Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In our catechesis today, we focus on the life of Saint Matilda of Hackeborn, one of several important thirteenth-century figures of the convent of Helfta in Saxony. Entering there at an early age, Matilda was formed in an intensely spiritual and intellectual atmosphere founded upon Sacred Scripture, the liturgy, and the patristic tradition.
This climate, along with the gift of divine illumination that she received through her mystical contemplation, enabled her to compose numerous prayers and be of counsel and consolation to many. Distinguished by her humility and intelligence, and by the intensity with which she lived her relationship with God and the saints, Matilda became the director of the convent’s novices, its choir, and its school. In this way she also became the spiritual guide of Saint Gertrude the Great, another important figure of Germanic monasticism.
Dear friends, Saint Matilda’s life of prayer, guided by Sacred Scripture and nourished by the Holy Eucharist, led her to an intimate union with Christ, expressed in her devotion to his Sacred Heart. May we too grow in that devotion, through the power of her intercession.
I am pleased to greet the seminarians and staff from the Venerable English College and the new students and staff from the Pontifical Irish College, and I offer prayerful good wishes for their studies. I also welcome the members of the Christ Child Society from the Diocese of Toledo, Ohio, accompanied by Bishop Leonard Blair. Upon all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s audience, especially the pilgrim groups from Britain, Ireland, Denmark, Nigeria, Oceania, the Philippines, and North America, I invoke God’s abundant blessings.