Saint Mechtilde of Helfta

detail of a statue of Saint Mechtilde of Hackeborn by Johann Georg Üblhör, date unknown; altar of Saint John of Nepomuk, monastery church, Engelhartszell, Upper Austria, Austria; photographed on 27 September 2015 by Wolfgang Sauber; swiped from Wikimedia Commons; click for source imageAlso known as

  • Mechtilde of Hackeborn-Wippra
  • Mechtilde of Hackenborn
  • Mechtilde of Magdaburg
  • Mathilda of….
  • Mathildis of….
  • Matilda of….
  • Maud of….
  • Mechthild of….
  • Mechtild of….
  • Mechtildis of….
  • The Nightingale of Helfta



Born to a pious, powerful Thuringian noble family; her older sister was a nun. Conventeducated from age seven, Mechtilde became a nun at Rodersdorf, Switzerland. She moved to the Helfta monastery in 1258 where her sister served as abbess. Teacher and choir director at the convent school at Helfta. Visionary and mystic. Novice mistress for Saint Gertrude the Great who wrote The Book of Special Grace about Mechtilde’s teachings; she was initially terrified that the book might cause trouble, but Christ appeared to her in prayer and told her not to worry. She became a much sought spiritual advisor to her sister nuns, laity and learned Dominicans. May have been the inspiration for the character Matelda in Dante’s Purgatorio.






There has never before been anyone like her in our monastery, and I fear there never will be again. Saint Gertrude of Helfta, about Saint Mechtilde

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Mechtilde of Helfta“. CatholicSaints.Info. 24 November 2015. Web. 2 December 2015. <>