Gertrude patron saint of cats graphic

March 17 Holidays: St. Gertrude Patron Saint of Cats

If you love cats, sharing makes us purrrr :-)

March 17 Holidays: St. Gertrude Patron Saint of Cats by Layla Morgan Wilde. Published exclusively at

st. gertrude art

St. Patrick’s Day (check out our big Lucky Irish Cat post) is the main holiday on March 17, there are others such as the feast day for St. Gertrude, the patron saint of cats.

It also happens to be World Sleep Day. I wonder if cats had their hand or paw in that. Catnap anyone?

Read this if you want to learn about St. Gertrude in detail

Meet St. Gertrude, the Cat Lady of the Catholic Church

I’ve written about St. Gertrude before but wanted to dig deeper into her relationship with cats.


Saint Gertrude of Nivelles, also known as Gertrude the Great, was born to a noble family in Saxon Germany (now Belgium) on January 6, 1256 (the feast of the Epiphany)

She was the daughter of Pepin I of Landen, a nobleman and mayor of the palace of the Merovingian kings, and his wife, Itta. Gertrude was the third of four daughters, and all became saints.

As age 5, Gertrude was sent to live with her mother in a Benedictine convent, where she was educated and raised in the Christian faith. At the age of ten, Gertrude became seriously ill and was bedridden for several years. During this time, she devoted herself to prayer and contemplation, and it was said that she had several visions of Christ and the Virgin

After her recovery, Gertrude became a nun and founded her own convent in Nivelles, which is now in modern-day Belgium. She served as the abbess of the convent for many years, and it became a center of learning and piety under her leadership. She was known as mystic and prolific writer.

In addition to her love of animals, Gertrude was known for her charitable works and her devotion to the sick and the poor. She also had a reputation for performing miracles, including healing the sick and driving out demons.

st gertrude de Nivelles with mice

St. Gertrude died on November 16, 1301 and buried in the church of her convent. Whether technically canonized is disputed but is 1738, Pope Clement XII extended the Feast of St. Gertrude to the Universal Church. Her relics were later moved to a nearby church, which became known as the Saint Gertrude Collegiate Church.

Her feast day is celebrated on March 17th in the Roman Catholic Church, and on March 14th in the Eastern Orthodox Church. She is the Patron of the West Indies where her feast Day is November 16.

What about those cats?

Since St. Gertrude is also the patron saint of gardeners, travelers, the mentally ill and souls in purgatory where do cats enter in? Gertrude was known for her deep love of animals, especially cats. It was said that she would often feed the cats that lived in the convent, and she believed that they were a symbol of divine love and grace. Because she often prayed for the souls of people in purgatory, and artists of the time symbolized those souls as mice. Cats like to hunt mice and so it goes.

According to legend, she had a great love for cats and was known for feeding and taking care of them at the Abbey. There are also many stories about her performing miracles involving cats.

One of the most famous stories about Saint Gertrude and cats is that she was once chased by a group of mice. She prayed to God for help, and a group of cats appeared and chased away the mice. From then on, she was often depicted in artwork holding a cat.

Another story tells of a man who was given a cat as a gift, but he didn’t want it and threw it into the river. Saint Gertrude saw this and prayed for the cat’s safety. The cat miraculously swam back to shore and was unharmed.

prayer to St. Gertrude

Many cat owners and lovers pray to her for protection and blessings for their feline friends. Here are two prayers. One for a sick cat and one for a lost cat.

Prayer to St. Gertrude of Nivelles for a Sick Cat

Holy St. Gertrude of Nivelles,

We come to you today with a heavy heart, as our beloved cat is very sick.

We are very worried, and we don’t know what to do.

Please, St. Gertrude, intercede on our behalf and help our cat to get well.

We know that with your help, all things are possible.

We love our cat so much, and we know that you understand the special bond that we share.

Just as you shared a special bond with many during your life, and extended your generosity to them, please think now of us and our cat (your cat’s name).

Please, St. Gertrude, help our cat to recover from this illness and to live a long, happy, and healthy life.

We offer up our prayers to you, St. Gertrude, and we thank you in advance for your intercession.


Prayer to St. Gertrude of Nivelles for Finding a Lost Cat

Praying to St. Gertrude of Nivelles can be very helpful in finding a lost cat. It is said that she can call to them directly regardless where they are, and by following her voice they can find their way back home.

Dear Saint Gertrude of Nivelles,

We pray to you today to ask for your help in finding our lost cat.

We are heartbroken and distraught over his/her disappearance and would appreciate any guidance you can provide.

Please help us to find our beloved cat so that we may be reunited with him/her and experience the joy and peace that comes with his/her presence.

Our cat (your cat’s name) is sure to hear your voice if you call for him/her to come to our way.

We remain forever grateful for your intercession.


St. Gertrude patron saint of cats

There are some lovely paintings like the 16th century (above) depicting St. Gertrude with cats but I was thrilled to a see a modern version.

Gertrude patron saint of cats graphic

Available at Trope A collaboration with award-winning artist and designer David Lee Csicsko. Limited Edition Series collection of his lovingly illustrated Saints portraits. This colorful and whimsical collection includes St. Joan of Arc, St. Gertrude, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Peter, and St. Arnold, just to name a few.

I like this modern version by Noah Gutz

st. gertrude with cat

Also thrilled to see to see the often stolen images of Carolee Clarke available as prints at her Etsy shop King of Mice Studios

I edited and added a credit to one of her best ones. Maybe we need to petition St. Gertrude to stop copyright infringement.

st. gertrude patron saint of cats


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