Gertrude of Nivelles Day
Gertrude of Nivelles Day is held on March 17. “The Cat Lady of the Catholic Church”. This event in the second decade of the month March is annual. Help us
Gertrude was born in Nivelles (a city in modern-day Belgium) in 626 into a family of wealthy nobles.
Gertrude is the patron saint of the City of Nivelles, The towns of Geertruidenberg, Breda, and Bergen-op-Zoom in North Brabant, also are under her patronage.
Gertrude was venerated as a saint immediately after her death, with churches erected in her honor and many miracles attributed to her. One miracle that seems to have occurred in her lifetime involves an ocean voyage by her Irish monk friends, during which a sea monster appeared and threatened to capsize their ship. Upon invoking Gertrude’s name, the sea monster suddenly disappeared and the monks survived. The story of this miracle explains the origins of a drink called “Sinte Geerts Minne” or “Gertrudenminte” commonly taken by seamen in the Middle Ages to ensure a safe journey. The legend of Gertrude's vision of the ocean voyage led her to be as well the patron saint of travelers.
The patron saint of cats is a woman named Gertrude of Nivelles. The assignment of Gertrude as patron of cats and the designation of the cat as one of her attributes seems to date from the 1980s.