Nov. 16 Saint Gertrude the Great
Irapuato 15/11/2010 23:45:57
Reflection for 11/16/09 www.apostleshipofprayer.org Saint Gertrude the Great (or Saint Gertrude of Helfta) (Italian: Santa Gertrude) (January 6, 1256 – ca. 1302) was a German Benedictine, mystic, and theologian. She is recognized as a saint by the Ro … [More]
Nov. 16 Saint Gertrude the GreatReflection for 11/16/09 www.apostleshipofprayer.org Saint Gertrude the Great (or Saint Gertrude of Helfta) (Italian: Santa Gertrude) (January 6, 1256 – ca. 1302) was a German Benedictine, mystic, and theologian. She is recognized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, and is inscribed as "Saint Gertrude" in the General Roman Calendar, not as "Saint Gertrude the Great", for celebration throughout the Latin-Rite Catholic Church on November 16. Gertrude was born January 6, 1256, in Eisleben, Thuringia (within the Holy Roman Empire). Nothing is known of her parents, so she was probably an orphan. As a young girl, she joined the Benedictine monastery of St. Mary at Helfta, under the direction of its abbess, Gertrude of Hackeborn. She is sometimes confused with her abbess, which is why she is often depicted in art incorrectly holding a crosier. Some scholars refer to the monastery as Cistercian, since it was founded by seven sisters from the Cistercian community of Halberstadt. However, it could not have had this status officially since it was founded in 1229, the year after the Cistercian men decided they would sponsor no more convents. She dedicated herself to her studies, becoming an expert in literature and philosophy. She later experienced a conversion to God and began to strive for perfection in her religious life, turning her scholarly talents to scripture and theology. Gertrude produced numerous writings, but only the Herald of God's Loving-Kindness, partly written by other nuns and formerly known as her Life and Revelations, and the Spiritual Exercises remain today. She had various mystical experiences, including a vision of Jesus, who invited her to rest her head on his breast to hear the beating of his heart, and the piercing of her heart with divine love. St Gertrude died at Helfta, near Eisleben, Saxony, around 1302. Her feastday is celebrated on November 16 or 17, but the exact date of her death is unknown; the November date stems from a confusion with Abbess Gertrude of Hackeborn. Though St Gertrude was never formally canonized, nevertheless she received equipotent canonization, and a universal feast day was declared in the year 1677 by Pope Clement XII.