Lesser Known…

We begin this week with the International Day of Tolerance. It’s an UNESCO day and is on the 16th. The Day is something which we need to make a bigger deal of as Tolerance and acceptance are the two most important thing that we need more of in the world. As the song writing duo of Hal David and Burt Bacharach put so eloquently “What the world needs now is love, sweet love/It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of..”. Especially after this past week where horrible things happened all around the world, from Paris to Beirut most recently.

Gertrude of Helfta commonly know as The Great  (6 January 1256 – 1302)
Gertrude was dropped off at the nunnery at the age of five and lived there for the rest of her life. She was trained by Mechthild of Helfta, who was trained by Mechthild of Magdenburg, all are beguines.  She was a Benedictine sister and never left the convent after she arrived, which is rather funny since she is the patron of travelers. She had her first vision rather late in her life as opposed to others at the age of 26, she calls her visions favors from God. She is the only woman to have the title “the Great.”  She was all about a nuptial mysticism, where as she was the Bride of Christ, as all religious women now claim to be. Often times in art Gertrude is confused with another Gertrude who was an abbess and is depicted with a crosier as in the Benedictine orders the head of a house, ie Abbot or Abbess were given them as a sign of authority. Not much of her writings still exist today but the longest The Herald of Divine Love but it is a patchy thing at that. In her writing she made it here desire to have the wounds of Christ engraved on her heart. This should be our own desire to be this close to Jesus, where we share in his pain.

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