Celebrating Saint Gertrude

Saint Gertrude, unknown painter, Detroit Institute of Arts


St Gertrude the Great (d. 1302) was a mystic who pioneered devotion to the humanity of Christ. Many of her visions actually took place during the singing of the Divine Office. In the following extract from an eighteenth century work, The life and revelations of Saint Gertrude, virgin and abbess, of the Order of St. Benedict  she describes an ecstatic and hope-filled vision she had following an illness.

He turned His right Side towards me, and there came forth from His blessed and inmost Heart a pure and solid stream, like crystal; and on His Breast there was a precious ornament, like a necklace, which seemed to alternate between gold and rose-colour. Then our Lord said to me: “This sickness which you suffer will sanctify your soul; so that each time you go forth from Me, like the stream which I have shown you, for the good of your neighbour, either in thought, word, or act, even then, as the purity of the crystal renders the colour of the gold and the rose more brilliant, so the cooperation of the precious gold of My Divinity, and the rose of the perfect patience of My Humanity, will render your works always agreeable to Me by the purity of your intention.

O greatness of this little bit of dust, which this celestial Lover has taken from the mire to encase in His jewels! O excellence of this little flower, which the ray of the true Sun Himself has drawn from the marsh, to make it beautiful as Himself! O happiness of this blessed and favoured soul, which the Lord of glory has esteemed so highly, that though He can create whatever He pleases, He attracts it so sweetly and beautifies it by uniting it to Himself!

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