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Saint of the Day for 18 August: St Helena Empress

In Search of the True Cross and the Spiritual Legacy of St Helena


St Helena Empress


Mother of Constantine


250, Rome


329, Rome


18 August


2004 edition


Most glorious St. Helena, who had the sweet fortune of discovering the Holy Cross, on which our divine Redeemer died, witnessed by the instantaneous healing of a poor infirm woman, and who was the fortunate Mother of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, who had the beautiful vision of a mysterious cross in Heaven with the inscription: In hoc signo vinces, with which he then decorated his soldiers, deign to grant our humble prayer. So be it. Amen.

Patron saint of

Quartu Sant’Elena, Casapesenna, Rio di Pusteria, Sant’Elena, Benetutti, Tula, Gonnosnò, Cergnago, Montenars, Tiana.

Protector of

Archaeologists, converts, divorcees, empresses, difficult marriages

Roman Martyrology

In Rome on the Via Labicana, St Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, who was singularly dedicated to helping the poor; she piously entered the church mingling with the crowds and on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in search of the sites of the Nativity, Passion and Resurrection of Christ, she honoured the crib and cross of the Lord by building venerable basilicas.


The Saint and Mission

St Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, is a historical figure who combined her imperial position with a deep religious zeal, resulting in a mission that changed the spiritual geography of Christianity. Her enterprising expedition to Jerusalem in search of the True Cross revealed a determined and faith-driven woman, eager to consolidate the Christian roots of the Roman Empire.

In addition to the discovery of the Cross, St Helena promoted the building of churches in holy places, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, thus cementing a tangible link between faith and the land where Christianity was born. Her mission was not only physical or political in nature, but profoundly spiritual: through her efforts, she facilitated a pilgrimage of faith for generations of Christians, enabling them to come physically and spiritually closer to key moments in the life of Christ. St Helena’s mission demonstrates the power of action-driven faith, and how a single person can leave an indelible mark on the history of the Church.

The Saint and Mercy

St Helena is an emblematic figure not only for her relentless pursuit of the True Cross, but also for her spirit of mercy and dedication. In her life, mercy was not just an abstract concept, but a practical imperative: through her influence and resources, she supported works of charity, built churches and promoted the welfare of the needy in the Roman Empire.

Her zeal in seeking the Cross on which Jesus was crucified can be seen as an outward manifestation of her inner desire to get closer to the heart of divine mercy, represented by Christ’s sacrifice. Elena, recognising the importance of the Cross as a symbol of God’s love and redemption, wanted to share this symbol of hope with the world.

At a time when power and politics often stifled justice and compassion, St Helena stood out as a beacon of mercy. Her life is a testimony to the fact that true greatness lies not in influence or wealth, but in the ability to reflect God’s love and mercy through one’s actions.


It is impossible to speak of the first centuries of Christianity without remembering with particular affection the name of St Helena, about whom conflicting reports are found among historians. Born in Rome of pagan parents around the year 250, she immediately showed excellent qualities of wit and goodness of spirit. When she became an adult, her gentleness and…


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