Beyond the day the last Apostle died,
And holy martyrs all their blood supplied,
There came a girl with ashes on her brow,
Whose life with graces Heaven would endow.
Her father worked to win his wealth and worth,
But, lo, her mother died while giving birth,
And so her father married once again,
Then promptly died, producing plight and pain.
Now, if this story too familiar sounds,
It’s planted here on slightly different grounds,
For Cinderella here was Helen named,
Whose second mother’s virtues were acclaimed.
For on the farm, with furrowed pastures wide,
Her uncles strong, the girl’s well-being eyed;
Her stepmother, with patience, raised the lass,
Who fell in love with God at Sunday Mass.
And when this Beauty finally came of age,
There rolled up in a fiery equipage,
A Roman decked in Aphrodite’s charms,
And Caesar’s ensigns blazoned on his arms.
Enamored by the Liturgy she heeded,
(Which seemed to be what every Roman needed),
Constantius with Helen rode away,
Which wasn’t too uncommon in that day.
One Sunday, in the breaking of bread,
They met the Risen Lord (who had been dead),
Who found for them a quiet place to pray,
Then with His Cross, took Helen far away.
And from that day, offenses to repair,
The Sacred Wood was trusted to her care,
And with the one, and holy Virgin Mary,
His Cross was given through the world to ferry.
Now wary through the North Sea she is led,
Like Moses walked the sandy ocean bed;
And there the Woman tethered on her reel,
The loathsome dragon shattered under heel.
Then Helen found the hidden, northern bay,
And helped the line of Scyldings, to this day;
That Beowulf and Wiglaf might ensnare,
The ancient menace in its rocky lair.
Now faithful Helen is Britannia bound,
To find a king, with God’s endorsement crowned;
In Albion His sacrifice was planted,
And spread from hearth to hearth, good graces granted.
Across the sea His saving wounds soon bleed,
And further west, His voyagers to speed,
This story, I have long-desired to tell,
Those wooden ships that tilled the ocean swell.
Now Helen with the true Cross heads to Rome,
And, with Constantius, she builds a home,
And there, her son, named Constantine, is born,
Whose name the holy empire will adorn.
Now Caesar, in the far and Roman east,
Ages while his empire is increased,
And so Constantius, by Caesar favored,
Is elevated to the post he savored.
Now Constantine, who greatly feared the Lord,
Becomes the Holy Emperor adored,
And issues in His name, and by decree,
A law supporting Christianity.
So this was how the Empire, at its core,
With the Early Christians, once at war,
Was changed for good, when Helen Crossed the land,
So thank you Helen and your son’s command!