St. Helena was the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great and an Empress of the Roman Empire.
Despite her poor background, Helena married Constantius Chlorus. With him she birthed her only son, Constantine, around the year 274.
Constantine was forever loyal to his dear mother, whom he loved very much. Following the death of Constantius in 308, Constantine became Emperor and Helena received the title of Augusta or Empress.
Through her son’s influence, Helena began to embrace Christianity.
Between the years 326-328, Helena took a trip to the Holy Places in the Middle East. She had many churches constructed there, including one at the site of Jesus Christ’s birth and another at the site of his ascension.
Helena had the temple dedicated to Venus at the site of Jesus’ death destroyed and chose a spot in this location to be excavated, leading to the discovery of three crosses.
Tradition says Helena brought a woman near death to the crosses. The woman placed a hand on all three crosses.
Nothing happened when she touched the first two crosses, but when she placed her hand on the third cross she suddenly recovered. Helena declared the third cross to be the True Cross. At this site, Constantine ordered the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to be built.
St. Helena died around 330 with her dearly devoted son by her side.
She was renowned for helping not only individuals, but entire communities through her works of charity. St. Helena was a very devout servant of God and through her influence and work, Christianity continued to spread throughout the known world.
St. Helena is the patron saint of new discoveries and her feast day is celebrated on August 18.