The Sainte-Catherine Church could no longer accommodate a once again growing population. Abbot Bovis, curate of Le Cannet, therefore decided to build a larger and brighter one.

Many Cannettans offered money or donations, but the town refused to contribute to the endeavour. Abbot Bovis therefore embarked on a tour of France in order to collect the necessary funds. On his return, he received a plot of land in the town centre. Construction work began on the 1st of October 1877, still without the approval of the local authorities.

Open for worship on the 2nd of April 1882, but only consecrated as a parish church in 1907, the building was christened Sainte-Philomène. This name was suggested to Abbot Bovis by Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney, known as the Curate of Ars, upon his return from a trip to Italy. The latter worked to spread throughout France the worship of Sainte-Philomène, only saint to be canonised with no historical knowledge of her life. According to tradition, she was found dead in Rome in 275 C.E. Her remains were discovered in 1802 in the town's catacombs, and are said to have caused many miracles.