If you want an alternative to celebrating St. Paddy’s Day, then you might consider St. Gertrude of Nivelles. She was born in 7th century Belgium. Starting at age 10 she challenged traditions and expectations by refusing royal marriages, choosing instead to live a life of service and devotion to God. After her father died, her mother founded a Benedictine monastery in Nivelles. Gertrude later became the abbess and is remembered for her scholarly pursuits, mystic visions, building churches, and her dedicated care of widows, orphans, and pilgrims.
She is the patron saint of gardeners, travelers, the mentally ill, and the recently deceased. She is also the saint to call upon for protection from mice and rats and is often pictured with mice crawling of her cloak and staff. More recently, pop culture has appointed Gertrude the patron saint of cats, which makes her the unofficial “cat-lady” of the church. Check out her merch on Etsy.
So….all you cool cats and kittens, don your favorite animal print, crack open a can of tuna for your furry friend, and toast St. Gertrude with a Pisco Sour!