Mavis met one of her dearest friends, Tina, when both young women were in night school in Africa. Later they attended the same nursing school. Eventually, each got married too, and moved to the United States. "I lived in Texas and Tina settled in New Jersey," Mavis says. "My last child was born the same year as her first." Despite the distance between them and the fact that they have only met once (!) in the almost-twenty years they have lived here, they formed a strong bond and spoke to each other frequently by telephone. "Because we were educated in Africa, we had to pass state boards to be able to work here," Mavis says. "After a few tries, I passed the Boards and started working." But Tina's life at that time was difficult, with many problems, and she simply did not have the energy to study.
"Last year I called Tina one day for our usual long conversation, and we talked about all kinds of things," Mavis says. "Eventually one of us mentioned the Board Exams."
"I'm studying for them again," Tina told Mavis. "This time I have to pass! I'm not telling anyone but you that I'm taking them because it's so embarrassing to tell people that you failed....for the eighth time!"
Mavis was thinking. "I know a saint who helps people in all different situations, if you have faith in her," she said. "I'll send you her prayer."
"Who is she?" Tina asked.
"Her name is Philomena, and she's a powerful intercessor," Mavis explained. "She died when she was only thirteen, but don't disrespect her because she's so young---I've heard of many miracles coming from her. I'll put the card in the mail tomorrow."
Tina was intrigued. Could this be true? Did our loved ones in heaven help us with problems on earth? She called Mavis to thank her when the card arrived a few days later.
Four months passed, and Mavis was getting concerned. Surely Tina should have taken the tests by now. But had she failed? Was she too embarrassed to tell even Mavis? "Then one day on my way home from church, I realized that Tina had left a message on my phone," Mavis said. "I called her back and the first thing she said was, 'I passed! I'm an R.N. now!"
Mavis was thrilled. Now Tina could work in her chosen field, and life would be so much more satisfying. "How did you get through the tests this time?" she asked.
Tina had an interesting story. She had received St Philomena's prayer card and began to ask the saint to intercede for her. She also promised to fast on Fridays, and go to the Church of St Jude too. (St Jude is known as the patron of impossible cases. Tina must have been pretty down.....) But her worries continued. It had been awhile since she had taken the tests, and she wondered if the older books and material she was using were currently appropriate.
One evening about a month before the test, Tina had an urge to go to a Barnes & Noble bookstore to get an updated edition of a book. But which one? She headed over to the section where the nursing textbooks were displayed. Her heart sank. There were a LOT of books there. She had some of them, but what did she specifically need?
Just then, a beautiful young woman with long black hair came directly to Tina's side. She too was looking at the shelves of books. Finally, she reached over and took one, a book Tina had already perused and returned to the shelf a few times. "This book is very VERY good," the girl said to Tina. "Take it---it will help you."
"Well....thank you." Tina took the book and paged through it for a few seconds. It did look like it would be helpful. "I turned around to thank her, and ask if she too was studying for the nurses' exam," Tina says. "But she was gone. Although I had a pretty clear view of the area, she wasn't anywhere around." How, Tina wondered, could someone just disappear into thin air? She paid for the book and took it home.
Tina studied only the new book for the rest of the weeks before the test. It was easy to use and seemed to have all the answers she needed. When she went to take the test that morning, she asked the Lord to help her, and then answered 95 questions without a pause. "At that point the computer shut down," Tina says, "and the supervisor told me to go home. Apparently I had just about finished the test." A few days later she received a letter from the Board of Nursing that she had passed with a very good grade.
If only she could find the woman who had pointed out this helpful book, Tina told Mavis. That beautiful woman's suggestion and encouragement had been enormously helpful. "I just wonder who she was," Tina said.
Mavis laughed. "Tina, the way you've described her---and the way she helped you---who else could it be but..."
"Saint Philomena?" Tina gasped.
Today Tina is living and working in California, and the women have hopes of eventually spending some time together. Even if they cannot, they remain united in their professions, their faith and their affection for a special little saint who loves them both.
Since many have requested by emails and through phone the details and prayers of St. Philomena, the same link is given below, you may click St. Philomena