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).
Our Lady of Mantara / Our Lady of ‘Awaiting’, Maghdouché, Sidon, South Governorate, Lebano,, 1721 – 11 June, 8 September:
While Jesus preached in Sidon, Mary is said to have waited here in the cave of Mantara (“awaiting” in Arabic). Emperor Constantine’s wife Helena replaced a pagan shrine with one to the Holy Mother, donating to it an Icon and Altar furnishings. Three centuries later, after takeover by an intolerant Arab ruler, Christians sealed the cave and fled Maghdouché. In 1683, descendants of the exiles returned to their homeland under the inclusive Prince Fakhreddin II. On 8 September 1721, when a goat fell through a gap in the porous limestone, its young herder made a rope from vine twigs, tied it to a tree and followed the animal into the hole but the rope broke. The boy fell into the darkness, where eventually he made out the golden glimmer of an Icon of the Madonna and Child. On seeing the image, the Melkite Catholic clergy recognised it as St Helen’s Icon.
Christians now celebrate its rediscovery annually on 8 September, Feast of the Virgin’s Birth. A Cathedral was added to the site in 1860 and a modern tower topped with a bronze Statue in the 1960s.
On 11 June 1911, some 400 people saw a silent, luminous apparition of the Madonna and Child near the cave. Our Lady of Mantara is invoked for the healing of eye diseases and the protection of children, so the Shrine is a popular site for infant Baptisms.
Bl Kasper of Grimbergen St Maximus of Naples St Parisius St Paula Frasinetti St Riagail of Bangor St Tochumra of Kilmore St Tochumra of Tuam — Martyrs of Tavira – 7 beati: Members of the Knights of Santiago de Castilla. During the re-conquest of the Iberian peninsula from the Muslims by Christian forces, in a period of truce between the armies, the group was allowed to leave the Portuguese camp to hunt. Near Tavira, Portugal, he and his companions were ambushed and killed by a Muslim force. Making a reprisal attack, the Portuguese army took the city of Tavira. The murdered knights were considered to be martyrs as they died in an action defending the faith. They were – • Blessed Alvarus Garcia • Blessed Beltrão de Caia • Blessed Damião Vaz • Blessed Estêvão Vasques • Blessed Garcia Roiz • Blessed Mendus Valle • Blessed Pedro Rodrigues They were martyred in 1242 outside Tavira, Faro, Portugal. Their relics are enshrined under the altar of Saint Barnabas in the Church of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels (modern Santa Maria do Castelo) in Tavria
Mercedarian Martyrs of Damietta: Three Mercedarian lay knights who worked to ransom Christians enslaved by Muslims. During the 7th Crusade, a plague swept through the Christian army and these knights volunteered to work with the sick. During this work they were captured by Muslims and ordered to convert to Islam; they refused. They were tortured, taken to Damietta, Egypt where they were murdered for their faith. They were thrown from a tower in the mid-13th century in Damietta, Egypt.