Mother of Constantine, the Emperor of Rome, St.
Helena was born into a poor family and was probably
a stable-maid. She became the wife of Constantius.
Constantius saw Helena as his soul-mate sent by
God. As Constantius rose in political power he felt
it necessary to obtain a wife more suitable to his
position and divorced Helena. Helena and her son,
Constantine I, were very close. In 306 Constantine
became Emperor of Rome and brought Helena back
to public life in the imperial court.
St. Helena is credited with discovering the True
Cross in Palestine as she traveled seeking out
Christian holy sites and relics, building churches
and providing for the area’s poor. Tradition says the
site of the Vatican Gardens was spread with earth
brought from Golgotha by Helena to symbolically
unite the blood of Christ with that shed by thousands
of early Christians persecuted by Nero. Helena was
known for her virtue of piety not only in the Catholic
Church but also in the Anglican, Lutheran, Coptic,
Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches.