Santa Lutgarda by Goya, 1787. Monasterio de San Joaquín y Santa Ana, Valladolid.
|Died||June 16, 1246
|Honored in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Attributes||as Christ shows her His wounded side; blind Cistercian abbess; Cistercian nun being blinded by the Heart of Jesus; Cistercian to whom Christ extends his hand from the cross; in attendance when Christ shows his Heart to the Father|
|Patronage||birth; blind people; blindness; childbirth; disabled people; handicapped people; physically challenged people; Flanders; Flemish National Movement|
Saint Lutgardis (Ludgardis; Lutgard; Luitgard; Ludgard; Lutgart; Lutgarde of the Sacred Heart; Lutgarde of Tongres; Lutgarde; Lutgardis of Aywieres; Luthgard) (Dutch: Sint-Ludgardis) (1182 – 16 June 1246) was a Flemish saint. She was born in Tongeren in Belgium, and entered into religious orders at the age of twelve. During her life various miracles were attributed to her, and she is known to have experienced religious ecstasies.
Lutgardis was born at Tongeren in 1182, and appears to have been frivolous as a child. She was admitted into a Benedictine monastery of St. Catherine near Sint-Truiden at the age of twelve, not for any vocation but because her dowry had been lost in a failed business venture.
She had a religious experience in her late teens and in 1194, at the age of twenty, she became a nun with a true vocation. Accounts of her life state that she experienced ecstasies, levitated, and dripped blood from her forehead and hair when entranced. She refused the honor of serving as abbess. However, in 1205, she was chosen to be prioress of her community.
In 1208, at Aywieres (Awirs), near Liège, she joined the Cistercians, a stricter order, at the advice of her friend Saint Christina the Astonishing. Although Aywières was a French-speaking community, Lutgardis was determined to speak Dutch.
During this time she is known to have shown gifts of healing and prophecy, and was an adept at teaching the Gospels. She was blind for the last eleven years of her life, and died of natural causes at Aywieres. According to tradition, she experienced a vision in which Christ informed her of her death.
A life of Lutgardis, Vita Lutgardis, was composed less than two years after her death. She was venerated at Aywières for centuries, and her relics were exhumed in the 16th century. On December 4, 1796, as a result of the French Revolution, her relics were sheltered at Ittre. Her relics remain in Ittre. Works of art depicting Lutgardis include a masterpiece baroque statue on the Charles Bridge by Matthias Braun (1710) in Prague and a painting by Goya. The statue on Charles Bridge (socha sv. Luitgardy) was sculpted by Matthias Braun in 1710 as a commission from Evžen Tyttl, the abbot of the Cistercian monastery in Plasy.
See also