Feast Day: Sister Helena of Mary, O.Carm.

Back to Events

August 18 is the feast of St. Helena. She is my patron saint and so I would like to pay her tribute even though she is not liturgically mentioned in the current Roman Catholic calendar. There are many versions of St. Helena's story especially her origins. I love her story, her total dedication to Christianity and her legendary reputation of finding the True Cross of Crucifixion. I was delighted to know the significance of this name in my religious life. I had no idea that St. Helena had a lot more connection with the Carmelites than I originally thought. Tradition affirms that the Empress Helena constructed a monastery in honor of Elijah on Mount Carmel. The site which it arose seems to be that of the present lighthouse, on the terrace of the Head of Carmel, as might be attested by some archaeological finds held to be from the Late Empire, after Justinian.  St. Helena also established the Holy Sepulcher Rite used by the Carmelites during their stay in the Holy Land. It was also pointed out to me by a Carmelite Nun that "Helena" in Greek means "light." Therefore, my religious name means "Light of Mary" (Helena of Mary). I wrote this reflection when I was still a Novice and it expresses my sentiments to my Patron Saint.

Saint Helena of the Cross,
Your story's seldom told.
The wonders you accomplished,
Telling signs of God's goodness.

Burning love for Christ you founded,
Wondrous churches to be marveled.
Proofs of love and burning zeal
Of a woman so enamored.
You found your throne of royalty,
In your ardent soul of charity.

Inn-keeper's daughter of station low,
Did not hide the beauty of a soul aglow.
Roman officer's gaze on you bestowed,
Took you in marriage of a moment's bliss,
Only to leave you in utter brokenness.

But Providence declared you be Queen,
Anointing your son, the Great Constantine.
Defending your land from enemies around,
Vision of the Cross displayed on the clouds!
"By this you shall conquer" the promise rang out.
Marching to the banner, full of courage, a crusader,
Opened up the gates for Christianity to enter.

In the silence of your royal chamber,
resting content in your slumber.
It came to you as in a vision.......
Wooden cross of Christ's redemption.

This vision set you off on a mission,
to find the Cross of crucifixion.
Scoured the earth with earnest passion,
Until one day such revelation,
went beyond your expectation.
Lo behold before your eyes,
the Cross of Jesus Crucified!

Saint Helena of the Cross,
Grant me share of your passion rare.
Fill my heart with ardent zeal,
to find Lord Jesus who is always near.

Obtain the grace the cross embrace,
I rise and fall to its transforming weight.
Armed with faith and love for him,
be always ready, always willing to begin .
To give him proofs of faith, hope,charity,
Guiding my way to eternity.

When work is done and evening's here,
I'll lay my arms,in confidence steer.
Lo, behold before my eyes,
The eternal triumph of the Christ!
Who long ago was crucified!