Saint Gertrude the Great’s Story
Gertrude, a Benedictine nun in Helfta, Saxony, was one of the great mystics of the 13th century. Together with her friend and teacher Saint Mechtild, she practiced a spirituality called “nuptial mysticism,” that is, she came to see herself as the bride of Christ. Her spiritual life was a deeply personal union with Jesus and his Sacred Heart, leading her into the very life of the Trinity.
But this was no individualistic piety. Gertrude lived the rhythm of the liturgy, where she found Christ. In the liturgy and in Scripture she found the themes and images to enrich and express her piety. There was no clash between her personal prayer life and the liturgy. The Liturgical Feast of Saint Gertrude the Great is November 16.
Saint Gertrude’s life is another reminder that the heart of the Christian life is prayer: private and liturgical, ordinary or mystical, but always personal.