- In the spirit of 7 posts in 7 days here on ConversionDiary, I am letting go of perfectionism and writing about mice. BECAUSE, a house built in 1886 in the middle of the countryside has mice, that’s why! Not swarming with them but when I opened a drawer today in a buffet and found mouse turds and stole, dry, cat food with my cutlery..well, I was not pleased! So, I found a saint to deal with the mice!
- St Gertrude of Nivelles Patron saint of the fear of mice (suriphobia)
The humble mouse has always had a place in churches, not only literally but also figuratively. It can adapt to any conditions and somehow seems to survive even the severest and harshest trials that nature can offer. St Gertrude of Nivelles is always pictured with mice, like the mice in scrrying about in this sixteenth-century Book of Hours
- Legend says that she was distracted from the outside well by occupying herself with weaving. She was so caught up with this that she lost track of time. Suddenly, when she glimpsed all the mice running around her monastic cell, she realized that spring had arrived and ventured outdoors to enjoy the garden.
- So, she is also the is the patron saint of gardeners.And I LOVE gardening and I get completely lost when I am writing or reading, losing track of time. She really is my sort of saint.
- She is also in charge of cats. and ironically I also love cats.
- Saint Gertrude was the younger daughter of Blessed Pepin I of Landen and Blessed Ida of Nivelles; she was the sister of Saint Begga. She became devoted to religious life from an early age, and turned down a noble marriage to pursue the religious life.
- On the death of Pepin in 639, with encouragment from Saint Amand of Maastricht, Ida built a double monastery at Nivelles where both she and her daughter retired. Gertrude became abbess about age 20. She became famous for her hospitality to pilgrims and to Irish missionary monks. She gave land to Saint Foillan, where he built the monastery of Fosses and helped Saint Ultan with his evangelization.
- Praying to Saints and Folk Magic: Santa Gertrude di Nivelles
Santa Gertrude or St. Gertrude is more commonly known as “Gertrude of Nivelles.”
Devotion to St Gertrude spread to Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands and France. Peolpe venerated he shortly after her death in 659. At her shrine in Cologne, Germany, gold and silver mice were given as offerings till 1822.
- Artwork depicts St. Gertrude of Nivelles as one of the following: a woman holding a large mouse, an abbess with mice at her feet, an abbess with mice running up her cloak, an abbess with mice running up her crosier or pastoral staff, a woman holding a distaff, a woman spinning, or a woman with a cat or cats nearby
- Gertrude of Nivelles’ iconic symbol is the mouse, and she is the patron saint of the sick, mentally ill (especially suriphobics), cat lovers, cat owners and their cats, gardeners, herbalists, farmlands, good lodgings, travellers, pilgrims (particularly pilgrims in search of lodging), recently dead people, graves, poor people, widows and Nivelles, Belgium.
Since she is a protective saint, people invoke her against rodents, vermin, rats, mice, pestilence, fever, fear of mice or rats (suriphobia), against mental illness and disorders (especially suriphobia), and insanity. She is particularly invoked against field-mice.
St. Gertrude is patron saint of gardeners and herbalists, because there is a tradition that fine weather on her feast day (March 17)that it is time for spring planting. Of course, cats like gardens, thus some link her patronage of gardens, farmlands, and herbalists back to her patronage of cats and cat owners. The cats under St. Gertrude’s protection will help keep the mice and other vermin from the plants.