Saint of the Day

April 23: Blessed Helen of Udine

If you enjoy this daily blog of lesser-known saints, see my book, which contains short biographies of saints for every day of the year.

Blessed Helen (1396-1458) was the happy wife and mother of a large family in northern Italy when her husband died. This great loss struck her deeply, and she decided to live a penitential life as a tertiary of the Hermits of Saint Augustine.

Though she continued to live in the family home with her family and servants, her life was otherwise greatly changed. She took a perpetual vow of silence (except on Christmas night), prayed, fasted, and performed works of charity. While her spiritual life was filled with joy and ecstasies, she was also tempted by thoughts of suicide and unexpected “accidents”, such as falling into a river and a broken leg. At the same time, people who asked for her prayers often experienced healing. She died after an illness of three years.

Blessed Helen, show me how to turn my grief into conduits of God’s grace.