Wednesday, August 18, 2010

St. Helena (c.248 to Aug. 18, 330)

In my junior year of college, I got the romantic notion that I would become an archaeologist. The fantasy began a few years earlier, in the July 1982, with the release of the movie "Summer Lovers."
I wasn't so much intrigued by the American couple (Peter Gallagher and Daryl Hannah) and their threesome-type relationship with a French girl, Lina, played by the late Valerie Quennessen. I was more impressed with the scenery on the Greek island of Santorini and the exciting work that Lina did as an archaeologist.
So, I began taking courses through the anthropology department at my college in addition to the requirements that I needed to earn a B.A. in English.
Finally, in my senior year, I decided that I would get married the week after college graduation, so it wouldn't be practical for me to pursue a career as an archaeologist. Although, when I look back now, it would have indeed been a wise choice.
Then, when I found myself divorced four years later, I did get to travel to Greece and many European countries. And, on one of several trips to St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, I saw the shrine to St. Helena, the patron saint of archaeologists (pictured above).
She was born in Asia Minor c. 248 and was the consort of Emperor Constantius and mother to Emperor Constantine I. After becoming empress, St. Helena converted to Christianity and built churches in Rome, Italy.
On a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, she found the relics of the True Cross. St. Helena died on Aug. 18, 330 and today is her feast day.

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