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St. Gertrude, Abbess of Nijvel Monastery


Commemorated on February 11

St. Gertrude as abbess of the monastery which she founded in Nijvel, England.

Gertrude was born in 626, the daughter of Pepijn the Elder and St. Ida. She became a nun in the convent of Nijvel, founded by her mother.

When Ida died, Gertrude was elected abbess. She is said to have combined studiousness with the ability to expel rats, which is why icons have portrayed her holding a book in one hand and a rat in the other. She is clothed in traditional Benedictine black and white, a golden halo indicating her holiness. The flower in the foreground can be identified as a dandelion.

Because Gertrude was the founder of a pilgrims’ hostel, travelers adopted her as their patron saint.

By permission of