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St. Lutgardis - Saints of the Sacred Heart Series


We start our journey to the 350th Jubilee of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus meeting this saint who in her lifetime was prayer companion of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Dominic's friars.


O most Holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I adore you, I love you, and with lively sorrow for my sins, I offer you this poor heart of mine. Make me humble, patient, pure and wholly obedient to your will. Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in you and for you. 

Protect me in the midst of danger. Comfort me in my afflictions. Give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, your blessing on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death. Amen.



St. Lutgardis was born at Tongeren in 1182. She was admitted into the Benedictine monastery of St. Catherine near Sint-Truiden at the age of twelve, not because of a vocation but because her dowry had been lost in a failed business venture. She was attractive, fond of nice clothes and liked to enjoy herself. For St. Lutgarde the cloister represented a socially acceptable alternative to the disgrace of unmarried life in the world.  She lived in the convent for several years without having much interest in religious life. She could come and go and receive visitors as she pleased. According to her Vita, it was in the parlor, a welcome break in the monotony of monastic observance, that she was visited with a vision of Jesus Christ showing her his wounds, and at age twenty she made her solemn vows as a Benedictine.


Make me humble, patient, pure and wholly obedient to your will.

St. Lutgardis was one of the great precursors of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The first recorded mystic revelation of Christ's heart is that of St. Lutgardis. According to Thomas Merton, St. Lutgardis "…entered upon the mystical life with a vision of the pierced Heart of the Saviour, and had concluded her mystical espousals with the Incarnate Word by an exchange of hearts with Him."When, in a visitation, Christ came to her, offering her whatever gift of grace she should desire, she asked for a better grasp of Latin, that she might better understand the Word of God and lift her voice in choral praise. Christ granted her request and, after a few days, St. Lutgarde's mind was flooded with the riches of psalms, antiphons, readings and responsories. However, a painful emptiness persisted. With disarming candor she returned to Christ, asking to return his gift, and wondering if she might, just possibly, exchange it for another. “And for what would you exchange it?” Christ asked. “Lord, said St. Lutgarde, "I would exchange it for your Heart.” Christ then reached into her and, removing her heart, replaced it with his own, at the same time hiding her heart within his breast.


During this time she is known to have shown gifts of healing and prophecy, and was adept at teaching the Gospels. She was blind for the last eleven years of her life, and died of natural causes at Aywières. According to tradition, she experienced a vision in which Christ informed her of her forthcoming death. She died on 16 June 1246, the day after the Feast of the Holy Trinity, at the age of 64.





Born: 1182. Tongeren, Prince-Bishopric

of Liège, 

Died: 16 June 1246 Aywières, Prince-

Bishopric of Liège, 

Feast:  16 June

Patronage:  birth; blind people; childbirth; disabled people; Flanders; Flemish National

 Movement



Painting:

Santa Lutgarda by Goya, 1787. Monasterio de San Joaquín y Santa Ana, Valladolid.









St. Lutgarde was blinded by the Heart of Jesus

The Fragrance of Christ 

Help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go - let me preach you without preaching, not by words but by my example - by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to you.- John Henry Newman


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