As Catholics, we pray for the intercession of the saints and angels in Heaven, so that they may pray for us on our behalf. Saints can be venerated as the Heavenly advocate and special intercessor for a wide variety of patronages – even cats.

Saint Gertrude of Nivelles was seventh century abbess, founding the Abbey of Nivelles in Belgium in 640 A.D. that still exists to this day. Her patronage to cats likely arose as being a powerful intercessor against the plague in medieval times, paintings often depicting her with rats crawling up her crozier.

Some 600 years later, a German Benedictine nun of the same name, Saint Gertrude the Great, became known as a powerful intercessor for those in purgatory. She was known to show “tender sympathy towards the souls in purgatory,” urging prayers for them. For that reason, pious tradition holds Saint Gertrude’s prayer releases souls from purgatory.

Saint Gertrude’s prayer to release a thousand souls from purgatory

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen. 

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