Saint Lutgardis, Patron of the Blind and the Physically Disabled
On June 16, we honor St. Lutgardis, a Cistercian, and one of the first mystics of the Sacred Heart. St. Lutgardis is the patron saint of the blind and physically disabled people. Other areas of patronage include: childbirth, Flanders, and Belgium.
St. Lugardis was born at Tongres, Brabant, the Netherlands, in 1182. She was sent to the Black Benedictine convent of Saint Catherine when she was 12- years-old because her father lost her dowry in a business venture. She had received no specific calling to the religious life, but without a dowry there was little hope of finding an appropriate husband. Then, one day the attractive girl, who was fond of fine garments and simple pleasures, had a vision of Christ that changed her view on life.
A few years after entering the convent, she received a vision of Christ showing her his wounds, and at age 20 she discovered her true vocation as a Benedictine nun. Her visions continued and she is said to have had ecstasies, levitated, and dripped blood from her head while meditating on Christ’s Passion. She also experienced visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John the Evangelist. Seeking a stricter life, she joined the Cistercians and displayed the gifts of healing, prophecy, spiritual wisdom and teaching of the Gospels.
She accepted the blindness that afflicted her for the last 11 years of her life as a gift that helped reduce the distractions of the outside world. In her last vision, Christ told her when she was to die, the day after the Feast of the Holy Trinity, June 16, 1246. She was 64.