Readings & Reflections: Tuesday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time & St. Gertrude the Great, November 14,2017

Readings & Reflections: Tuesday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time & St. Gertrude the Great, November 14,2017

When we have done all that we have been commanded, we are to say, “We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were oblige to do.” Such humility preserves us from lethal presumption and makes us “just.” And God finds the just “worthy of himself”; “the faithful shall abide with him in love.” “The just are in the hand of God.”


Opening Prayer

“Lord, fill my heart with love, gratitude and generosity. Make me a faithful and zealous servant for you. May I generously pour out my life in loving service for you and for others, just as you have so generously poured yourself out for me.” Amen.

Reading 1
Wis 2:23-3:9

God formed man to be imperishable;
the image of his own nature he made them.
But by the envy of the Devil, death entered the world,
and they who are in his possession experience it.

But the souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
They shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the Lord shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 34:2-3, 16-19

R. (2a) I will bless the Lord at all times.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
Lk 17:7-10

Jesus said to the Apostles:
“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’?
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded, say,
‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.’”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – Objective in our relationship

Objectivity is one approach I have always supported. Whether it is one’s personal affairs, family, corporate or given any relationship situation, objectivity is one item I believe we should all have. To be objective one has to detach oneself and be able to keep a certain distance from a situation. One must not be influenced by it. Neither should one allow emotions to come into play and influence any decision. Otherwise, the final outcome and result of what is being resolved is a biased decision for or against an issue.

However in doing God’s work for Him, I often ask if objectivity would apply. Being objective is to be able to bring the best of a situation and get optimum results from the right mix of what is necessary to make something happen.  In economics, they call it optimum efficiency. It is good but is not necessarily the highest return to any effort.

In our work for the Lord, if we are able to do only what is expected of us out of objectivity, then we can say that it has failed as God can tell us, “We are useless servants. We have done no more than our duty.” To serve God is to be able to go pass our comfort zones and be able to do it until it hurts. In our work for God, we should give Him what is best, the highest return and what will give most glory to His Name.

Although objectivity implies keeping distance from the issue on hand, being objective in our relationship with God is quite the opposite. Our objectivity should not keep us away from the Lord but draw us closer to Him. Objectivity should not prevent us from perpetually being with Him, knowing Him, loving Him and serving Him. Our straight forwardness and our objectivity in being with our Lord should make us trust Him and abide in Him.

Being objective in our relationship with the Lord means being with the Lord to the fullest, serving Him, loving Him and trusting Him for all our cares and concerns. It means being greatly blessed, because God tried us and found us worthy of himself. It means we have done more than what has been commanded. It implies we have gone to greater heights of work and sacrifice, all for His glory, done more than what we were obliged to do. We have turned from evil and done good-that we may abide forever. We have died to self and became humble for, all God’s sake.

Doing only what is required of us amounts to nothing!


We should be found worthy of God.  Abide and trust in Him. Serve Him to the fullest in one special endeavor for the Lord.


Heavenly Father, I know that I have been deficient in my service for You. Give me the strength and the humility to serve beyond what You have called to do. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

Reflection 2 – We have only done our duty

Are you ready to give the Lord your best, regardless of what it might cost you? Perhaps we are like the laborer in Jesus’ parable who expected special favor and reward for going the extra mile? How unfair for the master to compel his servant to give more than what was expected! Don’t we love to assert our rights: “I will give only what is required and no more!” But who can satisfy the claims of love?

We are called to serve God and neighbor selflessly and generously
Jesus used this parable of the dutiful servant to explain that we can never put God in our debt or make the claim that God owes us something. We must regard ourselves as God’s servants, just as Jesus came “not to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). Service of God and of neighbor is both a voluntary or free act and a sacred duty. One can volunteer for service or be compelled to do service for one’s country or one’s family when special needs arise. Likewise, God expects us to give him the worship and praise which is his due. And he gladly accepts the  free-will offering of our lives to him and to his service. What makes our offering pleasing to God is the love we express in the act of self-giving. True love is sacrificial, generous, and selfless.

The love of God compels us to give our best
How can we love others selflessly and unconditionally? Scripture tells us that God himself is love (1 John 4:16) – he is the author of life and the source of all true relationships of love and friendship. He created us in love for love, and he fills our hearts with the boundless love that gives whatever is good for the sake of another (Romans 5:5). If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us (1 John 4:12).

God honors the faithful servant who loves and serves others generously. He is ever ready to work in and through us for his glory. We must remember, however, that God can never be indebted to us. We have no claim on him. His love compels us to give him our best! And when we have done our best, we have simply done our duty. We can never outmatch God in doing good and showing love. God loves us without measure. Does the love of God compel you to give your best?

“Lord Jesus, fill my heart with love, gratitude and generosity. Make me a faithful and zealous servant for you. May I generously pour out my life in loving service for you and for others, just as you have so generously poured yourself out in love for me.” – Read the source:

Reflection 3 – An Attitude Problem

Jesus told about a servant who, after working in the field all day, was not allowed to eat until he had prepared a meal for his master. He had to stand by until the man had finished eating. Jesus added that the master did not owe his servant even a thank you! (Luke 17:9-10). How could Jesus, who lived among us as “the One who serves” (22:27), seem so heartless?

The context provides the answer to this question. Jesus had just told His disciples that they were to be so mindful of others that they would never cause anyone to sin (vv.1-2). They were also to correct wrongdoers and never stop forgiving those who repent (vv.3-4).

The apostles, realizing that they could never live up to these expectations in their own strength, said, “Increase our faith” (v.5). Jesus promised that if they had a small grain of faith they would be able to remove whatever stood in the way of their obedience to these commands (v.6). He then told a parable to show them the need to fulfill these obligations cheerfully out of love rather than grudgingly or with an eye on being rewarded (vv.7-10).

We are to humbly depend on the Lord and obey Him because our hearts are full of love and gratitude. Anything less is unworthy of even a thank you.  — Herbert Vander Lugt

My life, my love I give to Thee,
Thou Lamb of God who died for me;
O may I ever faithful be,
My Savior and my God! —Hudson

Real love expects nothing in return (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 4 – Nothing But Grace

We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do. –Luke 17:10

In 1914, before the use of insulin injections, Corrie ten Boom’s Aunt Jans was diagnosed with diabetes. She knew that she did not have long to live. Yet, within a few days after learning this, she went right back to working in God-honoring causes. Several months later, a blood test indicated that the end was near.

The family was gathered in Aunt Jans’ room when Corrie’s father gently broke the news to her. Then he added, “Jans, some must go to their Father empty-handed, but you will run to Him with hands full.”

Jans’ response touched them all. She said that her good deeds were as “little tricks and trinkets.” Then she prayed, “Dear Jesus, I thank You that we must come with empty hands. I thank You that You have done all—all—on the cross, and that all we need in life or death is to be sure of this.”

Jesus reminded us that even after we’ve served Him faithfully we have merely done our duty (Luke 17:10). Yet, on another occasion He indicated that one day He would honor us for our faithfulness (12:37). How can this be? Because all that we have, even the ability to serve the Lord, comes to us as a gracious gift from Him.

Remember, from beginning to end, all is of grace.  —HVL  — Herbert Vander Lugt

God’s grace sustains the gift of life,
Its labor and reward;
What we possess is not our own—
It all comes from the Lord. —D. De Haan

God owes us nothing but gives us everything (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 5 – Are you a mentor?

Saint Paul’s letter (Ti 2:1-8, 11-14) describes holiness as the sharing of our strengths and giftedness with others. Those with more experience should serve as examples of holiness. It’s the ministry of evangelizing by mentoring.

Whom do you mentor? Parents mentor their children, teachers mentor their students, but who else could learn from us? Who could learn from your accumulated knowledge and experiences and wisdom? Who is newer at being a Christian and could benefit from the insights that you gained during your own struggles?

Mentoring involves noticing which people God has placed in our path on the journey to heaven, then choosing to walk beside them. Sometimes they’re crippled and need us to push their wheelchairs down the road until they can walk. Sometimes they’re limping along and need us for a crutch until their legs get stronger. Sometimes they just need us to hold their hand as they make their way through a scary or confusing forest.

You have much that the Holy Spirit wants to offer them through your help, taken from your own healing, growth and learning processes. God has placed people around you who need what you can give. If you don’t mentor them, they suffer from the absence of what you could provide. The consequences of this could be dreadfully long-lasting. We’ll have to explain to Jesus why we refused to help when he comes to take us home to heaven.

As members of the family of God, we all have community responsibilities. There are countless opportunities within the parish. You could become a sponsor for a candidate in RCIA or a catechist for teenagers who haven’t yet taken personal ownership of their faith. Married couples can join a Marriage Preparation team and stay in contact with the engaged couples even after their wedding days. Divorced people and widows who’ve followed Christ into healing can mentor those who are currently experiencing loss.

If you belong to a faith sharing or prayer group, you can invite others to join and then continue the relationship outside the meetings. Retired business people can make their expertise available to parishioners who are starting new businesses, mentoring them in how to make Jesus their CEO. And there are people in the neighborhood, workplace, sports leagues, and so on, who could benefit from your unique perspective of living the faith there, too.

Jesus warns us in today’s Gospel reading that if we do nothing more than our duty — fulfilling our minimum Christian obligations so that we get to heaven — we are “useless servants.” Wow. Let’s become truly useful to our Lord! Let’s not just go to Mass to fulfill our Sunday obligation; let’s uplift the person who sits next to us. Let’s read the bulletin and find out how we could bless our parishes with our faith and talents and knowledge and experiences. – Read the source:

Reflection 6 – How do you bless the Lord?

Because we love Jesus, we want to please him. We certainly don’t want to be “unprofitable” (useless and unproductive) like the servants he describes in today’s Gospel reading. How profitable are you in the mission he has given you — the calling to continue his mission here on earth in the circumstances of your own life?

Why isn’t it good enough for Jesus when we do “all you have been commanded”? To be use-full, we have to do more than our duty, more than what’s expected of us — like Jesus did. We have to do more than the minimum requirements in the parish, in the home, in the workplace, and in the world community.

Mediocrity is not the hallmark of a truly alive Christian. In fact, I would dare say that mediocrity is a sin, because we should always (always always!) be giving God our very best efforts.

In today’s responsorial Psalm, we promise to bless the Lord at all times. What does this mean? How does one bless the Lord; is it by saying, “I bless you, God”? Like HE needs our blessing. Ri-i-i-ght.

We bless God by going the extra mile for him. How can we be a blessing to him if we settle for the mediocre instead of excelling and doing the very best that we can with everything he’s given us? He has gone that extra mile for us; oh how we pain him when we don’t even try to do the same for him!

Consider, for example, how much we put into the parish collection basket. Are we obeying the minimum scriptural requirement here (10% of all income) or even close to that much? A couple of dollars does not bless the Lord unless our income was less than twenty dollars that week.

Are we going to Mass only as an insurance policy to protect ourselves from punishment and hell? That’s not blessing the Lord. Are we in marriages that have not been sacramentalized by the Church because we don’t want to put forth the effort to do whatever must be done to receive the Sacrament? That’s not blessing the Lord.

In parish ministries, are we doing only what must get done, ignoring the needs of those who don’t fit nicely inside our policies and procedures? Are our parish events and projects done without a spirit of evangelization? If so, we’re only doing our duty — and Jesus says we’re useless.


The Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity (of Vatican Council II) says: ” … the member [of the Church] who fails to make his proper contribution to the development of the Church must be said to be useful neither to the Church nor to himself” (paragraph 2).

Oh-oh again!

Being a blessing to the Lord means that we’re so excited about what he has done for us that we feel like we will never be able to do enough for him. This feeling of holy frustration motivates us to serve above and beyond the call of duty. This divine dissatisfaction is what transforms us from useless servants to friends of Jesus who reach our full earthly potential.

As useful servants, we want to make a difference in this world for the kingdom of God. We want to serve his kingdom until our dying breath and even after we die! And so, in heaven, we’ll continue the ministries of love that we started while we lived on the earth. (What, you thought “resting in peace” meant floating around on a cloud with nothing to do? How boring!) – Read the source:

Reflection 7 – St. Gertrude the Great (1256?-1302 A.D.)

Gertrude, a Benedictine nun in Helfta, Saxony, was one of the great mystics of the 13th century. Together with her friend and teacher St. Mechtild, she practiced a spirituality called “nuptial mysticism,” that is, she came to see herself as the bride of Christ. Her spiritual life was a deeply personal union with Jesus and his Sacred Heart, leading her into the very life of the Trinity.

But this was no individualistic piety. Gertrude lived the rhythm of the liturgy, where she found Christ. In the liturgy and in Scripture, she found the themes and images to enrich and express her piety. There was no clash between her personal prayer life and the liturgy.


Gertrude’s life is another reminder that the heart of the Christian life is prayer: private and liturgical, ordinary or mystical, always personal.


“Lord, you have granted me your secret friendship by opening the sacred ark of your divinity, your deified heart, to me in so many ways as to be the source of all my happiness; sometimes imparting it freely, sometimes as a special mark of our mutual friendship. You have so often melted my soul with your loving caresses that, if I did not know the abyss of your overflowing condescensions, I should be amazed were I told that even your Blessed Mother had been chosen to receive such extraordinary marks of tenderness and affection” (Adapted from The Life and Revelations of Saint Gertrude).

Patron Saint of: West Indies

Read the source:

Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God’s invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint. Click here to receive Saint of the Day in your email.

Published on Dec 20, 2012

The track is from the CD “Our Catholic Faith” by Catholic singer Donna Cori Gibson. Available at…. Listen to all songs online. Many free downloads available at More videos by Donna at….

This particular prayer was taught to St Gertrude the Great by our Lord Himself. By means of His own eternal offering to the Father, Jesus makes it possible for all who accept His friendship to gain the Beatific Vision of Heaven.

“For the Lord, the past does not exist; the future does not exist. Everything is an eternal present… even now I can pray for the happy death of my great-grandfather!” ~ Padre Pio

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Gertrudis Helfta.JPG

Saint Gertrude of Helfta
BORN January 6, 1256
EislebenThuringiaHoly Roman Empire
DIED circa 1302
Helfta, Saxony
VENERATED IN Roman Catholic Church
CANONIZED 1677 (equipollently) by Clement XII
FEAST November 16
ATTRIBUTES crown, lily, taper

Gertrude the Great (or Saint Gertrude of Helfta) (ItalianSanta Gertrude) (January 6, 1256 – ca. 1302) was aGerman Benedictine, mystic, and theologian. She is recognized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, and is inscribed in the General Roman Calendar, for celebration throughout the Latin Rite on November 16.


Little is known of the early life of Gertrude. Gertrude was born on the feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 1256, inEislebenThuringia(within the Holy Roman Empire). At the age of four,[1] she entered the monastery school at the monastery of St. Mary at Helfta (with much debate having occurred as to whether this monastery is best described as Benedictine or Cistercian),[2] under the direction of its abbess, Gertrude of Hackeborn. It is speculated that she was offered as a child oblate to the Church by devout parents. Given that Gertrude implies in the Herald that her parents were long dead at the time of writing,[3] however, it is also possible that she entered the monastery school as an orphan.

Gertrude was confided to the care of St. Mechtilde, younger sister of the Abbess Gertrude, and joined the monastic community in 1266.[4]It is clear from her own writings that she received a thorough education in a range of subjects. She, and the nun who authored Books 1 and 3-5 of the Herald, are thoroughly familiar with scripture, the Fathers of the Church such as Augustine and Gregory the Great, and also in more contemporary spiritual writers such as Richard and Hugh of St VictorWilliam of St Thierry, andBernard of Clairvaux. Moreover, Gertrude’s writing demonstrates that she was well-versed in rhetoric, and her Latin is very fluent.[5]

In 1281, at the age of twenty-five, she experienced the first of a series of visions[6] that continued throughout her life, and which changed the course of her life. Her priorities shifted away from secular knowledge and toward the study of Scripture and theology. Gertrude devoted herself strongly to personal prayer and meditation, and began writing spiritual treatises for the benefit of her monastic sisters.[7] Gertrude became one of the great mystics of the 13th century. Together with her friend and teacher St. Mechtild, she practiced a spirituality called “nuptial mysticism,” that is, she came to see herself as the bride of Christ.[8]

Gertrude died at Helfta, near EislebenSaxony, around 1302. Her feastday is celebrated on November 16, but the exact date of her death is unknown; the November date stems from a confusion with Abbess Gertrude of Hackeborn.


Gertrud von Helfta, Merazhofen Pfarrkirche Chorgestühl

Gertrude produced numerous writings, though only some survive today. The longest survival is the Legatus Memorialis Abundantiae Divinae Pietatis (known in English today as The Herald of Divine Loveor The Herald of God’s Loving-Kindness, and sometimes previously known as Life and Revelations), partly written by other nuns. There also remains her collection of Spiritual Exercises. A work known as Preces Gertrudianae (Gertrudian Prayers) is a later compilation, made up partly of extracts from the writings of Gertrude and partly of prayers composed in her style.[9] It is also very possible that Gertrude was the author of a part of the revelations of Mechthild of Hackeborn, the Book of Special Grace.[9]

The Herald is composed of five books. Book 2 forms the core of the work, and was written by Gertrude herself; she states that she began the work on Maundy Thursday 1289. Books 3, 4, and 5 were written by another nun, or possibly more than one, during Gertrude’s lifetime and probably at least in part at her dictation. Book 1 was written shortly before or after Gertrude’s death as an introduction to the whole collection; it is possible it was written by Gertrude’s confessor, but far more like that the author was another Helfta nun.[10]

The importance of the Spiritual Exercises extends to the present day because they are grounded in themes and rites of Church liturgy for occasions of Baptism, conversion, commitment, discipleship, union with God, praise of God, and preparation for death. Gertrude’s Spiritual Exercises can still be used by anyone who seeks to deepen spirituality through prayer and meditation.[11]

Devotion to the Sacred Heart[edit]

One of the most esteemed woman saints of the Christian West, she was a notable early devotee of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.[7] Book 2 of the Herald of Divine Love is notable within the history of Christian devotion because its vivid descriptions of Gertrude’s visions show a considerable elaboration on the long-standing but ill-defined veneration of Christ’s heart. This veneration was present in the belief that Christ’s heart poured forth a redemptive fountain through the wound in His side; an image culminating in its most famous articulation by St Bernard in his commentary on the Song of Songs. The women of Helfta—Gertrude foremost, who surely knew Bernard’s commentary, and to a somewhat lesser extent the two Mechthilds – Mechthild of Magdeburg and Mechthild of Hackeborn— made this devotion central to their mystical visions.[12] Saint Gertrude had a vision on the feast of John the Evangelist. She was resting her head near the wound in the Savior’s side and hearing the beating of the Divine Heart. She asked Saint John if on the night of the Last Supper, he had felt these pulsations, why he had never spoken of the fact. Saint John replied that this revelation had been reserved for subsequent ages when the world, having grown cold, would have need of it to rekindle its love.[13]

Later reputation and influence[edit]

After her death, Gertrude’s works seem to have vanished almost without trace. Only 5 manuscripts of the Herald have survived, the earliest one being written in 1412, and only two of these manuscripts are complete. With the invention of printing, Gertrude became far more prominent, with Latin, Italian and German editions being published in the sixteenth century. She was popular in seventeenth-century France, where her trust in and burning love for God were potent antidotes toJansenism.

Philip Neri and Francis de Sales both used her prayers and recommended them to others.

In Spain, Fr Diego, the confessor to Philip II, read the revelations of Gertrude aloud to the king as he lay dying in the Escorial.

Her works were also popular with the Discalced Carmelites in the sixteenth century. Fr Francisco Ribera, the confessor to Teresa of Ávila, recommended her to take Gertrude as spiritual mistress and guide.

More recently, Dom Prosper Guéranger, the restorer of Benedictine monasticism in France, was influenced by Gertrude. His Congregation of Solesmes was responsible for most of the work done on Gertrude in the nineteenth century.[14]


Saint Gertrude by Miguel Cabrera, 1763

Gertrude was never formally canonized, but a liturgical office of prayer, readings, and hymns in her honor was approved by Rome in 1606. The Feast of St. Gertrude was extended to the universal Church by Clement XII and today is celebrated on November 16, the date of her death. Pope Benedict XIV gave her the title “the Great” to distinguish her from Abbess Gertrude of Hackeborn and to recognize the depth of her spiritual and theological insight.[11]

Gertrude showed “tender sympathy towards the souls in purgatory” and urged prayers for them.[15] She is therefore invoked for suffering souls in purgatory. The following prayer is attributed to St. Gertrude :

Eternal Father, I offer You the most precious blood of thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, for those in my own home and in my family. Amen.

Perhaps for that reason, her name has been attached to a prayer that, according to a legend of uncertain origin and date (neither are found in the Revelations of Saint Gertrude the Great), Christ promised to release a thousand souls from purgatory each time it was said; despite the fact that practices relative to alleged promises to free one or more souls from purgatory by the recitation of some prayer were prohibited by Pope Leo XIII.[16]


In compliance with a petition from King Philip IV of Spain she was declared Patroness of the West Indies; in Peru her feast is celebrated with great pomp, and in New Mexico the town Santa Gertrudis de lo de Mora was built in her honour and bears her name.[4]


  • In subsequent centuries, Gertrude the Great was often confused with the abbess of St Mary at Helfta, Gertrude of Hackeborn; as a result, she is often incorrectly depicted in art holding a crosier (as in the picture at the top of this page).
  • The Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, Idaho is home to a community of about fifty professed Benedictine nuns.[11]
  • Parishes are dedicated to St. Gertrude in Washington, Missouri;[17] Cincinnati, Ohio;[18] Kingsville, Texas;[19] and Chicago, Illinois.
  • Saint Gertrude High School is a Catholic college preparatory day school for young women in grades 9 – 12 in Richmond, Virginia.[20]
  • Saint Gertrude Church in Firies, Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland.

See also[edit]


  1. Jump up^ Her biographer states “in her fifth year”, leading some to misinterpret this as being when she was five years old. See Alexandra Barrett, ‘Introduction’, in Gertrud the Great of Helfta, The Herald of God’s Loving-Kindness: Books One and Two, (Kalamazoo, 1991), p10
  2. Jump up^ This has been a point of some contention in twentieth-century studies of Gertrude. The best answer is that, technically, Helfta was a Benedictine monastery, but one which was strongly influenced by the Cistercian reform – this reflect the lack of clear-cut distinctions between the Orders at this time. Helfta, like many other monasteries of nuns following the Rule of St Benedict, was very much influenced by the Cistercian customs (and was in fact founded in 1258 by a group of nuns from Halberstadt who had adopted Cistercian customs. However, it was not – and could not – however, have been officially Cistercian, because in 1228 the General Chapter of Citeaux had forbidden the acceptance of any more monasteries of nuns into their Order, because the monks were already overburdened by the number of nuns under their care. Helfta, therefore, could not have been officially Cistercian. It is clear, though, that Helfta’s customs seem to have been those of Citeaux, and certainly the works of Bernard of Clairvaux were extremely influential at Helfta. It is unclear whether the nuns wore a black ‘Benedictine’ or white ‘Cistercian’ habit, but interesting to note that both Gertrude and Mechthild are almost universally represented in black. The spiritual directors of the monastery were neither Benedictines nor Cistercians, but Dominicans. See Sr Maximilian Marnau, ‘Introduction’, in Gertrude of Helfta, The Herald of Divine Love, (New York: Paulist Press, 1993), p10; Caroline Bynum Walker, Jesus as Mother,(Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1982), pp174-5.
  3. Jump up^ Herald, Book 2, chapter 16
  4. Jump up to:a b Casanova, Gertrude. “St. Gertrude the Great.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 8 May 2013
  5. Jump up^ Sr Maximilian Marnau, ‘Introduction’, in Gertrude of Helfta, The Herald of Divine Love, (New York: Paulist Press, 1993), p6
  6. Jump up^ This is described in Herald 1.1 and 2.1
  7. Jump up to:a b “St. Gertrude the Great”, Catholic News Agency
  8. Jump up^ Foley O.F.M., Leonard. Saint of the Day, Lives, Lessons, and Feast, (revised by Pat McCloskey O.F.M.), Franciscan Media, ISBN 978-0-86716-887-7
  9. Jump up to:a b Marnau, p.11.
  10. Jump up^ Sr Maximilian Marnau, ‘Introduction’, in Gertrude of Helfta, The Herald of Divine Love, (New York: Paulist Press, 1993), p12. Sr Marnau suggests that Book 1 was written after Gertrude’s death. Alezandra Barrett suggests that the absence of mention of Gertrude’s death in Book 1 implies it was possibly written before her death. See Alexandra Barrett, ‘Introduction’, in Gertrud the Great of Helfta, The Herald of God’s Loving-Kindness: Books One and Two, (Kalamazoo, 1991), p17
  11. Jump up to:a b c Bossert, Sr. Evangela. “St. Gertrude of Helfta”, Monastery of St. Gertrude, Cottonwood, Idaho
  12. Jump up^ Jenkins, Eve B., “St Gertrude’s Synecdoche: The Problem of Writing the Sacred Heart”, Essays in Medieval Studies, Vol. 14, 1997, Illinois Medieval Association
  13. Jump up^ , Mark W. Lynn Phd, Mark W., “History of the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus”, Knights of Columbus-Florida State Council
  14. Jump up^ Marnau, p.43.
  15. Jump up^ Knight, Kevin (January 9, 2009). “St. Gertrude the Great”. New Advent.
  16. Jump up^ O’Sullivan, Paul (March 4, 1936). “Prayer of St. Gertrude the Great (from “Read Me or Rue It”)”. Our Lady of the Rosary Library.
  17. Jump up^ St. Gertrude Parish, Washington, Missouri
  18. Jump up^ St. Gertrude Parish, Cincinnati, Ohio
  19. Jump up^ St. Gertrude Parish, Kingsville, Texas
  20. Jump up^ St. Gertrude High School, Richmond, Virginia