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St. Gertrude the Great ( November 16 ,feast day )

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Benedictine and mystic writer; born in Germany, 6 Jan., 1256; died at Helfta, near Eisleben, Saxony, 17 November, 1301 or 1302. Nothing is known of her family, not even the name of her parents. It is clear from her life (Legatus, lib. I, xvi) that she was not born in the neighbourhood of Eisleben. When she was but five years of age she entered the alumnate of Helfta. The monastery was at that time governed by the saintly and enlightened Abbess Gertrude of Hackerborn, under whose rule it prospered exceedingly, both in monastic observance and in that intellectual activity which St.Lioba and her Anglo-Saxon nuns had transmitted to their foundations in Germany. All that could aid to sanctity, or favour contemplation and learning, was to be found in this hallowed spot. Here, too, as to the centre of all activity and impetus of its life, the work of works-the Opus Dei, as St. Benedict terms the Divine Office - was solemnly carried out. Such was Helfta when its portals opened to receive the child destined to be its brightest glory. Gertrude was confided to the care of St. Mechtilde, mistress of the alumnate and sister of the Abbess Gertrude. From the first she had the gift of winning the hearts, and her biographer gives many details of her exceptional charms, which matured with advancing years. Thus early had been formed betwen Gertrude and Mechtilde the bond of an intimacy which deepened and strengthened with time, and gave the latter saint a prepondering influence over the former.
Partly in the alumnate, partly in the community, Gertrude had devoted herself to study with the greatest ardour. In her twenty-sixth year there was granted her the first of that series of visions of which the wonderful sequence ended only with life. She now gauged in its fullest extent the void of which she had been keenly sensible for some time past, and with this awakening came the realization of the utter emptiness of all transitory things. With characteristic ardour she cultivated the highest spirituality, and, to quote her biographer, "from being a grammarian became a theologian", abandoning profane studies for the Scriptures, patristic writings, and treatises on theology. To these she brought the same earnestness which had characterized her former studies, and with indefatigable zeal copied, translated, and wrote for the spiritual benefit of others. Although Gertrude vehemently condemns herself for past negligence (Legatus, II, ii), still to understand her words correctly we must remember that they express the indignant self-condemnation of a soul called to the highest sanctity. Doubtless her inordinate love of study had proved a hindrance alike to contemplation and interior recollection, yet it had none the less surely safeguarded her from more serious and grievous failings. Her struggle lay in the conquest of a sensitive and impetuous nature. In St. Gertrude's life there are no abrupt phases, no sudden conversion from sin to holiness. She passed from alumnate to the community. Outwardly her life was that of the simple Benedictine nun, of which she stands forth preeminently as the type. Her boundless charity embraced rich and poor, learned and simple, the monarch on his throne and the peasant in the field; it was manifested in tender sympathy towards the souls in purgatory, in a great yearning for the perfection of souls consecrated to God. Her humility was so profound that she wondered how the earth could support so sinful a creature as herself. Her raptures were frequent and so absorbed her faculties as to render her insensible to what passed around her. She therefore begged, for the sake of others, that there might be no outward manifestations of the spiritual wonders with which her life was filled. She had the gift of miracles as well as that of prophecy.

When the call came for her spirit to leave the worn and pain-stricken body, Gertude was in her forty-fifth or forty-sixth year, and in turn assisted at the death-bed and mourned for the loss of the holy Sister Mechtilde (1281), her illustrious Abbess Gertrude of Hackeborn (1291), and her chosen guide and confidante, St. Mechtilde (1298). When the community was transferred in 1346 to the monastery of New Helfta, the present Trud-Kloster, within the walls of Eisleben, they still retained possession of their old home, where doubtless the bodies of St. Gertrude and St. Mechtilde still buried, though their place of sepulture remains unknown. There is, at least, no record of their translation. Old Helfta is now crown-property, while New Helfta has lately passed into the hands of the local municipality. It was not till 1677 that the name of Gertrude was inscribed in the Roman Martyrology and her feast was extended to the universal church, which now keeps it on 15 November, although it was at first fixed on 17 November, the day of her death, on which it is still celebrated by her own order. In compliance with a petition from the King of Spain she was declared Patroness of the West Indies; in Peru her feast is celebrated with great pomp, and in New Mexico a town was built in her honour and bears her name. Some writers of recent times have considered that St. Gertrude was a Cistercian, but a careful and impartial examination of the evidence at present available does not justify this conclusion. It is well known that the Cistercian Reform left its mark on many houses not affiliated to the order, and the fact that Helfta was founded during the "golden age" of Cîteaux (1134-1342) is sufficient to account for this impression.

Many of the writings of St. Gertrude have unfortunately perished. Those now extant are:

The "Legatus Divinae Pietatis",
The "Exercises of St. Gertrude";
The "Liber Specialis Gratiae" of St. Mechtilde.
The works of St. Gertrude were all written in Latin, which she used with facility and grace. The "Legatus Divinae Pietatis" (Herald of Divine Love) comprises five books containing the life of St. Gertrude, and recording many of the favours granted her by God. Book II alone is the work of the saint, the rest being compiled by members of the Helfta community. They were written for her Sisters in religion, and we feel she has here a free hand unhampered by the deep humility which made it so repugnant for her to disclose favours personal to herself. The "Exercises", which are seven in number, embrace the work of the reception of baptismal grace to the preparation for death. Her glowing language deeply impregnated with the liturgy and scriptures exalts the soul imperceptibly to the heights of contemplation. When the "Legatus Divinae Pietatis" is compared with the "Liber Specialis Gratiae" of St. Mechtilde, it is evident that Gertrude is the chief, if not the only, author of the latter book. Her writings are also coloured by the glowing richness of that Teutonic genius which found its most congenial expression in symbolism and allegory. The spirit of St. Gertrude, which is marked by freedom, breadth, and vigour, is based on the Rule of St. Benedict. Her mysticism is that of all the great contemplative workers of the Benedictine Order from St. Gregory to Blosius. Hers, in a word, is that ancient Benedictine spirituality which Father Faber has so well depicted (All for Jesus, viii).
The characteristic of St. Gertrude's piety is her devotion to the Sacred Heart, the symbol of that immense charity which urged the Word to take flesh, to institute the Holy Eucharist, to take on Himself our sins, and, dying on the Cross, to offer Himself as a victim and a sacrifice to the Eternal Father (Congregation of Rites, 3 April, 1825). Faithful to the mission entrusted to them, the superiors of Helfta appointed renowned theologians, chosen from the Dominican and Franciscan friars, to examine the works of the saint. These approved and commented them throughout. In the sixteenth century Lanspergius and Blosius propagated her writings. The former, who with his confrere Loher spared no pains in editing her works, also wrote a preface to them. The writings were warmly received especially in Spain, and among the long list of holy and learned authorities who used and recommended her works may be mentioned :

St. Teresa, who chose her as her model and guide,
Yepez,
the illustrious Francisco Suárez,
the Discalced Carmelite Friars of France,
St. Francis de Sales,
M. Oliver,
Fr. Faber,
Dom Guéranger.
The Church has inserted the name of Gertrude in the Roman Martyrology with this eulogy: "On the 17th of November, in Germany (the Feast) of St. Gertrude Virgin, of the Order of St. Benedict, who was illustrious for the gift of revelations."


http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06534a.htm


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St. Gertrude the Great is invoked for souls in purgatory and for living sinners. Our Lord told St. Gertrude that the following prayer would release 1000 souls from purgatory each time it is said. The prayer was extended to include living sinners as well.

"Eternal Father, I offer Thee 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, those in my own home and within my family. Amen."


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Saint Gertrude the Great (or Saint Gertrude of Helfta) (Italian: Santa Gertrude) (January 6, 1256 – ca. 1302) was a German Benedictine, mystic, and theologian.
She is recognized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, and is inscribed as "Saint Gertrude" in the General Roman Calendar, not as "Saint Gertrude the Great", for celebration throughout the Latin-Rite Catholic Church on November 16.[1]
Gertrude was born January 6, 1256, in Eisleben, Thuringia (within the Holy Roman Empire). Nothing is known of her parents, so she was probably an orphan. As a young girl, she joined the Benedictine monastery of St. Mary at Helfta, under the direction of its abbess, Gertrude of Hackeborn. She is sometimes confused with her abbess, which is why she is often depicted in art incorrectly holding a crosier. Some scholars refer to the monastery as Cistercian, since it was founded by seven sisters from the Cistercian community of Halberstadt. However, it could not have had this status officially since it was founded in 1229, the year after the Cistercian men decided they would sponsor no more convents. She dedicated herself to her studies, becoming an expert in literature and philosophy. She later experienced a conversion to God and began to strive for perfection in her religious life, turning her scholarly talents to scripture and theology. Gertrude produced numerous writings, but only the Herald of God's Loving-Kindness, partly written by other nuns and formerly known as her Life and Revelations, and the Spiritual Exercises remain today. 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.
St Gertrude died at Helfta, near Eisleben, Saxony, around 1302. Her feastday is celebrated on November 16 or 17, but the exact date of her death is unknown; the November date stems from a confusion with Abbess Gertrude of Hackeborn.
Though St Gertrude was never formally canonized, nevertheless she received equipotent canonization, and a universal feast day was declared in the year 1677 by Pope Clement XII.[2]


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The Saint has informed us herself when and how the first of these heavenly communications was vouchsafed to her. It was on Monday, the 25th of January, "at the close of day, the Light of lights came to dissipate the obscurity of her darkness, and to commence her conversion. And Jesus came, as He mostly comes to His beloved ones, as she performed an act of humility and obedience - declining to an ancient religious to fulfill a conventual observance, and doubtless from no mere habitual custom, but with deep and lowly reverence for a spouse of Christ, whom she considered incomparably her superior in virtue and sanctity.

Her sisters were not slow to perceive that their companion was specially favored by Heaven. One religious who had long suffered from most painful temptations, was warned in a dream to apply to Gertrude for relief and to recommend herself to her prayers. The moment she complied with this injunction, the temptation ceased. Another, who feared to communicate under a similar and even more urgent trial, obtained a morsel of cloth which had been used by the Saint, and placing it near her heart, implored our Lord to deliver her by the merits of Gertrude. The favor was granted, and from that moment she never suffered from the same temptation. It would appear, indeed, that Gertrude was specially designed by providence to assist others, even during her life time, by her merits and intercession, as well as by the gifts of counsel with which she was singularly favored.

A person whose sanctity had been long manifest, and who was specially favored by Divine communications, came to the monastery from a distant country to obtain an interview with the Saint. As she knew none of the religious personally, she prayed that whoever would benefit most by their conversation might be sent to her. It was then made known to her that whoever should come and take their place beside her would be indeed the one most beloved by God, and the most holy among the religious. On her arrival, St. Gertrude came to her; but so well did she conceal any appearance of sanctity, and hide the supernatural light with which she was favored, that the stranger imagined that she had been deceived and again prayed as she had done before. The same reply was once more vouchsafed to her, and she was assured that this was indeed the religious who was so dear to God. Shortly after, the visitor had a long interview with St. Mechtilde, whose conversation she greatly preferred and whose sanctity was more apparent. Again she "inquired of God" and asked why St. Gertrude was preferred to her sister. Our Lord replied that He had indeed operated great graces in Mechtilde, but in Gertrude He had operated, and He would yet operate, far greater.

Another person of great sanctity, who was praying for the Saint, felt a singular impulse of affection for her, which she believed to be supernatural. "O Divine Love!" she exclaimed, "what is it You behold in this virgin which obliges You to esteem her so highly and to love her much?" Our Lord replied: "It is My goodness alone which obliges Me; since she contains and perfects in her soul those five virtues which pleases Me above all others, and which I have placed therein by a singular liberality. She possesses purity, by a continual influence of My grace; she possesses humility, amidst the great diversity of the gifts which I have bestowed on her - for the more I effect in her, the more she abases herself; she possesses a true benighnity, which makes her desire the salvation of the whole world for My greater glory; she possesses a true fidelity, spreading abroad, without reserve, all her treasures the same and final end. Finally, she possesses a consummate charity; for she loves Me with her whole heart, with her whole soul and with her whole strength; and for love of Me, she loves her neighbor as herself".

After Our Lord had spoken this to this soul, He showed her a precious stone on His heart, in the form of a triangle, made of trefoils, the beauty and brilliancy of which cannot be described; and He said to her. "I always wear this jewel as a pledge of the affection which I have for My spouse. I have made it in this form, that all the celestial court may know by the brightness of the first leaf that there is no creature on earth so dear to Me as Gertrude, because there is no one at this present time among mankind who is united to Me so closely as she is, either by purity of intention or by uprightness of will. They will see by the second leaf that there is no soul still bound by the chains if flesh and blood whom I am so disposed to enrich by My graces and favors. And they will observe in the splendor of the third leaf that there is no one who refers to My glory lone the gifts received from Me with such sincerity and fidelity as Gertrude, who far from wishing to claim the least thing for herself, desires most ardently that nothing shall be ever attributed to her". Our Lord concluded this revelation by saying to the holy person to whom He had thus condescended to speak of the perfections of our Saint: "You cannot find Me in any place in which I delight more, or which is more suitable for Me, than in the Sacrament of the Altar, and after that, in the heart and soul of Gertrude, My beloved; for towards her all my affections, and the complacences of My Divine Love, turn in a singular manner"

On another occasion, a devout person who was praying for the Saint heard these words: "She for whom thou prayest is My dove, who has no guile in her, for she rejects from her heart as gall all the guile and bitterness of sin. She is My chosen lily, which I love to bear in My hands, for it is My delight and My pleasure to repose in the purity and innocence of this chaste soul. She is My rose, whose odor is full of sweetness because of her patience in every adversity and the thanksgiving which she continually offers Me, which ascend before Me as the sweetest perfumes. She is that spring flower which never fades, and which I take pleasure in contemplate, because she keeps and maintains continually in her breast an ardent desire not only for all virtues, but for the utmost perfection of every virtue. She is a sweet melody, which ravishes the ears of the blessed; and this melody is composed of all the sufferings she endures with so much constancy"

A little before Lent, as Gertrude was reading a lecture for the community, according to the custom of the Order, she repeated these words twice: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with they whole strength" (Deut. 6:5). The Saint lived in a community of saints, where more than one favored soul was vouchsafed intimate and frequent communion with her Spouse. A sister, who was touched by the devotion with which these words were uttered, prayed that He who so loved Gertrude and had taught her to love Him so much, would vouchsafe to impart to her the same blessed lesson. Our Lord replied: "I have borne her in My arms from her infancy. I have preserved her in her baptismal purity and innocence, until she, by her own free choice and will, has given herself to Me entirely and forever; and as a recompense for the perfection of her desires, I in return, have given Myself entirely to her. So pleasing is this soul to Me, that when I am offended by men, I often enter therein to repose, and I make her endure some pain of body or of mind, which I inflict on her for the sins of others; and as she accepts this suffering with the same thanksgiving, humility and patience as she receives all that comes from Me, and offers it to Me in union with My sufferings, she appeases my anger, and obliges My mercy to pardon, for her sake, an immense number of sinners."

On another occasion, Gertrude having humbly asked the prayers of a sister, the religious complied with her request, and while praying for the Saint, heard these words: "The faults which appear in Gertrude may rather be called steps in perfection, for it would be almost impossible that human weakness could be preserved from the blasts of vainglory, amidst the abundance of graces which I continually operate in her, if her virtues were not hidden from her eyes under the veils and shadow of apparent defects. Thus, even as the earth produces a richer and more abundant harvest in proportion as the laborer has been careful in manuring it, so the gratitude of Gertrude bears Me richer fruit, the more I make her see her own weakness. It is for this reason that I permit different imperfections in her, for which she is in a state of continual humiliation, sending her a particular grace for each, with which she blots them all out from My sight; and the time will come when I change these defects into so many virtues, so that her soul will shine before Me as a most glorious sun."

What these defects were, we are not told. The Saint's patience in sickness and in trial was unalterable; her charity to her sisters abounded with each necessity; for its exercise; and her sanctity was apparent in every action of her holy life. A special gift of prophecy or fore - knowledge enabled her to give advice with promptness, and the greatest wisdom, on the most important occasions. When these gifts became known, the monastery was frequently visited by all classes of persons, who came to converse with her on spiritual subjects, or to obtain counsel in difficulties. Her deep study of Holy Scripture and of the Fathers now bore abundant fruit, and it was observed that she had a singular, and no doubt a Heaven sent, felicity in applying what she had read and treasured in her memory to the spiritual necessities of those with whom she conversed.

God and the salvation of souls - this was the one object of her life, the one end of every action. From her humility, she had fully persuaded herself that the marvelous graces bestowed on her were given her for others. This holy delusion served two important ends - it saved her from every temptation to spiritual complacence, and it induced her to impart freely to others a knowledge if the revelations and other favors bestowed in her. She was simply according to her own idea, a channel of divine grace to others; and believing this to be her end, she neither spared time nor labor for its accomplishment. Often her rest was shortened and her food forgotten when souls demanded tome or anxious thought. "Not satisfied with even this, she often deprived herself of the sweetness of contemplation when it was necessary to succor the tempted, to console the afflicted, or, what she desired above all else, to enkindle and increase the fire of divine love in any soul. For as iron, when placed in the fire, becomes itself like fire, thus this virgin, burning with love, seemed to be all love, such zeal had she for the salvation of all."

She believed that God would indeed be glorified thereby, and that His gifts would thus be multiplied a hundredfold; "she was absolutely persuaded that she received nothing for herself, but that all was for the salvation of others. She never beheld anyone whom she did not consider better than herself, and it was on this account that she was so convinced that God would receive more glory by the communications of His graces to them. She believed that they merited more by a single thought, by their mere innocence, even by their purity of heart, than she could do by all her mental powers or spiritual gifts." Can we wonder that a vessel so emptied of self should have been filled to overflowing with God? - that the "perfume of the ointment" should have lingered for so many hundreds of years in the house of God, and that it still affords refreshment and consolation to His chosen spouses, and to the most saintly souls? May this poor effort to extend the sweetness of that perfume be for His honor and glory, for the honor of this blessed Saint and for the refreshment of the little ones of Jesus!


http://gertrude.99k.org/book1.htm


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Prayer to the Sacred Heart, written by St. Gertrude

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, fountain of eternal life, Your Heart is a glowing furnace of Love. You are my refuge and my sanctuary.

O my adorable and loving Savior, consume my heart with the burning fire with which Yours is aflamed. Pour down on my soul those graces which flow from Your love. Let my heart be united with Yours. Let my will be conformed to Yours in all things. May Your Will be the rule of all my desires and actions. Amen.



Prayer to Our Lady, taught to St. Gertrude

O most chaste Virgin Mary, I beseech thee by that unspotted purity wherewith thou didst prepare for the Son of God a dwelling of delight in thy virginal womb, that by thine intercession I may be cleansed by every stain of sin.

O most humble Virgin Mary, I beseech thee by that most profound humility whereby thou didst merit to be raised high above all the choirs of the angels and the saints, that by thine intercession all my negligence may be expiated.

O most loving Virgin Mary, I beseech thee by that ineffable love which united thee so closely and so inseparably to God, that by thine intercession I may obtain an abundance of all merits. Amen.


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Prayer to St. Gertrude the Great

Model of total fidelity to the Heavenly Bridegroom and to your Cistercian Rule, the Lord was pleased to make available wonderful private revelations
through you. Help religious to realize that where there is total generosity,
trials are usually not lacking, but there is also God's infinite love.
Make all religious generous like you. Amen.



The Litany of St. Gertrude the Great

Antiphon: Lord Jesus! In union with that love which drew Thee down upon earth and caused Thee to fulfill the work of our Redemption, I offer Thee this prayer:

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy, Christ, hear us.Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

Holy, Mary, pray for us.
All ye holy choirs of Angels, pray for us.
All ye Saints and Elect of God, pray for us.
Saint Gertrude, pray for us.
Thou chaste virgin, pray for us.
Thou beloved daughter of the Heavenly Father, pray for us.
Thou chosen bride of Jesus Christ, pray for us.
Thou temple of the Holy Ghost, pray for us.
Thou joy of the Holy Trinity, pray for us.
Thou fragrant flower in the hand of Jesus Christ, pray for us.
Thou ever-blooming spring flower, Thou rose without thorns, pray for us.
Thou chaste dove without the stain of sin, pray for us.
Thou earthly seraph, pray for us.
Thou living sanctuary, pray for us.
Thou strong protection of all who venerate thee, pray for us.

Jesus Christ, Spouse of Saint Gertrude, have mercy on us.
Through her humility, have mercy on us.
Through her charity, have mercy on us.
Through her untiring patience, have mercy on us.
Through the ardent love she bore Thee, have mercy on us.
Through the delight with which Thou didst dwell in her heart, have mercy on us.
Through the love which Thou hast for her, have mercy on us.
Through the love with which Thou hast chosen her from eternity, have mercy on us.
Through the love with which Thou didst so sweetly attract her to Thyself, have mercy on us.
Through the love with which Thou so delightfully didst unite her to Thyself, have mercy on us.
Through the love with which Thou so complacently dwelt in her heart, have mercy on us.
Through the love with which Thou didst end her life with a happy death, have mercy on us.
Through the love with which Thou hast conferred on her eternal life, have mercy on us.
Through the love with which Thou lovest and rejoicest all the blessed, have mercy on us.

Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, O holy virgin Saint Gertrude,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let Us Pray: O Lord Jesus, by the love Thou didst bear to the virginal heart of Saint Gertrude and by which Thou hast promised that no sinner who would honor and love her should die a sudden and unprovided death, grant me, I beseech Thee, this grace, and let me so love Thee and repent of my sins that with faith and confidence I may expect a happy death. Amen.

O God, Who in the heart of the holy virgin Gertrude didst provide for Thyself a pleasing abode, through her merits do Thou cleanse from our hearts every stain of sin and grant that we may enjoy fellowship with her for evermore, through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.


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for more information:

Prayers.... http://www.2heartsnetwork.org/Gertrude.htm

The Life of Saint Gertrude.....http://gertrude.99k.org/book1.htm

The Revelations of Saint Gertrude.
Written by the Saint Herself.......http://gertrude.99k.org/book2.htm

http://www.catholictradition.org/Gertrude/saint-gertrude.htm



Last edited by Easter-won on Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:15 am; edited 1 time in total


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8 St. Gertrude and the Holy Souls. on Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:13 am

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Saint Gertrude had a deep empathy for the Church suffering, the Holy Souls in Purgatory. At every Holy Communion she beseeched Jesus for His mercy to be bestowed on them. During one Holy Communion she experienced the descent into Purgatory with Our Lord. She heard Him say: "At Holy Communion I will permit thee to draw forth all to whom the fragrance of thy prayers penetrates." After Holy Communion Our Lord customarily delivered more Souls than she had dared to ask for.

One time when Gertrude was praying with great fervor for the Holy souls, she asked Our Lord how many Souls His mercy would release, He answered: "My love urges Me to release the Poor Souls. If a beneficent king leaves his guilty friend in prison for justice's sake, he awaits with longing for one of his nobles to plead for the prisoner and to offer something for his release. Then the king joyfully, sets him free. Similarly, I accept with highest pleasure what is offered to Me for the Poor Souls, for I long inexpressibly to have near Me those for whom I paid so great a price. By the prayers of thy loving soul, I am induced to free a prisoner from Purgatory as often as thou dost move thy tongue to utter a word of prayer!" [29]

Our Savior taught Gertrude for whom she should most ardently pray for. On the day when the community commemorated in common the death of their parents, Gertrude saw the happy souls ascend the darkness of Purgatory like sparks from a flame. She asked Our Lord if all these were relatives. He answered: "I am thy nearest relative, thy father and thy mother. Therefore, My special friends are thy nearest relatives, and these are among those whom I have liberated." [30]

GERTRUDE was asked by someone, that when she offered to God all the gratuitous gifts with which He had favored her, to request that she might have a share in their merit. "As she prayed thus, she perceived this person standing before the Lord, Who was seated on His throne of glory, and held in His hand a robe magnificently adorned, which He presented to her, but still without clothing her in it. The Saint, being surprised at this, said to Him: 'When I made a similar offering to Thee, a few days since, Thou didst at once take the Soul of the poor woman for whom I prayed to the joys of Paradise; and why, most loving Lord, dost Thou not now clothe this person with the robe which thou hast shown her, and which she so ardently desires, through the merits of the graces Thou hast bestowed on me, though so un worthy of them?' Our Lord answered: 'When anything is offered to Me for the faithful departed, I immediately use it for them, according to My natural inclination to show mercy and pardon, either for the remission of their sins for their consolation, or for the increase of their eternal felicity, according to the condition of those for whom the offering is made.'" [31]


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