She came to us in the Thirteenth Century, a time of
rampant heresy and glorious victory. The Lord promised that His Church,
although besieged by persecution, would triumph in the end; in the
Thirteenth Century, with His Infinite Humility, He raised up great
Saints to bring this about. St. Gertrude received the title "the Great"
partially because of the extraordinary gifts she received from the Lord,
but we believe more for her total dedication to her Spouse Jesus. Why
did the Lord want devotion to His Most Sacred Heart to begin at this
time? We know that He brought about the Miracle of the Eucharist at
Bolsena to dispel the heresy of Berengarianism in this century, but why
did He give the message to St. Gertrude to bring about an awareness and
love of His Most Sacred Heart, the Furnace of His Love?
Six centuries before, in around the year 720, His
children were being led astray, innocent lambs being led to slaughter by
some "judas goats," and so God in His Mercy gave His little ones a
Miracle of the Eucharist in the Form of a Human Heart! Then six
centuries later, He sends a Saint to herald devotion to His Most Sacred
Heart, to let us know how much He loves us, how we can find refuge and
strength in the Mercy of His Sacred Heart. Is this book not about His
Mercy? God could not have shown more Mercy and Compassion than to give
us an opportunity to be made ready for Him by gracing us with Purgatory.
He gave us Miracles of the Eucharist, whenever we were
in danger of losing our faith. Why? Because He wanted us to know that
He is with us, reachable and waiting for us, coming to dwell in us
during the ongoing Sacrifice of the Cross, the Sacrifice of the Mass.
He told St. Gertrude:
"You can find Me in no place where I delight more, or
which is more suitable for Me, than in the Sacrament of the Altar."
This reaffirms a theme that runs through our books on
Visionaries, Mystics and Stigmatists, Saints, Angels, Mother Mary and
Miracles of the Eucharist that no one, nothing is more dear and precious
to the Lord than us sharing in the Sacrifice of the Cross. You will
read throughout this book how the most powerful arrow that can pierce
the loving Heart of God the Father, moving Him to have mercy on us, is
Our Lord's Passion, Death and Resurrection, that ongoing Sacrifice of
the Cross - the Sacrifice of the Mass.
Our story begins in the village of Helfta, Germany. A
little girl, barely five years old entered a Benedictine convent, a
community filled with holy cloistered nuns whose whole life was the
Lord. They knew and believed that the Lord was as truly present in the
Blessed Sacrament as He was in Heaven and so they spent much of their
lives on earth adoring Him. From this fountain of faith flowed a desire
to praise him morning, day and night, praying the Divine Office.
Gertrude grew in holiness and when she came of age, she became a Bride
Gertrude receives her first vision
Her Bridegroom Jesus appeared to her when she was
twenty-six years old. During Advent, she had been filled with a
restlessness and longing to be closer to Jesus. The more she meditated,
the more she began to have a disdain for the things of the world. One
evening, she was about to retire, when Our Lord appeared to her as a
very handsome young Man. He said: "Thy salvation is at hand. Why are
you so consumed by sorrow?" She had received her first vision!
Now, she knew that she was in her dormitory, but it
seemed as if she was being transported to the corner of the choir.
Jesus spoke to her:
"I will save and deliver you. Fear not."
Our Lord opened His Arms wide to embrace her. She tried
to approach Him, but a hedge, made thick with long menacing thorns
barred the way, looming between them, separating her from Him. As she
knew that the hedge and thorns were the times she had sinned and
displeased the Lord, she began to weep. The Lord extended His Hand, and
as if some unseen force had lifted her, she was beside Him. He invited
her to rest her head on His Precious Chest. Her eyes went from His
pierced Heart to His Hands and Feet; and there before her were His five
Wounds, bleeding out of love for her and us "the radiant jewels of His
St. Gertrude tells us that after this she was converted,
not that she had been anything but virtuous. She had always been a good
student, excelling in Latin, History and other worldly subjects. But
after this, she had eyes only for the Word of God in Holy Scripture and
the works of such Church Fathers as Saints Augustine, Gregory and
St. Gertrude lived to love Jesus alone; pleasing Him was
her sole objective in life. She sought and found Him everywhere, but
most especially in the Eucharist. Jesus was consistently in her mind
and on her heart; she took to heart His words, when Our Lord said:
"I delight so much in her; I have chosen to dwell in
her. All that others see and love in her is My work; and whoever loves
My work in her, loves Me. I have decreed that she stand alone, without
friends or relatives, that none may love her from ties of relationship,
but that I Myself may be the sole cause of her being loved and
She had ultimate confidence in Jesus' Love and Mercy.
He told her:
"It is impossible that anyone should not receive all
that he has believed and hoped to obtain. It gives Me great pleasure
when men hope great things from Me and I will always grant them more
than they expect."
She turned to Jesus, as she would to an earthly father,
with the complete trust of a child. No petition was too small or too
great. On one occasion, when she had lost a needle in a pile of straw,
she asked the Lord to find it for her:
"It would be in vain that I would search for this needle
and so very much a waste of time. If You would be so kind, find it for
She turned her head, groped with one of her hands and
immediately found the needle. Our Lord delighted in her simplicity and
innocence, and always rewarded her faith in Him with gifts affirming
After that first vision, she continued to see Her Lord,
only "indistinctly" as we say - with the eyes of the heart, when she
would receive Holy Communion. This went on until the vigil of the
Annunciation, when Our Lord visited her again and helped her to
understand Him more clearly. From this time on she would correct her
faults out of love for the God of Mercy, not out of fear of the
God of Justice!
She was so filled with God's Grace, she committed this
prayer to memory, reciting it over and over again:
"O most merciful Lord, engrave Thy Wounds upon my heart
with Thy most Precious Blood, that I may read in them both Thy grief and
Thy Love; and that the memory of Thy Wounds may ever remain in my inmost
heart, to excite my compassion for Thy sufferings and to increase in me
Thy Love. Grant also that I may despise all creatures, and that my
heart may delight in Thee alone. Amen."
Then, one day, she knew that the Lord had heard her
prayer and, in response, had imprinted the Wounds that had pierced His
most Sacred Body on the Cross, on her body. She had received the
stigmata and would from that day on, experience the agony that her Lord
heart is pierced by an arrow of Love
Seven years passed. Gertrude did not believe it
possible, that she could receive any more Graces than she already had.
Then during Advent, she had just received the Lord in Holy Communion
when she saw a beam of light shoot forth from the Wound in Our Lord's
Side on the Crucifix, and with the force of an arrow pierced her heart.
With this stamp on her heart, the Lord expressed His Heart's desire:
"May all your love and compassion be centered on Me, so
that all your delight, your hope, your joy, your grief, your fear and
every feeling you have may be sustained by Me."
Gertrude received the great grace to have Jesus exchange
His Heart for her heart. She wrote that from that day on, she no longer
lived but that she could truly feel Jesus living in her, loving through
places the Infant Jesus into Gertrude's heart
She had been united with Jesus, the God-Man and now, it
was time for the Infant King to touch her soul. Gertrude was
meditating; it was Christmas Eve, and she was trying to place herself
spiritually in the little barn in Bethlehem. She so wished she could
have assisted Mother Mary bring the Baby Jesus into the world. As she
was meditating, she felt the Blessed Mother place the Infant Jesus into
her heart. She was being transfigured, the Lord her God becoming all in
all things, to the exclusion of all else. Her soul was so filled with
her Beloved Spouse's Presence, and she so delighted in this Spouse,
alone, Who so strongly dwelled in her that she was blind to all the
distractions around her.
Jesus places Gertrude's hand in His Open Wound
St. Gertrude had many visions. And they were all
beautiful and special, but the one that touches my heart most is when
Jesus appeared to Gertrude and asked for her hand. She stretched out
her hand and he placed it in the open Wound in His Side. He promised to
continue endowing her with His Graces, but should He subject her to the
pain of being deprived of His Presence, and she persevered, He would
return and bless her a hundredfold. When Gertrude withdrew her hand,
she saw three rings on her ring finger and one on each of the other four
making seven (rings) in all. They were to represent, Our Lord said, the
Graces that He had bestowed on the world through her.
When we read about Our Lord placing Gertrude's hand in
the open Wound in His Side, and read again his promise to her, and His
assurance that should He deprive her of His Presence, and she
persevered, He would return and bless her a hundredfold, we could not
help thinking of our beloved Church which flowed from the Wound in His
Side, from His Most Sacred Heart, and it seemed the Lord was talking to
us, the Mystical Body of Christ. If we persevere and remain faithful to
our Church, even should she appear near death, she will rise again more
alive and glorious than ever.
Sacred Heart and the Eucharist in the Latter Days
Jesus told Gertrude that His Sacred Heart is the
Treasure He has reserved for the "Latter Days." A word that has been
coming to us is that the Third Millennium will be The Age of the
Eucharist, where everyone's eyes will be open and we will be able to see
clearly Our Lord present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Statistics
say that only 30% of Catholics believe that Jesus is truly Present in
the Eucharist. Well, we are not into statistics but this we do know,
that those who do believe, believe with their whole hearts; and some of
them (believe), with an awareness of His Presence that the Saints like
St. Gertrude had before them.
Many times, she was given the gift of having the veil
lifted from her eyes; so that at those times, she could see the Divine
Love and Mercy that Jesus in the Eucharist had for His children. He
revealed how He longed to be united with them through this Sacrament.
Jesus said that His Delight was to be with His children and that is why
He left us Himself. He said that when He enters a soul in Holy
Communion, He fills not only that soul with Graces but all the
inhabitants of Heaven and earth benefit, as well as the Poor Souls in
Purgatory who at the same time are experiencing some of the Lord's
abounding Love and Mercy.
Jesus also told His little spouse that His Heart is the
Altar upon which He, the Eternal High Priest, offers Himself to the
Father during the ongoing Sacrifice of the Cross, the Sacrifice of the
Mass, the Angels once again encircling Him as He goes through His
Passion and Resurrection. Just thinking of the Altar in our churches as
the Lord's Heart, how can we enter the church and not genuflect; or if
our Lord is not present (the tabernacle not being in the church) at
least not bow? Do we know? Do we believe?
Gertrude has a vision of St. John the Beloved
She had a vision of St. John the Beloved and he invited
her to rest her head on Jesus' Chest. She stood on one side and he on
the other side of Jesus. Gertrude asked St. John if his heart beat
excitedly when he rested on the Lord's Bosom during the Last Supper, and
if he could not hear the blessed beating of her Lord's Most Sacred Heart
at that time? St. John said that not only had he, but his soul could
feel the sweet rhythm of the Lord's Heart beating down to its very core,
leaving an indelible mark forever on his heart. Then, she asked why he
had not written about the Lord's Sacred Heart. To which St. John
replied, he was chosen to bring the Eternal Word of God to the faithful,
but the message of the compassionate roaring flame of Our Lord's Sacred
Heart has been reserved for the Latter Days.
When we think that what we hear, when we listen to a
human heart beating, is a heart pumping life to the rest of the body, we
understand some of the great Gift that God has reserved for us, to bring
us through these rough days, these days that are so bewildering at
times. He is filling us with Life through the Eucharist, and hope
through His Sacred Heart.
Jesus tells us in Holy Scripture not to be afraid. Let
us center our minds and hearts on this Lord of Mercy Who is sharing His
Sacred Heart with us to strengthen us and to carry us through the Latter
Days. Believe in Him, as Gertrude and all the Saints did; He will never
The Lord told St. Gertrude that every time, God the
Father was sorely wounded by the sins of men, Jesus would show His
Wounded Hands to His Father in atonement for their sins. So, he said,
if only men will repent for their sins, they will obtain ready pardon
from God the Father, His anger having been appeased because of His Son's
Jesus speaks to St. Gertrude about the Crucifix
No matter where she was, St. Gertrude's crucifix was
nearby. Even during the evening, in bed, she would reach out to touch
her crucifix, holding her Lord on the cross close to her heart. One
day, Gertrude held her crucifix up to her lips and kissed it. Her Lord
appeared to her and said that every time someone kisses the crucifix or
reverently adores the Christ represented on the crucifix, "God's Eyes of
Mercy become a stamp on his soul." To us it also becomes a shield, a
suit of armor upon our souls, protecting us from all harm.
Gertrude and the Blessed Mother
Gertrude had visions not only of Jesus but of Mother
Mary and the Saints, who came and spoke to her. The Lord revealed the
holy profits received by a soul who petitions Him through His Mother.
He said that it was He Who chose to only bestow His Graces on God's
children, through the hands and the Immaculate Heart of His Mother
Mary. He told Gertrude that whenever she was afraid of weakening and
succumbing to the snares of the devil, or felt incapable of doing His
Will, to call on His Mother who would be her strength, her guide and her
On Mother Mary's birthday, September 8th, Gertrude had a
vision of the Lord. She asked what rewards would be theirs who
celebrated this Feast Day, with true devotion. He replied He would
grant them a share in the "special joys He possesses in Heaven, and in
the virtues with which the most Glorious Blessed Trinity adorns Him."
One time, when Gertrude asked Jesus what most pleased
Him, He replied: "Place yourself before My Mother, who reigns by My
side, and endeavor to praise her." St. Gertrude did so and "our Lady
adorned her with the rose of love, the lily of chastity and the violet
Yet, we hear people foolishly questioning the love and
devotion we have for our, and Jesus' Mother Mary. If for no other
reason than, it so pleases Her Son, we should honor her. If for no
other reason than, as one of His last acts of love on the Cross, Jesus
gave Mary to us, as our Mother, we should love her.
"When Jesus saw His Mother and the Disciple there whom
He loved, He said to His Mother, `Woman, behold, your son.' Then He
said to the Disciple, `Behold, your mother.' And from that hour, the
Disciple took her into his home."
Once her Son had entrusted His bride to Our Lady, she
never left Gertrude alone. She revealed to her, the place of the Holy
Trinity in her life. Mother Mary appeared as a Lily with three petals,
one upright and the other two gently draped downward, as if reaching
out. [One of Our Lady's titles is "Resplendent Lily of the Trinity,"
having been the only one, above all God's creatures, who most perfectly
deserved and received the Graces of the Three in One God. She earned
this honor, her perfect soul never soiled with even the slightest stain
of sin.] St. Gertrude understood that the upright petal represented the
"Omnipotence" of God the Father, and the other two petals, the "Wisdom"
of Jesus the Son and the "Purity" of the Holy Spirit.
Daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, Spouse of the
Holy Spirit, it was only fitting she be represented by this strong
symbol of her relationship with the Triune God.
Gertrude was an instrument of healing
Even during her lifetime, people heard of Gertrude's
holiness and asked her to intercede for them with Jesus. She did, and
many miraculous healings came about, physical and spiritual, equally.
If she could so powerfully move the Father's Heart for the living who
were still sinning, how much more would the Lord listen to her prayers
for those Souls who no longer sin, those suffering Souls in Purgatory,
and answer them!
Gertrude's love and compassion for the Poor Souls
St. Gertrude felt great tenderness toward the Poor Souls
in Purgatory. She constantly prayed for the Lord's Mercy on these Souls
who were suffering, as they longed to enter Heaven. One day, before
receiving Holy Communion, as she was praying for the Poor Souls, she
seemed to descend with Jesus into the depths of Purgatory. She was
devastated by what she saw. The Lord told her that He would allow her
to bring forth from Purgatory all for whom she prayed. After Communion,
she saw more Souls ascending to Heaven than for whom she had dared to
One day, Gertrude was praying for the Poor Souls, when
Jesus admonished her for not praying with the confident assurance, the
faith and realized hope that God hears and answers our prayers. He
"It would not be past My Justice to release those
Suffering Souls for whom you are praying, immediately, if you would pray
with confidence for this petition."
St. Gertrude's greatest delight was in seeing a
multitude of souls being released from Purgatory. But she received her
greatest joy on the days she received Holy Communion, because on those
days the numbers were infinitely greater. When she questioned the Lord,
"What makes you think I could refuse your prayers for
the Poor Souls, especially on those days you are joined to Me in Holy
Our Lord, at another time, stressing how dear it was to
Him to have Masses said, told St. Gertrude:
"At the hour of death, I will send to My children, as
many saints to console and assist them, as Holy Masses they have
reverently attended during their lifetime."
One day, when she was praying for the Poor Souls, she
asked Jesus how many Souls His Mercy would release from Purgatory. He
replied that His Love desires to release all Souls from Purgatory. He
used the following parable.
When a compassionate king has to imprison a friend,
guilty of a crime, for the sake of equal justice for all his people, he
longs for someone to plead for his friend and offer some sort of ransom
for his release. You can imagine the joy; the king has when he is able
to free his friend, and how kindly he feels toward those who arranged
for his friend's freedom, those who paid off his debt.
If a king who is an imperfect ruler feels so for a
friend, how much more so, Our Lord Who died for the Poor Souls in
Purgatory! Jesus told St. Gertrude that every time someone prays for a
Poor Soul, His Heart eagerly reaches out to send this loved one to join
Him in Heaven.
It is not God's Will or design that we be separated from
Him. We are part of the Creator, and He longs to be reunited with that
part of Himself that He has created, that is so precious to Him. It is
we who condemn ourselves to Hell or, who out of love for the Father,
send ourselves to Purgatory to be made more presentable to Him. When
God fashioned us, He created us in His Image with Free Will to know Him,
to love Him and to serve Him. When we stand before Him, we see how many
times we have failed to love Him as we should, how many times we have
put matters of the world before serving Him, how we have reluctantly
spent time getting to know Him better by spending time, quiet quality
time during the Sacrifice of the Mass or adoring Him in the Blessed
Sacrament. At that time, He will look into our eyes and His Eyes of
Perfect Love will meet ours and we will condemn ourselves, and we will
willingly fly to Purgatory.
is My brother and My sister?
Our Lord instructed St. Gertrude whom to pray for in
Purgatory. On All Souls Day, as her community was praying for the
deceased parents of the sisters, St. Gertrude could see many rejoicing
souls ascending up to Heaven, cutting through the darkness, lighting the
sky with their brilliance. She asked the Lord if these were all their
relatives and Our Precious Lord replied:
am your nearest Relative, your Father and your Mother. Therefore My
nearest friends are your nearest relatives, and these are among those
whom I have freed."
When she wrote for her sisters' education, her writings
reflected her attitude towards death:
"I wish with my whole heart to be strengthened by those
health-giving last Sacraments; nevertheless the Will and appointment of
God seem to be the best and surest preparation. I am certain that,
whatever the manner of my death, sudden or foreseen, I shall never lack
His Mercy, without which I cannot possibly be saved in either case."
Jesus told St. Gertrude that He had revealed His Heart
to her, that she might pass His messages of love down to His children.
And when St. Gertrude was reluctant to reveal her revelations, the Lord
told her emphatically that she would not be released from the "prison of
her flesh" until she had obeyed Him in this matter. And so, she did.
is time for St. Gertrude to go Home, at last
Although her life had been one of almost daily visions
of Jesus, with an intimacy and communication rarely known on earth, her
heart was restless until it rested in Him, in the Kingdom, for all
eternity. She was on fire! Her whole being yearned for her God.
Instead of these heavenly privileges making her resolute with this time
on earth, the splendor and the intense joy of seeing Him, hearing Him,
being in Our Lord's Presence gave her a greater desire each day, and a
growing holy impatience to be with Him in Heaven.
One time, she cried out: "When are You going to release
me from the prison of this body and permit me to enter the gates of
Heaven to begin our life eternal together?_
Now, St. Gertrude and Jesus had a wonderful
relationship. As she was complaining to her beloved Spouse about Him
not granting her request, He revealed how she was to die. She went into
deep ecstasy and saw a Heavenly Army of Angels and Saints, coming to
escort her Home, followed by the Patriarchs, the Prophets, the Apostles,
the Martyrs, the Virgins, and the Holy Innocents. The fallen angels
were afraid to venture near this Heavenly court.
St. Gertrude became very ill. She spoke to Jesus and
said that although she longed to be with Him, if He willed she remain on
earth, she willingly obeyed Him, although her heart was with Him. It
seemed that was what Jesus was waiting to hear. He told her, she had
fulfilled His Will for her on earth and He was ready to escort her to
His Father. Her last months on earth were filled with excruciating
pain, but although she had to be carried to Mass, she would not miss a
day being near her Spouse in the Word and in the Eucharist.
All the sisters surrounded her bed, their sorrow
inconsolable. It was painfully obvious she was leaving them. Jesus
appeared to His bride, His Face radiant. His Mother was on His right,
and as at the foot of the Cross, St. John was on His left. As He had
told her, there were the Heavenly host of Angels, the Saints, the
Martyrs, the Innocents, the Virgins; it seemed all Heaven had turned out
for her welcome into Heaven.
The sisters were reading the Passion when they
pronounced the words: "And bowing His Head, He gave up His Spirit,”
Jesus opened His Heart welcoming her within. The Angels began singing
Alleluia, and the next thing you know, one of the sisters heard the Lord
"Behold you are united to Me and to become My own
forever....I will present you to My Father by the close embrace of My
You can be sure that there was a Heavenly Court made up
of all the Souls who had been released from Purgatory through her
intercession, also awaiting her in Heaven with big signs welcoming her
Family, learn from the life of St. Gertrude. We love you!!
More Saints of Germany