Feastday: November 14
GERTRUDE was born in the year 1256 at Eisleben in Germany, to a
noble Saxon family, and placed for education when she was five, in the abbey of Helfta in Saxony. Her strong mind was carefully
cultivated, and she wrote Latin with unusual elegance and force; above
all, she was perfect in humility and mortification, in obedience, and in
all monastic observance. Her life was crowded with wonders. She has in
obedience recorded some of her visions, in which she traces in words of
indescribable beauty the intimate converse of her soul with Jesus and
Mary. Gertrude had her first vision of Christ at the age of
twenty-six. Her mystical experiences are recorded in her Book of
Extraordinary Graces. She joined St. Mechtilde in
writing prayers to spread devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
She was gentle to all, most gentle to sinners; filled with devotion
to Saints of God, to the souls in purgatory, and above all to the
Passion of our Lord and to His sacred Heart. She ruled her abbey with
perfect wisdom and love for forty years. St. Teresa of Avila sought her
intercessory prayer often. Her life was one of great and continual
suffering, and her longing to be with Jesus was not granted till A.D.
"Lord, you have granted me your secret friendship by opening the
sacred ark of your divinity, your deified heart, to me in so many ways as
to be the source of all my happiness; sometimes imparting it freely,
sometimes as a special mark of our mutual friendship. You have so often
melted my soul with your loving caresses that, if I did not know the
abyss of your overflowing condescensions, I should be amazed were I told
that even your Blessed Mother had been chosen to receive such
extraordinary marks of tenderness and affection"
(Adapted from The Life and Revelations of Saint Gertrude).