Gertrude of Nivelles
|Saint Gertrude of Nivelles|
Stained Glass in Tongeren, Belgium
|Died||March 17, 659
|Canonized||1677 by Pope Clement XII|
|Attributes||Mice, staff, cat|
|Patronage||Travelers, gardeners, cats; against mice, mental illness;|
Saint Gertrude of Nivelles (also spelled Geretrude, Geretrudis, Gertrud) (ca. 621 – March 17, 659) was a seventh-century abbess who, with her mother Itta, founded the monastery of Nivelles in present-day Belgium. While never formally canonized, Pope Clement XII declared her universal feast day to be March 17 in 1677. She is the patron saint of travelers, gardeners and cats, and against rats and mental illness.
- 1 Family and childhood
- 2 Monastic life
- 3 Death
- 4 Gertrude of Nivelles in Literature
- 5 Relationship with Saint Arnulf of Metz
- 6 References
- 7 Bibliography
- 8 External links
The early history of Gertrude's family is somewhat mysterious. The anonymous author of her Vita only hints at her origins, perhaps because of the family's lack of power at the time of the Vita's composition.1 Instead, he writes "but it would be tedious to insert in this account in what line of earthly origin she was descended. For who living in Europe does not know the loftiness, the names, and the localities of her lineage?"2
Gertrude's father, Pippin of Landen (Pippin the Elder), was a leader of the nobility in east Frankia. He was instrumental in persuading Clothar II to crown his son, Dagobert I, as king of Austrasia. When Dagobert succeeded his father and the court moved to Neustria, Pippin and his family, including the young Gertrude, moved with the king to serve as the mayor of the palace.
During her childhood in Dagobert's court, Gertrude was introduced to the political role of sainthood. Arnulf of Metz, Pippin's close ally, was one of several of the king's counselors who was appointed to an ecclesiastical post after a secular career and later sanctified. In addition, Gertrude's mother Ida was from Gascony, and was likely acquainted with Saint Amand. She and Gertrude were also likely aware of the accomplishments of saintly women who left royal circles to establish monasteries.
As reported in her Vita, Gertrude "grew dearer by day and night in word and wisdom." Furthermore, "At the very beginning her choice was the service of Christ."2
Pippin remained in court until Dagobert's death in 639. McNamara argues that Arnulf retired into religion on the death of Clothar at 628 but kept close ties to the family by marrying his son to Gertrude's sister, Begga.3 However, later scholars have challenged the veracity of this story (see Gertrude's relationship to saint Arnulf of Metz below).
Pippin, Gertrude's father served as mayor of the palace for much of his career.4 Somewhat like the shōguns of fifteenth-century Japan, the mayors of the palace were at first the king's leading men, but as time passed mayors became more and more powerful, eventually supplanting the kings.5 When Pippin died, his son Grimoald, Gertrude's brother, had to struggle with Otto to become the new mayor of the palace.6 When Otto was killed ten years later, "the dignity of mayor of Sigebert's palace and control of all the kingdom of Austrasia was thus decisively assured to Grimoald" and the Pippinids.7
Before Dagobert's death, Pippin invited Dagobert to his house for a feast. It was considered a great honor for Pippin that the king accepted, and is further evidence of Pippin's power and standing, as well as the power of his family.1 At this feast, the King put the family in an awkward position1 by asking Gertrude if she would like to marry the "son of a duke of the Austrasians".2 (See Marriage, below)
Gertrude's Vita, thought by some to have been written by an Irish monk after Begga's death in 693 (this is disputed by later scholars, see Gertrude in Literature, below), begins with Gertrude's refusal to marry King Dagobert's suitor, son of the duke of Austrasia and potential usurper of Pepin's power.
In her Vita, King Dagobert asks Gertrude to marry the son of a duke of the Austrasians who is interested in Gertrude, "for the sake of his worldly ambition and mutual alliance."2 Gertrude's biographer describes how "she lost her temper and flatly rejected him with an oath, saying that she would have neither him nor any earthly spouse but Christ the Lord."8
Catherine Peyroux argues that marriage politics in the seventh century certainly played a part in the king's intervention on behalf of the Austrasion Duke. She wonders how much power, if any, Gertrude's parents had over the identity of their daughter's husband.9
Fouracre and Gerberding argue her refusal to marry the king's chosen candidate and her determination to enter the religious life may have been dictated by her father's precarious political situation.1
Either way, the fact that Gertrude and her family were strong enough to resist the will of the king demonstrates the considerable power they held. It may have been this same power that allowed the family to hold on to their lands after the revolt of Grimoald, and furthermore secure the appointment of Wulfetrude, Gertrude's niece, as abbess of Nivelles.1
According to Suzanne Wemple, marriage was important politically in the Frankish lands, as it secured alliances and allowed families to consolidate their land holdings. For example, it is believed that the marriage of Begga and Ansegisel was critical is setting the stage for a Carolingian takeover of Austrasia.10 The marriage of their son Pepin the Middle and Plectrude later secured the lands of Plectrude's father, Seneschal Hugobert, and her mother Irmina of Oeren, because she had no brothers or sisters. These lands included "vast domains in the country between the Rhine, the Moselle, and the Meuse." Wemple further explains that Begga's sons further enhanced Pepin's power by marrying women with political connections in the north and northwest.10
Ian Wood supports this argument, claiming that "Carolinian power... was built up through a series of marriage alliances, each bringing estates and influence."11
Although "women were active in arranging matrimonial alliances" in Frankish society, "the personal feeling of a woman was of little consequence and she was expected to subordinate it to her family's wishes." Wemple hypothesizes that if Pippin I had lived longer, that he would have forced Gertrude to marry the son of the Austrasian duke for political reasons, and that the Pippinids would have supplanted the Merovingians sooner.10 She describes Itta as "acceding to Gertrude's wishes" when she built the monastery.
The account of Gertrude's angry rejection of her Austrasian suitor in the Vita Sanctae Geretrudis is unique in the context of the seventh-century scholarly tradition. As Catherine Peyroux has pointed out, whether it be literal or fabulous, there is reason to believe that its inclusion in the text was deliberate.12
Catherine Peyroux's interpretation of Gertrude's anger comes from Gertrude's claim that she was already betrothed to Christ, who would have been seen as superior to the son of the Austrasian Duke.13 In the context of her relationship with Christ, another marriage would have been seen as adultery.14 There is ample evidence for the seriousness of this crime at the time and the terrible punishments that came with it. Given the familiarity of all those present at the king's feast with these customs, Peyroux argues that Gertrude's anger would have been justified given the argument she presents for her previous betrothal.15
Due to well-studied changes in the cultural significance of anger, modern readings, such as seeing Gertrude's behavior as a "tantrum," would not have made sense at the time.16 In the context of the Vita, anger, or "furor" might also be translated as "raging madness, even insanity." Similar language is used to describe demonic possession in contemporaneous texts.17
Among the many possible textual influences on the Vita, the ones written most closely to her time present anger as "socially destructive" or "demonic." Older references to the divine fury of God or angels were less influential, and connections to the life of Saint Patrick are tenuous and out of context.18 These negative connotations may explain why Gertrude's furor is qualified in the text as "quasi", allowing Gertrude to appear full of rage without losing her saintly qualities.19 By comparison, Gertrude's rage is much greater than the irritation of her suitor.20
After the death Pippin, it was Gertrude's mother Itta who became the dominant force in her life. It was Itta who tonsured Gertrude, founded Nivelles, and first made contact with the Irish monks led by Foillan. Gertrude's relationship with her mother therefore, can be seen as the driving force behind Gertrude's later accomplishments.
Suzanne Wemple identifies a theme of mothers dominating their daughters in Merovingian times in an effort to "safeguard [their] daughters' sexual purity and secure [their] future."21 Mothers, she says, were required to raise their daughters to be obedient and disciplined and the standard "maternal feelings" were "vigilance and worry."22
Wemple argues that Gertrude's story is an example of her theme of domineering motherhood. "The biographer of St. Gertrude mentions that, after the death of Pippin the Elder in 640, his widow Itta pondered daily on what was to become of her and her daughter. Upon the advice of Saint Amand, she complied with her daughter's request and ordered the construction of a monastery to which she and Gertrude could retire."23
According to Wemple, "A mother's importance was acknowledged in law insofar as she had the right to assume the guardianship for her fatherless children. In the propertied classes, this meant that a widow could exercise considerable power by managing the estates of her minor children and arranging for their marriages. Queens seized the opportunity to act as regents, wielding political power in the name of their sons."24 However, this right to power would not been available to Itta after the death of Pippin because her sons were already mature. She still had the option to find a suitable husband for Gertrude, and one can only speculate as to why she chose instead to enter the monastery. Perhaps, as some scholars have suggested,13 it was to protect herself and her daughter in the event that her sons fell out of favor with the ruling dynasty, as well as to safeguard the family lands from plunder or seizure through forced marriage.
After Dagobert's death in 640, Pippin returned to the east, taking Gertrude with him. Soon after, Pippin died, giving Gertrude the freedom to take a veil and enter the religious life.8 There is some debate on the date of the death of Pippin. Some sources date it as late as 650,1 although others date it much earlier.
Itta supported her daughter's decision to enter the religious life. She herself began founding the monastery of Nivelles after her husband's death, at the suggestion of Bishop Amandus, bishop of Maastricht from 647-53.1 Gertrude's Vita describes how Bishop Amand came to Itta's house, "preaching the word of God. At the Lord's bidding, he asked whether she would build a monastery for herself and Christ's handmaid, Gertrude."25 However, after they entered the religious life, Gertrude and her mother suffered, "no small opposition" from the royal family. During this period, trials for the family are mentioned involving the usurper Otto's bid to replace the Pippinids at the side of the king.1 The Vita describes how Itta, in order to prevent "violent abductors from tearing her daughter away by force," shaved her daughter's hair, leaving only a crown shape.25 This action, known as tonsuring, marked Gertrude for a life of religious service. Furthermore, there were constant requests by "violators of souls" who wished to gain wealth and power by marrying Gertrude. As evidenced in the Vita, only the foundation of the Monastery of Nivelles stopped the constant flow of suitors interested in marrying into Gertrude's wealthy family.13
There is some precedent for Gertrude and Itta's move to the monastery at Nivelles. According to Wemple, "during the second half of the seventh century, women in Neustrian-Burgundian families concentrated on the creation of a network of monasteries rather than on the conclusion of politically advantageous unions, while families whose holdings were in the northeastern parts of the kingdom, centering around the city of Metz, were more concerned with the acquisition of power through carefully arranged marriages." Wemple firmly places the Pippinids in the latter category. Itta's move to start a monastery was thus not completely out of the ordinary, and may have in fact been the norm for a widowed noblewoman.26
After Itta founded the monastery at Nivelles, Gertrude was appointed head abbess, a rare honor for someone of her young age. She was described at the age of 26 as "mature beyond her years."1 Indeed, her Vita describes that in her, "temperance of character, the sobriety of her heart and the moderation of her words she anticipated maturity."
Christianity was not at all widespread in Gertrude's place and time. It was only the development of cities and the initiative of bishops that led to a vast movement of evangelism, which led to the flowering of monasteries everywhere in the seventh and eighth centuries.27
After Gertrude took the veil, she became abbess over a flock of nuns. In the Vita, there is no mention of Frankish monks living at the monastery at its foundation.2
Upon becoming abbess, Gertrude "obtained through her envoys men of good reputation, relics of saints and holy books from Rome, and from regions across the sea, experienced men for the teaching of the divine law and to practice the chants for herself and her people."2
Fouracre and Gerberding assert that the men from across the sea are from Britain and Ireland and also highlight this as an example of the importance of Rome to the Franks long before Charlemagne ever has a relationship with the Pope.1 This assertion is supported by a wealth of sources, including the work of Catherine Peyroux, Suzanne Wemple,28 and the ancient Chronicles of Fredegar.
According to Wemple, "The Irish monasteries, with the ancient tradition of oral learning, were at the time the most distinguished centers of scholarship".29
Upon Itta's death at about the age of 60 in the year 650, 12 years after the death of her husband Pippin,2 Gertrude took over the monastery.1 At this time, Gertrude took the "whole burden of governing upon herself alone," placing affairs of the family in the hand of "good and faithful administrators from the brothers."
Some have argued that the line above implied that Gertrude ruled the monastery with an abbot. Frankish double monasteries were almost always led by an abbess, or jointly by an abbess and abbot.30 However, when Suzanne Wemple used Nivelles as an example of the latter, claiming that Gertrude ruled Nivelles jointly with Saint Amand "around 640,"30 she casts doubt on her own theory by mistaking the date. Many later scholars date the foundation of Nivelles between 647 and 650.31
Gertrude is described in her Vita as "an intelligent young woman, scholarly and charitable, devoting herself to the sick, elderly, and poor," and as knowing much of the scripture by memory. During her time at Nivelles, she sent messengers to Rome and "beyond the seas" - that is to say Ireland - to bring back the sacred books and relics. She welcomed foreigners, lay or religious. She especially welcomed Irish monks who, since the sixth century, travelled to evangelize.32
The Vita Sanctae Geretrudis has occasionally been misquoted in phrases like "Gertrude of Nivelles was renowned for having committed to memory the entire library of divine laws and for being able to lecture on the obscure mysteries of scriptural allegories."33 This is an exaggeration of the words the text. Gertrude was in fact quite knowledgeable when it came to the scriptures, but the original text does not state that she knew "the entire library." Gertrude also memorized passages and books on divine law, and she "openly disclosed the hidden mysteries of allegory to her listeners." Her Vita describes Gertrude as building churches, and taking care of orphans, widows, captives, and pilgrims.
In the Additum Additamentum Nivialense de Fuilano, an addendum to the Vita Sanctae Geretrudis, there is a story about several events involving Irish monks led by Foillan that involve Gertrude and the Monastery of Nivelles.34
Before the foundation of Nivelles, Irish monks led by Foillan traveled to Francia, from Fursey's monastery in Ireland to escape pagan raids. They were received by Erchinoald, mayor of the palace, but were later expelled by him and moved to live with Itta and Gertrude. Grimoald and the Pippinids were happy to accept them, and built the monastery of Berbrona for them with the help of Itta and Gertrude. In other works this monastery is referred to as Fosses.35 There is much praise of Gertrude in the text.34
Some time later, Foillan went on journey, saying mass in Nivelles before leaving. Ian Wood says that the purpose of Foilan's journey was to visit his benefactors, but he provides no evidence for this claim other than a citation of the Additamentum.35 After only a day of travelling, Foillan and his three companions were betrayed and murdered by an evil man who offered them shelter for the night in his house, and then sold their belongings. Upon learning that Foillan did not reach his destination, the brothers of his monastery began to search for him. However, it was Gertrude who succeeded in finding Foillan's body 77 days after he was murdered, on the anniversary of Fursey's death. The four bodies were immediately brought to Nivelles.34
"Dido, Bishop of Poitiers, and the mayor of the palace, Grimoald, a man of illustrious standing," arrived by chance, or, as the text hints, divine intervention at Nivelles shortly before the bodies and the two men carried Foillan into Nivelles "on their own shoulders." Foillan's body was then taken to his own monastery "and when noble men had flocked from all sides to meet him and carried him on their own shoulders" he was buried at Fosses.34
The first miracle attributed of Gertrude in the Vita Sanctae Geretrudis takes place at the altar of St. Sixtus the martyr as Gertrude was standing in prayer. "She saw descending above her a flaming pellucid sphere such that the whole basilica was illuminated by its brightness." The vision persisted for about half an hour and later was revealed to some of the sisters at the monastery. The anonymous author of the Vita Sanctae Geretrudis believes that this vision represents a "visitation of the True Light."2
The second miracle attributed to Gertrude in the Vita Sanctae Geretrudis took place as the anonymous author and his friend were "peacefully sailing over the sea on the monastery's business." This account is felt by some to indicate that the author was an Irish monk.1 In the account, an incredible storm appears as well as a sea monster, causing great despair as "the sailors... turned to their idols," evidence of the persistence of paganism at the time.1 In desperation, the author's friend cries out to Gertrude to save himself and his companions from the storm and a monster. Immediately the storm subsides and the monster dives back into the deep.m2
Gertrude appointed her niece Wulfetrud as abbess of Nivelles shortly before her death. Wulfetrud's position was precarious because her father, Grimoald I, king of the Lombards, had warred against the Merovingians.1 According to Ian Wood, "It was the Neustrian court that had ended Grimoald's ursurpation of the Austrasian throne."5 Evidence for this claim comes from the Vita Sanctae Geretrudis, which states that, "out of hatred of her father that kings, queens, and even priests... wished to drag her from her place" and steal Wulfetrude's property. Wulfetrud was only 20 years old at the time.1
Wilfetrud's appointment was a testament to Gertrude's power and influence within the monastery at Nivelles and the church itself.1 According to the Vita, Wulfetrud kept her position "through the grace of god."2 At the same time however, Gertrude was unable to help "Grimoald or his daughter against Clovis II."11
Gertrude is portrayed as leading a devout life until her death. It is possible that after taking the veil in ca. 640, she never left the monastery at Nivelles, thus escaping politics and local affairs.1
Gertrude is described as "exhausted by a life of charity, fasting and prayer" at the end of her short life.36 The Cambridge Medieval History says that, "because of too much abstinence and keeping of vigils... her body was sorrily exhausted with serious illness."1
Gertrude's Vita describes her after relinquishing her role as abbess, spending her time praying intensely and secretly wearing a hair shirt. According to her biographer, Gertrude felt the time of her death approaching, and asked a pilgrim from the Fosses monastery when she would die. This pilgrim is commonly believed to be Ultan, Foillan's brother. Fouracre and Gerberding dispute that Ultan was abbot of Fosses, but there is some speculation.1 Ultan prophesied that Gertrude would die on March 17, the very next day, and also the feast day of Saint Patrick. Furthermore, Ultan prophesied that "she may pass joyously because blessed Bishop Patrick with the chosen angels of God... are prepared to receive her." True to the prophecy, Gererude died the next day after praying all night and taking communion. Shortly after her death, the monk Rinchinus as well as the author of the Vita noticed a pleasant odor in cell with her body.2
Just before her death in 659, Gertrude instructed the nuns at Nivelles to bury her in an old veil left behind by a travelling pilgrimess and Gertrude's own hair shirt. Her vita praises this choice as an expression of Gertrude's humility and ultimately her power as a saint. She died in poverty, 17 March 659, at the age, we are told, of thirty-three years.36
Gertrude's choice of enterrement clothing is a pattern in medieval hagiography as an expression of humility and piety. Her death and the image of her weak and humble figure is in fact a critical point in her biographer's narrative. Her monastery also benefitted from this portrayal because the hair cloth and veil in which Gertrude was interred became relics. Bonnie Effros contends that seventh-century clerics had regular contact with holy tombs, and that contact with tombs like Gertrude's signaled higher privilege and prestige within the church. Tombs covered with cloths often functioned as altars for those who had access to them. At Nivelles, the nuns had numerous opportunities for prolonged contact with the tomb of Gertrude. And by comparison, unordained members of the congregation had fewer chances to visit her remains because relics and tombs were only publicly displayed for feast days, Easter, and other holy days.37
The Vita was originally thought to have been written in the eleventh century, but this was later disproven with the discovery of a version dating from the eighth century. Bruno Krush argues that the work is written around the same time that the events it describes take place, and there is wide agreement that it was written before 670, and after 663. The time range is determined using a combination of Latin style, references by contemporary works, the accuracy of the events (indicating a close proximity to their occurrence), and references in the text to known events. The Vita is one of just a few sources dating from seventh century France, and one of only three from Austrasia (all of which deal with Gertrude). This makes the Vita very important as a source for Charlemagne's ancestry as well as placing the "Cradle of the Carolingians" in the middle Meuse in Brabant as opposed to Moselle in Luxembourg, where Pepin II and Plectrude had large tracts of land.1
The author of Vita writes as a first-hand witness to the events he describes. Although it is perfectly plausible that he could have been a monk or nun, and there some debate on this topic.38 Based on his reference to himself "with another brother," the author is most likely male.39
The Vita was originally written for Abbot Agnes, who succeeded Wulfetrud upon her death.
As indicated by Charlemagne's inclusion of the saintly Arnulf of Metz in his family tree (in a work by Paul the Deacon, a Lombard), there were incentives to being associated with saints in Carolingian times. Fouracre and Gerberding argue that there were large incentives to being associated with saints in the seventh century as well, casting doubt on the genealogy presented in many sources. However, these scholars argue that the close temporal relationship of the three Austrasian sources to the life of Gertrude as well as the monastic audience of the works make them more than likely credible.1
According to Catherine Peyroux, who believes that because author is writing very near Gertrude's lifetime, account must at least be "essentially plausible to Gertrude's contemporaries."39
Gertrude's relationship with Arnulf of Metz is a persistent source of confusion for scholars and students alike. Numerous sources point to a relationship between Gertrude and Arnulf,4041 while other believe this relationship is invented.421 In particular, the debate focuses on Arnulf's relationship with Ansegisel, the husband of Begga, Gertrude's sister. Sources that include Arnulf in the Pippinid family state that Arnulf is that father of Ansegisel. Sources making the opposite claim do not.
Ian Wood recommends focusing only on the four earliest sources for this information, as later sources are based on these few documents. He starts with the continuations of the chronicles of Fredegar, which do not mention this connection, and are based on an earlier work. He says that "since Childebrand himself was the half-brother of Charles Martel, it is not surprising that the Fredegar continuator add the information contained in the Liber Historiae Francorum material largely concerned with Austrasia and Frisia" in 751.43 However, he adds no information regarding Arnulf at this time. The Liber is one of the earliest works detailing the history of this period and makes no mention of the relationship between Arnulf and Ansegisel.
Moving to a later source, Wood shows how the Annales Mettenses Priores radically change the picture (from the Liber, the earliest source for the late seventh century, written in 727). The Annales allude to the power held by previous members of the family, especially by Pippin I. They also allude to Pippin I's relationship to Arnulf, Bishop of Metz, although they do not specify the nature of that relationship. In addition they talk with great admiration of Pepin II's grandmother, Itta, and his Aunt, Gertrude. From the start, therefore, the Annales Mettenses Priores announce their intention of turning the history of the seventh and eighth centuries into a history of the Pippinids, or the Carolingians they were to become."44 As a result of this shift, Wood argues that "For the period up until 714, therefore, Annales Mettenses Priores produce a substantially different account of events from that offered by the Liber Historiae Francorum, making Pepin the center of attention, and conferring on him complete power from the Battle of Tertry onwards."44
This change in focus, while not invalid per se, certainly is problematic, because the Annales were written long after the time period they describe. This is especially important, notes Wood, because "as a reading of history the so-called Metz Prior Annals have been extremely influential, providing the most popular interpretation of the late Merovingian period. Nevertheless, they show the Pippinids and Merovingian history as the Carolingians wished to see them."44 Despite this different focus, even the Metz Annales do not state that Arnulf is Ansegisel's father, saying only that he is a great ally of Pippin.
Wood believes that the shift in focus of the Metz Prior Annals is deliberate, citing the need to glorify the sanctity of the newly powerful Pippinids. "The other asset which the family was to develop, its sanctity, was beginning to be realized only in the last decades of the seventh century. Although Arnulf of Metz is thought to have been Pepin II's grandfather, the evidence for this is not early, and even the Annales Mettenses Priores were uncertain about the nature of the relationship between Arnulf and the Pippinids."5 According to Wood, this link comes first from Paul the Deacon (Gesta episcoporum Mettensium) and is suspect, as Paul was not familiar with the events he was writing about and had limited access to reference materials.
Of the other early sources that might establish a link between Ansegisel and Arnulf, all that is left is the Vita Arnulfi, or "Life of Arnulf." However, according to Wood, it is "not clear that the Vita Arnulfi... was written in the seventh century."5 It is possible that this work was a forgery, created later to sanctify the Carolingian line. This argument is not without base, because after Gertrude died in 659, "her sanctity was unquestionably promoted by the family in the late seventh century" beginning with her vita in 670.5
- Vita Sanctae Geretrudis
- McNamara et al. 221
- Fredegar ch 84
- Wood, p.259.
- Fredegar ch 86
- Fredegar ch 88
- McNamara et al 223
- Peyroux 51-52
- Wemple 54
- Wood, p.260.
- Peyroux 40-41
- Peyroux 52
- Peyroux 53
- Peyroux 53-54
- Peyroux 42-43
- Peyroux 44-45
- Peyroux 45-49
- Peyroux 50
- Peyroux 51
- Wemple 60
- Wemple 60-61
- Ott, Michael. "St. Gertrude of Nivelles." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 26 Jan. 2013
- Wemple 61
- McNamara et al. 224
- Wemple 54-55
- Donnay-Rocmans in translation, 34
- Wemple 176-7
- MacNeill 39-48, 449-460
- Wemple 162
- Fouracre 315
- Donnay-Rocmans in translation, 34-35
- Wemple 176-7
- Wood, p.190.
- Donnay-Rocmans in translation, p.35.
- Effros 146, 154
- Peyroux 38
- Peyroux, p.39.
- Sainted Women
- Wood 257
- Wood, p.258.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "St. Gertrude of Nivelles". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.
Collet, Emmanuel. "Sainte Gertrude de Nivelles: Culte, Histoire, Tradition." Nivelles: Comité de Sainte Gertrude, 1985.
- Delanne, Blanche. Histoire de la Ville de Nivelles: Des Origines au XIIIe siècle. Nivelles: Impr. Havaux, 1944.
- Donnay-Rocmans, Claudine. La Collégiale Sainte-Gertrude de Nivelles. Gembloux: Duculot, 1979.
- Effros, Bonnie. Caring for Body and Soul: Burial and the Afterlife in the Merovingian World. Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1965.
- MacNeill, Eoin. "Beginnings of Latin Culture in Ireland". Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review of Letters, Philosophy and Science, 20 (1931)
- McNamara, Jo Ann and John E. Halbord with E. Gordon Whatley. Sainted Women of the Dark Ages. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1992.
- Peyroux, Catherine. "Gertrude's Furor: Reading Anger in an Early Medieval Saint's Life." In Anger's Past: The Social Uses of an Emotion in the Middle Ages. Barbara H. Rosenwein, ed. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1998, 36-55.
- ---––. The Fourth Book of the Chronicle of Fredegar. Trans. J.M. Walace-Hadrill. London: Nelson, 1960.
- The New Cambridge Medieval History. Vol. 1. Ed. Paul Fouracre. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
- Wemple, Suzanne Fonay. Women in Frankish Society: Marriage and the Cloister, 500-900. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1981.
- Wood, Ian N. The Merovingian Kingdoms: 450-751. London: Longman, 1994.
- Ordinal : ca. 1293-1298. manuscript, MS Lat 422, is held at the Houghton Library, Harvard University.