Gertrude was born on the feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 1256, in Eisleben, Thuringia. At the age of four, she entered the monastery school at the monastery of St. Mary at Helfta. Gertrude was given to the care of St. Mechtilde, younger sister of the Abbess Gertrude, and joined the monastic community in 1266. It is clear from her own writings that she received a thorough education in a variety of subjects.
In 1281, at the age of twenty-five, she experienced the first of a series of visions that continued throughout her life. Gertrude devoted herself strongly to personal prayer and meditation, and began writing spiritual treatises for the benefit of her monastic sisters. Gertrude became one of the great mystics of the 13th century. She died at Helfta, near Eisleben, Saxony, around 1302.
One of her books are the Spiritual Exercises, which are grounded in themes and rites of Church liturgy for occasions of Baptism, conversion, commitment, discipleship, union with God, praise of God, and preparation for death. Gertrude's Spiritual Exercises are for all who seek to deepen their prayer life and spirituality.
Gertrude was drawn to the heart of Jesus.
Jesus' heart holds love -
love for us.
Love that ultimately led him to his passion, his cross.
The heart and the cross are intimately connected.