Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Catholic Activity: Nameday Ideas for the Feast of St. Gertrude the Great



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Feastday is November 16. Includes suggested prayers, decorations and desserts.


The virgin renounces all for the love of Christ. Virginity of mind and heart and body, kept perpetually and gladly sacred, develops human personality to high perfection, making it strong in self-possession, in apostolic charity, and in alertness for whatever may please Christ and deepen union with Him.

Nameday prayers on feasts of virgins:

Father: Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear because the King greatly desires your beauty.

All: My heart overflows with good tidings; I sing my song to the King.

Father: Let us pray. Hear our prayers, O God our Savior, and let us learn the spirit of true devotion from your virgin Gertrude as we joyfully celebrate her feast. Through Christ, our Lord.

All: Amen. Christ conquers, Christ reigns!

1. Keep Thou Thine image, O Lord, in my heart. Let all mean naught to me, save that Thou art. Be Thou my thought thro' day and thro' night: Waking or sleeping, O be Thou my Light.

2. Mine be the wisdom to know Thy true Word. Be ever with me and I with Thee Lord; Be Thou my father, make me Thy son; Dwelling within me, and I in Thee, one.

3. Lord, God of heaven! when my life is done, Grant me the joy of a heaven full won; Joy of our hearts! whatever befall, Still keep me with Thee, O Maker of all.

Seven Books of Wisdom by Roland E. Murphy will provide background for understanding the prayers used for virgin-saints, for Our Lady, and other holy women.

You could also use a prayer Founders of Religious Orders:

Father: Let us pray. Lord Jesus Christ, You endowed Your servant Gertrude with special charity and were pleased that a new family should flourish in Your Church through him (her). Grant that at his (her) intercession we may become worthy to enjoy the happiness of heaven. Through Christ, our Lord.

All: Amen. Christ conquers, Christ reigns!

Desserts and suggestions. Lilies, symbol of purity, or lilies of the valley in icing are used to top homemade or purchased cakes for virgin-saints. A white rose may be used on the rose cake. The rose may be purchased ready-made or it may be made of frosting. St. Gertrude the Great has seven rings or a heart, because of her love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Cake-Mate has frosting in various colors and easy tubes for decorating. It is found in most supermarkets. Decorating Cakes for Fun and Profit by Richard Snyder will help mother to turn out a beautifully decorated cake. Also the Wilton Method of Decorating have illustrated booklets to help learn the art of cake decorating.

Glacé Benedictine is strawberry ice cream flavored with Benedictine, a famous aromatic liqueur first made by a monk called Dom Bernardo Vincelli. This is a dessert that could be used on the namedays of Benedictine saints, such as Sts. Gertrude, Benedict, Scholastica, and Maurus.

A book cake recalls for the nameday child the rule written by his or her patron, the founder of a religious family. If the symbol or motto of the saint is known, it can be written with Cake-Mate on the page of the book cake.

Activity Source: My Nameday — Come for Dessert by Helen McLoughlin, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, 1962