Comensoli, Gertrude Caterina, Bl.

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Known in religion as Gertrude of the Blessed Sacrament, foundress of the Sacramentine Sisters of Bergamo;b. Biennio, Brescia, Lombardy, Italy, Jan. 18, 1857; d. Bergamo, Lombardy, Feb. 18, 1903. Gertrude, the fifth of ten children in a poor family, learned to love and revere the Blessed Sacrament from her parents' example. She was a Maria Bambino Sister of Charity until ill health forced her from the convent. Upon her recovery, she taught in association with the Company of Angela Merici while serving as a lady's companion to a countess. After meeting Francesco spinelli (1879), founder of the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, she founded the Sacramentine Sisters of Bergamo (1882), dedicated to Christian education and adoration. The first sisters received the religious habit in 1884. From Bergamo, where they had started, the sisters moved to Lodi where they received episcopal approval in 1891. They returned to Bergamo the following year, expanded the congregation's ministries, and received papal approval in 1908. When financial difficulties beset the Sacramentine Sisters, Spinelli was removed from their direction by the bishop. The beatification process for Gertrude Comensoli was opened in 1928. She was declared venerable by John XXIII and beatified by John Paul II on Oct. 1, 1989.

Bibliography: c. comensoli, Unanima eucaristica, madre Gertrude Comensoli (Monza 1936). La Suora Sacramentina alla scuola della Serva di Dio Madre Gertrude Comensoli (Bergamo 1960). Acta Apostolicae Sedis (1989): 1030.

[k. i. rabenstein]