18 August: St. Helena, a book recommendation, and a shout out

Even as tropical storm Helene churns upon itself over the waters, I noted today in the appendix of my 1962 Missale Romanum that for 18 August there is a formulary for Mass in honor of St. Helena, mother of Constantine.

Turning to the 2005 Martyrologium Romanum we find:

4. Romae via Labicana, sanctae Helenae, matris Constantini imperatoris, quae singulariter studuit egenos iuvare et pie mixta turbis ecclesias adire atque, Hierosolymam peregrinata, ut Christi Nativitatis, Passionis, et Resurrectionis loca investigaret, praesepe crucemque Domini venerandis basilicis honoravit.

If you are interested in reading a fascinating book about Constantine, which also necessarily concerns his mother Helena, try the excellent Constantine: Roman Emperor, Christian Victor by Paul Stephenson. (Kindle version HERE. UK book HERE. UK paperback HERE.)   It is well worth your time.  The book was originally suggested to me by His Hermeneuticalness himself!

So… who will give us their flawless and yet elegant rendering of the Latin into English?

And for my good friend Fr. Pasley, happy feast of St. Agapitus!

Parents or parents to be: Consider naming your next boy child “Agapitus”.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Tom in NY says:

    4. At Rome, on the Via Labicana, the feast of St. Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine. With outstanding zeal, she worked to help the needy, blended with crowds, and piously to establish churches. Also, having journeyed to Jerusalem, so that she could investigate the places of Christ’s Birth, Passion and Resurrection, she highly honored the Lord’s Cross with a basilicas for its veneration.”
    Salutationes omnibus.

  2. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    I also can recommend Stephenson’s nook. I add Peter Brown’s The World of Late Antiquity. When I went to grade school, European History (a.k.a. “Western History”) was divided in to Ancient (ending with the supposed “Fall of the Roman Empire” in a.D. 473), Medieval, and Modern. In the last forty years there has been, to coin a phrase, a “paradigm shift”. Now it’s proper to speak of Late Antiquity between Ancient and Medieval.

    I’m not happy with the term “Late Antiquity”.[It is mainly a term used in a secular approach to the period. It is common to writing and research related my field, Patristic Theology.] It really ought to be called “The Byzantine Age”, an age beginning with “The Crisis of the Third Century” and ending — and I’m alone in this opinion — with the Cluniac Reforms and the coronation of Otto I as Holy Roman Emperor. And I have a German Friend who says the Roman Empire didn’t end until a.D. 1806.

  3. yatzer says:

    With all the august recommendations, I am eager to read this book. My funds for buying books are limited, but I found it listed at my local public library and have made a request. Just a thought for others who may want to read it and have similar restraints.

  4. Animadversor says:

    My inaugust recommendation would be Waugh’s Helena; he is said to have considered it his best novel.

  5. Andrew says:

    praesepe, is (n) = manger

  6. cumecclesia says:

    Yes, Evelyn Waugh’s Helena is terrific. I read over again and again the chapter titled “Epiphany” which beautifully presents the long and tedious journey to the Truth this glorious saint was able to make. A journey made in the midst of the challenges living in imperial Rome–similar to the difficulties of living in the secular society of today. Saint Helena, pray for us!

  7. mamajen says:

    Since I was not named after a saint, the priest who baptized me said that Helena would be “my” saint because her name is similar to my middle name. I read about her in my children’s book of saints and loved her story. Will definitely put that book on my list.

  8. BillyT92679 says:

    Constantine himself is esteemed quite highly. The Eastern Catholics (not just the Orthodox) venerate him as a Saint.

    He isn’t in the Roman Martyology though right? I guess his cult is just local.

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