St. Gertrude of Nivelles Day. Who, you ask?
If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times: you don’t have to be a Middle Child to know what it feels like to be a Middle Child -- and St. Gertrude is the perfect example.
According to catholictradition.org, she’s the patron saint of cats and the people who love them. (For the record, I am not one of those people. I don’t trust cats and I'm severely allergic to them. Just writing this post is irritating my eyes.) Back in the day, Gertrude was the “go-to” saint if you were experiencing a rodent infestation -- kind of like a Medieval Terminix. Over time, that led cat-lovers to associate her with their furry friends. Catster.com even goes so far as to call St. Gertrude “the original cat lady.”
Like St. Patrick, Gertrude was also never formally canonized by the Catholic church, but in 1677 Pope Clement XII declared March 17 as her feast day. Great. He couldn’t have made it on the 16th or 18th? It had to be on the 17th?? It’s like some sick joke. Kind of like randomly making Middle Child’s Day on August 12 instead of July 2, the actual middle of the year, when it should be.
Anyway, the bottom line is St. Gertrude got totally screwed. As a result, every year around this time, it’s always the same. St. Patrick gets the royal treatment on his day, like some favored first-born. He’s toasted and celebrated, basking in the emerald tinted limelight. St. Patrick, St. Patrick, St. Patrick! Meanwhile, poor Gertrude is lost in the shadows, a mere afterthought, treated like some second class saint. Overlooked and forgotten. She’s the saint that ain’t. No parades. No drunken revelry. Consigned to the litter box of feast days. Ugh. It doesn't get more Middle Child than that.
I feel your pain, St. Gertrude! I really do. But like I said, I’m not a big fan of cats. On the other hand, I’m not even the least bit allergic to beer. So you win, St. Patrick. Well played.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!