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Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Saint Helena, Roman Empress, Mother of Constantine. Our 46th Great Grandmother

St. Helena, our 46th Great Grandmother
Her Catholic Feast Day is August 18th.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello to Everyone,
Tis gloomy outside. Rain again and low gray clouds swirl around the Fortress up on the mountainside. I sit by my reading lamp to write tonight's post on our 46th Great Grandmother, St. Helena. She was the mother of the Emperor Constantine (see the post of May 10th)

The Empress Helena was one of history's remarkable women. We owe her a great debt of gratitude for her work to uncover the history of Jesus in Jerusalem and her work to establish Christianity as the Roman religion.

St. Helena was the daughter of an innkeeper in England, and despite her lowly station, was married to Constantius Chlorus, a Roman general. They had one son, Constantine. After 22 years of marriage, her husband was named Caesar under Emperor Maximian, and immediately divorced Helena to marry Maximian's stepdaughter for political gain. Fourteen years later, Constantius died, his son was proclaimed Caesar, and 18 months later, Emperor. Constantine made up for the neglecte his father paid to St. Helena, ordering all honor be paid to the mother of the sovereign. She converted to Christianity about the same time, when she was 63 years old, in the years 312-313.

It was her son who issued the now famous "Edict of Milan", permitting Christianity in the Empire. Constantine sent his mother Helena to Jerusalem to try to find the cross on which our Lord was crucified. When she arrived, she bade all the Jewish Rabbis of the whole land gather to meet her. Great was their fear. They suspected that she sought the wood of the cross, a secret which they had promised not to reveal even under torture, because it would mean the end of Jewish supremacy. When they met her, sure enough, she asked for the place of the crucifixion. When they would not tell, she ordered them all to be burned. Frightened, they delivered up a man named Judas (not Iscariot), saying that he would tell. She gave him his choice of telling or dying by starvation. At first he was obstinate, but six days of total abstinence from food brought him to terms, and on the seventh he promised. He was conducted to the place indicated, and in response to prayer there was a sort of earthquake, and a perfume filled the air which converted Judas. There was a temple of Venus on the spot, which the queen had destroyed. Judas set to digging vigorously, and at the depth of twenty feet, found three crosses, which he brought to Helena.

The true cross was tested by its' causing a man to rise from the dead, or according to others, by healing a woman, or according to others, by finding the inscription of Pilate. After an exceedingly vigorous conversation between the devil and Judas, the latter was baptized and became Bishop Cyriacus. Then Helena set him hunting for the nails of the cross. He found them shining like gold and brought them to the queen, who departed, taking them and a portion of the wood of the cross. She brought the nails to Constantine, who put them on his bridle and helmet, or according to another account, two were used in this way, and one was thrown into the Adriatic Sea.

At 80 years old, St. Helen went to Palestine where she found the True Cross. She built Churches in Bethlehem, Egypt, the Mount of Olives, and Mount Calvary, and died in Palestine during these activities.

St. Helena's Mausoleum

St. Helena's Chapel in Jerusalem

She was buried in a mausoleum attached to the basilicas of Sts. Marcellinus & Peter. Her remains are now located in the Vatican Museum. Although St. Constantine does not appear on the Roman calendar, he is recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church.

Statue of St. Helena at the Vatican

Relationship Line

46th Great Grandmother Empress Helena and Emperor Constantius Chlorus
to
45th Great Grandfather
Constantine and Fausta
to
The Elder Theodosius
to
Honorius the Emperor of Western Rome and Maria
to
Flavius Eparchius Avitus and Clodereius Avitus
to
Papianilla of Rome and Ferreolus Tonantius
to
Miss Tonantius and Sigimaerus I Bishop of Auvergne
to
Ferrolus Duke of Moselle and Wambertus Duchess of Moselle
to
Ausbert of the Moselle and Berthe Queen of Kent
to
Arnoldus of Saxony and Oda De Savoy
to
Ansigisen Mayor of the Palace of Austriasia and Beggue of Landen
to
Pepin Li D’Heristal and Adpaide Concubine of Austrasia
to
Charles Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia and Rotrude Duchess of Austasia
to
Aldane (Aude) d’Heristal and Theuderic Duke of Toulouse.
to
Comte William Toulouse and Waldrate de Hombach
to
Cunigunde De Gellone and Bernard Di Italia King of Italy
to
Pepin II De Vermandois, Count of Senlis and Countess of Vermand
to
Hubert Count of Senlis and Countess de Senlis
to
Sprote De Bretagne and Longsword William
to
The Fearless Richard I, Duke of Normandy and Gonnor De Crepon
to
Richard Il “The Good” Duke of Normandy and Papie Duchess of Normandy
to
Guilaume De Normandie and Miss De Ponthiue
to
Leceline and Baron William Pantulf I
to
Robert Pantuff and Wife
to
Ivo De Pantulf 3rd Baron and Alice Verdon
to
Emma Pantuff and Robert Corbet Baron of Caus
to
Margaret Corbet and Prince Owain Gruffydd of Powys
to
William De La Pole and Elena Rotenhering
to
John De La Pole and Mabilla De La Poyle
to
Margaret De La Pole and John De Gaynesford
to
John Gaynesford and Christina
to
Sir John Gaynesfor and Margaret Elizabeth
to
Margaret White and John Kirton
to
Stephan Kirton and Margaret Offley
to
Helen Kirton and Richard White
to
Robert White Jr and Bridgett Algar
to
John White and Lucy White
to
Ann White and William Thompson
to
John Thompson and Sara Woodman
to
Sarah Thompson and Samuel Hill
to
Benjamin Hill and Betsey Dudley
to
Betsy Hill and Nathaniel Dearborn
to
Deborah Dearborn and Phinas Swift
to
Almira Swift and Joseph McCrillis
to
Isabel Deanora Helgerson McCrilles and John Mayberry Dennis
to
Vesta Althea Dennis and Walter Edwin Pierce
to
Violet May Pierce and Walter Albert Mattson
to
Luella, John, Linda, Marvin
to
US

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