+ According to some traditions, Helen was born in England around 250.
+ The mother of the man who would become emperor Constantine “the Great,” she became a Christian in 312, when she was already more than sixty years old.
+ Known for her simplicity and concern for the poor, she endowed many churches.
+ Helen is best known for her pilgrimages to the Holy Land where she devoted herself to building churches on the Mount of Olives, in Bethlehem, and other holy sites. She is especially honored for recovering the relics of the Holy Cross and other relics associated with the lives of Jesus and Mary.
+ Saint Helen died around 328 and was buried in the Church of Ss. Marcellinus and Peter in Rome. She is especially honored in the Eastern Church where she shares a feast with her son Constantine (who is also honored as a saint) on May 21.
For prayer and reflection
“[Saint Helen] worshipped not the wood, but the King, Him who hung on the wood.”—Saint Ambrose of Milan
On August 18 we also remember the Jesuit priest Saint Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga. Born into a poor family in Vina del Mar, Chile, he was educated by the Jesuits and felt called religious life and service of the poor. Ordained in 1933, Alberto became a teacher and friend of youth and the poor, eventually establishing hostels and shelters for homeless and abandoned children. He also wrote several books and established a journal to promote Church teachings. Saint Alberto died in Santiago, Chile, in 1952 and was canonized in 2005.
O God, the exaltation of the lowly, who willed that blessed Helen should excel in the beauty of her charity and patience, grant, through her merits and intercession, that, carrying our cross each day, we may always persevere in love for you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For a Holy Woman)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.