Wednesday, November 16, 2005
St. Gertrude the Great
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Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): November 16
Double (1955 Calendar): November 16

Today is the feastday of St. Gertrude, virgin and mystic, who received visions of Christ and a prayer for the souls in purgatory. St. Gertrude also received the stigmata. Our Lord gave her a prayer for the souls in purgatory.

St. Gertrude (1256 - 1302) was raised in the Cistercian abbey of Helfta, Eisleben. She lived devoutly and spoke fluent Latin even though her health was poor. At the age of 25 in 1281 AD, she began to receive visions of Christ, where He disclosed to her the secrets of mystical union. She was extremely intelligent in her studies and a caring person. St. Gertrude helped spread devotion to the Sacred Heart as well. She died in 1302 AD, consumed with burning love for Christ. Some of her writings, such as the following, have been preserved for our edification:
"Each time a person receives Holy Communion, their place in Heaven becomes greater and their stay in purgatory is shortened." While she was meditating on The Blessed Sacrament and wondering how our Lord could bring Himself so low as to live on our altars in the form of bread, Jesus Himself told her this story. A little prince, living in a huge palace filled with toys and games of all kinds, looked out of the window one day and saw some poor children playing in the street. Noticing the little boy looking out, his tutor asked him: "Would you like to stay in the palace today or go out and play with those children in the street?". "I would love to go out and play with them," answered the prince. Permission was granted, the prince put on the oldest clothes he had and played all day with the poor children in the street.It was one of his happiest days.Then our Lord said to St. Gertrude: "I am like that little prince, I like to be with you men and women.Whoever keeps people away from Communion deprives Me of a great joy."

The Liturgical Observance of St. Gertrude:

A liturgical office of prayer, readings, and hymns in her honor was approved by Rome in 1606. The liturgical feast of St. Gertrude has moved around. Dom Gueranger writes:

When Clement XII., as we have seen, established in the entire Church the feast of St. Gertrude the Great, he at first decreed that it should be kept on [November 17th], on which it is still celebrated by the Order of St. Benedict. But as the 17th November had been for long centuries assigned to St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, it seemed unfitting, said Benedict XIV, that he who moved mountains should himself be moved from his place by the holy virgin. Accordingly in 1739, the year following its institution, the feast of St. Gertrude was fixed on the fifteenth of this month. 

Yet her feast did not remain on November 15th. After Pope Pius XI canonized St. Albert the Great in 1931, he fixed the Doctor's feastday on November 15th, moving St. Gertrude to November 16th, where she remains. However, the Traditional Benedictine Calendar keeps St. Gertrude on November 17th

Prayer:

O God, Who in the heart of the holy Virgin Gertrude didst provide for Thyself a pleasant dwelling: through his merits and intercession, so Thou, in Thy mercy, wash all stains from our hearts and grant us joyful fellowship with her. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

1 comment(s):

del_button March 1, 2010 at 11:38 AM
Anonymous said...

St. Gertrude, An advocate for rightousness towards disrepectful & wayward people.Todays saint tomorrows champion of Chirst Love.

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