Feastday: February 18
Born January 18, 1847 Bienno, Brescia
Died February 18, 1903Bergamo, Italy
Beatified October 1, 1989, by John Paul II
Canonized April 26, 2009, by Benedict XVI
Gertrude Comensoli, born Catherine, was an Italian who was canonized in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI. Saint Gertrude was born in Bienne, Valcamonica, then under the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia.Catherine grew up in a family with ten brothers and sisters, of which only three females survived: Bartolomea, Cristina and Catherine precisely.She received her First Communion in 1867 and joined the Society of St. Angela Merici.On December 15, 1882, decided to found, with Francesco Spinelli, the Institute of the Sisters Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament which was also the origin of the Sisters Sacramentine and taking the name Sister Gertrude.On 1 November 1894, opened a house of nuns in Castelnuovo Bocca d'Adda and in the same year in the province of Lodi.Gertrude died February 18, 1903, on 1 October 1989 was proclaimed Blessed by Pope John Paul II, February 26, 2009 was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI, who gave evidence at the solemn ceremony of April 26, 2009.
Saint Geltrude Comensoli was born on January 18, 1847 in Bienno, Italy. Her name at birth was Caterina, and she was one of 10 children in the family, though only 3 of the girls, including her survived. When she was seven years old, she felt an urge to receive her First Communion, and so she dressed in her mother's black shawl and secretly received the Eucharist. She felt a “heavenly” feeling and swore to love Jesus as long as she lived.
As a child she was mature and wise beyond her years, exhibiting a great devotion to the Eucharistic Jesus. While still young, she organized the Guard of Honor among some of the girls she knew, under the motto: "Jesus, loving You and making others love You". This motto became the foundation of her work in life.
In 1862, she left her family and joined the Sisters of Charity, founded by St. Bartolomea Capitanio in Lovere, Brescia. It was not meant to be, however as she contracted a serious illness and was dismissed from the Institute. After she regained her health, her family was in a poor financial position, and she left her village and became a domestic servant of Rev. G. B. Rota, a parish priest of Chiari. A few years later, he became the Bishop of Lodi. Later, she served in the household of the Countess Fe
-Vitali. Towards the end of 1876 she reaffirmed her dedication to Jesus and wrote a strict personal rule of life, to which she remained faithful.
Caterina lived a life of copious prayer, mortification, meditation, and works of charity. She grew closer to the Lord, and sought a way to live the life dedicated to the Eucharist that she had longed for her entire life. She confided in the Bishop of Bergamo, Mgr. Speranza, who was in Bienno visiting the Fé-Vitali’s. He gave her his assurance that she was following the will of God through her plans.
In 1880, she traveled to Rome with the Fé-Vitali’s, and was able to gain an audience with Pope Leo XIII, where she discussed her plans to establish a religious institute devoted to the adoration of the Eucharist. Pope Leo encouraged her to also work toward the education of young female factory workers as well. Encouraged by this charge, on December 15, 1882, Caterina and two of her friends founded the Congregation of the Sacramentine Sisters of Bergamo with the first adoration hour of the Blessed Sacrament. Two years later to the day, on December 15, 1884 she took the name of Sister Geltrude of the Blessed Sacrament.
The Sisters of the Congregation were advised by the new Bishop of Bergamo, Mgr. Camillo Guindani to abandon their first motherhouse in order to move to Lodi. Mgr. Rota, Bishop of Lodi, generously offered them a house in Lavagna di Comazzo, which temporarily became their new Mother House. After many obstacles were overcome, Mgr. Rota issued a Decree on September 8, 1891, granting the Institute canonical recognition. On March 28, 1892, Mother Geltrude returned with the Congregation to Bergamo. By this time, she had instituted perpetual public Eucharistic Adoration and had inspired the same love of the Eucharist among the members of her congregation.
On February 18, 1903, Mother Geltrude died, bowing her head towards the church where Eucharistic Adoration was proceeding. Those who knew her instantly called for her official sainthood. On August 9, 1926, her body taken from the cemetery of Bergamo to the Mother House of the Institute she established and placed in a chapel next to the Church of Adoration. On October 1, 1989, Pope John Paul II beatified her. She was canonized on April 26, 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI. Her feast day is February 18.