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.
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.