Saint Gertrude of Helfta
1256 – 1302
Feast Day: November 16
Patron of: Nuns, Travelers, Tarragona, Spain, the West Indies
Placed in the Cistercian abbey at Helfta in Saxony at the age of five, Gertrude never left the convent. She had a phenomonal intellect and immersed herself in her studies. At the age of 25 she had a vision of Christ that changed the course of her life. She lost all interest in secular studies, concentrating instead on religious literature. Her own mystical writings influenced many future saints, and she was the first to meditate on the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Also known as “Gertrude the Great”, she received a revelation from Christ promising to free 1000 souls from Purgatory each time the following prayer si said. Since November is the month to remember the dead, this prayer is particularly apt.
Prayer of St. Gertrude the Great
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen
Image: 17th Century painting from the Cistercian Monastery in Tarragona, Spain. The words around the heart say: “You will find me in the heart of Gertrude.”