Blessed Elena Guerra
April 111835-1914, Lucca, Italy
From an early age Elena was devoted to the Holy Spirit. She worked with the Vincentians, caring for the poor and the sick, studying Latin and the writings of the Church Fathers. At age 22 she fell victim to an illness that kept her bed-ridden for eight years, during which time she continued her studies.
Sister (now Blessed) Elena Guerra, is foundress of the Oblate Sisters of The Holy Spirit in Italy (Sisters of St. Zita). The Oblates continue their work today with houses in Italy, Brazil, Canada, Philippines, Lebanon and Iran. St. Gemma Galgani, whose feast day is also today, was one of Sr. Elena's students.
Between 1895-1903, Sr. Elena wrote 12 confidential letters to Pope Leo XIII, asking him to encourage greater devotion to the Holy Spirit among Catholics. As a result, the Pope published his encyclical on the Holy Spirit, Divinum Illud Munus, in 1897. He also sent a private letter to all bishops, prescribing that the Novena for Pentecost be prayed at the dawn of the new 20th century.
"Pentecost is not over. In fact it is continually going on in every time and in every place, because the Holy Spirit desired to give himself to all men and all who want him can always receive him, so we do not have to envy the apostles and the first believers; we only have to dispose ourselves like them to receive him well, and He will come to us as he did to them." - Blessed Elena Guerra
Blessed Elena Guerra, pray for us!