St. Gertrude

Today is the feast of St. Gertrude.

From the 2005 Roman Martyrology:

Sanctae Gertrudis, cognomento Magnae, virgins, quae, inde ab infantia solitudini et litterarum studiis summo ardore ac strenuitate dedita, tota ad Deum conversa monasterium Cisterciensium Helpithense prope Islebiam in Saxonia Germaniae ingressa est, ubi mirum in modum viam perfectionis cucurrit, orationibus et contemplationi Christi crucifixi se devovens.  Ipsius transitus postridie huius diei occurrit.

Who would like to offer their own slavishly literal translation?

Last week I visited the Cathedral of Newark.  I shot a photo of this window in a chapel off the ambulatory behind the altar.

Happy feast of St. Gertrude.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Saints: Stories & Symbols and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Roland de Chanson says:

    Mmmm. You really meant slavishly literal? Well, OK, then:

    Of Saint Gertrude, nicknamed “the Great”, virgin, who, thence from unspeakingness to loneliness and zeal of letters with the greatest heat and briskness devoted, all to God rotated, the Cistercian monastery at Helfta near Eisleben in Saxony of Germany entered, where in an astonishing way a life of perfection ran, to prayers and observation of the crucified Christ herself vowing. Her crossing over on the next day of this day occurs.

    My translation services are available to the ICEL bunch at a special Advent discount. ;-)

  2. Kimberly says:

    How I love the stain glass windows, they speak of mystery, sacredness, beauty and stories. Why, oh why, did we ever get away from this?

  3. Tom in NY says:

    The feast of St. Gertrude the Great, a virgin. Given with great strength and zeal to solitude and study of literature from early youth, she turned completely to God. She lived and studied at the Cistercian convent boarding school at Helphtha, near Eisleben, Saxony, Germany. There, she traveled on the way to perfection in a miraculous manner, devoting herself to contemplation and prayer to Christ crucified. Her passing occurred three days before this anniversary.

    Obiter dictum: Linguam latinam una sententia anglicam tres loqui dicitur.

    Since she was but a young girl, “ingressa … monasterium…est” could only have been what Americans call “convent school.”
    Salutationes omnibus.

  4. Roland: You started with “of”! Bp. Trautman would say that is ungrammatical. He complained about the “who” at the beginning of a prayer (actually within a preface).

    No… but wait!

    The of refers to the day… the feast or memoria of… X.

    And in the case of the Preface, that “who” refers, well… to Someone in the part immediately preceding.

    Not tooo haaard at all!

  5. Tom in NY says:

    “dedita” – by whom? The Deity, as seen in St. Gertrude’s personality, or by human factors?
    “conversa” – How? through the power of God or her coming to Helftha?
    “tota” – “conversa” – “ingressa” – is there a connection aside from the life of the saint-to-be?
    Not even Tacitus wrote Latin as tightly as the Martyrology’s author. Etiam, opera Sanctae Gertrudis non legi.

    Salutationes omnibus.

  6. ghlad says:

    Pray for us, St. Gertrude, that through Jesus’ Sacred Heart we may turn toward Christ and away from this profane existence!

    Irony of ironies! I was just looking at her entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia, and quoth: “With characteristic ardour she cultivated the highest spirituality, and, to quote her biographer, “from being a grammarian became a theologian”, abandoning profane studies for the Scriptures, patristic writings, and treatises on theology.”

    Bwahahaha – way to go!

  7. Roland de Chanson says:

    Ungrammatical??? Moi??? :-( I even make it a practice to never split an infinitive!

    Reading my translation over, viam was taken as vitam. (Is that a dangling participle? Oops. Another episcopal censure.) As an old high school Latin teacher once said, “Roland, you should try reading the passage once in a while before trying to translate it.” Of course, that took all the the fun out of it.

    Thanks to Tom for a more respectable translation!

  8. rinkevichjm says:

    St. Gertrude, called the Great, a virgin, who, thereupon from infancy in solitude and in study of literature by the greatest ardor and devoted activity, entirely having been converted to God she had entered the Cistercian monastery in Helfta, near Eisleben, Saxony, Germany, where in extraordinary manner she had proceeded swiftly in the way of perfection, devoting herself to prayer and contemplation of the Crucified Christ, her passing occurred on the day following this feast.

    postridie => on the following day

  9. Immaculatae says:

    Happy Feast of St. Gertrude! I love her. May she pray for us all.

  10. mairead says:

    Today is also the feast of St. Margaret,one of the patron saints of Scotland. Happy feast day Margarets everywhere!

  11. marthawrites says:

    I’m fond of St. Gertrude, too. The prayer for helping souls leave Purgatory is a favorite. I had a great aunt Gertrude (does anyone bear this name nowadays?) who fixed lovely meals for me on occasion when I needed a break from my studies in college. Later she put together one of my first cookbooks, a binder of clippings and handwritten favorites, as a wedding present. She was a dietitian at Sidwell Friends School in D.C. and later an archivist at the Columbia Historical Society. Saints’ feast days serve to remind us of those we knew who bore their names and how our lives were brightened by their virtues.

  12. California Girl 21 says:

    Poor St. Margaret! Having to share a feast day with the Great St. Gertrude, she is usually overlooked. Thank you, mairead, for remembering her!

    From Catholic Exchange:

    Margaret was probably born in Hungary and raised at Stephen’s Court, where her father, Prince Edward d’Outremer, was in exile. When she was 12 years old she was taken to the court of King Edward the Confessor in England, but was forced to flee England with her siblings and her mother, Agatha, after the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

    The family was given refuge at the court of King Malcolm III of Scotland and soon Margaret and Malcolm fell in love. They were married in 1070 at Dunfermline Castle and subsequently had eight children.

    Margaret was known for her great piety. She prayed and fasted constantly and showed much concern for the poor. She supported synods that reformed abuses that were so prevalent at the time, such as simony and usury. She also encouraged arts and education, acted as adviser in state matters, and with her husband, Malcolm, founded Holy Trinity Church at Dunfermline. Margaret died at Edinburgh Castle on November 15, soon after finding out that rebels attacking Alnwick Castle had killed her husband and one of her sons. She was canonized in 1250 and declared patroness of Scotland in 1673.

  13. eunice says:

    And St Gertrude’s my patron saint! :D I always thought St Gertrude was the one being overlooked, like in France where I am currently residing… When I first chose the name, St Gertrude seems really out of the world to many. So I’m glad Fr Z actually post something on St Gertrude! Yay!

  14. Andrew says:

    Is she the Saint Gertrude who learned Latin and spoke it fluently and wrote the “Legatus Divinae Pietatis”?

  15. amsjj1002 says:

    I was wondering if this was the same St. Gertrude who had a great devotion to St. John Evangelist? I say a Pater Noster every day b/c of what Our Lord told her.

Comments are closed.