Lutgardis, St.

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Cistercian mystic and stigmatic; b. Tongres, Belgium, 1182; d. Aywières (near Brussels), June 16, 1246. Lutgardis was born of bourgeois parents. She received the habit at the Benedictine convent of Saint-Trond in 1194, was professed about 1200, and was elected prioress there in 1205. Because of the relaxed observance of this community, she transferred to the Cistercian convent at Aywières in 1208. There, sustained only by bread and weak beer, she engaged in three seven-year fasts in reparation for the Albigensian heresy then at its height. In apparitions, Christ usually was represented as showing her his heart, and she was perhaps the first saint in whom the mystical "exchange of hearts" was effected. Her frequent communions antagonized the community. The Passion was the center of her religious life, and in her 29th year she received the spear wound; she carried the scar to her death. She often experienced the sweat of blood. From 1235 she was totally blind, and the ideal of vicarious suffering in reparation for sin was highly developed in her spirituality. She predicted the day of her death.

Feast: June 16.

Bibliography: t. merton, What Are These Wounds? (Milwaukee 1950). g. hendrix, Ontmoetingen met Lutgart van Tongeren: Benedictines en Cisterciënzerin 5 v. (Leuven 199698). a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, rev. ed. h. thurston and d. attwater, 4 v. (New York 1956) 2:557558.

[j. verbillion]