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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mugnano del Cardinale, Italy - The Shrine of St. Philomena

One of my favorite places we visited in Italy was the International Shrine of St. Philomena in Mugnano del Cardinale, Italy.  Mugnano is a tiny town located about 30 minutes outside of Naples.  We had quite a difficult time finding it, but it was well worth it.

This little town boasts a population of 4900 people.  It is very quaint and charming.  I had the chance to speak with several locals during my visit.  They were quite friendly and welcoming.  Crime is extremely rare in this area.  People leave their doors unlocked and kids can play outside without fear of being harmed.  It's that kind of place.  When we first arrived, it was on a Sunday, so many places in town were closed.  Several men from the area played card games outside of the community center located near the Shrine.  I enjoyed listening to their lively (Italian) conversation and watching their animated gestures and facial expressions.  Although I don't understand much Italian, I had a good idea of what was happening during their game.  They were quite entertaining.  I had a chance to wander around town before Mass and dinner and enjoyed finding my way around the little winding roads that make up this little town.

The Shrine itself is quite beautiful.  St. Philomena's remains are housed here; they were discovered in the catacombs of St. Priscilla in Rome in 1802, and moved here by in 1805 by an Italian priest.  Many miracles have been attributed to St. Philomena, who is known as the "saint of the impossible".  The shrine has on display numerous pictures and statues of the saint; they also have a wonderful little gift shop housed at the location.  Monsignor Giovanni Braschi presides over the shrine.  He is very kind and welcoming to visitors and he made us feel totally at home there.

We stayed the evening at the sanctuary and were served delicious homemade Italian meals made by church parishioners for dinner and breakfast.  As we were leaving the sanctuary, we witnessed the beginning of an Italian wedding ceremony.  It was such a beautiful occasion.  The church bells chimed loudly and could be heard blocks away. Ave Maria was also played from the loudspeaker of the church.   Local townspeople came out of their homes to view the arrival of the bride and her wedding party.  I was completely in awe of how the townspeople came together to acknowledge the wedding of the bride and groom.  This is truly the small town atmosphere one thinks of when they envision life in a small town.  I can't wait to go back.


Unknown said...

Hi Wanda. My husband and I will be traveling to Mugano in December. I have emailed the shrine to reserve a room at the Pilgrim House but have not gotten a response. How did you book you time there? Any help would be appreciated! Stacey

Wanda Maria Designs said...

Hi, Stacey:

Like everything in Italy, response times can be quite slow. It was like that for me when initially dealing with the shrine, as well. In fact, at first, I did not receive any response to my email request, either, so I had to telephone them for assistance. Once I made the telephone contact, they were very good about responding to my future inquiries. The Shrine employed just one or two part time workers that handled reservations at the time I was there in 2012. The one young lady I spoke with only worked 2 days a week. (She was also the only office staff that spoke some English, other than Msgr. Braschi.)

I am currently on the email list for the Shrine, and this is the email address they use: santafilomena@philomena.it
I'm not sure if this is the same one you have? In any case, I'd give them a call if you don't hear from them. I wish you the best of luck. It is a great place to visit and I look forward to returning there someday.

Unknown said...

We plan to go in Sept. Is the Pilgrim house close to the Shrine? Can you tell me what else there is to do there besides St. Philomena's Shrine? We are trying to plan how long to stay there. Thank you for any help. We are excited to go. I did not know about the Pilgrim house.

Thank you,
Kelly Molino

Wanda Maria Designs said...

Hi, Kelly:

I am so excited for you! To be honest, the town is very small and there isn't a lot to do there. When we stayed there, it was on a Sunday. Everything was closed. There are a few little shops (including a wonderful little candy shop) right around the corner from the shrine on the main street in town. But to make the most of your visit, I would strongly suggest going on any day except for Sunday. At least if you do this, you can peruse the little shops and wander around town. Have fun! :)

Unknown said...

Dear Wanda,
I was looking for information on how to visit the shrine of my patron saint St Philomena when google lead me to you. I plan to visit in September 2016. Are there accomodations within the church area ? How many people can this place accommodate? Do I just email the email address you have provided in your post?

Thank you for sharing your visit to this shrine.

Wanda Maria Designs said...

Hi, Pit:

How awesome for you! It will be the experience of a lifetime for you! The town is very small and since I mainly stayed in walking distance of the shrine, I can't recall any places to stay outside of the monastery itself. The monastery is located in the same building as the shrine. There are several rooms available. The evening we spent there, we were the only ones in the monastery. Volunteers from the church took care of us while we were there. They fixed us plentiful and delicious meals. We were able to attend a rosary and Mass at the shrine in the evening time, just before dinner. It was really beautiful. We also had quite a bit of interaction with the Monsignor there.

Yes, go ahead and email the address from my post. It may take several days for someone to get back to you because of the language barrier. At the time we visited, there was a lady that spoke English that handled information and accommodation requests, but she only worked two days per week.

I ended up calling her via telephone a couple of times for additional assistance. She was most helpful.

I hope you enjoy your visit there! Safe travels!

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for your response Wanda.
If our itinerary is limited on a one day visit does this shrine close at noon or is it open morning and afternoon?
Warm regards..

Wanda Maria Designs said...


It would be best to contact the shrine for this information in order to ensure you are getting the most up to date information. I cannot recall the hours the shrine was open when we were there, as that was almost 4 years ago. I don't want to mislead you. Please accept my apologies.

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