FIND THE SAINT Logo

Home     A - Z    Calendar   Puzzles

Patrons    Subscribe to Newsletter

Find The Saint
FIND THE SAINT logo with new yellow subtitle - Be Inspired To Do Good

June 16

St Lutgardis - June 16

Saint Lutgardis  

Nun, Mystic
First Known Woman With the Stigmata

(1182 – 1246)

“So be it, Lord, so long as Your Heart’s love is mingled with mine I have and hold my heart in You. For with You as my shield, my heart is secure for all time.”

Saint Lutgardis

Saint’s Life Story

Her Early Life  

Lutgardis (or Lutgarde) was born in 1182 in Tongres, Belgium. When she was twelve, Lutgardis was placed in St. Catherine’s Benedictine Convent at Saint Trond near Liège, Belgium because her father lost her dowry for marriage in a failed business venture. The beautiful Lutgarde loved worldly things above all, such as beautiful clothes.  In her early days in the convent she showed no great attraction to religious life, to which she did not feel called. The convent allowed visitors, and young men came to court the beautiful young woman.

During her teenage years, a young man fell in love with her and began paying her frequent visits. Pleased and a little flattered by these attentions, she was content to have them continue. One day, while the simple girl was speaking with her admirer, Jesus suddenly appeared, blazing before her astonished eyes. He revealed the spear-wound in His side, and said to her: “Seek no more the pleasure of this affection: behold, here, forever, what you should love, and how you should love: here in this wound I promise you the most pure of joys.”

Lutgarde was struck with both terror and love. Her eyes fixed themselves upon the wound in the Heart of Christ, she lost all consciousness of her surroundings and the sudden pallor of her face indicated to her visitor that something extraordinary had happened. Indeed, Lutgarde, penetrated to the depths of her soul by supernatural light of Jesus, felt the desire of her worldly affection suddenly become completely dispelled, and forever.
Her original biographer, Thomas of Cantimpre, does not go into much detail in describing her emotions on recovering her senses. He simply tells us that she turned to her friend with the words: “Go away from me, for I belong to another Lover.” From this point onward, she knew that she was to become a professed nun, offering herself and her virginity to Christ, to become His spouse forever.

A Professed Nun 

in 1194, at age 20,  Lutrgardis became a Benedictine nun with a true vocation. She made unusually rapid progress in the spiritual life.   Lutgardis opened herself fully to Christ in prayer and Jesus favoured her with an intimate experience of His presence.   He gave her gifts of healing and of understanding the convent’s Latin prayers.  

Exchange of Hearts – Mystical Union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Lutgardis had visions of Christ while in prayer, experienced ecstacies, levitated, and dripped blood from forehead and hair when enraptured by the Passion. Lutgardis asked him to take them back because both kept her from focusing on loving Him.

In a vision, Jesus asked her if she desired any particular grace. She asked if she could understand Latin better, to benefit from all the power of the Word of God and to raise her praise to Him in the choir: she was inundated with the richness of the Psalms, the Prophets, the Gospel, but she still experienced a feeling of emptiness.

Then the Lord said to her, “What do You want?”

“I want Your heart,” she said.   

“No, rather it is Your heart that I want,” replied the Lord.

“So be it, Lord,” said Lutgarde, “so long as Your heart’s love is mingled with mine and I have and hold my heart in You.   For with You as my shield, my heart is secure for all time.”

St. Lutgarde is perhaps the first saint in whom this mystical “exchange of hearts” was effected. Since her time, the exchange has become rather common in the lives of mystics devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We read of it in the lives of Saint Gertrude, Saint Mechtilde (both Cistercians), and Saint Margaret Mary.

Elected Prioress – But Declines and Leaves Benedictine Order

In 1205, at the age of 23, Lutgardis was chosen as prioress of her community. However, she repeatedly refused. Far from being flattered or pleased by her elevation to this dignity, Lutgarde regarded it as a disaster. Lutgardis thought St. Catherine’s could provide her with sufficient opportunities for living as a contemplative as long as she was an obscure member of the community but not when she took her place at its head.

Lutgardis asked the advice of a learned preacher of Liege, Jean de Lierre, who urged her to leave the Benedictine Order for the Cistercian convent of Aywieres, (Awirs) which had recently been founded near Liege but had been transferred to a site in Brabant.   She was very reluctant to accept this particular choice because French was spoken in Brabant.  She felt it would be unwise to enter a convent where she would not understand the language of her superiors or spiritual directors.

Lutgardis was also admonished by a saintly friend, St. Christine “the Admirable” who told her to go to Aywieres. So with no further possibility of doubt as to the convent of the Cistercian Order to which she was called, Lutgardis left St. Catherine’s and went to Aywieres. When the nuns of St. Catherine’s discovered their loss, they were inconsolable, but it was too late to do anything about it.

Fasted for Seven Years

Three times, Lutgardis fasted for periods of seven years, subsisting only on bread and liquids. She dedicated each fast for the Lord’s purposes:  once for the conversion of heretics, a second time for the salvation of sinners and a final time for Emperor Frederick II, who was threatening the church.   Before her death, Lutgardis prophesied the latter’s demise, which occurred in 1250.

Devotion to Saint Agnes

Thomas Merton, in his biography of the Saint, reports that Lutgardis had a particular devotion to Saint Agnes, the Roman virgin martyr. She was one day praying to St. Agnes when “suddenly a vein near her heart burst, and through a wide open wound in her side, blood began to pour forth, soaking her robe and cowl.” She then sank to the floor and “lost her senses.” She was never known to have been wounded in this way again but it is known that she kept the scar until the end of her life. This took place when Lutgardis was twenty-nine years old.

Thomas Merton also tells that on many occasions, when Lutgardis was meditating on Christ’s Passion, she would fall into ecstasy and sweat blood.   A priest who had heard of this sweat of blood watched for an opportunity to witness it himself.   One day he found her in ecstasy, leaning against a wall, her face and hands dripping with blood.   Finding a pair of scissors, he managed to snip off a lock of Lutgardis’ hair which was wet with blood (he did so thinking to have proof of the event and also to have the lock of hair as a relic)   As he stood marveling at the blood on the lock of hair, Lutgardis suddenly came to herself.  Instantly the blood vanished; not only from her face and hands but also from the lock in his hands and also the blood that was on his hands!   Thomas Merton writes “At this, the priest was so taken aback that he nearly collapsed from astonishment.”

Her Death

Lutgardis spent four decades at Aywières entirely devoted to the heart of Christ.   She lived in blindness the last 12 years of her life, in which she performed healings and prophecies. Five years before her death, in 1241, Lutgardis received the revelation from the Lord that she would enter heaven on the third Sunday after Pentecost.  She died in June 16, 1246 in Aywières (now moder day Awirs), Leiege, Belgium. Note – her death is the same day of the month on which Saint Margaret Mary was to have her famous vision of the Sacred Heart, in the year 1675.

Her first biography was written less than two years later by the Dominican theologian Thomas of Cantimpré (1201-1272), who was a pupil of Saint Albert the Great. Thomas Merton also wrote a book about her entitled‘What are these Wounds? : The Life of a Cistercian Mystic, Saint Lutgarde of Aywières. 

Born :                  1182 in Tongres, Limburg, Belgium

Died:                   June 16, 1 246 in Aywières (now modern day Awirs), Liege, Belgium

Beatified:           Unknown

Canonized:        Unknown

Feast Day:          June 16

Patron Saint:     Against Blindness; Belgium; Blind People; Disabled People; Flanders, Belgium; Handicapped People

Source:

Reflection

Despite her mystical experiences and reputation as a holy woman, Saint Lutgardis remained humble and simple in her approach to life. She never sought recognition or fame, focusing instead on her relationship with God. Saint Lutgardis remains a symbol of piety, humility, and devotion to God, serving as an inspiration for those seeking a deeper connection with their faith.

How can you keep your life simple and humble today while seeking a deeper relationship with Jesus? We may not have Saint Lutgardis’ mystical experiences, however, with prayer, we can all draw deeper in our relationship to Jesus by asking for the grace to grow in our faith. 

Prayers

Saint Lutgardis, we ask you that from the splendid throne of glory where you are, please intercede for us in prayer to obtain for us from the Sacred Heart of Jesus the grace to love Him above all things and to the very limits of our being! 

Saint Lutgardis, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – A New Mysticism: The Visions, Miracles and Devotion of St. Lutgarde

Catholic Fire – St. Lugardis, patron of the blind and physically handicapped

Catholic Online – St. Lutgardis

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Lutgardis of Aywières by Katherine I Rabenstein

Daily Compass – Saint Lutgarde

Heralds of the Gospel – St. Lutgardis of Aywières – Conquered by Divine Love from Childhood

Loyola Press – Saint Lutgarde of Aywières Feast day June 16

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Lutgardis (1182-1246)

Wikipedia – Lutgardis

 

Video Link

St. Lutgarde of Aywières: The Nun Who Talked With God – YouTube (Awaken The Saint)