led him to a place apart, the youth all the while full of fear, was looking fixedly in his face, and the Saint said to him, “O my son, in what a sad condition you are! do you not remember committing such and such sins?” and he recountered his sins to him one by one with all the circumstances of each, and then added, “You went to confession to such an one, and not only did you not tell all your sins, but when you were asked many things by the priest, you denied them, albeit he besought you with all charity to come to confession with sincerity; and what is yet worse, you persisted in denying the truth, and heaped lie upon lie. You see, therefore, O my son, into how miserable a state you are fallen, and you know that you are in the hands of the devil:” this said he disappeared. The youth, terribly frightened, returned into the church, and when he left it with the rest of his companions, he told them that Father Philip of the Chiesa Nuova had come to S. Severino, and that he had spoken to him in the sacristy; but they told him that it could not be as he said, for that Father Philip was dead. Then Ilario was silent, and reflecting on what had happened to him, he was seized with a trembling and such great remorse of conscience, that it was almost insupportable, till at length the very torment of it drove him to confession. After confession he began to have a knowledge of the things of God, and he gave himself up to the spiritual life: he was ultimately made priest, and recognised every blessing that he received as owing in the first place to God, and then to the intercession of S. Philip.
Giacomo Lancellotti, a priest of the city of Plata in Sicily was dangerously ill, in the month of August, and was reduced to such a state that the physicians considered him as past recovery, and had told his family that by such an hour he would be gone. At this time he was visited by a gentleman, a friend of his, who found there a portion of S. Philip’s praecordia; whereupon he made them bring a cup of water, arid touching it with the relics, he made upon it the sign of the cross, and begged the sick man to drink of the water with faith and devotion, and to recommend himself in his heart to the Blessed Philip, for that through his intercession he might hope to be cured. the sick man took the cup, and sipped a little of the water, and was instantly relieved. That same night he was praying with all his heart to the Saint, to obtain his complete cure, when on a sudden he saw him appear before him, and he said to him, “Son, do not fear, for it will be nothing; only drink the remainder of the water, and you shall be cured.” The sick man immediately made them give him the water, which he drank, and thereupon fell into a sweet sleep, a thing he had not been able to do for many days; and the following morning on awaking he found himself so completely cured, that when the physicians came they said, “This man is come to life again.” From that time forth, out of gratitude for so signal a favour, he always made a commemoration of the Saint in the Divine Office. Alessandro Linguito, a brother of the Oratory in the Congregation of Naples, was out at sea in an open boat, when at about five or six o’clock in the evening there arose so violent a storm that the waves rose up like mountains, and in a short time their mast was broken, and the sails torn to pieces. Now whilst they were all on their knees weeping and lamenting at seeing death thus staring them in the face, Alessandro bethought himself of the holy father, for he had been used in all his necessities to have recourse to his intercession. No sooner, therefore, had he prayed to the Saint, and besought him to succour him in this great emergency, than on a sudden he saw him appear above the prow of the boat, clad as a priest, with a berretta on his head, but without a cloak, surrounded with rays of glory, and in the same instant his heart was filled with joy, the sea became perfectly calm, the storm ceased, and with great consolation and giving of thanks they all came happily to shore. The same Alessandro had a brother who was ill with a flux of blood, and was already despaired of by the physicians. Alessandro therefore made a vow to the Saint, and whilst he was in the act of invoking him he saw him kneeling before the Madonna; and at the same moment that he saw the Saint in this attitude, the flux of blood ceased, to the great astonishment of the invalid, who was now perfectly restored to health.
A woman, named Chiara, wife of Giovanni of Ascoli, when she was in the service of Chiarice, wife of Fabrizio Muti, went to bed one night, on the 21st of November, the Presentation of the Madonna, perfectly free from any injury or defect in her eyes; but when she awoke in the morning, although the day had begun to break, she was unable to see anything; however, she thought nothing of this, thinking that it was in consequence of the shutters being closed; and as soon as she was dressed, she went into the room of her mistress, and asked her why the shutters were not yet opened. Her mistress answered, “The shutters are opened, but it is a cloudy morning, and one cannot see much at such an early hour.” But Chiara, who could see absolutely nothing, thought her mistress was joking with her, and groping her way to the window, she touched the glass with her hand; it now flashed upon her that she had lost her sight, and she began to rend the air with her cries, and was quite inconsolable. Chiarice in astonishment asked what ailed her, and she answered, and sobs and tears, “Ah me! I am blind, I am blind!” Then Chiarice went up to her, and tried as well as she could to comfort and console her; she bade her amongst other things recommend herself heartily to the Blessed Philip, whose sepulchre they had only a few days before visited together, and to trust in him, for that she would be sure through his intercession to obtain her sight; accordingly she forthwith threw herself on her knees with very great faith and devotion, and recommended herself to the Saint, beseeching him that as he had cured so many different infirmities, he would now in like manner obtain from the Divine Mercy the restoration of her sight. Nevertheless, she remained blind up to the 13th of December, on which day the church celebrates the Feast of the glorious Virgin S. Lucy. On the morning of this day when Chiarice went to visit Chiara, and asked her how she was, she answered, “Ever since you placed your hands on my eyes, Madam, last night, I have been better, and can see somewhat.” Chiarice replied, “You mistake, girl, I have not entered your room once the whole night through.” Chiara rejoined, “You cannot conceal it from me, Madam, for I well know the touch of your hands.” The lady hearing this, questioned her minutely, and she related how that a short time ago she had been with her mistress to the Chiesa Nuova to visit the sepulchre of the Blessed Philip, according to an agreement they had made before; and not being able to enter the church because of the multitude of people, the Blessed Saint, in order to console her, had appeared to her full of benignity, and that she had suddenly begun to see. When Chiarice heard this, she said, “These then, my sister, are the hands that have restored your sight, and not mine: return thanks, therefore, to this great servant of God, and know that all you have related to me must have been a vision, for neither you nor I have been together, except in this way, to the Chiesa Nuova.” In the morning the physicians came, and when they heard that Chiara had recovered her sight they wished to try if it really were so: they, therefore, lit a candle, and asked her what she saw, and she, after the manner of the blind man in the Gospel, replied, “A great lighted torch.” Then they made her go to the window, and when a carriage passed through the street, they asked her what it was. She answered, “A great mountain walking.” And so day by day she continued to see more clearly, until in a short time her sight was completely restored.
Lucia, wife of Antonio Domizi of Ripa Transona, was grievously ill of an infirmity which had deprived her of the use of all her limbs, and which had lasted for the space of well nigh five months, reducing her to such a state that it required the help of three or four persons together to move her ever so little; moreover, she could take no nourishment except liquids, for she was unable to open her mouth; when, therefore, her family saw her in this miserable condition, thinking that she must be at the point of death, they sent for her confessor to confess her. But the following day at the hour of vespers she felt inwardly moved to recommend herself to a Madonna, called the Madonna of S. Giovanni, and to S. Philip, hoping by their means to find a remedy for her infirmity; and invoking both one and the other with her whole heart, she saw the Madonna, and S. Philip in the habit of a priest, appear at the foot of her bed; wherefore, she continued with increased earnestness to recommend herself to them, begging them to assist her; and they bending their heads in token that she should have consolation, immediately disappeared. After this, Lucia’s thoughts gradually wandered to other things, and she suddenly began to perceive that she had strength to move herself quite alone; wherefore she felt great confidence in the assistance of the Blessed Virgin and S. Philip, and tried to dress herself; and when, to her astonishment, she found herself perfectly able to do so, she got up and went, without the aid of others, to the fire, where she remained for a while, and then returned again unassisted as before to bed. the following morning she went by herself to return thanks to the Madonna of S. Giovanni, and after dinner to S. Philip’s in the church of S. Angelo, where the priests of the Congregation of the Oratory are; and as she had been looked upon as past all hopes of recovery, those who had been acquainted with her case were wonder-struck at seeing her walking about in apparently strong health. Out of devotion to the Saint, at whose hands she had received so marvellous a favour, Lucia began from this time to attend the Oratory, and endeavoured, as far as she was able, to order her house after the rules of the Congregation.
Pietro Anello, a Neopolitan, secretary to the high-constable Colonna, in travelling towards the city of Aquila on horseback, was overtaken by a violent storm of rain, which fell in such torrents as to cause a complete flood, and the dykes and ditches were all filled, and in going down a steep descent he fell over the horse’s head into a dyke about twelve palms deep, the horse itself falling over him and crushing his face and breast. He remembered the Blessed Philip, whose sepulchre he had many times visited, and recommended himself to him with his whole heart. Then he saw the Saint appear in a black habit, with his berretta on his head, and he was surrounded with rays of light; the holy father held out his hand to him, and in an instant himself and his horse found themselves out of the dyke without having sustained any manner of injury, in testimony of which he sent a picture to the Saint’s chapel. One of Philip’s spiritual children was one day about to eat some fruit which had been given him, and in which there was poison; scarcely had he put it to his mouth before he heard the voice of the holy father saying distinctly to him twice, “Spit it out;” upon which, trembling with fear, he spat it out of his mouth; but as he had swallowed some saliva, he immediately began to suffer great pain from the effects of the poison: and when the physician arrived he gave him some severe remedies, saying that if he had eaten more of the fruit he must inevitably have died; so that he clearly owed his life to the caution of the holy father.
In this place we must not omit to mention two other appearances of S. Philip, which al though not accompanied by miracles, are well worthy of being related. Whilst Cardinal Baronius was in Ferrara with Pope Clement VIII., Cardinal Cusano fell ill in Milan. Now one night the holy father appeared to Baronius, and said to him, “Put out that lamp;” and when Baronius looked round the room to see what lamp he spoke of, the Saint said again, “Put out that lamp,” and then disappeared. The cardinal being still desirous to know what that vision might signify, betook himself to prayer, and after some days S. Philip again appeared to him, and said to him plainly, “Cardinal Cusano is dead.” Afterwards he learnt by letters that he breathed his last at the very moment in which the Saint had said to him, “Cardinal Cusano is dead.” Another time this same Baronius had retired to his room in great affliction of heart to repose, and the Saint on a sudden appeared to him, and as he was wont to do when he was alive, he pressed his head strongly and caressed him; and when Baronius stretched out his arm to embrace him, the Saint disappeared from his eyes, leaving him full of consolation. A similar thing happened to Giulio Sansedonio, Bishop of Grosseto, who, when he was molested by certain temptations, fell suddenly asleep, and the Saint appeared to him, and said, “Giulio, if you will be delivered from these temptations, make use of the remedy you have already learnt:” and he immediately awoke, and was in like manner filled with consolation. Ascanio Bertaccini was ill, and had already made his confession and received the most Holy Viaticum, when it happened that one evening, being awake, he saw in the air a flagon of the purest water, into which the sun seemed to be darting its rays, and he heard a voice, which, inasmuch as he had many times during his illness recommended himself to S. Philip with his whole heart, he believed was the Saint’s voice, saying to him, “Thus do justified souls go to heaven.” At this voice he was greatly afraid, but his fear afterwards gave way to the greatest joy and consolation. The sick man at the sound of this voice began to amend, and in a short time was quite cured. Wherefore, he always believed that that vision was a warning of the holy father that he was to live more purely for the time to come, and prepare himself better for death, if he would go to Paradise. Girolamo, daughter of Virgilio Crescenzio, when yet a girl, was dangerously ill, and being about to receive the Viaticum, she remained for some time in a kind of ecstasy; so that Costanza, her mother, asked her what she was thinking about and what she was doing. The girl replied, “I am talking with the Blessed Philip.” The mother made answer, that the Blessed Philip was in Paradise; and Girolamo then subjoined, “However, I now see him visibly, and am speaking with him.” By means of this vision the girl acquired such strength in the hour of death, that she did no thing but speak of Christ; and shortly before she breathed her last she said to her mother, “I will recommend you to the Blessed Philip;” and with the greatest peace she passed from this life. God communicated to the body of this virgin such beauty and brightness, as plainly showed it had been the temple of that Lord, whoso delight it is to dwell amidst the lilies. The same thing happened to a woman named Gabriella, of Cortona, who was nearly a hundred years of age, and had been a spiritual daughter of Philip’s, and who has been mentioned several times before. At her death the Saint appeared to her, and throwing up her arms she raised herself in bed, her countenance beaming with joy, and said, “See him! see him! see there the Blessed Philip!” and repeating his name again and again, she breathed her last.
A young girl, named Claudia Grignana, had most violent pains in the stomach, and in her body, and likewise in her knees, and the pain was accompanied with continual vomiting; she was at length so reduced, that she was unable to do anything. The physicians, after trying many different medicines and remedies, said that it was useless to do anything more to her, for that her complaint was incurable. She remained in this state for six years; when one Christmas night the pain became much worse than usual, and continued to torment her until the Feast of the Circumcision; on this day she was taken in a carriage, with great fatigue to herself, to the Chiesa Nuova, where being seized with the same pain she threw herself on a bench, and when those who accompanied her begged her to make an effort to get as far as the chapel of the Blessed Philip, with great labour and by means of their assistance she arrived there; and casting herself on her knees she recommended herself to the Saint, making a vow that if she was cured she would fast on his vigil every year on bread and water. No sooner had she made this vow than the pain was instantly gone, her strength returned, she walked through the church without any assistance, sprung into the carriage, and was completely cured. Ippolita Martelli had been suffering for the space of a year from arthritical pains, which affected her right side, and injured her whole leg to such a degree that she could neither stand on her feet, nor sit down, nor walk unless supported, and no medicine was of any avail to her; one morning she came to mass, and the pain being more excessive than ever, on entering the church she turned to the Saint’s sepulchre, and begged him, if it was good for the salvation of her soul, that he would remove the pain, or at least lighten it. The instant she had said these words, the pain left her, and the strength of her leg returned, so that she stood up at the Gospel, and after mass returned to her house without having any need of support; and from that time she continued to enjoy good health.
Felice Sebastiani, wife of Pietro Contini, who has been spoken of before, had a son three years old, named Gregorio, who was afflicted with an incurable disease, which was commonly considered to be a kind of leprosy; his body was covered with scabs, which were moreover accompanied with certain pustules about the size of pins’ heads, which caused continual shootings throughout his whole body, giving him excessive pain: he could neither be dressed nor undressed without drawing blood, and in fact he was covered with sores, so that all the family who saw him, and especially his mother, were in great sorrow of heart because of his sufferings. Moreover his joints and nerves were so weak, and especially those of his legs, that if he was put upon the ground to walk, they would give under him as though they were really without either nerves or joints; it was, therefore, impossible for him to stand on his legs, and they were continually obliged to carry him in arms. Besides this the whole winter through, whenever the cold air struck upon him, he would cry incessantly, and moan so piteously as to make those who heard him absolutely shudder. Now when his relations were sorely afflicted by the poor child’s long and complicated illness, not knowing what to do, it came into their minds to carry him to the holy father’s sepulchre, in order that they might obtain favour with God to do what was best for the boy; and so Pietro his father, together with another of his sons, carried him to the Saint’s sepulchre, which at that time, since the chapel was not yet finished, was above the arch over against the organ, on the epistle side as it is called. There then the child was told to say a Pater Noster and an Ave Maria, and his father prayed earnestly for him, his mother also doing the same at home; and in that same week Gregorio began to walk about, and to be cured of the leprosy, and in a very short time he was restored to his former health, which could not but be attributed to the special favour of the holy father. Giuseppe di Maro, a Neapolitan, suffered from a pain in the thigh, which prevented him from taking exercise, unless he were supported either on horseback, or in a carriage. It happened that he came to Rome and went to visit the Saint’s sepulchre, where with great faith he pressed his diseased thigh against the case in which the holy body lay, recommending himself to the holy father with all his heart; instantly the pain ceased, and in returning home he had no need of support, so that all those who were present began to cry out, “A miracle! a miracle!” The Chevalier Giuseppo Zerla, a brother of the Congregation, and who has been spoken of before, previously to his entering the Congregation had a suit in the Rota, which was going against him, and indeed he himself was afraid he had already lost it; wherefore, not well knowing what to do, and having spent a great sum of money upon lawyers and attorneys, he had recourse as a last chance to the intercession of the Saint, and went to his sepulchre, and prayed, saying, “O Blessed Father, teach me what I ought to do, and direct me along that road which is best, that I may not lose this suit, which is of such importance” Whilst he was praying in this manner, full of anxiety and trouble, he remembered some papers which had been put away in a particular place, and to which he had never before given a thought; when, therefore, he returned home, he looked over these papers, and found that they contained a complete proof of two points connected with the suit, and which turned the whole cause in his favour. Giuseppe was fully convinced that he owed this favour to the intercession of the holy father, and it was in consequence of this event that he first thought of entering the Congregation, as he eventually did.
Giulia Lippi, of whom mention has been made elsewhere, one year on the Vigil of the Saint’s Feast, feeling harassed and depressed both in mind and body, so that she could scarce drag herself along, went full of faith to the Saint’s sepulchre, and there she prayed for a short time, begging the servant of God to assist her, and obtain relief for her, both of body and mind. Immediately she felt the depression and weariness of mind removed, and her strength of body restored, and she went away light-hearted and invigorated to her home. Bartolomeo Grossi, of Mirabelli in the territory of Lodi, had taken S. Philip for his especial patron, and was in the habit in all his plans and necessities of recommending himself to him, and whenever he was able he used to visit his sepulchre daily. Now it happened that he was once engaged in a suit in which he had spent his whole fortune, and being reduced to absolute want of the necessaries of life, and not knowing what to do to support himself, he was by the special intercession of the Saint miraculously assisted with money three several times, as he himself declared: the first time was, when he had been praying for this purpose at the Saint’s chapel, in going out of church he found a man, who of his own accord asked him whether he was in want of money, and supplied him abundantly: the second was, when he had in like manner been praying in the said chapel; on leaving it he found a lady, who also asked him of her own accord if he did not stand in need of money, and assisted him: the third time was, when he had been praying in the same chapel, he suddenly saw a wrapper of paper containing money in it, and he heard a voice saying, “Take it, it is for thee.” But he felt ashamed, and was perplexed what to do; and after a short space of time he turned his head again to the spot and saw the paper lying open, so that the money was visible, and at the same time he heard it again said in his heart, “Take it, it is for thee;” wherefore in the end he took it, and although he made inquiries whether any one had lost some money in the chapel, none was ever found who laid claim to it. In the year 1598, in the month of October, Father Giovenale Ancina, who was afterwards Bishop of Saluzzo, fell grievously ill of a continual fever, and news of his illness was sent to Cardinal Baronius, who was in Ferrara; he sent back word that Father Giovenale should go and pray in the Saint’s chapel, saying the officina sanitatum; and no sooner had the sick man done this, than he was perfectly restored to health. A spiritual son of the Saint’s, who was in great trouble of mind, went into the room where the holy father used to live, and began to cry bitterly; he had not, however, been there above a quarter of an hour, before his grief gave way to the greatest joy and light-heartedness, and he left the room full of consolation. The same person being in trouble about a business of great importance, went to visit the sepulchre of the Blessed Father, upon which he placed himself with very great faith, and immediately felt that self-same heat and those movements in his soul which he had used to do when the Saint in his lifetime pressed him to his breast, and he was delivered from that trouble, and obtained his desire.
Marcello de Laurentiis, bishop of Strongoli, being ill of the lumbago, suffered such extreme pain that he thought he must die; but he had recourse to the holy father, saying, “Blessed Philip, assist me and cure me, as you cured Pope Clement of the gout.” He repeated this three times, and the third time the pain entirely left him. The Abbate Marco Antonio Maffa, who has been spoken of before, was attacked by very grievous pains in his side, occasioned by the stone. One evening he suffered so dreadfully from it that being quite unable to take any rest, and all the remedies that were applied being in vain, he lay quite worn out and exhausted; in this extremity, despairing of any other remedy, he recommended himself most earnestly to the holy father, and immediately after his prayer he passed a large stone and remained perfectly free from pain. Father Fra. Agostino Maria, Vicar General of the Reformed Augustinians, was seized with very severe pains in his side; he bethought himself, therefore, of the Saint, and had recourse to him, saying, “O Blessed Philip, by that charity and humility of which you are an example to the world, I beseech you to pray to God for me, that He will deliver me, if it pleases Him, from these terrible pains.” In an instant the pain left him and never more returned. Theodore Zino, canon of Verona, was suffering from a painful attack of the gout, and was unable to meet with remedy, when some one chanced to read to him an account of the miracles the Saint had worked since his death. Having heard of a great number he resolved to recommend himself to S. Philip, which he did in these words, “O Blessed Philip, thou hast already assisted many who never knew thee, now assist me also, who have so many times served thy mass, have confessed to thee, and have been on such intimate terms with thee.” Having said this he fell asleep, and whilst in this state he seemed to hear a voice saying, “Take away the pain from that leg;” at this he awoke, and found himself quite free from the pain, and he never felt it afterwards.
Ridolfo Silvestri, a physician, was attacked by great pains in the stomach, and other dangerous symptoms, which neither the medicine nor the other remedies that were applied succeeded in removing; remembering, however, that he had attended the Saint in his lifetime, he recommended himself to him, begging him by that love he had shown him in his lifetime to deign now to have compassion on his torments. Having said these words, he immediately felt the pain cease, and then falling asleep he remained so for about a hour and a half, after which he awoke as well as if he had never been ill. Out of gratitude for this, he suspended a tablet at the tomb of the Saint, bearing this inscription: “Dum variis soevis que symptomatibus mori me sentio, implorato Beati Philippi auxilio, placidus somnus me arripuit, et statim convalui.” Vittoria Frangipani, the wife of Pietro Ruissi, also was seized with very severe pains in the stomach, but on recommending herself to the Saint, she was completely freed from them.
Crispoldo Abbazj of Santo Gemini was at tacked by a violent fever, accompanied with great pains in the head, and such an utter prostration of strength that he thought he was about to die. For although for twenty years he had never experienced the slightest sickness, he now on trying to go out of his house was unable to stand upon his feet, but was compelled to throw himself upon his bed, where calling to mind the miracles that the holy father was continually working, and thinking of his holy body, which he had lately seen in the church, especially remembering the whiteness of his breast, which he had greatly admired, he raised his eyes to heaven, and said, “O Blessed Father, be pleased to deliver me from this fever, and this dreadful pain in my head, for I commend myself to you.” He had scarcely pronounced the words, when in an instant the fever, which was on the increase, left him, the pain ceased, and he remained quite free from all sickness whatever, to his very great amazement. Dario de Bernardis of Cividal del Friuli, having to go and see a nobleman at a place about two miles from the city, who was greatly enraged against him, and fearing that some misfortune would happen to him, as he was going recommended himself to the Saint, saying, “O Saint Philip, who during thy life and since thy death hast delivered so many both from spiritual and from corporal death, which last I fear I am now in danger of meeting with, assist me, I beseech thee, in this extremity.” On arriving at the place the noble man came out to meet him in a violent passion, and drew his sword upon him. Dario again commended himself to the Saint, and wonderful to relate, the nobleman, notwithstanding all his efforts, was unable to do him the slightest injury. Struck with astonishment at this, he cried, “I know not what it is that hinders me: God has preserved you.” Dario now begged him to be good enough to listen to the explanation he had to give, and to his reasons for having acted as he had done in the matter which had excited the anger of the nobleman. He did so, and was perfectly satisfied, and Dario attributed the happy success of the whole affair to the intercession of Saint Philip.
Alessandro Fuligni d’Ischia was one night seized with one of his usual attacks of colic, which commonly lasted about fifteen or twenty hours at a time, and tormented him so much that he was often in danger of losing his life. Having heard much of the miracles that had been worked by the Saint, in particular that one in the case of Caterina the daughter of Guiseppo Castiglioni, which we have already related, he now had recourse with the utmost devotion and earnestness to the Saint, and immediately the pains left him, having lasted only half an hour, a thing that had never once happened before. There was in the city of Cerra in the kingdom of Naples, a woman, named Rosa Gettoni, whose house was infested by an evil spirit that made great noises and very much frightened those who dwelt in it. This woman being one night very much terrified at these noises, ran out of her house. Calling to mind, however, the favours that had so often been received from S. Philip of late in those parts, she took courage and returned into the house, invoking the name of S. Philip, and from that time forward she never again heard any of these noises.
Ipermestra Damiani of Pisa had promised her confessor not to read certain books which she was fond of reading; notwithstanding this promise she one day took up one of these books and began to read it. Immediately her eyes became swollen and inflamed in such a way that she did nothing but shed tears; and from the pain she felt she could not keep her eyes open. Wherefore, shutting the book, as well as she could she groped her way down stairs to the others in the house, in order to get some remedy, and they seeing her in this state sent for the medical man; but not finding him at home they persuaded her to recommend herself earnestly to the Blessed Philip, and led her up to a picture of him. She, therefore, touched first the picture and then her eyes with the same hand: they opened immediately, and all the pain and inflammation entirely ceased.
Antonina Raida had something the matter with her left knee, which gave her great pain, and often brought on a fever; and she had endured this for eight years without obtaining any relief. One morning when the pain was more severe than usual, she went into a little oratory in her house in which was a picture of S. Philip, and recommending herself to him with unusual fervour, she made a vow that if he would cure her she would offer a leg of wax at his tomb. Having made the vow and having finished her prayer, immediately her knee was healed, and she set her foot to the ground and found herself perfectly able to walk; and from that time forward she never experienced any return of the pain.
Fabrizio dei Massimi having to go to Milan, took his son Pietro with him. Pietro was the second son, whose birth Philip had predicted, as he had done that of his brother Paolo, whom he raised to life; and he had told Fabrizio that as he had named the first Paolo, so now he was to name this one Pietro. At Milan Pietro was seized with a double tertian fever, and on the twentieth day he was given over by the physicians. He languished, however, till the seventy-sixth day, with a continual fever on him. Fabrizio, not wishing to be present at the death of his son, left some money to pay for his funeral, and had his clothes packed up to return to Rome; but one day taking a picture of S. Philip to his son, he said to him, “See here is that holy father; recommend yourself to him.” Pietro, looking at the picture, recommended himself to the Saint with all the earnestness he was capable of. That night he began to amend, and in the morning the physicians found him perfectly cured. On the third day after this he set off for Rome, travelling post the whole way; and on his arrival he really looked in better health than when he had left.
Sister Arcangela Ancajana, a nun in the convent of Santa Caterina della Rosa at Spoleto, had suffered for five years from fever, and during the two last years the fever had been continual; seeing that she could not obtain any remedy for it in Spoleto, she wrote to a nun in the house of S. Maria Maddalena di Monte Cavallo at Rome, asking her to describe her illness to the physicians there, in order to see if they could give her any relief. This nun, to whom she wrote, whose name was Sister Maria Maddalena Orsini, had a great devotion to Saint Philip, and she therefore in her reply told Arcangela to recommend herself to the Blessed Philip of the Chiesa Nuova, for his intercession would be far more efficacious than any medicine. Arcangela obeyed, and recommended herself with great faith to the Saint, on which she was immediately delivered from the fever, and it never returned. She wrote an account to Sister Orsina of the favour she had received, thanking her for the advice she had given, and that good servant of God sent her back a slipper belonging to the Saint, together with his picture and some relics of him. Some months after this, Arcangela was seized with an affection of the left eye, which the medical men considered to be dangerous; they sent her a lotion to bathe it with, but the eye still kept getting worse; they therefore thought it advisable to bleed her, but first sent her certain pills. When she was about to take these, she first knelt before the picture of the Saint which had been sent her, and touching it with her hand, she afterwards with great faith applied the same hand to her eye, and immediately felt the pain diminish, and next morning the eye was perfectly well. A similar thing happened to Sister Antonina Gentiletti, a nun in the same house, who having a very severe headache, applied this picture to her temples, and was immediately cured.
A nun of S. Silvestro in Rome, named Sister Tecla Sclamani, was seized with a fit of apoplexy, and trembling very much, and making convulsive movements with her mouth and eyes, she suddenly lost the power of speech. While in this state she turned to a picture of the Saint which was hanging on the wall near her, and looking earnestly at it, she showed by signs that she recommended herself to him, on which her voice instantly returned, and she began to cry out, “O what a grace! O what a grace!” The same day she made her general confession, and communicated with great abundance of tears, having constantly those words in her mouth, “O what a grace!” About three hours after she had communicated, she again lost her voice, and as she continued to grow worse, she received Extreme Unction, and five days afterwards rendered up her soul to God, to the great edification of the other nuns.
Maria Guindazza was lying ill of the measles, when she was suddenly seized in such a way that every one thought she was dying; she trembled from head to foot, her mouth was convulsed, her eyes glazed, and she had all the other signs of approaching death. At this moment her husband took a picture of the Saint and placed it on her breast, on which she instantly returned to herself, whilst all present cried out, “O wonderful miracle! O wonderful miracle!” The same thing happened in Rome to a tertiary named Sister Caterina, who being in very great pain touched the seat of the pain with a picture of the Saint, and was instantly freed from it. Bartolomea, the daughter of Alessandro de Magistris, whom we have spoken of above, was once washing some clothes when she was very young, and by accident upset a pot of boiling lie over her hands, the skin of which immediately rose in great blisters. She ran directly and put them into cold water, but this, instead of diminishing the pain, rather increased it. Her parents bound her hands up in a poultice of bread dipped in wine, and put her to bed. The pain was so great that she soon became feverish, and her mother seeing this had recourse to S. Philip, and made her daughter do the same. She therefore knelt on her bed before a picture of the Saint and prayed to him, together with her mother. On waking next morning, she called out to her mother, saying, “My mother, I am cured, and my hands are quite well.” Her mother and others ran to her and found that it was so, for her hands were as well as if the accident had never happened.
Soon after the death of the Saint, at the time when these portraits of him were first published, a certain man who was leading a bad life, seeing one in the hands of a friend of his, began to shake his head contemptuously at it, and he even snatched it out of his friend’s hand, and crumpling it into a ball, flung it on the ground. The picture, before reaching the ground, opened as it was at first, and remained raised a little from the ground, as though held by an invisible hand. The wicked man, however, still persisted and set his foot upon it, but the picture rose again from the ground and remained suspended as before. The man was now struck with astonishment at the miracle, and kneeling down he reverently took up the picture, and at the same time being moved to contrition, he went and made his confession, and began from that time to lead a good life.
There was a girl at Naples named Giulia Pellegrini, who was possessed, and though she had never had any education, she was able to talk Latin, and used to make hidden things manifest. A curate who wished to exorcise her, led her to a picture of S. Philip, and immediately the devils left her, crying out, “Philip is driving us away! Philip is driving us away!” The girl was entirely freed from them, and afterwards said that she had seen an old man like the picture, driving the devils away as they issued from her body.
At the city of Trapani in Sicily, lived a man named Pasquale Pinelli, who was engaged in the tunny fishery; for several years past he had been very unfortunate and had taken scarcely any. Having heard much of the sanctity of Philip and of his miracles, he inclosed a small engraving of the Saint in a reed, and when he was going out to fish, he threw it into the sea, hoping thereby to take a great number of tunnies. And although, from the bad weather, and from the roughness of the sea, his companions thought they should lose their labour again this year, Pasquale encouraged them all, telling them to put confidence in the Blessed Philip, for that he was the patron and protector of this year’s fishing. Accordingly they took more than four hundred thousand pounds’ weight of tunnies, to the great astonishment of every one.
One winter Father Germanico Fedeli was sent by Clement VIII., together with Cardinal Tarugi, to Mantua and Padua on business of importance. Early in the morning before starting he commended himself to God, to the Blessed Virgin, and to S. Philip, as was his custom, in order that he might be preserved from all dangers, body of soul and body. As he was doing this he felt moved with an extraordinary devotion towards the Saint, so that although the Cardinal was in a hurry to start, Germanico could not leave off his prayer. Astonished at this he thought that some great danger would befall him that day, and that he would stand in need of the Saint’s assistance. Having at length mounted his horse, they set off, and when near Seravalle, the mare on which he rode slipped in going down a little descent; he pulled her up and pressed her with the spur, but not being able to regain her footing she slipped the second time; and now fearing that she might fall and crush his leg under her, he tried to dismount, but before he could do so the mare recovered herself, and whilst Germanico had still his left foot in the stirrup, she took fright and ran off the road, dragging him through the hedges and over the rough stones for about the eighth of a mile. His companions seeing his danger, but being unable to assist him, gave him up for lost. At last the mare turned in the direction of a stream, and in the turn Germanico’s leg got disengaged, leaving the boot and spur in the stirrup. The Cardinal’s servants ran up to see whether the father was dead or alive, but before they reached to the spot he got up from the ground without having suffered the slightest injury, and mounting another horse he continued his journey. He afterwards said that while he was being pulled along in this way, he was conscious of a voice, as it were, within him, saying, “Do not be afraid, you shall not suffer any injury;” words which the holy father often used on similar occasions.
In the year 1598, the Abbate Giacomo Crescenzio was taken by some who were said to be well acquainted with the place, to see the catacombs of S. Priscilla beyond the Porta Salara, in order that he might see several of the bodies of the saints lying there, together with other objects of devotion. They entered by a passage which was so narrow that they were obliged to crawl through it, and having walked about the catacombs for more than five hours, the guide all of a sudden lost his way, and they found themselves in a perfect labyrinth, and though they wandered about for more than a quarter of an hour, still they always returned to the same place. What frightened them still more was, that the light which they had with them was nearly burnt out, and they had not more than half an inch of candle left. After having made several more efforts to find the way, but all in vain, they at length gave themselves up for lost; what increased their affliction was, that having entered the catacombs without the knowledge of any one, none of their friends would know what had become of them. When they were in this extremity, and deprived of all human aid, the abbate said, “Let us have faith in God, and let us all pray to the Blessed Philip to help us.” This they accordingly did with very great earnestness, and in less than the space of a Miserere, they found themselves at the passage by which they had entered. On coming out they found it wanted only an hour to the Ave Maria, so that they had been six hours in the catacomb; and although they were fasting, yet before tasting food they all went to the chapel of the Saint to render him due thanks. The abbate had a votive tablet of silver made, which he hung up at the saint’s tomb, in testimony of his having been delivered from that danger through his intercession.
Pannonio Ceccarelli was lying in prison in Perugia, falsely accused of a grievous crime. During his imprisonment, his brother, who was a priest living at Rome, and who knew of his innocence, went along with another priest to the tomb of the Saint to pray for him, and he made a vow that in case his brother should be delivered from prison he would attribute the grace to Philip. Having finished his prayer, he begged his companion to say a mass for his brother at that altar as soon as possible; and on the 14th of October, 1607, that priest did so. Five or six days after this, letters were received from Pannonio, stating that on the 14th of October at about noon he had found the keys of the prison in a place where he little thought to have seen them, and that he had opened the prison doors with them and gone out; and although he had passed both the judge and the chief notary, and saluted both of them, yet neither of them had said a word to him. He left Perugia and concealed himself in a thicket till the evening, and then although he found the Tiber swollen, yet he forded it boldly. Having afterwards heard of what his brother had done for him, he attributed his liberation to miracle, and had a votive offering hung up at the Saint’s tomb, in acknowledgement of the favour he had received from him. It was finally discovered that he had only been an accomplice in the crime, and his pardon was granted by his Holiness. The same man some time afterwards was lying ill at San Girolamo della Carità in the very rooms that had belonged to the Saint, and began to feel the pains of death coming on; his brother the priest told him to remember his wonderful delivery from prison, and reminded him that he was in the same room that the Saint had once inhabited. At this Pannonio recommended himself earnestly to the Saint, and immediately his pain left him, to his great amazement.
A youth named Tommaso di Matteo of Cataja in the state of Urbino, was once out hunting near Corneto when he was attacked by a wild boar, which wounded him in four or five places, tearing him very much in the loins, and dividing two or three of the nerves below the knee. He was taken up apparently in a dying state, and convulsions coming on, his life was despaired of by every one. His father and mother related the accident to Marco Antonio Vitelleschi, who happened to be present, and he gave them some of the Saint’s hair, which they laid upon the sick man, and immediately the convulsions ceased, and in a few days he had perfectly recovered, without being at all lame from his wound. Stefano Calcinardi, who has been already mentioned, had on one occasion to go to an estate of the Duke of Bracciano to receive some debts, and as the debtor had not sufficient money by him he took a young colt in part payment. As the beast seemed quiet, he put on it a saddle and bridle, and rode off on it towards Rome. On coming to a trench down which a stream of water was running, the colt took fright at the noise of the water, and ran away with its rider, four miles across the country, keeping all the time its head close to the ground, and at last coming to a precipice, it was about to jump down it. At this moment Stefano, raising his voice to heaven, cried out, saying, “O Blessed Philip, help me!” He had no sooner said the words, than the horse stopped, and Stefano was delivered from his danger.
Girolamo Vecchetti, who was sent to Egypt to treat for the union of the Church of Alexandria with the Church of Rome, declared that when he returned the second time for the confirmation, he overcame through S. Philip’s intercession all the difficulties he met with in the prosecution of the business, whether from the interference of the Turks, or from the dangers of the journey; for he constantly recommended himself to a picture of the Saint which he carried with him. In three instruments which were drawn up concerning the said union, one of which remains at Cairo, another at Alexandria, and the third was carried to Rome, and read before the Pope in 1597, he wrote with his own hand that he attributed the success of the negotiation to the intercession of S. Philip, and the Archdeacon Barsum, of the church of Alexandria, wrote the same thing. Baronius speaks of this legation and of the Archdeacon Barsum at the end of the sixth volume of the Annals. It happened also that Girolamo wishing to obtain the ratification of a certain paper, and not being allowed to enter Egypt for eight or ten days after his arrival, according to the custom in those parts, he sent forward an Alexandrian, named Sido Michele, son of the Comus of Alexandria, and inasmuch as the journey was a dangerous one, on account of the attacks of the Arabs, the Alexandrian at starting recommended himself to Girolamo, and begged that he would pray for him. Girolamo showed him the portrait of S. Philip, and made him kiss it, telling him that he would pray to that Saint for him, and ask him to protect him in his journey. Michele set out, and about the middle of his journey he was met by some Arabs, who seeing him to be a Christian struck him in the breast with a lance. By the intercession of the Saint the iron head did not pierce his breast, but glanced off, while the Arabs seeing him fall, and thinking that they had killed him, passed on and left him; and thus Michele was delivered.
Inasmuch as it has pleased Divine Providence to glorify His servant by numerous miracles, as well at the time of his canonization as after wards, some of the most notable of them shall be here related.
Girolamo Porta, a physician of the city of Acqui, and wino used to practise medicine in the city of Savona, out of devotion went one morning to a church of the Madonna, called della Misericordia: when there he recommended himself very earnestly to the intercession of S. Philip, begging him to deliver him from certain violent temptations as well of the body as of the soul, which had molested him for several months. Whilst he was praying thus he felt his hair stand on end, and at the same time felt his head pressed between two hands, just as the Saint used to do in his lifetime to those who had recourse to him when under temptation; this pressure lasted about the space of an Ave Maria, after which he found himself entirely free from the temptation. In the city of Andria in Apulia, a shoe belonging to the Saint was once being carried in procession with great solemnity, when a nun of the convent of the Santissima Trinità, called Sister Cristina, who was ill of a dropsy and given over by the physicians, begged earnestly to be allowed to kiss the shoe and to touch the seat of her disease with it: her request was granted, and she kissed the shoe with such faith and devotion that the swelling immediately burst, and such a quantity of water flowed from it, that she was entirely freed from the dropsy. There was a nun in the convent of Santo Spirito, in the city of Cesena, named Massimilla Gennari, who was seized with a continual and malignant fever, which reduced her to such an extremity, that having received Extreme Unction she was on the point of expiring. At this moment, as she had a particular devotion to S. Philip, she had the history of his life placed under her pillow; immediately afterwards she heard a voice saying to her, “Massimilla, get up, do not be afraid.” The nun at that instant felt so much bettor that she sat up in her bed and said with great joy, “I am cured.” The other nuns who were attending on her, thinking she was raving, despaired of her life now more than ever; but when the medical man came, whose name was Camille Chiaramonti, he found that she was really perfectly well, to the great amazement of every one, so that when they saw her walking about the convent again, all stood still to look at her.
In the convent of S. Clare in Ripa Transona, there was a nun named Giovanna Filezj, who for five years had suffered from asthma and such a difficulty in breathing, that when the attacks came on she was obliged to throw herself on her bed, and then, not being able to be still because of the great oppression she felt, she was obliged to walk about leaning on a stick; and although all possible remedies had been tried, still nothing seemed to give her any relief. In the month of April, 1622, on the day of the procession of the Saint, when his image was carried processionally through the city, among other places it was brought to the church of this convent, and set up over the altar. Sister Giovanna on this occasion recommended herself with all possible devotion and earnestness to the Saint, and begged him, if it should be the will of God, to deliver her from that sickness; and immediately afterwards all that difficulty in breathing left her. But while she was doubting whether she ought to publish this favour or not, the indisposition suddenly returned; upon which, again recommending herself to the Saint, she determined to make it known if she should again be delivered from it, and immediately the asthma left her a second time, to her very great astonishment.
On the day when there was the procession of the Saint in Rome, D. Girolamo Scatoglia of S. Severino, a priest at S. Carlo in the Corso, was in the chapel of S. Philip, waiting the arrival of the banner, which was brought thither processionally from S. Peter’s. At the moment the banner entered, the Te Deum laudamus was solemnly entoned, and Scatoglia felt greatly moved to devotion, and remained some time in the chapel to pray, during which time he received a favour without being immediately conscious of it; for whereas for two years past he had suffered great pain from a spot in his left eye, he found after the procession that the spot had entirely disappeared, and he never afterwards suffered any pain from it.
In the city of Savona, there was a girl named Marietta d’ Agostino Pugnetti, who for several years had been suffering from scrofula; her mother was one day speaking to her confessor of her daughter’s infirmity, when he advised her to recommend her daughter earnestly to S. Philip Neri, and told her to go to the cathedral, where there was a picture of the Saint, and to pray for her daughter, who would undoubtedly be cured. She went in great faith therefore, and did as she was told; on her return she found that the rags which were placed over the sores in her daughter’s neck were coming off, and next day she found to her great joy and amazement that the places had healed up.
Francesco Arcarsi, a physician, sent his wife and his son, a boy about twelve years old, and who was named Niccolò, and with them a man-servant and maid-servant, to the city of Savona. On their road they were attacked by banditti, who took away all their money, and made prisoner of the son, fixing his ransom at a thousand gold pistoles, while they allowed the mother and servants to go away unhurt. The poor father hearing of this, and being quite unable to raise that sum, made every effort to recover his son, but all in vain. The banditti seeing that the money was not forthcoming, gave the father to understand that if the ransom was not paid by a certain day, his son should be put to death. The father not knowing what to do, went to consult his confessor, who advised him to have recourse to the intercession of S. Philip, who doubtless would obtain his son’s freedom; he reminded him also of the instance of Pannonio Ceccarelli, who was delivered from prison at Perugia on the day when mass was said for him in the chapel of the Saint. Francesco went therefore, and on the following day, that is, on the 18th of July, 1622, he had the votive mass of the Saint said in the church of S. Domenico for this intention, and his confessor also said mass for the same intention. On the 19th of the same month, he received a letter, which contained these express words: “This morning when I was thinking of anything but the banditti, they came to me, being I really believe inspired by Heaven, and told me of the last resolution they had come to about me, which was that they had determined to let me go without demanding any ransom.” On the 20th his son appeared in good health and unhurt, to the great joy of his father and mother, who had begun to give him up for lost.
Doralice, the wife of Giovanni Boni, a noble man of Verona, having been ill for several weeks of a tertian fever, was advised by the medical men to go into the country for change of air. She did so, and the fever left her; but one of her legs became inflamed in such a way, that she could scarcely move about the house, and she was quite unable to kneel. She was consequently obliged to return to Verona, and to put herself under the hands of the physicians and surgeons, who after having employed different ointments and plaisters, at length decided on making three incisions into the knee, where a tumour had formed as big as an egg. The night before the operation, what with fear and the pain of the tumour, Doralice was unable to sleep; but be-thinking herself of S. Philip, she made a vow that in the morning she would have a mass said in his honour, and that she would also offer a silver leg at his altar. As soon as she had made this vow she fell asleep, and in the morning she arose betimes, went by herself to the church, where was the altar of the Saint, and having fulfilled her vow she returned home. In the course of the morning the medical men came to perform the operation, but they found that their services were not required, and in two or three days she was perfectly well. There was a poor man at Salo lying under sentence of death, who had once been in the service of the Ceruto family. The daughter, whose name was Barbara, had the right of patronage of an altar of S. Philip in the city of Verona, where she dwelt; the poor man, therefore, begged one of his friends to write to Barbara, to beg her to cause him to be prayed for at this altar of S. Philip. On receiving the letter, she immediately sent her three children to pray for him before the altar, and at the same time that the children were praying before the altar in Verona the condemned was led out to execution in Salo. When he was near the gibbet the superintending officer was earnestly entreated to stop, in order that the process might be reconsidered; he, therefore, had the condemned man taken back to prison, and the case having been again investigated, the poor man was set at liberty; and he ascribed his preservation entirely to the Saint’s intercession. Donna Benedetta Coli, a nun in S. Paolo at Parma, once dislocated her left knee, and the knee-pan slipped from its place and remained immoveable, causing very great pain. The nuns ran to her on hearing her cries, and with great difficulty they carried her to her cell, where, as she could not bear to lie down, they made her sit down on the side of the bed. They sent off for the medical men, but while they were coming she recommended herself to the Saint with the greatest possible earnestness, crying out, “O glorious S. Philip, help me!” Immediately afterwards she began to cry out, “I am cured! I am cured! the knee-pan has returned to its place, and I have no longer anything the matter with me.” The surgeon now came in, and found that there was indeed nothing the matter, and soon afterwards the nun went with the rest into choir at Compline, and kneeling before the picture of the Saint she returned thanks to him for the benefit she had received.
A little before this God had been pleased to make manifest the glory of His servant by a very wonderful miracle in Rome, which was juridically proved, and an account of it was published by Father Filippo Angelini, a Dominican, and parish priest of the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, who was one of the Saint’s spiritual children. We will here give an abridged account of it.
Paolo d’ Alessandro de Bernardis of Udrezzo, a place in the territory of Trevigi, was in the service of a gentleman of Trevigi named Rinaldo Rinaldi. There was another servant in the same house with whom he had a quarrel, and one morning when they had come to high words, the other said to Paolo, “To-day is the 7th of November, 1622, and I will give you reason to remember it.” The same morning Paolo went to the Chiesa Nuova, where, having heard mass, he went full of faith to the chapel and altar of S. Philip, and saying some Paters and Aves there, he recommended himself with all his heart to the Saint, begging him to deliver him from the persecutions of his enemies, and especially from the threats which he had that morning received from his fellow-servant. On his return home his fellow-servant seemed to be quite pacified. In the evening, at about two hours of the night, Paolo went out as usual upon some business of his master’s, and as he suspected no evil he went out unarmed; he had not, however, gone above ten paces from the house, when just as he was in front of the Church of the Convent of S. Caterina da Siena, near Monte Magnanapoli, he was suddenly attacked by his enemy, who, holding a dark lantern before his face, stabbed him at the same time in the neck with a. stiletto; the weapon pierced his gullet, passing completely through it and coming out at the back; the assassin leaving the stiletto in the wound immediately took to flight. Paolo was at first stunned by the blow, and was not aware that he was wounded, but thought he had been struck on the neck with a stick. Nevertheless, feeling that something was wrong with him, he invoked the aid of S. Philip, and as he did so he seemed to hear the Saint saying to him, “Do not be afraid, you shall not suffer any harm.” He now turned back towards the house, and on reaching the door he saw so strong and dazzling a light, that it seemed as if everything was made of mirrors; by this light he saw the stiletto sticking in his throat, and with his own hands he drew it out and threw it away. Immediately afterwards he felt excessive pain, and crying out, “Jesus!” three times, he again recommended himself to S. Philip, and going into the house he began to call out to his master. His master came running up to him directly, accompanied by another gentleman who was in the house at the time; and on seeing what had happened they told him to take courage, saying, “Do not fear, God will help you;” but he begged them to send for a confessor, for he believed that he was dying. It happened that the friend of Paolo’s master was a priest, and therefore as his servant was in danger of death the master begged him to hear his confession. He did so; but seeing that Paolo was sinking fast, and fearing that every moment would be his last, the priest gave him absolution before he had completed his confession, in order to preserve the integrity of the Sacrament. Meantime the surgeons who had been sent for arrived, and had him put to bed; and after making a careful examination of the wound, they decided that it was undoubtedly mortal, as they all three afterwards affirmed in the process that was drawn up. The wound was dressed, and the master, on hearing the report of the surgeons, and seeing that the man was already more dead than alive, sent off for Father Ottavio, the parish priest of the church of Santi Apostoli, who came and heard his entire confession, but as it was doubtful whether he could swallow he abstained from giving him the Viaticum. The wounded man, not being able to sleep, spent the night in recommending himself to S. Philip. At about four in the morning he fell asleep, and on waking about an hour and a half afterwards he found himself miraculously cured, so that he was able to move and turn his head without feeling any pain, and he next day began to spit as if nothing was the matter; and he found himself altogether so well that he was quite astonished, and said, “S. Philip of the Chiesa Nuova has cured me by miracle.” The surgeons were again sent for, and after having examined the wound, and especially the spittle of Paolo, which had no mixture of blood in it, and observing likewise the ease with which he moved and spoke, and seeing that there were no bad symptoms, and that the wound was not swollen or inflamed, they also told his master, to the indescribable joy of every one, that Paolo was certainly well. They likewise said that this was one of the greatest and most wonderful miracles that they had ever heard related of any saint, and they declared that it was entirely beyond the power of the art of surgery to pass even a fine thread of silk through the middle of the gullet, much less a steel dagger, without the death of the patient ensuing. Besides which, his being cured in the short space of a few hours was clearly the effect of supernatural agency. Paolo himself wished to get up that very morning and to go to the Chiesa Nuova to return thanks to the Saint, but the surgeons advised him to remain quiet for three or four days. He obeyed, and remained that day in bed, during which time there was never the slightest symptom of fever, and the wound was completely healed up. It is true that the scars remain as evidences of the miracle, one in the middle of the throat, and the other at the back of the neck just below the nape, and the diameter of the latter corresponds with that of the first. When the five days were over Paolo got up and went to the Chiesa Nuova to return thanks to S. Philip for his miraculous preservation, and he had a little tablet made with a representation of the miracle painted on it, which be hung up at the tomb. When the miracle became known numbers of people came to see Paolo, in order that they might see and touch with their own hands the scars of the wounds.
In the convent of S. Clare in Pistoja, there was in 1629 a nun named Sister Maria Francesca Arfaruoli, who for eleven years had been suffering from pains in her joints, so that she was scarcely able to walk; she had also an eruption on her body which the doctors called leprosy. For the two last years her face had been covered with it, and it had become so incrusted that it seemed as if she had a mask on, for her face could not be distinguished and her eyes were nearly closed up; she had become so much reduced during the last six months, that she was obliged constantly to keep her bed without being able even to sit up while it was being made; so that when it had to be made, which was done about every eight or ten days, they had to lift her bodily off from it, which caused her excessive pain, and the medical men considered that her malady was incurable. Now this nun had a great devotion to S. Philip; every day she had part of his Life read to her, and took great pleasure in hearing accounts of his miracles. Three months before she had with the leave of the abbess made a vow to the Saint, and she had sent a votive offering of silver to his chapel, and had had ten masses said there. She had been anointed several times with some of the oil of the lamp which burns before his tomb, which had been brought her by Francesco Vannini, a canon of Pistoja, and on the 12th of March she gave an order that two masses should be said for her at the altar where there is a picture of S. Philip in the church of S. Prosper in the same city. On the night of the 12th of March her malady had increased to such a degree, that at about five hours of the night, thinking she must shortly die, she began to recommend herself to the Saint with much humility and devotion, and taking up a relic of him which she had, namely a piece of his chasuble, she laid it on her face and fell asleep. Her sleep lasted for three hours, a thing which had never happened before since she had been confined to her bed. During her sleep she seemed to hear a voice calling her three times and saying, “Get up, you are cured;” and the third time she felt a hand placed on her head, and again she heard the words, “Get up, you are cured.” She awoke full of joy, and saw a great light, which speedily disappeared. While she was wondering at this, she happened to put her hand upon her face, and she found it had healed up and was perfectly clean and smooth. She then got up from her bed without any assistance, and kneeling down said three Paters and Aves out of devotion and in honour of S. Philip, and then the Te Deum laudamus, after which she got into bed again, where she remained till daybreak. Hearing one of the nuns passing by her door, she called her and related to her what had happened. The bell now sounded for matins, and she therefore sent her to tell the other nuns, and begged her to say three Paters and three Ave Marias in thanksgiving for her cure. After matins the nuns came to see her, and finding that she was really cured, they praised God for his goodness, and blessed Philip for this signal favour. The only mark that remained of the eruption was a spot on one cheek of about the size of a shilling, and another of about the size of a farthing on the eyelid, but before night both of these disappeared, and the nun was restored to perfect health, and was able again to perform the different duties of the convent.
Another wonderful miracle occurred on the 1st of May, 1635, when the inhabitants of Carbognano, a place belonging to Prince Francesco Colonna, were raising the May-pole in the public square, according to the ancient custom of the place. The pole was seventy-six palms high, and about three palms thick. As they were raising it it began to sway over, and the crowd ran back to get out of the way, but in doing so, a little boy, named Matteo, the son of Eustachio Pojani, about four years of age, fell flat on the ground. Before he could escape the tree fell and struck him full on his breast, and then bounding it again struck him on the face, so that he remained crushed under the weight of it, and the blood flowed in streams from his mouth and from his left eye. Every one thought that he was dead, for he lay without any sign of life, and became pale, cold, and motionless. The people cried out, “Let us carry him to the church of S. Philip, that he may raise him to life!” Accordingly they took him with great faith to the church and laid him on the altar, and kneeling down they prayed to the Saint to restore him to life. After about three quarters of an hour had elapsed, some persons in the crowd called out, “Let us say a Pater Noster and an Ave Maria all together, in order that Philip may grant us this favour.” They did so, accompanying the words with tears and sighs; and fully trusting that their prayers would be heard, they cried, “O glorious S. Philip, raise the child to life!” The poor mother, who stood by weeping, also made the same prayer. And behold, on a sudden, the child opened his eyes, and said three times, “O mamma!” at which all who were present shouted, “A miracle! A miracle!” The child was quickly taken from the altar and carried home, and was found to be quite unhurt, without the least bruise or disfigurement, but even more fresh and ruddy than before. The clergy and people afterwards went in procession to the church of the Saint, to render thanks for this most evident miracle, which likewise caused a great increase of devotion to the Saint, both at that place and throughout the neighbouring country. Some few months after this, Angelo Miggella, also of the country of Carbognano, was driving a cart loaded with wheat, and drawn by two pair of oxen, when in turning round a corner he slipped from the pole on which he was sitting and fell prostrate on the earth. Before he could got out of the way the wheel passed over his back and tore his shirt completely off; at the same instant he invoked the aid of our Blessed Lady and of S. Philip, and remained apparently dead upon the road. Some persons who saw the accident ran up, expecting to find him cut in two, as was not unusual in similar cases. They picked him up and carried him into a barn, telling him to recommend himself to S. Philip; and although he seemed on the point of expiring, he still kept saying in a low voice at intervals, “Saint Philip, help me.” On a sudden he said in a clear and distinct voice, “Saint Philip has cured me,” and he then got up quite sound and well as if nothing had happened. The only sign that remained of his having suffered anything was the mark where the wheel had passed over his back, which was left as an evidence of the miracle.
Donna Popa, otherwise Porzia Scaglioni, the wife of Giovanni Francesco Rosa, Baron of Motonti, of the city of Amalfi, had been under the physician’s hands for the space of seven months without any amendment, when on the 16th of May, 1635, her disorder became so much worse that she was in evident danger of dying; at length she was given over by the physicians, and on the 20th of the month she received the Viaticum and Extreme Unction. As she had always entertained a great devotion to S. Philip, she now begged most earnestly that his relics, which were kept in the church of the Oratory in that city, might be brought to her. They were brought accordingly, and hung round her neck, and a picture of the Saint was placed near her head. Her malady still increased, and such terrible convulsions and extraordinary contractions of the nerves came on, that it required several persons to hold her, and all who saw her were at once terrified and moved to compassion. Her husband, not being able to endure the sight of his wife’s sufferings, remained for three days shut up in his own room. The sick woman lingered on in this way till the 25th of May, on which day in the evening she lost her voice, her senses failed her, and her body became cold and livid, and the medical man who was present, feeling her pulse, said she was just expiring. The Superior of our Congregation, who was present, made the usual recommendation of her soul, all the rest kneeling around the bed and praying for her. While this was going on, a servant who was holding a candle to the priest, suddenly cried out, “My mistress is moving!” but the medical man thought she was only drawing her last breath; presently, however, she moved again, opened her eyes, stretched out her arms and hands, which till then had been quite contracted, and then without any assistance sat up in her bed and said these express words, “I am well, I am cured, my beautiful S. Philip has cured me, that beautiful old man has quite cured me; I have no longer any pain, I am well, praised be God and my beautiful S. Philip.” She repeated this several times and with such a joyful countenance that it was evident that the omnipotent hand of God was there. A lady who was present asked her if S. Philip was really beautiful, and she replied, “O, so beautiful!” The Superior now asked her in what way S. Philip had cured her, to which she replied, “He simply let me see his beautiful face, and the sight of it instantly cured me.” Every one now cried, “A miracle! a miracle!” and the husband hearing it came in, and seeing his wife thus restored to him, he knelt down and returned thanks to God and to the Saint. The Superior, astonished at the suddenness of the change, in order to make the matter more certain, gave her the crucifix to hold in one hand, and a candlestick in the other. She held them both tightly in her hands, and said, “See, I am cured, do not fear, there is no doubt about it.” Her sister-in-law also, in order more fully to satisfy herself, gave her a cup-full of water, which she took and held it steadily in her hand, without spilling a drop, and afterwards drank it without any difficulty, although before she was quite unable to swallow anything. She then recited the Te Deum laudamus alternately with her husband and the others who were present. One of the servants, named Pietro Oliva, seeing his mistress thins miraculously cured, ran off as fast as he could to the church of the Oratory, although it was quite dark, to tell the fathers what had happened, crying out as he went, “O my miraculous S. Philip! O my glorious S. Philip!” Directly after he had given an account of the miracle to the fathers, he insisted on going in to the belfry, where, laying hold of the ropes, he went on ringing the bells for more than an hour. the news having been spread abroad, many persons came, although it was night, to see with their own eyes so extraordinary a miracle; among the rest came two canons with a musician, whom the lady requested to sing some hymns in praise of the Saint. She wished to go that very evening to the church, and to pass the night before the altar of the Saint, and no thing could dissuade her till her confessor gave her an obedience to the contrary. She got up, however, and walked about the house, and her usual colour returned, and she looked stronger and in better health than ever, so that taking her infant daughter from the arms of her nurse, she walked up and down with her saying, “I am cured! I am cured!” The following morning, that is, on the 29th of May, which happened to be the Feast of the Saint, she went on foot to the church of the fathers, where she assisted at the Missa Cantata, kneeling the whole time with her hands joined, a thing which she had never been able to do before when in health, even at low mass, and this in the sight of a crowd of people, who came to be witnesses of this marvellous cure. Her husband, out of joy, gave orders for the cannon of the city to fire at the moment of the elevation. After the mass the lady returned home again on foot, and from that time forward she enjoyed continued health, to the astonishment and wonder of all the inhabitants of Amalfi. The Saint also granted her an additional favour, which he did not grant to all, namely, that on smelling his relics she perceived a most sweet fragrance proceeding from them. This was so well known throughout the city that a Capuchin who was once preaching in praise, of the Saint, among other things mentioned this miracle as one that he had witnessed, and as a thing well known to all. Moreover, whenever this lady was inclined to be melancholy, by simply smelling the relic of the Saint she drove away all her sadness.
Bartolomeo Grisconi, a physician, who had assisted with other medical men at a consultation on the case of Donna Popa, published this miracle wherever he went, and being sent for on one occasion to attend a boy in the country of Atrano, who was seized with a malignant affection of the throat, which at that time was very common, and in most cases terminated fatally, he advised the boy’s mother to take her son to the church of the fathers of the Oratory in Amalfi, and to cause him to be touched with the relics of Saint Philip, who, he doubted not, would restore him to health. The mother, who was a devout woman, obeyed, and with great faith she anointed her son’s throat with a little oil from the lamp that burnt before the altar of the Saint, and she immediately received the grace she desired.
In the month of March, 1638, a sailor of Messina, named Andrew, was going on a voyage from Naples to Messina, when at about the fifth hour of the night a violent tempest came on, and while he was attempting to lower the sail he fell into the sea, and as the felucca was moving rapidly through the water at the time from the violence of the storm, it was quite impossible for him to overtake her by swimming. Among the passengers on board were three fathers of the Scuole Pie, who exhorted all the others to join them, and began to pray with great fervour, invoking especially the aid of S. Joseph and S. Philip. The squall immediately ceased, and the sea became calm, so that their fears were appeased, though they were still very much grieved at the loss of the sailor. On a sudden they all heard a voice saying, “Do not fear, he shall be saved;” and behold on the side where they had heard the voice they saw the sailor coming, walking on the water up to the felucca surrounded by a great light, and supported under each arm by S. Joseph and S. Philip. When he had come on board the vessel it was found that he had not even wetted his shirt. The account which he gave was, that after he had fallen overboard, just as he was sinking from the violence of the storm, he heard a voice saying, “Do not fear,” and immediately he found himself supported between two old men, who brought him safely to the vessel. In the course of the same voyage they afterwards experienced the protection of these Saints on two other occasions; for having encountered fresh squalls when sailing over a very dangerous part of the sea, and having also been near falling into the hands of some pirates, they were both times delivered through the intercession of these Saints.
In the year 1644, Sister Maria Eletta Radi, of Cortona, a professed nun of the Reformed Order of S. Francis, in the Convent of S. Cosimato at Rome, and about twenty-seven years of age, had been confined to her bed for about six years by a troublesome obstruction, accompanied with most intense pains in her side; she had also an excessively large tumour on her stomach, which had grown to such a monstrous size that it served her for a pillow, on which she rested her breviary or whatever book she might be reading as she lay in bed. Every time she moved she suffered intolerable pain, though she seldom stirred at all, for she believed that she had dislocated the joint of her thigh, which had brought on a confirmed and incurable sciatica; she seemed, indeed, like a corpse, deprived of the power of motion, but full of pain. This nun had a very great devotion to S. Philip amongst other Saints, and she recited daily the little corona which he had invented - “Virgin Mary, Mother of God, pray to Jesus for me,” &c., at the end of which she prayed to be allowed at least to walk with crutches, and she also made the commemoration of S. Philip in the breviary every day. On the evening of the 4th of January the pains in her stomach and side grew much worse, and she could not go to sleep till about the tenth hour of the night. Shortly after she had fallen asleep she seemed to see her mother, who had been dead five years, who, smiling on her, said, “Recommend yourself to S. Philip, and you will obtain your cure,” after which she disappeared. As she was about to recommend herself therefore to the Saint, she saw him at the foot of the bed in the dress of a priest, raised about two palms from the earth, and she exclaimed with great reverence and humility, “O my Blessed S. Philip, by the merits of the Passion of our Lord, and by the love which thou didst always bear and still bearest to our Blessed Lady, obtain for me, I beseech thee, this grace - that I may be able to walk a little.” The Saint hereupon stretched out his hand towards her, and at the same instant she felt her left side draw up so sharply, that she cried out with a loud voice, “Ah, my Blessed S. Philip, help me!” At this moment she awoke and found herself perfectly well, and rising up to kneel on her bed she saw the Saint disappear, but at the same time, wonderful to relate, she found herself transported before a little altar at some distance from her bed, covered only with a night-gown, barefooted, and kneeling before it with her hands clasped, and calling on the Name of Jesus. A nun who was in in the next room ran in on hearing her voice, and having heard and seen the miracle that had taken place she went and called the others, who came in and found Sister Maria Eletti standing upright on her feet perfectly strong and well; the tumour had disappeared, and all the pain was gone, and she was even cured of a deafness in one ear, from which she suffered for the last twelve months. She herself went and called all the rest of the nuns, and then they all went together to choir, where they sung the Te Deum Laudamus, and by way of rejoicing they rung the bells as though for a festival; after the Te Deum she remained in the choir in prayer for about an hour. This miracle was shown to two nuns of the same convent in a dream, at the very time when it took place, so that it was thereby rendered more striking, and the faithful were the more encouraged to cherish devotion towards the Saint, by whose intercession they may hope to obtain similar and ever greater favours.
In the month of April, 1672, Caterina Francesca Martina Barbareschi, a girl about nineteen years of age, in one of the asylums for poor women in Rome, was ill of a continued fever, with obstruction of the bowels, intense pain in the head, and great difficulty in breathing, so that she could not be down in her bed, and she began to show symptoms of dropsy; two of her ribs on the left side were thrust about an inch out of their place; she also suffered from hysterical affections, and she was unable to get out of her bed without the aid of her attendants. Several eminent medical men were consulted upon her case, and various remedies were tried, but at length her illness was declared to be incurable; and having received the Viaticum she was given over into the hands of her confessor, and every one expected that she would shortly die. It happened just at this time that another girl in the same house bought a picture of the Saint, and by the order of the superioress she carried it to the one who was sick, who had always a great devotion to the Saint, and had already several times recommended herself to him. She received the picture very joyfully, and applied it to those parts of her body where she felt the greatest pain. She instantly began to amend, and jumping out of her bed she ran up and down the dormitory crying out that she was cured; and so indeed she was; her two ribs returned to their place, and all her other ailments departed. She declared that the holy father had cured her, repeating again and again, “O my Blessed S. Philip,” and all the others running together cried out, “A miracle! a miracle!” The medical men, the confessor, and the governor of the place afterwards gave their evidence of this miracle under their own hands. Giulio Lucenti, a Roman, who became a Cistercian monk and afterwards abbot, was once when a boy playing at the top of a staircase with a knife, which he put in his mouth, and at that moment he slipped and fell down stairs, cutting his face a good deal and lacerating the uvula, and when he was picked up he was apparently dead. The neighbours came running in on hearing the screams of his mother, and the medical men having been sent for they declared that there was no hope, so that every one expected his immediate death. On a sudden the child began to revive, and eventually he recovered, contrary to every one’s expectation, though he took no other food than the blood which flowed from the wounds. He afterwards said that just after he fell S. Philip appeared to him in the dress of a priest, with a berretta on his head, and then having caressed and comforted him he cured him. In consequence of this the father and mother came barefoot to the Chiesa Nuova one evening, and hung a votive offering at the altar of the Saint.
In the same year, 1656, the plague having broken out in Italy, and especially in the kingdom of Naples, where it carried off great numbers, the fathers of the Society of Jesus sent their novices to the city of Massa, as that place had hitherto escaped the infection. But it was not long before it began to show itself there also, and some of the youths died of it. A lay-brother, named Girolamo Tavolaro, was appointed infirmarian, who had a great devotion to the Saint, and had lately read his Life. He too caught the pestilence, and having received the last Sacraments, he lay unable to take any food, and at length having lost the use of his senses every one expected that his death would shortly follow. When he was in this extremity, the holy father appeared visibly to him and told him not to fear, for that he should not die of that sickness, and that none of the novices should be attacked by the plague for the future. Girolamo immediately began to amend, and in a short time was quite well again; and the whole of the noviciate from that time forward escaped the infection. In 1669 the marquis Jassoni, ambassador at Rome from the city of Ferrara, was reduced to the last extremity by a severe illness, and had already entered into his agony, so that they had prepared the water to wash the body after death. But he suddenly recovered the use of his senses, and said that the holy father had appeared to him, and putting his hand on his breast had said to him, “My son, do not fear.” With these words he delivered him from a very great temptation that he was under, concerning the immortality of the soul, and to which he was on the point of consenting. Two days afterwards, full of gratitude to S. Philip, to the great edification of all, he yielded up his soul to God in the most perfect peace, and in complete resignation to the Divine Will.
A girl who was being educated in a girl’s school in one of the principal cities of Italy, was attacked by such a violent malady that she was given over by the physicians, and was at the very point of death. It happened that at this moment a man came to the door with some portraits of the Saints to sell, and some of the children having bought a portrait of S. Philip, they took it to the sick girl and laid it upon her, and at the same instant she was restored to health. Some years afterwards this girl resolved to become a nun and to enter the Dominican convent of S. Catherine, at a place about thirty-five miles from the city. As she was on her way thither, accompanied by several persons, an old priest of venerable aspect and of courteous manners joined their company. The girl knew him to be the holy father, but the others did not recognise him; in the middle of their journey they were overtaken by a sudden storm of thunder and lightning accompanied with very heavy rain, she thereupon begged him to bless the weather, which he did, and the sky immediately became clear, to the great astonishment of his companions. In the evening, as they were at some distance from the convent, they stopped at an inn, and although they pressed the priest to come in and sup with them, they could not by any means prevail upon him. They, therefore, asked the host to shrew them into the best room, and he replied that he would attend upon them as soon as that old priest they spoke of arrived, for he had not yet seen him. Next morning the Saint came and urged them to proceed at once on their journey, and he again accompanied them. When they had arrived at the place where the convent is situated, on going to the place where they were to be lodged, they again entreated him to remain that day with them, but he refused, saying that he had a better lodging. The girl was greatly amused at hearing their invitations, and the people of the house were greatly astonished, for they did not know who it was that was being so much pressed to stop, because the Saint was not visible to them; but he giving the girl his benediction, was no more seen. She entered the convent, where she took the name of Saint Philip Neri, After some time she was assailed by a mortal sickness, and the medical men advised that the Viaticum should be given her. But as she could not communicate because of the continual vomiting she suffered, she recommended herself to S. Philip, in order that he might obtain for her the grace to be able to communicate; and then having first tried to swallow an unconsecrated particle which she succeeded in doing, she was immediately communicated. Meantime she kept growing worse and worse, and every moment was expected to be her last, when she called for a phial which she had by her containing some oil from a lamp which burnt before the tomb of the Saint in Rome; and taking some of it on two of her fingers, she anointed herself with it, and immediately she cried out that she was cured, and at that very moment she perfectly recovered her health, just as though she had never been ill.
Agnese Silla, a Roman girl in the school of the poor mendicants, was seized in the year 1698 with such a violent contraction of the nerves of the neck, that her head was bent down on her left shoulder, and her mouth touched her breast; she suffered great pain and was unable to move her head, and the medical men despaired of curing her. While she was in this state, she conceived a most lively belief on the Vigil of the Saint, that she should be able to obtain through his intercession either her health or at least her death. The next day, therefore, she did nothing but recommend herself to the Saint, with all possible earnestness. In the evening as she was praying in a chapel belonging to the house, where there was a small wax statue of S. Philip, Caterina Alessandri, another girl in the same school, took two leaves of the roses that stood upon the altar, and placed them in the lamp which burns in the chapel, and then anointed the head of Agnese with them, which immediately began to rise a little. A priest who presided over the school was then called in, who placed the little statue upon the girl’s head, and she instantly raised her head completely; and was quite freed from all the pain and contraction of the nerves, to the great joy and astonishment of all present.
The Divine goodness which has ever continued to glorify his faithful servant Saint Philip, has been pleased to work miracles in favour of
those devoted to him in these latter days, when earthquakes have become so common in many parts of Europe. First of all, in
the year 1688, when the city of Benevento suffered so dreadfully, among those who experienced the
the Saint, was Cardinal Fra. Vincenzo Maria Orsini, the archbishop of that place, and full of the most tender devotion to S. Philip. I will relate
now this happened in the very same words which
the cardinal used in his sworn attestation, and
which he printed in the Appendix to his third Diocesan Synod. His words are as follows:
“In honour of Almighty God, of our Lady the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the glorious S. Philip Neri, I, Fra. Vincenzo Maria Orsini, of the Order of Preachers, a miserable sinner, by divine sufferance Cardinal Priest of S. Sisto of the Holy Roman Church, and unworthy Archbishop of the Holy Church of Benevento, hereby testify upon oath, circumpositis sacris Evangeliis, that when the earthquake happened in my city of Benevento, by reason of my sins, on Saturday the 5th of June, 1688, the Vigil of Pentecost, and at about an hour and a half before the Ave Maria; I was in my room at the upper part of my Episcopal Palace conversing with a gentleman of my diocese, and waiting for the bell which was to call us to the church for Vespers. My room was suddenly thrown down by the earthquake, and the floor on which I was standing was precipitated into the room below, and great part of that floor likewise gave way, so that I fell with that gentleman upon the vault of the granary, and we were both covered with the stones that fell on the top of us from the surrounding buildings; but our fates were very different, for he was killed, and I was preserved, some canes forming a roof above my head and giving me room to breathe. In the room from which I fell there was a walnut cabinet full of writings, in which I also kept wrapped in paper a number of figures, representing some of the most celebrated passages in the life of my glorious protector, S. Philip Neri, and which I intended to place in the little house I had built at Pace Vecchia, beyond the walls of my city. This cabinet fell on the weak roof of canes that defended my head, and burst open, although it was locked, and the figures of the life of the Saint came out and were scattered all around me. Under my head I afterwards found that one which represents the Saint at prayer, and seeing the Blessed Virgin supporting with her most holy hand the beam of the old church of the Vallicella, which had started from its place. A very heavy architrave of marble fell on the top of the cabinet, but notwithstanding this, during the whole time that I was buried beneath the ruins, I suffered no inconvenience from the weight or from the pressure; but I was able to repeat some prayers aloud, and I preserved my presence of mind, recommending myself constantly to God and to the Saint, and preserving a firm confidence that I should be delivered. My servants tell me that I was under the ruins for an hour and a half, but as for myself I seemed to be there but a quarter of an hour. At length Father Buonacorsi of my order, came seeking for me amid the heaps of stones, and I heard his voice, and he heard mine, though he could not distinguish my words. He and Canon Paolo Farella began to disinter me, and two others coming to help them, they at length drew me out from under the stones, and through their care and diligence in throwing down the stones that were heaped above me, neither they nor I received any injury. When I was liberated, the canon found under my head the image of my holy protector, which I have mentioned; and another person, as soon as he saw me, took up by chance one of the images that was lying near me, and gave it me to kiss; I found that it was the image representing the Saint raising Paolo de’ Massini to life: and thus I was extricated from the ruins, and taken to a house outside the city. I had several contusions on my head and on my right foot and hand, but I never felt any pain from them; and that very evening I took the most holy Sacrament in my hand, preached to the people, and afterwards gave the Viaticum to a sick man. The only injury I received was occasioned by the quantity of dust, which made my eyes rather weak, though without giving me any pain. But my Saint was not satisfied with saving my life, but he also preserved the whole of my numerous family, although nearly the whole of my palace was thrown down by the earthquake, all the officers, ministers, bailiffs, and attendants of my court, and all my servants except a lacquey, who was out of the house at the time; and of all those who were in the palace at the time, none were killed except a few strangers who had come there on business. The Saint also preserved all the priests of the Congregation of the Mission whom I had introduced into the city, and also all my Seminarists, though the building was completely ruined; so that, thanks to my Saint, I may say quos dedisti mihi, for to him I ascribe my having been made archbishop, quos dedisti mihi, non perdidi ex eis quemquam. And thus the Saint renewed in my unworthy person what happened at Antioch in the year 587, in the terrible earthquake which occasioned the death of seventy thousand persons; for then too the bishop, Gregory, and all his attendants were preserved, though his house, like mine, was levelled with the ground. Besides this, while nearly all the public buildings of the city were thrown down, my Saint preserved the chancery, the archiepiscopal archives, the apartments of my vicar, where there was a great quantity of papers, and also the library of my metropolitan chapter, where all the most important documents connected with my Church were kept; in a word, the Saint preserved all the papers and documents that in any way appertained to the affairs of my Church. To my greater confusion the Saint afterwards continued his mercies towards me; for having gone on Friday, the 18th of this present month of June, to visit his chapel, in the church of the Fathers of the Oratory at Naples, when I came out again the scabs fell off from the wounds on my head, and all the swelling disappeared; and though on the same day there was still some matter in the wound in my eye-brow, it is now rapidly healing up through the blessing of the Saint, and I confidently hope that my Saint, qui coepit, perficiet; for although three eminent medical men, who have examined my eyes since my accident, were of opinion that they had been so injured by the lime-dust, that besides the constant running of water a little film had already formed over them, by which I should always be greatly inconvenienced, as appears from the accompanying attestation; still I had such confidence in the Saint that I refused to make use of any natural remedy, and I have to attribute my rapidly-progressing cure solely to my having touched my eyes with his relics. And although when I first entered the Saint’s chapel, on the evening of the 18th of this month, I was not able to bear the light even of a small candle, I came out holding a torch with four wicks lighted in my hand without feeling any inconvenience from it. Wherefore, in perpetual memory of this great benefit which my Saint has bestowed upon me, and to his greater glory who has worked such wonderful miracles and prodigies in the behalf of a wretched sinner like myself, and in order that the devotion of the people towards such a kind beneficent protector may every day increase, I have determined to register the above history, and to authenticate it under my hand and seal, so that no doubt may remain as to its truth. Written at Naples, in my convent of S. Catherine a Formello, on Tuesday the 22nd of June, 1688.
FRA. VINCENZO MARIA CARDINAL ORSINI,
Archbishop of Benevento.”
This cardinal did not fail to show his gratitude to the Saint in many other ways, and besides frequently visiting his tomb, he gave a thousand scudi to be expended in covering the chest containing the Saint’s body with silver ornaments. In the year 1724, after he had been raised to the chair of S. Peter, as Benedict XIII., when he was celebrating the Octave of the Feast of S. Philip in conclave with the other cardinals, on the 29th of May, he declared to them what a great devotion he bore to the holy father; and on the 17th of May in the following year he himself consecrated the altar of the inner chapel of the Saint, on which occasion he granted a plenary indulgence on that day, and a perpetual indulgence of fifty years, and as many quarantains on the anniversary to all who should visit the chapel with due dispositions. On the 1st of June, 1726, he ordered that the 26th of May, being the anniversary of S. Philip’s death, should be observed as a Feast of Precept in Rome and its district, and on the 5th of June by a special Bull he declared both the altars of the Saint privileged daily, for ever, that is, the one inside and the one outside the chapel where the Saint’s body is preserved; he also granted to all the faithful in perpetuo, who being truly penitent and having confessed, or who with a real intention of going to confession, should with due devotion visit the said chapel, and there pray to the Divine Majesty according as their devotion moved them, all the indulgences and remission of sins which those of the faithful acquire who visit the holy Sepulchre of our Lord, Mount Sinai, and all the other sanctuaries of Palestine, with the power each time to apply the said indulgences by way of suffrage to the souls in purgatory. Finally, out of his great desire to celebrate the festival of S. Philip with all possible solemnity, not content with the Chapel of Cardinals, which first began in the Chiesa Nuova in the year 1654, under Pope Innocent X., he determined to assist in person in the year 1728, and thus commenced the Papal Chapel, which has since been continued by his successors in the pontificate.
On the 14th of January, 1703, there was a severe earthquake at Norcia, which threw down nearly all the houses in the place, and killed a great many persons. The subjects of a Congregation of the Oratory, which had recently been erected there, were miraculously preserved by S. Philip. They were eight in number, seven priests and one lay-brother; and as they have published an account of the different marvellous events that took place, the story shall be here related. On Sunday the 14th of January, at about two hours of the night, there was such a dreadful earthquake in Norcia, that there was not a single house in the place that escaped destruction. The house of the Congregation was thrown down except one room, in which there was a fire, and where by the disposition of Divine Providence, Father Gaetano Gibellini the superior, Father Niccolò Quarantotti, Father Philippe Fusconi, Father Francesco Palura, Father Matteo Cianconi, Father Felice Castellani, and Giovanni Antonio Vici, the lay-brother, were all assembled warming themselves at the fire. The superior had just come in quite wet through from attending a sick man, and he therefore stopped in this room instead of going at once, as he was accustomed to do, to his room, where he would most likely have been killed, as it fell in. The others, too, were generally in their own rooms at this time; and Father Philippo Fusconi, feeling himself rather indisposed, had just asked leave of the superior to retire to his room and lie down, but he recommended him to sit up a little longer, to which he agreed. After a little time Father Gibellini got up to go to his room, and at this moment there came the shock of the earthquake, whereupon he wished to run into the next room, thinking it would be safer than the one he was in, but though he tried several times to open the door he could not do so, but at length he got it half open and was just going out, when he saw not only the ceiling, but also the roof and the walls of the next room fall in; he immediately drew back under the door-way, which had been already weakened by a previous shock on S. Luke’s day, in October the year before, and this would have fallen on him, but the beam was supported by the half-opened door. At the same time the other fathers ran under the arch of another door in the same room and loudly called on S. Philip Neri to help them; in another instant the ceiling of the room and all the beams fell in; and whereas the archway was not large enough to hold all the fathers, some planks remained suspended over their heads, serving them as a roof, all the rest of the ceiling having, as has been said, fallen to the ground. As soon as the first shock was over the fathers tried to issue forth from the house, but on trying to open the door, they found their retreat cut off, for all the other rooms having fallen in, the ruins prevented them from opening the door, They, therefore, thought of trying to get out at the window, and began to tie their girdles together in order to make a rope by which to let themselves down, but they desisted on reflecting that it would not be strong enough to bear their weight. While they were in this perplexity another shock was felt, and seeing no means of escape they again invoked the aid of the glorious S. Philip, confidently believing that as he had delivered them from the greater danger, so he would now provide them with some means of escaping from the room in which they were confined, At length F. Filippo Fusconi encouraged the others, saying, “Do not fear, my brethren, S. Philip will save us;” and he told them that the only thing to be done was to break a hole through the door, and that once done he doubted not but that they would be able to creep through. They, therefore, picked up a piece of wood and battered a hole through the door with it, but it was a work of some danger, as the architrave was rotten and threatened to fall. At length they succeeded in making a hole, and Fusconi went out first, though he was obliged to take off his gown in order to do so, because the aperture was not large enough. When he had got through he enlarged it, and then the rest came out one by one, in their berrettas and slippers, though some came out bare foot. The high wind having blown the lamp out, they lit a candle, and in order to keep off the wind, they made a kind of lantern of paper. The last one that came out was F. Matteo Cianconi, and inasmuch as the light was again blown out, he would have been left in darkness without knowing where to set his foot, had not the Saint by a fresh miracle caused the paper lantern to catch fire, and this gave light enough for them all to get out of the room, after which they found themselves standing under the open sky, for all the house was thrown down. After clambering over the ruins as well as they could in the dark, they proceeded unhurt to the great Piazza, and there they wore occupied during the whole night in going about in their slippers and with only a berretta on their heads, hearing the confessions of those who had escaped from the ruins of their houses, the rain pouring down impetuously the whole time. Father Benedetto Antonio Stefanelli, one of the priests of the Congregation, had been sent for in haste just before the earthquake to go and hear the confession of a sick man; had it not been for this, he would have been in his own room at the time of the first shock, and would thus have lost his life, for the room was entirely thrown down; in the same way he would have been killed if he had not made haste in going to the sick man’s house, for all the houses in the street through which he passed were thrown down, and the ruins quite blocked up the road. The father had scarcely set foot in the sick room, in which all the relations and the medical man were collected, than the shock of the earthquake was felt, at which they cried out, and making acts of contrition, called on him to give them absolution, which he did unica forma. The shock was now repeated a second time, and the father not being able otherwise to keep his feet, supported himself by embracing the wall at the doorway, when he suddenly felt the floor giving way beneath his feet. Upon this he cried out, “Ah, S. Philip, help us!” and the others did the same. He had scarcely done so when he found he was able to keep his footing, and not a stone nor even a piece of plaster fell either in the room of the sick man or in the one adjoining. As soon as the shock was over, he approached the sick man’s bed, gave him Sacramental absolution, and then exhorted every one to leave the house, first taking care to put the sick man in a place of safety; he was, therefore, quickly taken down into a vaulted room on the ground floor, and the father going first descended the stairs with a lantern in his hand, and on coming to the door of the house he found it blocked up with a mass of stones, occasioned by the ruin of the house opposite. Nevertheless, they walked over the ruins, and had scarcely got out into the street, when the light went out, so that he had to walk on in the dark amidst great clouds of dust, but he did not meet with any accident, and at last arrived on a neighbouring piazza, where he and the others had scarcely arrived when the interior of the house also fell down. It was very providential that the father came into that piazza, for he also was occupied during the whole night in hearing the confessions of the poor people who had escaped from the ruins. Next morning he went to the great piazza and there met with the other fathers, and they all embraced one another, and resolved to live and die children of S. Philip, to whose intercession they attributed their escape; but because the Congregation was yet nascent, and, consequently, without sufficient means, and now was deprived of its house and church, they determined to seek admittance into some other Congregation of the Oratory, desiring not only to be S. Philip’s children, but also not to be separated from each other. But the Saint, who wished them to remain at Norcia, found a way by which they might continue to live together without deserting that place; for all the members of the noble family of Senechetti having perished, except the Captain Francesco Senechetti, besides a man servant and maid-servant, he remained heir to all their possessions. The captain was buried amid the ruins, and remained beneath them the whole of that Sunday night and part of the following day, being taken out at about an hour before the Ave Maria. When he was taken out he immediately sent for Father Stefanello, his confessor, but the father was so worn out from having been hearing confessions all night long, that he sent him word that if he could conveniently find another priest, he had better make his confession to him, but nevertheless if he could not do this he was to send him word, and he would then willingly go to him. He therefore made his confession to a priest of the Scuolo Pie. By the hands of this priest he drew up his will, in which he made the Congregation of the Oratory at Norcia heir to all his possessions. It was also very wonderful, that although the roof of the church fell in, the tabernacle was found intact under the ruins; and on Tuesday morning Father Castellani went early to the church and found the pyx entire, and having consumed the most holy Sacrament he brought the pyx with him, It was also observed, that though the roof and parts of the walls of the church were thrown down, still the altar of S. Philip and his picture remained uninjured. Moreover, in a little cupboard in the sacristy the fathers had a small portion of the praecordia of S. Philip, inclosed in a gilt wooden bust, and though all the other buildings of the Oratory were thrown down, the sacristy was preserved untouched, although it joined on to the other buildings.
On the evening of the same 14th of January, 1703, Giovanni Antonio Marincei of Aquila was at the house of his godfather, at a place called Amatrice, and whilst he was standing by the fire conversing with him, and with Lorenzo Sassoli of Prato in Tuscany, the governor of the place, the first shock of the earthquake was felt. The other two took to flight, but he remained as before, close to the fire, and feeling the shocks continue, he knelt down on the hearth and placing his hands upon his head, he invoked the assistance of the Saint; at the same moment a great stone fell on his head and knocked off his cap, without doing him any injury except slightly grazing one of his fingers; and directly afterwards the whole of the chimney fell in upon him, but he again implored S. Philip to protect him, and remained unhurt, and then, he knew not how, he got on his feet and ran to the stair-head, and descended as quickly as he could; he had but just reached the door, when the stairs fell down, as did also the floor of the room in which he had been standing, and the roof of the house. Filled with gratitude at his miraculous preservation, he published wherever he went the wonderful mercies he had received through the Saint, and when he returned to Aquila he hung up a silver votive offering at the altar of the Saint, in the church of the fathers of the Oratory at that place. When the medical men advised him to be bled, to prevent any ill consequences ensuing from the fright he had been in, he would by no means hear of it, but said that the Saint who had preserved him in the first instance would doubtless not desert him now; and he was not deceived, for he was not affected by the slightest indisposition. In the year 1730, on the morning of the 12th of May, there was a second earthquake in Norcia, no less terrible than that of 1703; and this time also the fathers of the Oratory experienced the evident protection of S. Philip, for although the roof of the church, as well as that of the house fell in, yet not one of them perished, although the roofs fell in upon them, and one of the fathers fell from the top of the house into the midst of the ruins, so that they returned thanks to God and to S. Philip, to whose intercession they acknowledged that they owed their preservation.
In the house of the fathers of the Scuole Pie, otherwise called the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God at Florence, beyond the Porta di’ S. Gallo, and which is called by the name of Santa Maria del Suffragio al Pellegrino, there is a chapel dedicated to S. Philip, who is the protector of that house. On the evening of the 4th of July, 1730, a principal beam of the roof over this chapel fell and broke down the whole of the ceiling. That very day eight workmen loaded with heavy burdens had walked backwards and forwards on that same beam, which was then observed to be rotten, and it was a miracle that it did not break down under their weight. Only an hour before all the religious were assembled in the chapel, to recite, according to their custom, the Litany of the Saints, and at the moment when the roof fell a novice, named Filippo di San Filippo Neri, was coming out of his room, which opened into the chapel, when he heard the noise and just drew back in time. The religious, and especially this novice, considered that they owed it to their holy protector that this accident had happened without any one being injured; and what tended the more to confirm them in this opinion was the fact, that immediately after the roof fell, a bell, which was used to call the novices to their devotions, was heard to ring four distinct times, though no one touched it, as if by this sign the Saint had wished to call them to render thanks to God for the miraculous preservation which he had obtained for them. At Fragneto di Monteforto, in the diocese of Benevento, a terrible shock of an earthquake was felt on the morning of the 29th of November, 1732, which laid in ruins the cities of Arianoand Avellino and other neighbouring places. Niccolo Orlando and Angelica Pellegrino, his wife, were in bed at the time, and being awakened by the shock they invoked the aid of S. Philip, their especial patron, whose portrait they had hanging on the wall of their room, and they had a relic of him, namely, a piece of one of his shirts, in a little box in the room. In another instant the house fell down, and they found themselves and their bed thrown into the middle of the street and covered with ruins. After about half an hour Niccolò managed to extricate himself, and he found that he had escaped unhurt, and on looking for his wife he found her under the ruins also quite unhurt, except a slight graze. On looking up to where their house had been, they saw that nothing was standing but the wall on which was the picture of S. Philip, and close to it was the little box in which they kept the relic of him. At the time of, this earthquake, Domenico Antonio Tucci, a gentleman of Gaeta and then governor of Guardia Lombarda, in the province of Principato, being also in bed and perceiving the shock, immediately invoked S. Philip, a relic of whom he wore round his neck. His palace was thrown down, and half the roof of his room fell in, covering him with stones and rubbish, except his head, so that he saw his bed surrounded with great heaps of ruins. He continued to recommend himself to S. Philip, to the Blessed Virgin, and to S. Vincent, whose pictures he had hanging over his bed; and about an hour and a half afterwards he was got out by a person who was passing by and heard his voice. He found that the only injury he had received was a slight bruise on his head, and he constantly returned thanks to the Blessed Virgin, S. Philip, and S. Vincent, to whom he owed his preservation.
Giuseppo Chiarelli Pannini, canon of S. Biagio at Ceuto, was attacked in the beginning of July, 1738, by dreadful fits of convulsions, which went on for more than two months, and as he could not get any relief from medicine, his life was despaired of by the physicians. One day, while he was in this state, Father Pier Paolo Vicini, the Superior of the Congregation of the Oratory in that city, who was confessor to Paminini, thought that he would give him a small portion of the praecordia of S. Philip, some of which he had by him, to drink mixed with a little water, exhorting him to recommend himself earnestly to the Saint, to whom he had already a great devotion, and to beg him to come to his assistance. Giuseppe did so, and felt himself instantly greatly invigorated, and falling asleep he grew so much better that when the physician came, about two hours afterwards, he found him completely changed. They therefore discontinued his medicine, and in a few days he recovered his former health, to the joy and astonishment of all; and by way of thanksgiving he went and said mass at the altar of the Saint, and afterwards entered the Congregation. In 1742, Giulio Bembo, a Venetian, had his left hand very much swollen, with very sharp pains in it; he was unable to move it, but carried it for a long time in a sling, and the surgeons feared that a tumour was forming there. Going one evening to the Oratory, according to his custom, he had the sign of the cross made with the relics of the Saint over the part affected, invoking him at the same time with great faith; he then returned home and found the pain had diminished, and he was able to move his fingers, and next morning the swelling had quite disappeared, and he was able to attend to his business, to the great amazement of all who knew him.
A lay brother of the Oratory at Brescia was returning home one evening, when he was attacked on the road by an enemy of his, who levelled a gun at his breast and fired; the lay-brother thought himself killed, but getting up from the ground, on which he had fallen, he felt no pain and perceived that he was unhurt, and he found, to his great astonishment, the ball that had been fired at him in a fold of his shirt; whereupon he began to return thanks to God, who by the merits of S. Philip, one of whose children he was, had preserved him from that danger.
In the year 1703, a blind man named Giuseppe Anderlini, of Novara, was led by Andrea Rattini to the Chiesa Nuova on the Feast-day of the Saint, and as they were coming they discoursed upon his great sanctity; when they arrived at the Palazzo Origo, his companion left him for a minute sitting on the edge of the well in the portico of the palace. He unthinkingly leant back and fell down the well, running a risk of being thoroughly wetted, if not drowned. A rope was let down to him, and having tied it round his body he was pulled out by it, and was found to be quite unhurt, so that having changed his clothes he was able to proceed again on his way as if no accident had happened, and he went to the altar of the Saint to return thanks to him for his preservation. In 1773, Baldassar Sassolini, a brother of the Congregation in Rome, was preparing the collation for the others on the day of the visit to the Seven Churches, and was carrying in his hand an image of the Saint, which on that day is exposed in the sight of all the people, when he was suddenly struck by a very heavy stone which detached itself from a building and fell upon his head. Wonderful to relate, he was not injured by it; but it merely left a little mark where it hit him, and he continued the whole day to perform his different duties as if nothing had happened, acknowledging that he owed his life to the intercession of S. Philip. On the same day, when the medals were being distributed at the Porta S. Paolo, on occasion of the visit, a child about twelve years old fell down through the great crowd of people just as a cart loaded with wine was passing, and one wheel passed over his face. Every one expected that he was killed, but he jumped up again with no other hurt except that a little blood flowed from his face, which did not, however, hinder him from going on with the others, thanking God and S. Philip as he went for the mercy he had received.
In the year 1788, Count Sebastiano Crivelli, a nobleman of Uri, and who was then a boarder in the noble College of S. Francis Xavier at Bologna, recovered his health miraculously on the festival of the Saint through his intercession, as is related in an account published at the time, of which the following is an abstract. On the 6th of May, the Count Sebastiano Crivelli slipped on the lowest step of a staircase, and received a severe blow on the stomach. The place first became red and then livid, difficulty of breathing came on, his chest seemed drawn together, his saliva became tinged with blood, and finally, pure blood flowed copiously from his mouth. Medical aid was instantly called in, and he was bled twice, which had the effect of diminishing the bad symptoms, or rather of preventing them from being so apparent till the 18th of the month, when they burst out again accompanied with violent convulsions and extreme difficulty in breathing, and as on the following day he seemed still worse, the medical men began to fear that he would be suffocated in one of these fits, and the Viaticum and Extreme Unction were therefore given him. In the afternoon his pious and zealous confessor, despairing of any natural remedy, gave him benediction with a relic of S. Philip, which he afterwards hung round his neck, telling him to put his confidence in the Saint. The good youth took the relic, and with such marks of faith and devotion, that we may readily believe that he thereby, as it were, constrained the Saint to assist him. Meantime the pain in his stomach became more intense; he had also such a difficulty in breathing that he felt as if he were being strangled, and he was attacked with long and frequent convulsions, which were so violent that it required four or five men to hold him. During the intervals between the attacks he threw himself quite exhausted on the bed or on a chair as though he were dying. On the 22nd of the month, after an unusually severe attack, which caused him to utter loud screams and groans, he was left with no other sign of life than a light and irregular movement of the pulse, and he therefore was sacramentally absolved and received the Last Blessing, after which they made the commendation of his soul. Contrary to expectation, however, he slowly came to himself, and it moved every one to compassion to see how he writhed and twisted himself, owing to the intense pain he felt in his stomach, which he said made it feel as if his heart and bowels were being torn out. He consoled himself by his faith and confidence in S. Philip, and he showed how deeply this sentiment was impressed on him, even when in delirium, for he was scarcely ever out of delirium after the last attack. On the 25th of the month, which is the Vigil of the Saint, he began in his delirium to talk of his malady, but as that of a third person; for he said that the malady of Count Ioblini (another boarder in the same college, and an intimate friend of his,) was by nature incurable, but that the Feast of S. Philip was close at hand, and he was a great Saint who had worked many miracles, and could if he pleased work another now, and he hoped that he would; he at last ended by affirming positively that if he should be alive at eight o’clock on the following day, which was the Feast-day of the Saint, he should not die of that complaint, but should suddenly recover his health. Several persons who heard him afterwards gave evidence of his having uttered these words, amongst others Venturoli the surgeon. On the following morning, being S. Philip’s Day, he grew much worse, and he told his confessor that he felt in greater pain than ever, and he then asked if he might receive the Communion. His request was granted, and he received the Communion sitting on the floor, which position gave him least pain. His confessor reminded him that it was the Festival of S. Philip, on which all his devotion to him revived, and after a little, shutting his eyes he began to breathe loudly as a person does who is asleep, though he had not done so from the time of his first attack. Those who were present were greatly astonished at this sound, but it did not last long, for opening his eyes again, he cried out with a smiling face, getting up at the same time from the floor, “O God! where am I? and what are you doing to me? I am quite well now, I have nothing the matter with me!” He went to the door of his room, where he met his confessor, who was coming again to give him benediction with the relic as he had promised, and he joyfully assured him that he was perfectly cured. He said that whilst he was asleep it seemed as though a finger was moving in three different places in his inside, and that it heated up the parts that had been wounded by his fall. He declared the same thing on several other occasions. This instantaneous cure happened at about ten o’clock, at the very time when mass was being offered for him at the altar of S. Philip. It was usual for the Saint when he cured people’s diseases, in his lifetime, to touch or press the part affected with his finger. From that moment the convulsions ceased, he no longer felt any pain in his stomach, and at length every mark of the injury he had received disappeared. It was very wonderful to see the change that took place in him, for although an instant before he was so wasted and reduced from the sufferings he had undergone during the last eight days, in which time he had never slept once, and had scarcely taken any food, yet now he was as strong and lively as he was before his accident. The fame of the perfect and unexpected cure soon spread through the city, and crowds of the nobility and others came to the college, to satisfy their devout curiosity and to congratulate with the youth, who full of life and spirits received them all, related his cure, and conversed with them for several hours without feeling the least weariness; and from that day forward, without taking any farther remedies, he always enjoyed perfect health. The physicians, Gentili and Bonzi, after diligently examining the matter, decided that the cure was supernatural, inasmuch as it was instantaneous and perfect; as may be seen in the account of the case drawn up by the former, and signed with the names of both.
Gaspare Baldù, a priest of the Congregation in Venice, for three years suffered from great weakness and pains in his stomach, and about the middle of September he was attacked with an obstinate diarrhoea, which passed off into a nervous bilious colic. On the last week of November he was obliged to keep his bed, and he was so exhausted that he was unable to raise himself up without assistance, and could not sit up longer than for a few moments at a time, so that every one thought that he must die shortly. On the 27th of December a confident hope sprung up in his heart that he could obtain his cure, which he knew was impossible by natural means, if he had recourse to the intercession of S. Philip. He was very desirous to be able to assist at mass in the domestic chapel, on the first day of the new year, and to participate in the Divine Mysteries; he therefore begged the Saint to obtain this grace for him, and promised that he would in return hang up a tablet of silver at his altar. On the same day, in the evening, he felt his confidence in the Saint’s intercession so much increased that he again invoked his assistance with great faith, saying, “O Saint Philip, it is just as easy for you to obtain this grace for me to-morrow, as on the 1st of January; I wish therefore to be sufficiently well to-morrow to be able to say mass; for you too, when you were asking any grace of our Lord, used to say, ‘I wish,’ and I being a son of yours ought to imitate you.” He now fell asleep fully persuaded that he should awake free from the pain which had tormented him beyond measure for the last sixteen days and he considered that this confidence which he felt was a sure sign that his prayer would be heard. Nevertheless he had a very bad night, much worse indeed than the preceding ones. At about three hours after midnight he awoke for the last time, no better than he was on the preceding day, but if anything, with a greater headache than before. He still, however, kept repeating, half mechanically, the prayer he had made on the preceding evening, expecting with unshaken confidence that he should obtain the grace he sought. In about an hour’s time he felt himself relieved from the pains in his stomach, and afterwards the pain in his head departed, so that by about five o’clock he was entirely free from pain. His knees still remained very weak, more so than on the previous days, but he felt himself gradually cured also of this, so that after a little time he thought he should be able to get up. He experienced no difficulty in dressing, in spite of the great coldness of the morning, but he felt conscious of an unusual strength, which assured him of the grace which he had received. After having walked for some time up and down his room, at about six o’clock he left his room, and without any support he ascended the stairs, which are about seventy in number, with all the robustness of health, and before day he went into the church and heard mass, kneeling the whole time, immediately after which he said mass, and afterwards heard another, also kneeling. From that time his pulse became strong and regular, and he resumed his usual occupations, and enjoyed perfect health for about twelve years, at the end of which time God called him to Himself, by a short and rapid illness of about two days.
In consequence of all these miracles the devotion to S. Philip and confidence in his intercession increased and spread in every place, so that every one was desirous of having a relic, or a medal, or picture of him. At Rome numbers of candles were to be seen constantly burning before his tomb, which had been brought thither and offered by the piety of the people; many great and famous cities have also chosen him as their protector. The venerable arch-confraternity of the Santissima Trinità de Pellegrini, e Convalescenti, by way of acknowledging the protection from dangers which they have so frequently experienced from their holy founder, comes on the Feast of the Annunciation every year in procession, together with the cardinal protector, the Primiciero, the wardens, and the brethren in the usual red sacks, to render thanks at the Saint’s tomb, and to sing there the hymn Te Deum laudamus.
By these and many other miracles and graces it has pleased God to honour this his servant, who still continues to work them, as well in Rome as in every part of Christendom, to the great benefit both of him who receives the favour, and of those who hear of it. May it please His Divine Majesty, that through the intercession of our holy father, we his children may follow in his footsteps, and together with him enjoy the possession of eternal happiness!
Respice de coelo, Sancte Pater, ex illius montis celsitudine in hujus vallis humilitatem; ex illo quietis et tranquillitatis portu in calamitosum hoc mare, et vide illis benignissimis oculis, quibus hujus saeculi discussa caligine clarius omnia intueris et perspicis, et visita custos diligentissime vineam istam, quam posuit et plantavit dextera tua tanto laboro, sudore, periculis. Ad te itaquo confugimus, a te opem petimus; tibi nos penitus totosque tradimus; te nobis Patronum et defensorem adoptamus. Suscipe causam salutis nostrae, tuere clientes tuos; te ducem omnes appellamus; rege contra daemonis impetum pugnantem exercitum; ad te pientissime Rector vitae nostrae deferimus gubernacula; rege naviculam hanc tuam, et in alto collocatus averte omnes cupiditatum scopulos, ut te duce et directore, incolumes ad illum aeternae felicitatis portum pervenire possimus.
Bacci's Life of St. Philip, Contents Page