ST. GERTRUDE THE GREAT, ABBESS.
FEAST DAY: NOVEMBER 16TH.
GERTRUDE was born in the year 1256 at Eisleben in Germany, of a noble Saxon family, and placed at the age of five for education in the Benedictine 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 the 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 almost continual suffering, and her longing to be with Jesus was not granted till A.D. 1302.
REFLECTION.—NO preparation for death can be better than to offer and resign ourselves anew to the Divine Will—humbly, lovingly, with unbounded confidence in the infinite mercy and goodness of God.