Miniature Lives of the Saints – Saint Lutgarde, Virgin

detail of a painting of Santa Lutgarda; 1787 by Francisco Goya; San Joaquín and Santa Ana Monastery, Valladolid, Spain; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

There was little in Lutgarde’s education to make her a Saint. Her parents first betrothed her to a merchant; and when, through the loss of her fortune, her marriage became impossible, they urged her to take the veil. After some resistance she entered, as pensioner, the Benedictine convent at Tongres in Brabant, but lived in a discontented state, secretly sighing for a worldly life. One day when she had gone to gossip, as was her wont, in the parlours, our Lord Himself stood before her. Pointing to His still bleeding Heart, He bade her seek in Him alone the joys of Divine love. From that hour Lutgarde renounced the world and its follies, and began a new life of prayer and penance. During the bloody struggle with the Albigenses she offered herself a victim for the Church, and suffered most fearful tortures of mind and body. To conceal the miraculous gifts with which she was favoured, she exchanged to the Cistercian Order, and prayed earnestly that she might remain there unknown. Her petition was granted. She lived for forty years in a community of French nuns, from whom, by her ignorance of the language, she was completely isolated. Towards the end of her life, her solitude was further increased by the total loss of sight. At length, in 1146, her eyes, which had been closed for eleven years, opened to behold a troop of blessed spirits who came to lead her to heaven.

“Frequently examine thy heart,” said a great servant of God, “and contrast it with the Heart of Jesus.” It was thus Saint Lutgarde changed her life; thus too may we change our own.

Let us make three tabernacles: one in the Feet, one in the Hands, and one in the Sacred Side; and in this last may I watch and rest, eat, drink, and read, and do my whole work in life. – Saint Bonaventure

The gift of healing which Saint Lutgarde possessed brought to the convent numerous visitors, who interrupted her silence and observance. The Saint therefore prayed for some other less dangerous grace, and received the power of understanding the secret things of Sacred Scripture. Still she was dissatisfied, and complained that such high mysteries were not for one so simple. “What wouldst thou, then?” asked Christ of her. “Not Thy Word, but Thy Heart, O Lord, for me!” she replied. In that moment and from that time the Sacred Heart of Jesus was present in the heart of the holy maiden, purifying her and encouraging her to suffer; thenceforth she never knew another wayward desire or evil thought, but lived in and for her Lord.

And if Christ be in you, the body indeed is dead because of sin; but the spirit liveth because of justification. – Romans 8:10

MLA Citation

  • Henry Sebastian Bowden. “Saint Lutgarde, Virgin”. Miniature Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year, 1877. CatholicSaints.Info. 8 March 2015. Web. 29 July 2017. <>