Posted on March 17, 2017
Well, you learn something new every day. Not only is today St. Patrick’s Day, but it is also St. Gertrude’s Day. And Gertrude is the patron saint of cats.
Ironically, or maybe not, one of the few photographs I have is this one, of my great-grandmother, Rose Glennon Lamb and her daughter, Gertrude in the back row. There is also a cat in the picture, held by the child Mary Brogan. They lived in Yonkers, N.Y. in the early 1900s. Perhaps it was taken on St. Gertrude’s Day?
As saint expert Thomas J. Craughwell explains it, “St. Gertrude … is invoked against mice and rats, which has led cat lovers to assume that Gertrude was a cat person, and so the ideal patron of their favorite pet.” There are now many icons and paintings of her with a cat.
Although the Vatican can make a saint’s patronage official, it has never done so with Saint Gertrude and cats. But most patron saints have been assigned their duties by popular tradition rather than by official recognition. So, if you want to get a medal of St. Gertrude to hang around your cat’s neck, go right ahead. ~Valerie DeBenedett