St. Lutgardis

Mystic (1182–1246)
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With parents too poor to provide a wedding dowry, St. Lutgardis was committed at the age of twelve to a Benedictine convent in the Lowlands. At first she had no inclination to religious life and passed her time as a kind of boarder. Then one day she received a vision of Christ and his wounds and determined at once to renounce all worldly concerns. Her devotion was intensified by frequent visions of Christ—so vivid that she would converse with him quite intimately. If called away to a task, she would say, “Wait here, Lord Jesus, and I will come back directly.” 

Eventually she chose to transfer to a more austere Cistercian convent in Aywieres. In the new convent only French was spoken, a language she was never able to master. Despite her sense of isolation, however, she became a much sought-after spiritual counselor, renowned for her gifts of healing and prophecy and her knowledge of Scripture. 

In the last eleven years of her life she became completely blind, an affliction she accepted as an occasion for greater detachment from the visible world. When she felt herself close to death, she received a vision of the Lord, advising her to praise God for the graces she had received, to pray for the conversion of sinners, and to rely on God alone. 

She died on June 16, 1246. 

“For every beat of Thy Heart and every act of love, for all Thy thoughts and desires, for all the silent and the uttered prayers which Thou didst offer while on earth . . . for all these I tender Thee a thousand thanks.” 

—St. Lutgardis 

© Liturgical Press.

Robert Ellsberg

Robert Ellsberg is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Orbis Books and the author of several award-winning books, including All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time; Blessed Among All Women; and The Saints' Guide to Happiness.

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