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St. Lutgardis: patron of the blind and physically disabled

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The saint of the day is 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. Born in the 12th century, she came to her vocation, in part, due to her father’s bad business sense. Her father lost her dowry in a failed business venture and sent her to a Benedictine convent at the age of 12.

A few years later, she received a vision of Christ showing her his wounds, and at age 20 she became a Benedictine nun. Her visions continued and she is said to have levitated and dripped blood from her head when meditating on the Passion.

Seeking a stricter life, she joined the Cistercians and displayed the gifts of healing, prophecy, spiritual wisdom and teaching on 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 th…

Making a Mystic a Doctor of the Church

With the upcoming October 7th announcement that Pope Benedict XVI will pronounce that 12th century German mystic St. Hildegard of Bingen is a doctor of the church—as well as announcing that same honor being bestowed upon St. John of Avila—there is a renewed interest in the understanding of “mysticism” with our church.

The church’s history with mystics actually goes back to the Jewish roots of the faith.
Mysticism itself can best be explained as man’s need to connect with God in ways that transcend his mere day-to-day experiences. Man wants to know God intimately, deeply, privately—to fill that place within his heart which God created for His own indwelling. St. Augustine perfectly captured this earthly feeling when he said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest with Thee.” Augustine’s life (354-386), as told in his Confessions, reflects the ways in which man experiences earthly restlessness and pursues Divine intimacy. 
Jewish mysticism, which dates back thousands of years, has a…