Saint of the Day – 11 June – Blessed Helen of Poland (c 1235-1298) Princess, Widow, Mother, Nun and Abbess of the Poor Clares, apostle of the poor, the needy and the sick. Born in c 1235 in Esztergom, Hungary as Jolenta Árpádházi and died on 11 June 1298 at Gniezno Poland of natural causes. Also known as – Helen of Hungary, Helena, Iolantha, Joheleth, Jolanda, olenta, Yolanda.
Jolenta was the daughter of King Béla IV of Hungary and Maria Laskarina. She was the sister of Saint Margaret of Hungary and Saint Kinga of Poland. One of her paternal aunts was the Franciscan Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.
As a young girl, Jolenta was sent to Poland to be tutored under the supervision of her sister, Kinga, who was married to the Duke of Poland. There, she was encouraged to marry Bolesław the Pious, which she did in 1257. They had three daughters:
Elisabeth of Kalisz (1263 – 28 September 1304); married Henry V, Duke of Legnica;
Hedwig of Kalisz (1266 – 10 December 1339); married Władysław I the Elbow-high, King of Poland;
Anna of Kalisz (born 1278, date of death unknown); a nun in Gniezno.
During the time of her marriage, she was noted for her great services to the poor and needy of the country, as well as being a major benefactor of the Monasteries, Friaries and hospitals connected to them. Her husband gave her so much support in her charities that he earned the nickname “the Pious.” She was widowed in 1279.
Following Boleslaus’ death, Jolenta and Kinga, along with one of Jolenta’s daughters, Anna, retired to the Poor Clare Monastery that Kinga had founded in Sandez. and here she took the name Helen. Forced to relocate due to armed conflict in the region, Jolenta founded a new Monastery in Gniezno. She was persuaded to become Abbess of the community of nuns shortly before her death.
Helen was Beatified on 26 September 1827 by Pope Leo XII (cultus confirmed).