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Papal audience topic: St. Gertrude, great German mystic and theologian

October 06, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI continued his series of weekly talks on influential Christian women of the Middle Ages, speaking about St. Gertrude at his public audience on October 6.

Born in 1256, St. Gertrude entered a convent school as a young girl, chose to enter monastic life, and had established herself as an outstanding scholar by the age of 25. Then she experienced a profound mystical vision, and changed her focus from humanities to theology. Pope Benedict explained that the mystical vision helped her to recognize “that she had dedicated herself too avidly to liberal studies, to human knowledge, disregarding the spiritual sciences and depriving herself of the taste of true wisdom.” From that time forward, the Pope continued, St. Gertrude’s writing was marked by “clarity, simplicity, grace and conviction.” She was recognized by her contemporaries as a theologian of great importance. At the same time, the Pope noted, she lived “with such devotion and faithful abandonment to God that she aroused in those who met here the conviction of being in the presence of the Lord.”


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