Born to wealthy, pious, aristocratic family, one of six children; only three survived to adulthood. From an early age Helen was devoted to the Holy Spirit. She worked with the Vincentians, caring for the poor and the sick, studying Latin and the writings of the Church Fathers. At age 22 she fell victim to an illness that kept her bed-ridden for eight years, during which time she continued her studies. In 1866 she founded the Society of Mary, Daughters of Saint Agnes in Lucca, Italy and became its first member; the community later became the Oblate Sisters of the Holy Spirit (Sisters of Saint Zita; Zitine Sisters) which cared for and saw to the religious education of girls. Saint Gemma Galgani was one of her students, and the Oblates continue their work today with houses in Italy, Brazil, Canada, Philippines, Lebanon and Iran.
- 26 April 1959 by Pope Blessed John XXIII
- 5,000 of her Congregation attended the beatification recognition
- “Blessed Elena Guerra“. CatholicSaints.Info. 10 April 2015. Web. 12 February 2016. <>