St. Gertrude of Nivelles
The daughter of Blessed Pepin of Landen and Blessed Itta of Ida, Gertrude was ten years old when the possibility of her marrying the Duke of Austrasia's son was mentioned at a banquet given by her father. The child boldly replied that she would be the spouse of Christ alone and never marry. After Pepin's death, Itta founded a double monastery and appointed her young daughter as abbess. Gertrude was gifted with mystic experiences and practiced extreme fasting. She was friends with Sts. Ultan and Foillian. Worn out by her austerities, she retired as abbess in 658, appointing her niece in her stead. Gertrude died March 17, 659; she was thirty-three. Locals immediately venerated her as a saint. She is the patroness of travelers, the mentally ill, the recently deceased, and cats and is invoked against rats and mice.