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Exposing our children to stories of the Saints are important for their faith development. The Saints are heroes of the faith! We are called to be like the Saints and live for Jesus! My brother Missionary Oblates, much like, St. Gertrude, spend their lives being obedient to their vows to be strong, bold, prayerful, and courageous to minister to the poor and most abandoned throughout the world.
I hope you will enjoy the story of St. Gertrude the Great and live close to Christ like him and be an obedient and loving person!!
Saint of the Month for September, St. Gertrude the Great
“Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:13-14).
St. Gertrude the Great, or St. Gertrude of Helfta, was born in Germany on January 6, 1256. She lived during the same time as many of the popular saints, including St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Dominic. We do not know too much about her parents or her family—some say she might have been an orphan.
Gertrude entered a monastery school when she was five years old. She was very smart and earned a very good education, which was uncommon for women in her time.
St. Gertrude was known for being charming and kind, and people were drawn to her. he entered the Benedictine Order at Helfta and became a nun. She devoted herself to her studies and excelled in many different subjects. Gertrude was fluent in several languages, and she is considered a great theologian—someone who studies God and religion.
St. Gertrude has a great devotion to the souls in Purgatory. She often expressed how important it is to pray for souls in Purgatory and even wrote a prayer for them. It is said that when someone says the prayer it releases 1,000 souls from Purgatory:
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.
St. Gertrude also had visions and was described as a mystic. She would record these experiences in her journals. She also loved to write about the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
St. Gertrude was never officially canonized as a saint. In 1606, over 300 years after her death, Pope Paul V approved a liturgical office of prayer, readings and hymns in her honor. In 1738, Pope Clement XII extended the Feast of St. Gertrude to the Universal Church. She is still recognized as a saint who is praying for us among the communion of saints. To separate her from Abbess Gertrude of Hackeborn, Pope Benedict XIV gave her the title, “the Great,” making her the only woman saint to be called, “the Great.”
On November 17, 1301, St. Gertrude passed away. On November 16, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Gertrude the Great. She is the Patroness of the West Indies and Her intercession is also often asked for the souls in purgatory.
Child’s Prayer to St. Gertrude the Great
St. Gertrude, please be my friend.
Help me to be like you and practice charity with others and to share the gifts God has given me every day.
Pray for me so I might serve the poor and others in their time of need.
St. Gertrude the Great, pray for us!
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