Spirituality for Today – June 2008 – Volume 12, Issue 11

Saint of the Month

St. Lutgardis – June 16

Painting of Saint Lutgardis by Goya in 1787Lutgardis belonged to a group of female medieval mystics who shared similar beliefs and spiritual experiences. She was born in 1182 at Tongres, near the city of Maastricht. When Lutgardis was 12 years old, her father made a financial blunder regarding her dowry. Without a decent dowry, the family would be unable to arrange a suitable marriage, so Lutgardis was sent to a monastery.

Because Lutgardis had no interest in becoming a nun, she was allowed to live as a boarder at the Benedictine monastery of St. Catherine's for women. While spending time with a friend, she experienced a vision in which Jesus appeared to her, showed her the wounds He had suffered on the cross and told her to follow Him. From then on, Lutgardis dedicated her life to Christ.

Still in her early twenties, Lutgardis left St. Catherine's to pursue a more rigorous and austere rule. Though she spoke only German, she move to the Cistercian houses at Aywières, where everyone spoke French. Her inability to communicate easily with the other Sisters became a form of mortification for the young nun. Nonetheless, Lutgardis showed herself to be an exceptional healer and counselor. She also fasted for long periods of time and spent hours in meditation and prayer.

At the age of 53, Lutgardis lost her sight. She thought her blindness was a message from God, so she retreated from the world even further. When she felt death was near, Lutgardis praised God for all the blessings she had received from Him. She died peacefully in 1246 right after the feast of the Holy Trinity.

Dear Lord,
Your servant St. Lutgardis
found You when she was not looking.
She was open to Your love
and answered Your call without question.
Allow me to accept Your love and
Your desire for my life's direction
without hesitation.
May I take Your hand gladly
when You reach out to me.
I ask this in Your name,
and in the name of Your Son,
Jesus Christ. Amen.

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives