Feast day: June 16
Saint Lutgarde never wanted to enter a convent. However, her supposed vocation to a life of marriage and children changed when her dowry was lost in a bad business deal. Since her parents didn’t think they could marry her off without a dowry, Lutgarde was sent to live at the Black Benedictine convent at the age of 12.
When she was almost 20 she had a vision of Jesus showing her his wounds. After this vision, she knew that her true vocation was the religious life. She soon became a Benedictine nun. Lutgarde continued to receive visions of Jesus, experienced prayerful ecstasies, levitated, and experienced the wounds of Christ from the crown of thorns while captivated by the Passion. She wished to live a more disciplined lifestyle, so she joined the Cistercian nuns at Aywiers (Belgium), where she lived for the remainder of her life. Lutgarde was blessed with gifts of healing, prophecy, and faithful wisdom. She went blind in her later years but saw this as a wonderful gift because she was no longer distracted by the outside world.
Lutgarde’s monastery is now in ruins, but some remnants still exist, among them a beautiful stone gateway called “Saint Lutgarde’s gate.” The monastery land has been subdivided and is now privately owned, but twice a year, in May and in October, the lands and gardens of the former Abbey of Aywiers are open to the public for the Aywiers Plant and Garden Festival.
(Image in public domain-100)