What do loopy cat women, haggard airline vacationers, insane other folks, and gardeners have in not unusual? For them, as of late, March 17, will have to be an afternoon of revelry and birthday celebration. I’m no longer speaking about St. Patrick’s Day. (Even if I admit I merely can’t let mid-March move with out slamming again a chilly inexperienced one.) I’m speaking concerning the ceremonial dinner day of St. Gertrude of Nivelles, who lived from 621 to 659.

St. Gertrude, Patron Saint of Cats

Two cats try to climb St. Gertrude on this stained glass window within the Belgian province of Limburg. Symbol via Wikimedia Commons / GFreihalter .

Why, pray inform, would Catster readers be concerned about St. Gertrude? March is Girls’s Historical past Month, and Gertrude is a robust historic determine. She’s the shopper saint of gardeners, vacationers, widows, just lately deceased other folks, the ill, the deficient, the mentally unwell, and vacationers on the lookout for accommodation. Folks name upon Gertrude for defense from mice and rats, fever, madness, and psychological sickness. Alternatively, cat enthusiasts revere Gertrude of Nivelles maximum of all. Finally, mild Gertrude is the shopper saint of cats and cat enthusiasts. Who says saints aren’t cool?

Lord of the Rings lovers can even enjoyment of the truth that Gertrude was once the daughter of Pippin of Landen. (Even if the spelling of Dad’s identify adjustments from supply to supply, he’s typically known as Pepin.)

How did St. Gertrude Get to Be Related With Cats?

St. Gertrude is depicted in a stone reduction on a canal referred to as Oudegracht within the Dutch town of Utrecht. Picture via Kattenkruid.

There’s no unmarried tale that hyperlinks St. Gertrude to her patronage of cats. Alternatively, writings verify that she and her nuns saved cats to keep an eye on the rodent inhabitants. Some other folks consider her patronage possibly originated from the declare that water from her neatly and bread baked in her oven have been concept to repel mice and rats. (And I believed I used to be a nasty cook dinner!)

Different accounts say she prayed for the mice to leave and so they did. On account of the good mouse exodus, other folks referred to her because the patroness of cat enthusiasts. She is frequently depicted with a cat close to her or with mice working up her body of workers. The mice in her icons are mentioned to constitute souls trapped in Purgatory, whom she diligently prayed for. And we ailurophiles know that cats and mice move in combination like saints and heaven.

St. Gertrude and Shuttle

St. Gertrude pets a cat on this necklace via Etsy artist MarysPrayers.

As a result of Gertrude is named upon to assist vacationers, that still makes her the tremendous patron saint of people that shuttle with cats. She’s surely the identify to invoke when drawing near airport safety sporting a tom cat. As any person who has needed to stroll thru an airport steel detector with a suffering cat in my palms, I known as for assist from everybody I may just recall to mind. I surely were given no the aid of the Transportation Safety Management agent who was once smacking her gum, primping her hair, and gossiping together with her safety corporate friend reasonably than serving to me go back my razor-footed tom cat to her provider.

Not like different federal departments, the TSA should no longer imagine blood a hazardous substance, since the guard gave the impression unconcerned via the purple droplets of hemoglobin that traced my steps like Hansel and Gretel’s sparkling stones.

In a single legend, Gertrude promised a bunch of vacationers that they’d arrive safely from their ocean voyage. At sea, a big sea monster threatened to capsize their send, nevertheless it fled when the pilgrims known as upon St. Gertrude for defense. On account of her affect with the Almighty, most likely she may just intercede with the TSA on behalf airline vacationers bearing cats.

On account of this legend, medieval vacationers drank a toast in her honor earlier than beginning their adventure. Even as of late in Belgium, a drink-for-the-road is named a “St. Gertrude’s Cup.”

St. Gertrude and Agriculture

A cat petitions St. Gertrude on this statue situated within the saint’s place of origin of Nivelles, Belgium. Picture via Wikimedia Commons /  Jean-Pol Grandmont.

Together with her agricultural connections, great climate on March 17 (Gertrude’s ceremonial dinner day) signifies it’s time to plant the vegetation, in contrast to Groundhog Day, when sunny skies dictate six extra weeks of crappy climate. Her patronage of gardeners and herbalists additionally extends to growers of catmint and cat grass, so remember to name upon Gertrude earlier than planting catnip. Since kitties like to dig in a freshly tilled lawn and depart at the back of their very own particular fertilizer, most likely an intercession via St. Gertrude will stay your vegetable patch freed from puss poop.

So, cat enthusiasts, insane other folks, and particularly loopy cat women, the following time you’re seeking to cram a reluctant kitty right into a provider for a shuttle to the vet otherwise you see the neighbor cat scratching round your herb lawn getting ready to plant one thing of his personal, you’ll be able to ask St. Gertrude for a little bit intercession to your behalf. Finally, it’s just right to have pals in prime puts.

Right here’s a prayer to her that I wrote a couple of days in the past:

A Prayer to St. Gertrude, Patron Saint of Cats

Right here’s a prayer to St. Gertrude that I wrote a couple of days in the past:

St. Gertrude of Nivelles, ask you I pray
Safeguard my kitties this and every day.
Protect them from those that may want them hurt.
Stay them at house secure from threat and hurricane.
Instill in me knowledge to take care of them neatly.
Pray, fill me with energy by no means to yell.
And Gertrude, a last item I beseech from thee,
Give protection to my settee from claws and my carpets from pee.

Concerning the writer

Creator, adventuress, and cat-rescuer Dusty Rainbolt is the editor-in-chief of AdoptAShelter.com, a shop-to-donate website online that advantages animal charities. She’s additionally vp of the Cat Writers Association. Her newest guide, the mystical thriller Death Under the Crescent Moon, was once launched in February.

This piece was once at the beginning printed in 2015.


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