patron saints of Cats, the Recently Diseased, Gardeners, Travelers, Those with Mental Illness, and Those with a Morbid Fear of Mice and Rats.
Both her parents,
Pepin of Landen and Itta were held to be holy by those who knew them;
her sister Begga is numbered among the Saints. On her husband's death
in 640, Itta founded a Benedictine monastery at Nivelles, which is near
Brussels, and appointed Gertrude its abbess when she reached twenty,
tending to her responsibilities well, with her mother's assistance, and
following her in giving encouragement and help to monks, particularly
Irish ones, to do missionary work in the locale.
Saint Gertrude's piety was
evident even when she was as young as ten,
when she turned down the offer of a noble marriage, declaring that she
would not marry him or any other suitor: Christ alone would be her
She was known for her
hospitality to pilgrims and her aid to missionary
monks from Ireland as we indicated above: She gave land to one monk so
that he could build a monastery at Fosse. By her early thirties
Gertrude had become so weakened by the austerity of abstaining from
food and sleep that she had to resign her office, and spent the rest of
her days studying Scripture and doing penance. It is said that on the
day before her death she sent a messenger to Fosse, asking the superior
if he knew when she would die.
His reply indicated that death
would come the next day during holy
Mass----the prophecy was fulfilled. Her feast day of March 17 is
observed by gardeners, who regard fine weather on that day as a sign to
begin spring planting.
One of St. Gertrude's symbols is mice running up her staff, representing souls in purgatory. I've tried to represent this in this 12" x 12" quilt block.
The free pattern can be found here: Quilt Block in Honor of St. Gertrude of Nivelles.