Benedictine Nun, Scholar, and Mystic – (1256-1302)
+ Gertrude was born in Saxony. At the age of five she was placed under the care of the Benedictine nuns at Helfta, where she would later come a religious.
+ A gifted woman, Gertrude enjoyed studying Latin and literature, as well as music and painting.
+ When she was twenty-five, she experienced a profound conversion and resolved to follow God more closely. Dedicating herself to the study of Scripture and the texts of the liturgy, she also frequently read the writings of the Fathers of the Church.
+ Saint Gertrude’s writings show that she had a great devotion to the Passion of Christ and the Eucharist, which was a great source of consolation for her throughout her life. She was also among the first of the mystics to promote devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
+ Saint Gertrude died in 1302 and her name was added to the Roman Martyrology in 1678, although there was never a formal process of canonization. She is honored as the patron saint of the West Indies.
On November 16, the Church also marks the commemoration of Saint Margaret of Scotland. The wife of King Malcolm III, she was a devotion mother to her eight children and also showed a special care for the poor. She used her position as queen to help promote reform within the Church. She died in 1093 and was canonized in 1250. She is honored as one of the patron saints of Scotland.
“May my soul bless you, O Lord God my Creator, may my soul bless you… Your generous care for your daughter has been rich in mercy; indeed it has been immeasurable, and as far as I am able I give you thanks.”—Saint Gertrude the Great
who prepared a delightful dwelling for yourself
in the heart of the Virgin Saint Gertrude,
graciously bring light, through her intercession,
to the darkness of our hearts,
that we may joyfully experience you present and at work within us.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.