Gertrude of Helfta (1256–1301/2), often called ‘the Great’, experienced, at the age of 25, a bond of love with Jesus, a kind of ‘nuptial mysticism’ (Brautmystik), and from that time entered a life of contemplation; she wrote the much-admired Legatus Divinae Pietatis (The Herald of Divine Love, parts of which were written later from her notes), and was one of the first to develop devotion to the Sacred Heart. Hadewijch of Antwerp (early 13th cent.), whose Visions develop the same theme of a union with God of ecstatic love (minnemystiek), Jan van Ruysbroeck, and Hildegard of Bingen are often associated with this group; and the devotio moderna of Gerard Groote is usually regarded as a direct successor.
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