Also known as Saint Gertrude of Helfta, she was a German Benedictine, mystic, and theologian. According the tradition, she had various mystical experiences, including a vision of Jesus, who invited her to rest her head on his breast to hear the beating of his heart, and the piercing of her heart with divine love. She lived fron 1256 to 1302.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Our catechesis today focuses on Saint Gertrude the Great, a remarkable figure associated with the monastery of Helfta, where so many masterpieces of religious literature were born. Saint Gertrude is the only woman of Germanic descent to be called "Great", an honour due to her exceptional natural and supernatural gifts. As a youth, Gertrude was intelligent, strong and decisive, but also impulsive. With humility she asked others for advice and prayer. Eventually, she experienced a deep conversion: in her studies she passed from worldly pursuits to the sacred sciences, and in her monastic observance she moved from concern with external things to a life of intense prayer. In her writings, she sought to explain the truths of the faith with clarity and simplicity, while not failing to develop spiritual themes associated with Divine Love. In her religious practice, she pursued prayer with devotion and faithful abandonment to God. Dear friends, may we learn from Saint Gertrude the Great how to love Christ and His Church with humility and faith, and to cultivate our personal prayer through an intense participation in the Holy Mass and the sacred liturgy.
I am pleased to welcome all the English speaking pilgrims and visitors. In particular, I extend greetings to the Candidates for Diaconate Ordination from the Pontifical North American College, along with their families and friends, to the new students and staff at the Pontifical Beda College, and to the pilgrims from Corpus Christi Parish, Dublin. May your time in Rome and your visit to the Successor of Peter bring you peace and joy. Upon all of you, I invoke God’s abundant blessings.