Guerra, Elena, Bl.

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Foundress of the Oblate Sisters of the Holy Spirit; b. Lucca, Italy, June 23, 1835; d. there, April 11, 1914. Elena was born of a wealthy, pious family and was educated privately. From an early age, she was active in works of charity. Eventually, she grouped a number of young girls into an association following a common life, calling it the Pious Union of Spiritual Friendship. From these disciples she chose the first members of her congregation, established in 1872 in honor of St. zita and dedicated to the spread of devotion to the Holy Spirit. The institute received the approval of the Holy See in 1911 as the Oblate Sisters of the Holy Spirit, but it is more commonly known as the Sisters of St. Zita. In her efforts to promote devotion to the Holy Spirit, Elena wrote frequently to Pope leo xiii, whose brief of May 5, 1895, and encyclical, Divinum illud munus (1897), rewarded her efforts. Elena wrote some short devotional works and was the teacher of St. Gemma galgani. Elena was beatified April 27, 1959.

Feast: April 26.

Bibliography: p. scavizzi, E. G., apostola dello Spirito Santo (Lucca 1939). l. cristiani, Apôtre du Saint-Esprit (Paris 1964). i. tubaldo, A ação do Espírito Santo segundo Helena Guerra (Belo Horizonte 1964). d. m. abbrescia, Elena Guerra: profetismo e rinnovamento (Brescia 1974). Acta Apostolicae Sedis 51 (1959) 337342.

[f. g. sottocornola]