Blessed Helen Enselmini

Blessed Helen Enselmini
(Beata Elena Enselmini)

Feast Day – November 3

Helen, a member of the ancient noble family of the Enselmini, was born in Padua in 1208. Early in life she entertained an ardent desire to become a bride of Christ; and so, when St Francis established a convent of Poor Clares in her native city in 1220, she received the habit of St Clare from the hands of St Francis himself. St Anthony of Padua was her director, and under his guidance the young novice advanced rapidly in religious perfection.

In order to purify His spouse thoroughly, Our Lord began to send her grievous and painful maladies when she was but eighteen years of age; she became lame, blind, and dumb, and remained thus until her death. She bore this trial with heroic constancy and perfect surrender to her suffering and crucified Savior. Blessed Helen was afflicted with sickness that the power and grace of God might be made manifest in her, and her virtue might be proved in patience.

But as a recompense, Blessed Helen Enselmini was also strengthened and enlightened by abundant heavenly consolation. In spirit she saw the glory of the blessed in heaven, especially that of our holy Father St Francis and all the religious who were faithful to their vocation. God permitted her also to behold the sufferings of the souls in purgatory, in order to encourage her to pray the more zealously for them and to bear her own sufferings with still greater patience.

Finally, on November 4, 1242, God called Blessed Helen Enselmini to her eternal home. She was thirty-four years old, and had spent twenty-two years in the convent. Her body has remained incorrupt to the present day, and numerous miracles have been wrought at her intercession. Pope Innocent XII approved the public veneration given to her since her death.

Prayer of the Church:

O God, Thou strength of those who are in health and remedy of the sick, who didst adorn Thy virgin, Blessed Helen, with marvelous strength in illness and with innocence of life, grant us at her intercession patiently to endure sickness and vicissitudes, to amend our lives and attain to everlasting happiness in heaven. Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

From: The Franciscan Book of Saints, Marion A. Habig, OFM

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