Weninger’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Helena, Empress

detail from 'Saint Helena'; by Cima da Conegliano, c.1495Article

Saint Helena the spouse of Constantine Chlorus, and mother of Constantine the Great, is one of the most celebrated Catholic empresses. It was greatly due to her influence that her son Constantine became converted to the Christian faith, built so many churches to the honor of the Almighty, and not only fearlessly protected the Christian faith, but spread it through many countries. By divine inspiration, she went to Jerusalem, to visit the Holy places, and seek the cross on which our Saviour had. died. She happily succeeded in finding the cross, though not without great hardship. She erected many magnificent temples in. the Holy Land and endowed them richly. She visited the virgins who had consecrated themselves to God; lived for sometime among them, and poorly clad, she served them at table, and performed, with most edifying humility, the most menial labor. She was excited to this by the great reverence she entertained for those virgins, in each of whom she recognized a handmaid of the Most High, and a spouse of Christ. The amount of alms which the pious empress gave to the poor, not only in the Holy Land, but wherever she went, is incalculable. When she returned to Rome, she continued her saintly life, and was a model to all of Christian perfection. In the eightieth year of her life, it pleased the King of kings to call the holy empress to receive the crown of a kingdom of which there is no end, She carefully prepared, for death, and having given her last instructions to her son and to all about her, she committed her soul, with the most devout prayers, into the hands of the Almighty.

Practical Considerations

Saint Helena passed her whole life in holy works, agreeable to God, as visiting the holy places, building magnificent temples, giving alms, and persuading her son, the emperor, to become a Christian and protect the Catholic faith. Oh, how great a consolation must be his, who, when dying can look back on a well spent life! How great must be the grief and fear of him who is obliged to confess: “My days have fled away and have seen no good!” (Job 9) If you would act prudently, seek to obtain that which will afford you consolation in your last hour.

MLA Citation

  • Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “Saint Helena, Empress”. Lives of the Saints, 1876. CatholicSaints.Info. 9 April 2018. Web. 16 February 2019. <>