Fifth Sunday of Lent
March 21, 2021
Andrea Westkamp, OSB, Benedictine Sisters of Virginia
Mechtild – Relationship with God
This week, we are seeking inspiration from another Benedictine woman, who appears in our chapel window at Saint Benedict Monastery in Bristow, VA. She is the second from the right. Her name is Saint Mechtild of Hackeborn (1241 – 1299). She was born at the castle of Helfta near Eisleben, Germany. At the age of seven, she visited her older sister, Gertrude of Hackeborn (not to be confused with Saint Gertrude the Great who was her friend) at the Monastery of Rodarsdorf and started her schooling there.
She was described as a very gifted and amiable young woman, charming, intelligent and having a lovely singing voice. In 1258, Gertrude of Hackeborn moved the monastery to Helfta and Mechtild joined her and was appointed choir mistress as well as being in charge of the cloister school. It was in this position that Saint Gertrude the Great came under her care.
Mechtild experienced an intimate mystical relationship with Christ. She shared some of these experiences and Gertrude the Great wrote them down. These writings are known as the "Book of Special Grace", sometimes also called, "Revelations of Saint Mechtild."
In what way could Saint Mechtild inspire us on our Lenten journey?
She was open to share her mystical experiences, her relationship with God, with others. This week ponder on your own relationship with God and what you would like to write about it. Journaling helps you express what this relationship is about.
Sister Andrea Westkamp is a member of Saint Benedict Monastery in Bristow, VA. Currently, she is serving as subprioress, canonical treasurer, oblate director and spiritual director. Her background is in pastoral counseling, spiritual direction and early childhood education. She enjoys long walks, artwork, reading mysteries. Her passion is exploring the depth of the Rule of Benedict for our times.