About St. Gertrude

Gertrude of Nivelles

Feast Day: March 17

Patron of
• Cats & those who love them
• Travelers in Search of  Lodging
• Gardeners • Herbalists

Invoked Against • Rodents • Fear of Rats & Mice • Fever

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Gertrude was abbess of a double monastery, founded by her mother, Itta, at Nivelles, Belgium. Though known for her hospitality and generosity to travelers and pilgrims, she left the management of her monastery to a few trusted nuns and monks, in order that she might gain more time for study, meditation and prayer.

A mystic and visionary, she was venerated as a saint immediately after her death on March 17, 659, at age of 33, and a church later was erected in her honor.

A large following venerating Saint Gertrude spread widely throughout Belgium and its neighboring countries where quite a bit of folklore accumulated.

She is recognized as a patroness of travelers, including those who have recently died. In art, Gertrude is often depicted with mice (some say symbolizing the souls in purgatory) running up her pastoral staff. As late as the 19th century, offerings of gold and silver mice were left at her shrine in Cologne. She is still invoked against rodents and it is said that water from her well and cakes baked in her convent ovens will keep them away.
Her power over rodents apparently accounts for her traditional patronage of cats.

Gertrude is considered one of the patron saints of gardeners because fine weather on her feast day means it is time to begin spring planting.

 

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historical & cultural links

Learn more about Gertrude and her family at these links:
Biographical info from the Catholic Encyclopedia  and from Wikipedia  and from SQPN

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Why is St. Gertrude the Patron Saint of Cats?

Gertrude’s patronage of cats is most likely because water from her well, and bread baked in her oven, were believed to repel rodents.

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You’ll find all kinds of information pertaining to Gertrude on our Links page,
from fun to serious — a Kitchen Sink, as it were.

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  • brenda m igbinedion August 23, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    My cat is missing and I want him home

  • KAA March 18, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Just found out about st Getrude. Holy St Getrude, please pay for the cats at the backyard. I think my neighbour (who is a real pain) owns those cats. However, I have my doubts about them feeding the cats. So, I ask for your intercession, that these people will feed their cats properly. My neighbour is very defensive, else it would have been easy to ask them.

  • Boni E. Santos Jr. January 18, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    i felt blessed this morning because when i opened my laptop to browse on my Facebook, i saw a post with the picture of St. Gertrude, Patron Saint of Cats….i made a research at once to know something about her….i found out that the date of her death coincides with my birthdate….amazing!!! Now, i have a new patron saint who i am going to call for help as regards my cats’ health and safety…

    • Patricia January 19, 2014 at 7:23 am

      I’m glad you found us!

  • Margery Mary Hawkins August 16, 2012 at 6:03 am

    My granmother’s name was Gertrude…I was confirmed in St Gertrude’s Catholic church
    My friend Stanley, 17-y-o, developed heart trouble…died peacefully, in his own time, by the Aga at home. Buried by the grapevine in the garden.Vet saw him at home,…Stan was doing things in his own
    way….

  • Trudy Bledsoe April 19, 2012 at 3:26 am

    Ah, so this explains it. My love of cats. My first name is a derivative of Gertrude. I was named after my mother’s infant sister who passed shortly after birth. But she went with the more modern version of the name–Trudy. So that is how I became the crazy cat lady. My name sealed my fate.

  • Julie Maleski March 21, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    I LOVE this !!! Just found out about it…Thank you so much!!! I had a very sick cat, a couple of years ago, “Baby” had FIP, terminal…I prayed to St. Frances, God, the Angels, My loved ones in heaven. “Baby” lived around TWO YEARS !!! This is wonderful, Thanks for the hope that I am sending to my “FIP group” .