Happy Feast of St. Patrick Gertrude

Today is March 17th – normally a day on which we celebrate a certain saint by embracing the color green – especially green beer – and celebrating all things Irish. But being half Irish does not make up for the fact that I’ve no green clothing, I hate corned beef and cabbage, and prefer drinking beer in its original state (specifically Corona). But I digress…

As this is also HER day, I am honoring St. Gertrude of Nivelles – the Matron saint of cats (and cat lovers) and gardeners – which is especially fitting as March is also Women’s History Month. (Or as I prefer to call it, HERstory Month.) Being that St. Gertrude was Belgian, I’m sitting here drinking a delicious tea to which I’ve added a generous splash of GIN.

Virgin, and Abbess of the Benedictine monastery of Nivelles; born in 626; died 17 March, 659.

After the death of her father in 639, her mother Itta, following the advice of St. Amandus, Bishop of Maestricht, erected a double monastery, one for men, the other for women, at Nivelles. She appointed her daughter Gertrude as its first abbess…

She was venerated as a saint immediately after her death, and a church was erected in her honour by Agnes, the third Abbess of Nivelles. The towns of Geertruidenberg, Breda, and Bergen-op-Zoom in North Brabant honour her as patron…

The assignment of Gertrude as patron of cats and the designation of the cat as one of her attributes seems to date from the 1980s…A more superficial association of Gertrude with the cat as a mouse hunter goes further back. Her veneration as protector against rats and mice dates from the early 15th century during the Black Plague and spread from Southwestern Germany to the Netherlands and Catalonia…The first major English-language publication presenting her as patron of cats is a 1981 catalogue of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Happy St. Gertrude of Nivelles Day!

ℳ –


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