This story comes from Sydney, Australia. It is related by the mother of the boy, who is the recipient of the favour.
When one of our teenage sons began drinking heavily, smoking pot and being involved with a heavy metal rock band, my husband and I decided to give him over to the care of Saint Philomena, who we had heard was a patron saint of youth and a wonder worker. We had heard her story and had been impressed by the many miracles which had been attributed to her intercession.
We prayed a novena and went to our first Mass in her honour. As the Saturday night binges progressed to the whole weekend and then to week nights we decided to pray the novena continuously, imploring Saint Philomena desperately as our son’s condition continued to worsen. By this stage he would come home from work and prowl around restlessly until the phone rang and then he was out again. His pores oozed the sweet/stale smell of beer continuously.
Usually he was very gentle – even when he was drunk, but he became more agitated, blaming us for filling him with all the “God stuff” as he was growing up. This occurred on the Saturday night of the August Mass in honour of Saint Philomena. The week that followed was very distressing. He went off to work on the Friday at 5am as usual and I was surprised when he came home at 1.15 p.m. – his usual home time on Fridays, but lately he had gone straight to the pub and we were lucky to see him all weekend. My son came out of his room and put a broken CD into the bin. I was again surprised and so had a look at the title of the CD. He had dozens of heavy metal CDs. It was named “Diabolos Music.” I said, as I had often said, that means Devil’s music and that it was dangerous. Usually he would laugh if off, but this time he said “I know mum.”
He brought out the printed lyrics of the song and said that the words to this song kept going through his mind and that he felt that he was going mad, but that he was at peace now. I was almost too scared to ask him why? how? when? I just asked if he had called on God and he said “Yes.” At work that morning he had experienced an overwhelming sense of peace and love. A feeling of great burden had lifted off him. He felt the presence of a woman. He looked around but there was no one there.
My son still had the music filling his head – so I gave him a much better tape to listen to. When his mate rang that night, before he left, he asked us to pray for him and said that he would not be
late. After a couple of Rosaries and Divine Mercy Chaplets, we were disappointed as the night wore on, because our son did not turn up. Finally around 2 to 3am he came in. My husband hurried out and I started another Rosary – hoping that my husband wouldn’t ruin the obvious start that my son had made. When my husband finally came back to bed a few hours later, he said that they had been talking and praying the Rosary together.
My son had waited back to make sure that his friends got home safely. He wanted to go and tell them about his experience. They were not interested and as he listened to them, all he would hear was “hate” in their talk. That morning August the 15th was the feast of the Assumption. He went to the Sacrament of Confession and afterwards he shed many tears. Our eyes were also filled with tears of joy. He went to three of the four Masses that weekend and did so for many months after.
He has never drunk alcohol, smoked pot, nor has he listened to heavy metal rock music since that time. He threw out all his CDs and heavy metal T-shirts. His conversion was sudden. We felt that it was miraculous. He now has a great love for Jesus and Mary, for Saint Philomena, the Pope and for the Catholic Church.
Looking back now we can see the strong spiritual battle that was going on for him in those last few weeks. He even said a couple of times that he was tempted to go and kill someone. We continue to pray the novena to Saint Philomena for our son for his continuing conversion and thanksgiving and “with joy in our hearts, we will bless God who is admirable in His Saints.” Our son attended the World Youth Day in Rome. (M.W.)
Editor’s note: This conversion took place in the late nineties and is still going strong today.
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