Who Is The Patron Saint Of Cats

Saint Gertrude of Nivelles: The Patron Saint of Cats (More or Less)

St. Dymphna, patron saint of victims of nervous disorders*, has a little biography to tell. The intercession of St. Dymphna has ensured the continued success of the Colony of Gheel in Belgium over the years. For centuries, the island evangelized by St. Patrick, which is nestled in the turquoise seas of the Atlantic, has been referred to as the “ISLE OF THE SAINTS.” Because the names of the Irish saints would more than fill the Church’s calendar, it is fitting that it is named as such. The fact that the majority of Catholics are completely unfamiliar with so many of these magnificent saints, and in some cases are even unaware of their names, is a source of grief for us.

Dymphna is one who is frequently referred to as the “Lily of Fire” because of her unblemished virtue and her magnificent martyrdom.

It was in the 7th century that St.

Although her father was a minor ruler in the kingdom of Oriel, it is surprising to claim that he retained his pagan beliefs.

  • The “jewel” of Dymphna’s family was, like her mother, a paragon of beauty who was also a gentle and endearing youngster.
  • A unique blessing came from Heaven to the youngster as well.
  • According to the evidence, the latter was a member of the family who subsequently taught tiny Dymphna how to write and the fundamentals of Christianity.
  • Dymphna, like so many other nobel Irish maidens before and after her, was filled with zeal and love for Jesus Christ when she was still a child, and she chose Him as her Divine Spouse and committed her virginity to Him and His Blessed Mother by taking a vow of chastity.
  • Because of her mother’s death, she has lost her dear friend.
  • For a long time, Dymphna’s father lay prostrate on the floor in anguish, as had been the case with his wife Dymphna.
  • Thus, several members of his court were tasked with finding him a lady who would be similar to his first wife in terms of both beauty and character.

After giving in to their naive proposal, the king devised the terrible plan of marrying Dymphna as a result of listening to them.

To Dymphna’s surprise, the proposition was met with a considerable deal of hostility, and she requested a time of forty days to ponder it.

To this end, she embarked on her journey to the continent as quickly as possible, accompanied by the court jester Father Gerebran as well as their daughter.

Once they had taken a brief break, they continued on their trek and eventually arrived in a little village named Gheel, where they camped.

The monarch, on the other hand, was terrified when he learned of Dymphna’s escape and quickly dispatched his troops to track down the fugitives.

As a first step, Dymphna’s father attempted to persuade her to accompany him back to the monastery, but Father Gerebran sharply scolded him for his evil intentions.

He was immediately attacked by his evil retainers, who hit him in the neck with a sword and placed rough hands on him.

Dymphna’s father made many more attempts to persuade her to accompany him, but they were all in vain, since she refused.

The father became enraged by her defiance, and he pulled a dagger from his belt and hit his daughter in the face with it.

Thus, in the fifteenth year of her age, on the fifteenth day of May, between the years 620 and 640, St.

Her death has been designated as her feastday, which takes place on the anniversary of her death.

Nevertheless, after several years had passed, the people, remembering their sacred deaths, decided to give the remains a more appropriate burial.

When the coffin of St.

The relics of the saint were interred in a tiny church.

Dymphna” was built on the location where those remains were initially buried, as a result of need.

Dymphna are housed in a stunning golden casket.

Slowly but steadily, the reputation of St.

People suffering from mental illnesses were being brought to the shrine by family and friends, many of whom had traveled long distances to pay their respects.

Dymphna to hold.

A modest annex next to the chapel was used to house the patients at initially.

The settlement of Gheel grew from its humble beginning to become internationally renowned for its treatment of the mad and mentally ill.

Elizabeth,” which was run by the Sisters of St.

After a period of time at the institution, the vast majority of the latter are adopted by one of the Gheel families, where they have a very normal existence.

Gheel’s people have developed an intimate and tender understanding of their charges, and they have demonstrated an extraordinary spirit of charity and Christlike love for these afflicted members of society.

Recognized psychiatrists support the assertion and attest that if patients could be assured of a compassionate greeting elsewhere in the world, such as that which the people of Gheel take pleasure in providing, a shockingly significant percentage of patients would be willing to leave mental facilities.

A live affirmation of this assertion, Gheel serves as an example of the Gospel teachings on charitable giving. Reprinted from Tabernacle and Purgatory, a book produced by the Benedictine Convent Sisters in Clyde, Missouri, in May 1946, and available online.

Meet St. Gertrude, cat lady of the Catholic Church

A lady named Gertrude of Nivelles is said to be the patron saint of cats, and this is according to no less an authority than Etsy. To avoid confusion with St. Gertrude the Great (of Helfta), this St. Gertrude appears on a variety of Etsy products, including prayer cards and paper doll sets, as a youthful, haloed nun who looks to be holding a cat in her arms like a newborn child. Most of the things on Etsy are more kitschy than devout, and they don’t explain who Gertrude of Nivelles was or how she came to be known as the “Cat Lady of the Catholic Church,” as she was.

  1. However, the treatment of cats has not always been one of respect and protection in the Christian West.
  2. And why Gertrude of Nivelles, of all the saints, was chosen?
  3. She was born in 626 in Nivelles (a city in modern-day Belgium) to a family of affluent nobility, and she became known as Gertrude.
  4. Several people claimed that her mother, Itta, was descended from the bishop of Metz.
  5. During the Middle Ages, nobles rose to power through clever marriages with other aristocratic families from other countries.
  6. Several accounts of Gertrude’s life in medieval times claim that Pepin had similar plans for her.
  7. She rebuffed him, declaring that she would not marry him or any other man, but that she would only accept Christ as her husband.

Itta was faced with the dilemma of how to safeguard her youngdaughter from predatory suitors who hoped to benefit from her family’s money and status after Pepin’s death in 640.

As recommended by the Bishop of Nivelles, Itta constructed a twin monastery at Nivelles: a monastery for men and a monastery for women.

When Itta died in 652, Gertrude became the only heir to the monastic estate.

She utilized the property left to her by her mother to build churches, monasteries, and hospices, all of which are still standing today.

These pilgrims included two Irish brothers, Follian and Ultan, who founded a monastery on a parcel of property known as Fosses that had formerly belonged to Itta and Gertrude, who had died in a battle.

According to her biography, she spent her final days praying fervently and wearing a hair shirt.

Ultan foretold that she would die the next day at Mass.

Gertrude was canonized as a saint almost soon after her death, with churches dedicated to her and a slew of miracles credited to her in her memory.

Upon calling Gertrude’s name, the sea monster vanished in an instant, and the monks managed to escape.

The feast day of St.

Each year in the fall, Nivelles hosts Le TourSainte-Gertrude, a traditional march around the city that draws up to 2,000 pilgrims and concludes in a Mass where the relics of Saint Gertrude are on display, which is attended by the Pope.

What about cats, on the other hand?

Gertrude of Nivelles as the patron saint of cats (as some claim).

The likelihood that her present popularity among cat lovers stems from an obscure catalog, on the other hand, appears to be remote.

Gertrude has been shown with a rat or two scurrying around her feet or racing up the staff of her crozier in representations dating back to the Middle Ages.

Due to the fact that cats are the animal most people associate with being a natural predator of rats and mice, it doesn’t take much imagination to see Gertrude’s patronage being extended to the protection of cats.

Despite the fact that cats were revered as sacred creatures in ancient Egypt, Egyptians kept them as household pets.

Although house cats were less frequent among the ancient Greeks and Romans, they were highly regarded for their ability to keep the vermin population under control.

The Cat was a frequent target of superstition and maltreatment throughout the Middle Ages, particularly in connection with witchcraft and “paganbeliefs” of pre-Christian faiths, according to historians.

Vatican historians still credit Pope Gregory IX, who reigned from 1227 to 1241 and instituted the papal inquisition, with leading a continent-wide cat cleanse to drive out heresy from the Christian world.

The cat was referred to as “Lucifer” in the text.

Annual cat festivals such as Fastelvn in Denmark and Kattenstoet in Ypres, Belgium, serve as further evidence of the medieval church’s anti-cat prejudice against the animals.

The belief held that when the cat bolted from the community, evil spirits would follow it and be expelled from the area.

Kattenstoet was originally celebrated as an Easter holiday in Belgium in the 13th century, but it was transferred to the second week of Lent by the 15th century.

The event is still held in Ypres, but it now features stuffed toy cats instead of real cats.

My cat-obsessed aunt (who never had fewer than three cats at a time) told me a story about the “mark of Mary,” which is a mythology about the Virgin Mary’s mark (who currently keeps company with four).

A stray cat emerged and crawled into the manger, snuggling up next to baby Jesus and lulling him to sleep for the first time in his life.

Another example of the closeness that exists between Christians and cats is a 9th-century Irishpoem that was discovered in an Austrian monastery manuscript about ascholar and his white cat, Pangur Bán.

Auden and Seamus Heaney, have published their own translations of the poem.

The Middle Ages were a time when cats were considered to be the perfect and treasured companions for monksand nuns, and it would be no surprise if Gertrude’s religious sisters, or her Belgian and Irish religious brothers, maintained cats in their respective communities.

And, based on what we know about St.

This courageous young woman, who refused to marry, left the hectic administration of her monastery in the hands of others so that she could go off by herself and pray, and took to wearing a hair shirt in her final days, is a fitting human counterpart to the domestic cat, a creature known for being resolutely independent, constantly contrary, frequently lonerish, and prone to mysterious habits that never make sense to its human owner, who loves and accepts cats as they are regardless of their human counterparts’ opinions.

St. Gertude of Nivelles, patron saint of travelers, gardeners, and, yes, cats, is also known as the “Cat Saint.” The Catholic cat community and our misunderstood feline companions are grateful that you have our backs. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A Prayer to St. Gertrude, the Patron Saint of Cats

So, what do wild cat ladies, sluggish airplane passengers, lunatic individuals, and gardeners all have in common? They are all crazy. Their day of revelry and celebration, which is today, March 17, should be a day of joy and happiness. I’m not referring to St. Patrick’s Day in any way. (Despite the fact that I simply cannot let the middle of March pass without slamming a cold green one back.) I’m referring to the feast day of St. Gertrude of Nivelles, who lived from 621 to 659 and is commemorated today.

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St. Gertrude, Patron Saint of Cats

In this stained glass window in the Belgian province of Limburg, two cats are attempting to scale St. Gertrude’s tower. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user G. Freihalter. Exactly why would Catster readers be interested in St. Gertrude, may I inquire? Women’s History Month is celebrated in March, and Gertrude is a significant historical figure. It has been said that she is the patron saint of gardeners, travelers, widows, those who have just died, the sick, the destitute, individuals who are mentally ill, and tourists in need of accommodation.

Gertrude of Nivelles, on the other hand, is most beloved among cat lovers.

Who says saints aren’t hip and trendy?

Father Pepin is referred to as Pepin, even though the spelling of his name differs from source to source.

How did St. Gertrude Get to Be Associated With Cats?

St. Gertrude is represented on a stone sculpture on the Oudegracht canal in the Dutch city of Utrecht, which runs through the city. Photo courtesy of Kattenkruid. Cats are patronized by St. Gertrude, although there is no one narrative that ties her to this honor. Writings, on the other hand, reveal that she and her nuns maintained cats in order to keep the rodent population under control. Some individuals believe her patronage arose primarily as a result of the belief that water from her well and bread made in her oven were believed to be effective at repelling mice and rats.

Because of the massive departure of mice, she was dubbed “the patroness of cat lovers” by the general public.

The mice depicted on her icons are thought to represent souls locked in Purgatory, for whom she fervently prayed on a daily basis.

St. Gertrude and Travel

In this necklace by Etsy artistMarysPrayers, St. Gertrude is shown petting a kitten. It’s no surprise that Gertrude is considered the patron saint of travelers, which also makes her the super patron saint of those who travel with cats. When approaching airport security with a kitty in tow, she’s unquestionably the name to call out to. As someone who has had to pass through a metal detector at an airport while holding a fighting cat in my arms, I sought assistance from each and everyone I could think of.

Because the TSA guard appeared unconcerned about the red droplets of hemoglobin that traced my steps like Hansel and Gretel’s glowing stones, it appears that the TSA does not consider blood to be a hazardous substance, in contrast to other federal agencies.

The pilgrims were at sea when a giant sea monster threatened to capsize their ship, but it retreated when the pilgrims invoked the protection of St.

Because of her clout with the Almighty, it’s possible that she may intervene with the TSA on behalf of airplane passengers who are traveling with cats.

The tale goes that before setting off on their journey, medieval travelers would raise a glass to her in her honor. The name “St. Gertrude’s Cup” is still used to refer to a roadside beverage in Belgium today.

St. Gertrude and Agriculture

In this monument, which may be seen in St. Gertrude’s city of Nivelles, Belgium, a cat petitions St. Gertrude. Jean-Pol Grandmont contributed this photo to Wikimedia Commons. Because of Gertrude’s agricultural links, pleasant weather on March 17 (her feast day) signals that it is time to sow the crops, as opposed to Groundhog Day, when sunny skies signal that six more weeks of dreadful weather are ahead. Gertrude’s support of gardeners and herbalists extends to producers of catmint and cat grass as well, so be careful to consult her before cultivating catnip.

Gertrude will keep your vegetable patch free of puss feces.

Gertrude the next time you’re trying to cram a reluctant kitty into a carrier for a trip to the vet or you notice the neighbor cat scratching around your herb garden preparing to plant something of his own.

A prayer for her that I composed a few days ago is as follows:

A Prayer to St. Gertrude, Patron Saint of Cats

Here’s a prayer to St. Gertrude that I wrote a few days ago and thought you would enjoy: St. Gertrude of Nivelles, I beseech you to protect my kittens today and every day going forward. Protect them against people who might want to do them any harm. Keep them at home, where they will be protected from danger and storm. Instill knowledge in me so that I may properly care for them. Please, God, give me the strength to never shout again. Another thing I beg of thee, Gertrude, is to keep claws and urine from scratching up my sofa and carpeting.

About the author

Dusty Rainbolt is an author, adventurer, and cat-rescuer who also serves as the editor-in-chief of AdoptAShelter.com, a shop-to-donate website that helps animal welfare organizations. She also serves as the vice president of the Cat Writers Association, which she founded. ‘Death Under the Crescent Moon,’ her most recent novel, is a paranormal mystery that was published in February. In 2015, this essay was first published on the site.

The Patron Saint of Cats

Joe Longo contributed to this article. How did a nun from the Early Middle Ages come to be known as the patron saint of cats, despite the fact that the Catholic Church has never officially designated her as such? However, that is how she is now known. Saint Gertrude resided in Nivelles, Belgium, between the years 628 and 659. Having been born on March 17th (the same day as St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated), she was born into a family of riches and aristocracy. She understood from a young age what she wanted to do with her life.

  1. Marriages between nobility families were widespread in those days, as such unions strengthened the authority and riches of the families involved.
  2. She was right.
  3. Gertrude took over as abbess after her mother passed away.
  4. Her demeanor began to get strange at this point.
  5. A result of her austere way of living, which included lengthy stretches of time without food or sleep, she suffered from ill health.
  6. One writer claimed that her behaviors had become strange, similar to those of a cat.
  7. Gertrude was appointed the patron saint of travelers and the recently deceased (who were also passengers on a journey), as well as gardeners and the mentally sick, as a result of her renown.

It was reported that the water from her abbey’s well was effective in keeping rats and mice out of her house.

They must have also contributed to the solution of the rodent issue.

She was well-known for her prayers for the souls in purgatory, and medieval painters frequently depicted the souls in purgatory as mice.

Even as late as 1822, the connection between Gertrude and rodents was a widely held idea throughout Europe, and silver or gold figurines of mice were deposited at a shrine dedicated to her in Cologne.

It seems reasonable to suppose that this is where her affinity with cats began, given that cats are natural predators of rodents.

According to legend, representations of Mary began to emerge with cats somewhere around the Middle Ages period.

There are several depictions of her with rats that date back to the Middle Ages.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art released a catalogue in 1981 that included her as the patroness of cats, which was the first significant English-language publication to do so.

In the late Middle Ages, they were frequently connected with Paganism and witchcraft, and this association continues today.

In the 13th century, Pope Gregory IX produced a church letter in which he declared that black cats are an embodiment of Satan and should be avoided.

For whatever reason, this death sentence was applied to practically all cats, resulting in a dramatic reduction in the cat population.

Because so many cats were killed, the plague was likely transmitted faster than it would have been because rodents carrying the virus had no natural predator to take them down and so thrived.

It is believed that the disease was spread from rodents to humans through the biting of infected fleas.

Pogroms against cats have been justified by a variety of factors, including religion, superstition, public health concerns, and political motivations.

More rats meant more disease carriers, which may have contributed to the high number of people who perished as a result of the plague.

However, not everything in history has been negative for cats.

Pharaohs held a great regard for their feline pets, who were also utilized as religious symbols for grace, poise, knowledge, power, and fertility in ancient Egypt.

Cats were used as pets by the Egyptians.

Cats were also utilized for the same reason in the early Christian era.

I was unable to determine the date of this bas relief.

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Why is St. Gertrude the patron saint of cats?

Joe Longo contributed to this report. The Catholic Church has never officially designated a nun from the Early Middle Ages as the patron saint of cats, therefore it is unclear how she came to be known as such. This is, however, how she is now known. Nivelles, Belgium, was the home of Saint Gertrude for a period of 628 to 659 years. Having been born on March 17th (the same day as St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated) into a family of riches and aristocracy, she has a unique perspective on life. She knew what she wanted out of life from a young age.

  • Marriages between noble families were widespread in those days, as such unions strengthened the authority and riches of the couple’s respective families.
  • She established an abbey, and Gertude became a pious nun as a result.
  • But she delegated administrative duties to other sisters in order to keep the monastery running smoothly.
  • She grew ill when she sequestered herself in the abby, where she donned a hair cloth, fasted, prayed ceaselessly, and fasted again.
  • The age of Christ’s death was 33, which was the same as hers.
  • As a result of Saint Gertrude’s dream concerning travelers, her abbey became well-known for its graciousness and hospitality.
  • Gertrude’s abbey had a mouse problem at one point, and she was effective in getting rid of the rodents in that situation.

At the time of the Early Middle Ages, cats were also welcomed guests at abbeys and monasteries.

Her association with rodents grew stronger as the years passed.

Rats appeared at her feet or creeping up her clothing in the illuminations.

Her reputation had grown to the point that she was being sought for intercession in cases of rodent infestation.

Exactly when Saint Gertrude became recognized as the “Guardian Saint of Cats” is a subject of some debate.

Although she is frequently shown with cats, the only photographs I could find were modern interpretations of illuminations.

Gertrude’s patronage over cats appears to have been bestowed to her in the 1980s, which is strange given her long history with the feline species.

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At various points in history, the Catholic Church did not always treat cats with kindness.

Cats were considered by some to be devil’s servants.

After that, he issued a death order for every black cat in the entire Christian world, including himself.

Some believe that the slaughter of cats was a contributing factor to the Black Plague’s occurrence.

Although there is no definitive proof, the Black Plague is thought to have been caused by an infectious fever produced by the bacteria Yersinia pestis.

Catastrophes have occurred throughout history on a regular basis.

When cats were few in Europe and Asia throughout the late Middle Ages, rats proliferated in greater numbers.

Assuming that this is correct, it is probable that Pope Gregory IX’s demonization of cats was one of the factors that enabled the black sickness to spread so fast over Europe and Asia.

In ancient Egypt, they were revered as holy creatures.

Hieroglyphics and Egyptian buildings that depict cats have been found in antiquity.

When it came to keeping pests under control, the Greeks and Romans turned to cats for assistance.

Last but not least, as you snuggle your cats into their beds at night, offer a prayer to Saint Gertrude of Nivelles, who is the cat’s patron saint.

I apologize for the inconvenience.

My husband, Bob, and I live in Southern California.

Our family has grown to include four cats over our time together.

Marlowe and Cookie are the two cats that we presently have.

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Saint Gertrude of Nivelles: Patron Saint Of Cats

The majority of people are getting ready for St. Paddy’s Day (also known as St. “Patty’s” Day) during this time of year. Indeed, every year, the 17th of March announces the beginning of another year of drinking, shenanigans, and all that is green. As for me, I’m looking forward to settling into a comfortable chair on my sofa and scarfing down a huge Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s in one horrible but magnificent swallow. I’m confident that my Irish ancestors would be pleased with my accomplishments.

  1. Due to the fact that the 17th of March is the feast day of a particularly rare saint, who is sometimes severely underappreciated in the history books, CATS, to be precise.
  2. you got it: CATS.
  3. She was born in 628 in what is now Belgium to an aristocratic family and was known as “Gerty” by her friends and enemies alike.
  4. The young Gertrude put the record right when she was offered with the chance of marriage to a duke when she was only ten years old.
  5. In fact, she had no intention of marrying anyone at all, so please make a note of it.
  6. Gertrude and Itta then traveled to Nivelles, where they founded the Abbey of Nivelles, which operated as a Benedictine nunnery for the next two hundred years.
  7. Gertrude was a scholarly and kind lady who spent many years of her life as Abbess of the monastery, devoting her time to aiding the ill, the aged, and the destitute.

As a result, she gained a reputation as a patron saint of travelers, widows, and those suffering from mental illness.

She died at the age of 33, three years after she had stepped down from her post as Abbess of the convent.

And so, you know, that’s all fine and good, but where do the cats come into it, exactly?

It all started with the entire rat and mouse scenario, as you could imagine.

When someone needed help getting rid of a rat infestation, they turned to Saint Gertrude for assistance.

Did people in the Middle Ages understand that rats brought the Black Death with them, or did they just take it for granted?

At least not for a long period of time.

In the 1980s, committed Christian Gertrude devotees made the transition from thinking of Gertrude as a rodent-banisher to thinking of her as a cat defender (who, you know, are also rodent-banishers.) For example, according to Thomas J.

Gertrude is invoked against mice and rats, which has led cat enthusiasts to believe that Gertrude was a cat person, and hence the appropriate patron of their beloved pet.” That is a line of reasoning I can get behind.

Saint Gertrude of Nivelles is the patroness of cats and gardeners, among other things.

Make a purchase of printhere.

Alternatively, would you want to spend the 17th of March snoozing on the couch with your kitties while downing a huge Shamrock Shake?

Is it St.

I’d never heard of her before.

Let us express our gratitude to this Patron Said Of Puddy-cats by staying home, eating tuna straight from the can, and binge-watching Cats the mewvieon Netflix.

Is prayer something you like doing?

Gertrude of Nivelles, Patron Saint of Cats, to intercede on my behalf so that my darling kitty(ies) would always be content, lively, inquisitive, playful, and good-tempered.

My cat(s) will be carried before the throne of the Father, where I will beg Him to grant my cat(s) a long life and great pleasure.

Thank you for praying for my kitty and asking for blessings (s). Invoke the Lord’s blessings on all cats and cat owners, and ask for specific favors. May they be filled with tremendous affection for one another and be able to live together in harmony and peace. Amen.

Who is the Patron Saint of Cats?

St. Gertrude of Nivelles, the patron saint of cats, lived in Belgium from 626 to 659 and is known as the “Cat Lady.” Several sailors were caught in a violent storm while on business for Gertrude’s monastery. They were also threatened by a big sea beast, which they thought might capsize their vessel. Because they were conducting business for Gertrude’s ministry work, one of the sailors prayed to God for compassion. According to the seamen, the storm suddenly ceased immediately away and the sea creature swam away from them.

Cats, gardeners, travelers, and widows are among the people who have Saint Brigid as their patron saint.

Gertrude Becomes a Nun

When St. Gertrude of Nivelles lived from 626 to 659, she was known as the patron saint of cats. She was born in Belgium and died there. The sailors, who were on business for Gertrude’s monastery at the time, were trapped in a terrible storm and frightened by a gigantic sea beast, which they believed would capsize their vessel. One of the sailors prayed to God for compassion because they were conducting business for Gertrude’s ministry work at the time, and they reported that the storm miraculously ceased immediately and the sea creature swam away from them.

Cats and Mice

As a result of Gertrude’s reputation for providing hospitality (both to humans and animals), she was especially friendly to the cats who hung around her monastery, providing them with food and attention. Gertrude is also connected with cats because she frequently prayed for the souls of those who were in purgatory, and painters of the period depicted those souls as mice, which cats like chasing around the house. As a result, Gertrude became associated with both cats and mice, and she is today recognized as the patron saint of cats.

Is There A Patron Saint Of Cats? Who Is It?

Cats are gorgeous creatures that humanity have been domesticating since the dawn of time. They are also quite intelligent. For a variety of reasons, including their exceptional hunting abilities, the Ancient Egyptians revered them as sacred beings in their culture. Kittens of all kinds and ages are now among the most popular options for domestic pets in every country on the planet, including the United States. Parents adore spoiling their children on a regular basis, whether they have famously largeMaine Coons, elegantOriental Shorthairs, or unconventionalPixie Bobs.

  1. To the point that we may confidently proclaim cats to be the patron saints of our houses.
  2. They are at risk of contracting a variety of unpleasant ailments.
  3. And it is our responsibility as pet parents to keep an eye on them and keep them safe.
  4. Is there a cat saint who is revered as a patron saint?

It may come as a surprise, but there is in fact something. St. Gertrude of Nivelles is a saint who may or may not be familiar to you. Her full name is St. Gertrude of Nivelles. Cats, mental diseases, travelers, and gardeners are some of the things that people connect with her patronage.

Who Is St. Gertrude, The Patron Saint Of Cats?

Saint Gertrude of Nivelles is a historical figure, not a tale. She was a historical person, and her birthday, March 17, is observed in her honor. Gertrude was born on March 17, 626, in Landen, Kingdom of Austrasia, which is now part of Belgium. She was the daughter of a noble family. She, unlike many other 7th-century women, declined to be married in a pre-arranged marriage, which was common at the time. Instead of agreeing to her father’s intention to marry the then-king of Austrasia, Gertrude chose to devote her life to the service of Christ.

  • She remained there as an abbess until she was thirty years old.
  • Unfortunately, at that point, her health had been significantly harmed by the rigorous living circumstances she had endured.
  • Gertrude was never canonized by the Catholic Church.
  • The municipalities of Geertruidenberg, Breda, and Bergen op Zoom (all of which are located in the Netherlands) are formally considered to be under her patronage, according to official records.

St. Gertrude Nowadays

Gertrude of Nivelles is a real person, not a myth. It is customary to commemorate her on March 17, the anniversary of her death. Landen, Kingdom of Austrasia, where Gertrude was born on March 17, c. 626 and is now part of Belgium, was the setting for her birth. The fact that she declined to be married in a pre-arranged marriage set her apart from many other 7th-century female figures. As opposed to accepting her father’s intention to marry the then-king of Austrasia, Gertrude committed her life to the service of the Lord.

  • Up to the age of thirty, she was an abbess at the monastery.
  • Her health had been significantly harmed by the time she reached that point, owing to the harsh living conditions.
  • Despite her efforts, Gertrude was never canonized by the Church.
  • According to official records, she is patron of the Dutch cities of Geertruidenberg, Breda, and Bergen op Zoom (all of which are situated in the Netherlands).

Why Is She A Patron Saint Of Cats?

The notion that St. Gertrude of Nivelles is the patron saint of cats has been around since the 1980s, according to some sources. Interestingly, the very first documented source in which Gertrude is identified as the patron saint of cats is a catalogue from the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1981. Her worship as a saintly guardian against rats, on the other hand, dates back to the 15th century. One of the reasons she is revered as a patron saint of cats is the fact that she was always courteous and inviting to any feline animals who lived in the vicinity of the Abbey of Nivelles during her lifetime.

Furthermore, she had a strong devotion to holy souls, and at the time, the heavenly spirits shown in her paintings were thought to be mice by the public.

Because everyone is aware of felines’ proclivity for hunting mice, it was inevitable that Gertrude would be associated with both species. Alternatively, it has been suggested that she was somehow tied to the Germanic goddess Frigg, who was also associated with felines.

Celebrating ST. GERTRUDE OF NIVELLES Patron Saint of Cats

Jennifer Richard-Morrow created the icon. Saint Gertrude of Nivelles, Patron Saint of Cats, is a patron saint of cats. From March 17, 659 AD to 626 AD, the year was 626. Rev. Brenda Griffin Warren contributed to this article. Not only is March 17th St Patrick’s Day, but it is also the feast day of Gertrude of Nivelles, a Celtic saint who lives in France. On March 16, Gertrude inquired of an Irish monk about her impending death, and he responded that she would die the next day. She was overjoyed since it was St.

  • He informed her that she would be greeted by St.
  • St.
  • As much as I like all animals, I have two cats that share their lives with me, or should I say allow me to serve them, which interests me because I adore all animals.
  • The sole explanation for this classification is that there are certain medieval images of her surrounded by mice, which leads us to believe she is a mouse.
  • Gertrude was officially designated as the Patron Saint of Cats.
  • St.
  • She was the daughter of Pepin of Landen, the mayor of the Austrasia palace (whose descendants, through his daughter Begga’s marriage to Ansegisel, later became the founders of the Carolingian Empire), and his wife Itta of Metz.
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There must have been strong-willed genes in that family, because Gertrude was a strong-willed individual from a young age herself.

A young guy who was the Duke of Austrasia’s son was there at a dinner party with the rest of the family.

Angry, she refused the proposal and swore under oath that she would not have him or any other worldly spouse, only Christ, when Pepin inquired whether or not she accepted to the marriage proposal.

As Gertrude got older, she and her Mother Itta established a monastery in the ancient Sonian Forest at Nivelles, which was inspired by the Irish.

Itta was the first Abbess, and Gertrude was the one who followed in her footsteps after her.

Fursey and his brothers Foillan and Ultan who originally served in East Anglia in southern England before moving on to France.

As a result, she began to build and finance a large number of churches that she dedicated to the saints, as well as ministering to orphans, widows, prisoners of war, and pilgrims.

Gertrude and mice are shown on this page from the manuscript.

” data-medium-file=” data-large-file=” loading=”lazy” src=” alt=”” width=”240″ height=”272″> ” data-medium-file=” data-large-file=” src=” alt=”” width=”240″ height=”272″> St.

The National Museum of the Netherlands is a museum dedicated to the history and culture of the Netherlands.

She assigned her niece Wulftrude (the daughter of her brother Grimoald I) to the position of Abbess.

He also predicted that Patrick and the angels would come to welcome her, and she would indeed die on St.

A pilgrim nun had left Gertrude an old veil and scratchy hair shirt in Nivelles, along with instructions on how she wanted her nuns to bury her.

According to her biography, when she died, there was a “pleasant odor,” as if a blazing blend of fragrances had been released, and it scented the little chamber where the holy body was interred.

Gertrude of Nivelles.

picture by KATTENKRUID via WIKIMEDIA / CC BY 3.0″ data-medium-file=” data-large-file=” loading=”lazy” src=” alt=”” width=”468″ height=”316″> data-medium-file=” data-large-file=” loading=”lazy” src=” alt=”” width=”468″ height=”316″> data-large-file=” data-medium-file=” Take note of the mice on the staff of St.

  • Photo courtesy of KATTENKRUID of the console Oudegracht 321.
  • As a result of Gertrude’s loving care from the heavens, people were saved from drowning at sea, fires were put out in monasteries, blind girls were cured, children were saved from kidnappers, men were rescued from chains, and a servant boy was resuscitated, among many other good deeds.
  • Gertrude of Nivelles, you’ve done an excellent job as a good and dedicated servant.
  • Gerberding’s Vita Sanctae Geretrudis (The Life of St.
  • Gertrud).
  • Manchester University Press (Manchester, United Kingdom) published this book in 1996.
  • Brenda Griffin Warren is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor who is now serving in the role of Interim Minister.

In addition to her husband, she has two adult sons, a daughter-in-love, and two Maine Coon cats, both of whom have Celtic names. She contributes to the site with articles about Celtic and Anglo-Saxon saints.


St. Gertrude of Nivelles, AbbessMarch 17Patron of Cats, the Recently Diseased, Gardeners, Travelers, Those with Mental Illness, and Those with a Morbid Fear of Mice and Rats.Special Note:There are two Saints named Gertrude, one called”the Great” and the other from Nivelles. People often confuse them, especially since they were both nuns and appeared quite alike. Saint Gertrude of Nivelles has a special symbol, that of the mouse on her staff. Sometimes St. Gertrude the Great is also depicted with a mouse on her staff. Our image portrays the Saint with book and writing quill instead, another symbol of hers.SAINT GERTRUDE OF NIVELLESOur Saint was born at Landen, Belgium in 626 and died at Nivelles, 659; she was just thirty-three, the same age as Our Lord. 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 bridegroom.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.Devotion to St. Gertrude became widely spread in the Lowlands and neighboring countries.Most representations in art depict her as an abbess with mice, rats, or cats. Commonly seen running up her pastoral staff or cloak are hopeful-looking mice representing Souls in Purgatory, to which she had an intense devotion, just as with St. Gertrude the Great. Even as recently as 1822, offerings of mice made of gold and silver were left at her shrine.Another patronage is to travelers on the high seas. It is held that one sailor, suffering misfortune while under sail, prayed to the Saint and was delivered safely.Her sister, St. Begga died in 693; her feast is December 17; she married a son of St. Arnulf of Metz and became the mother of Pepin of Herstal.C ontactU sHOME – PRAYERS AND DEVOTIONSwww.catholictradition.org/Saints/nivelles.htm

Today Is Also ‘St Gertrude’s Day’; Celebrate The Patron Saint Of Cats

Patrick, please step aside.

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On March 17, we are all meant to dress in green, eat raw potatoes with the skin on, drink Guinness and make stereotyped and degrading judgments about a whole nation. We are also expected to harass women by asking whether they have any Irish blood in their veins. However, the 17th of March is also the feast day of St Gertrude of Nivelles, who is known as the “Cat Lady.” Aside from that, she is the patron saint of travelers, gardeners, and those suffering from mental illness. Basically, she’s a saint whoSimpsonscharacterEleanor Abernathy, MD JDwould be able to rally around.–

Who Was St Gertrude?

The majority of what is known about Gertrude comes from herVita Sanctae, the official Catholic biography written to explain her veneration by the Catholic Church. She was born in what is now Belgium about the year 626. Pippin of Landen was her father, a prominent Frankish nobleman and political operator at the court of King Dagobert I. Pippin was a powerful Frankish nobleman and political operator at the court of King Dagobert I. Despite the fact that she was only 10 years old, Gertrude turned down a marriage proposal from the son of a duke, “stating that she would have neither him nor any earthly husband but Christ the Lord.” Gertrude’s mother Itta shaved her head into a monkish tonsure when her father died – although stories differ, Gertrude was presumably approximately 14 at the time — in order to discourage would-be suitors from marrying into her affluent family by force.

Itta and Gertrude founded the monastery of Nivelles and withdrew to a convent life, which has historically been one of the few alternatives available to women in order to maintain their intellectual, economic, and sexual autonomy.

She died in 659, while she was in her early thirties, according to the Cambridge Medieval History, “because to an excessive amount of abstinence and holding of vigils.” She will die on St Patrick’s Day, according to a visiting Irish monk whose brother Gertrude had taken refuge with him, and that “holy Bishop Patrick and the chosen angels of God.

How Are Patron Saints Decided, Anyway?

Saints, according to the Catholic Church, are similar to saintly members of Parliament. You can rely on them to pray with God on your behalf since they have clearly defined areas of knowledge or skill. However, while you may still pray directly to God, a saint is just that little bit closer — someone who was once human but is now representing you in heaven – and can assist you in your prayers. The following is stated in an official FAQ: “We pray with saints, not to them.” According to the mythos of sainthood, saints are truly devout miracle workers who perform genuine miracles.

  1. Christians such as St Patrick were canonized as part of an evangelical effort to connect Christianity with the saint’s homeland or native country: to warm people to the faith and to provide justification for the establishment of churches there.
  2. In medieval England, there were 40,000 religious organizations, charities, and professional guilds, each of which had its own patron saint, and each of these organizations had its own patron saint.
  3. Currently, the system for canonization is bureaucratic and regulated from the Pope on down, although early saints were frequently canonized based on public consensus.
  4. St Gertrude’s dynasty, known as thePippinids after her father, evolved into theCarolingians, the most renowned of whom being Charlemagne, the Holy Roman Emperor who unified much of Western Europe after being crowned by Pope Gregory XIII.
  5. Cats, rats and mice are frequently shown in Gertrude’s garden setting, and a mouse is frequently seen racing up her staff in statues and illuminated manuscripts as well as church frescoes and stained glass windows, among other things.

In 1822, travelers deposited donations at her shrine in the form of golden and silver mice, which were later discovered. – On a more practical level, Gertrude and her nuns maintained cats in order to manage the vermin issue at the abbey.–

Is Gertrude The Only Patron Saint Of Cats?

There are a number of additional saints that might be considered to be in care of cats. St Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of all animals, including cats, and cats were particularly fond to St Mary Bartholomew Bagnesi, a Dominican nun from Florence who lived in the 16th century. Catholic Daily reports that “at least once, when the cats realized Maria was hungry and hadn’t been looked after, they went and brought cheese for her.” And, despite the fact that cats are the internet’s spirit animal, Gertrude has no influence on it.

Isidore was a true thinker, having written 20 volumes and coined the term “etymology” to describe the study of words.

– prayed to Gertrude and the storm was instantly calmed.

On a day that has sadly been linked with obnoxious displays of machismo in public, wouldn’t it be good to honor a saint whose patronage has usually been dismissed as feminized and domestic in nature?

As of now, she keeps watch over nature, calming turbulent seas and troubled minds.

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NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: The featured image, created by Carolee Clark of King of Mice Studios and originally uploaded with this essay, was discovered on Pinterest. Please accept our apologies on behalf of the artist for the error in attribution; more of her work may be viewed here. The featured image is a fresco from Sweden, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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