Saint Gertrude from Helfta, said the Great, was born in Eisleben (Turingia) in 1256. She entered the monastery at the age of 5 years at the Cistercian Nuns of Helfta (Saxony).
Saint Gertrude of Helfta (1256-1301)
Abbess Gertrude of Hackeborn receives Gertrude in 1261 at the age of 5 years in the monastery of Helfta, because the child remained orphan when she was still very young.
At the age of 25 years on 27 January 1281, she has her first divine manifestation. She will begin to write in Latin for an inner impulse as she felt the voice of Jesus who wanted that people know her writings. Around 1284 she receives the invisible stigmata. At the age of 45, shortly before dying, she receives also the gift of the wound or arrow of love, the trasveberation of heart.
She covered the way to perfection wonderfully, dedicating herself to the prayer and the contemplation, employing her culture for writing works about faith, of which Exercitia and "The Revelations", which is perhaps the most famous book. She is remembered as one of the beginners of the devotion to the Sacred Heart, the first one drafting a theology about it, although without the topic of the repairs which will be predominant later on. She had great influence because the reputation of her holiness and her visions attracted many people asking for advice and comfort.
To Saint Gertrude appears the abbess Gertrude in the Glory, while she is offering the mass and sees that the Gentleman receives her in His heart. In these visions Gertrude sees the link between the Holy Heart of Jesus, the mass and the dead souls.
Gertrude looks also after dying Matilda, singer of the monastery, and sees that Jesus approaches her lips to the wound of the divine heart.
One day Gertrude prayed for her brother just died and she saw his soul looking like a horrible toad, burnt and tormented by several pains for his sins. It seemed that he felt ill under the arm and an enormous weight obligated him to stay bowed, without being able to stand up.
Gertrude understood that he looked like a toad because during his religious life he had neglected to raise his mind to the divine things, she understood also that the pain tormenting him under his arm was due to the fact that he had worked beyond the permission of the Father Superior, hidden the money and bought temporal assets.
He had to pay for his disobedience. Gertrude having said the psalms required for that soul, asked the Gentlemen whether he would have any advantage: "Sure - Jesus answered - the souls in Purgatory are helped by such suffrages, but short said with fervour prayers are still of greater profit for them".