The month of November is dedicated to Holy Souls in Purgatory, so it is fitting that the Feast Day of St. Gertrude the Great is honored during this month on November 16th. Saint Gertrude is the only female saint to be called Great — so why is she?
The thirteenth century is one of the greatest centuries of the Church. From St. Albert and Thomas Aquinas, to St. Francis and St. Dominic, our Church was strengthened by the intellectual and spiritual lives of these and other great saints. It was during this time that Gertrude lived and wrote.
It is said that Gertrude was extremely intelligent and had a high aptitude and devotion for Latin and reading literature and philosophy. In time, as a Benedictine nun, she was left somewhat unsatisfied with these secular studies. In this way, one might draw a comparison with Saint Augustine, who was among the most learned in his time but yet remained restless in his heart.