[St. Pachomius Library]

St. Gertrude of Nivelles

VII Century
St. Gertrude (c. 626/31-659) was the daughter of Blessed Pepin of Landen (also called Pepin the Elder) and Blessed Itta (or Ida). Gertrude is said to have rejected the proposal of Dagobert I; her sister, St. Begga, married the older son of Arnulf of Metz. After the death of Pepin in 640, Itta and Gertrude founded or joined a double monastery at Nivelles. Some say Gertrude succeeded her mother as abbess; others say that Gertrude became the abbess and Itta remained a nun. Known for her hospitality, Gertrude gave land at Fosses to Foillan, who established a community there and evangelized the Brabanters. She resigned about three years before her death to pursue a life of prayer. Her veneration was especially strong in the Low Countries, from which it spread through Europe.

Karen Rae Keck


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