March 17th is the day we celebrate the Irish patron saint, Patrick. Whether you are wearing green, attending parades or festivals, or enjoying a traditional Irish dish, today is the day to do it all!
But what if we were to tell you, March 17th is also the day of St Gertrude of Nivelles? Now you may be asking who is St Gertrude of Nivelles, well don't worry, we are about to tell you!
St. Gertrude of Nivelles’ patronage was never made official by the Vatican, but her association with whisking away mice and rats made her, by default, the saint that all cat lovers worshipped. While today's media has associated her with cats in most portrayals, there’s a lot more to the patron saint of cats than just being deemed the cat lady of the Catholic church.
- She was born in 626 AD in present-day Belgium and was the daughter of a local nobleman.
- She became the abbess of the Abbey of Nivelles, a religious community for women, and was known for her wisdom and holiness.
- St. Gertrude is often depicted in art with a rod, which is said to represent her role as a spiritual guide and leader.
In remembrance of her, many Catholic people also celebrate St. Gertrude’s feast day on March 17 alongside St. Patrick’s Day. Each fall, Nivelles holds Le Tour Sainte-Gertrude, a parade around the city that draws many pilgrims and features a mass in honour of St. Gertrude.
So when you’re donning your favourite green gear for the lucky day, give your furry friend an extra pet in honour of our favourite cat lady!