Lives of Saints and Blesseds

August 13
Bl. Gertrude, * probably September 29, 1227, † August 13, 1297

Gertrude was the daughter of Landgrave Louis of Thuringia and Hessen, who died during the seventh crusade a few weeks before her birth, and his wife St. Elizabeth. Faithful to a vow her mother made while she was still pregnant, the child was entrusted to the Premonstratensian convent of sisters at Altenberg (municipality of Solms) near Wetzlar, where she was brought up and then entered the convent. Although Elizabeth also died in 1131 a few years after the birth of Gertrude, the community of Altenberg always remembered her visits during which the Landgravine used to spin wool and knit with the sisters. At the age of eight Gertrude was able to attend the canonization of her mother in May 1235 in Marburg. At the age of twenty-one she became the third superior of Altenberg in 1248. From her inheritance she erected the convent’s gothic church as well as houses for the poor and infirm, in which she was actively engaged. Gertrude was an ardent supporter of the crusade movement and of the introduction of the Feast of Corpus Christi which was already celebrated in Altenberg in 1270. As a woman of penitence and mortification she had the charism of reconciling people at odds with one another. Gertrude died of a serious illness on August 13, 1297 at the age of 69 after 49 years as superior.

Relics: Altenberg
Approbation of cult: January 22/March 8, 1728 by Benedict XIII.
Representation: as a Premonstratensian with a rochet, almutium and abbess’s staff, with a lion, lily, cross, instruments of suffering, key, book and tiara, with an appearance of the child Jesus with a cross who is placing a crown of thorns on her.

Lord, our God, whose will the holy virgin Gertrude faithfully fulfilled, grant that we, eagerly following her example, may experience You as our Father in heaven, and Your Son as our Brother accompanying us in our life. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen..