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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Gertrude of Hackeborn

b. 1223, near Halberstadt, Germany; d. 1292, Helfta, Germany

Gertrude of Hackeborn became an abbess at the convent in Rodersdorf, Germany, at the age of nineteen. In 1253, she founded a convent in Hedersleben, but transferred the community to Helfta five years later. Gertrude served as abbess of Helfta for the rest of her life, during which time the convent became a center of mysticism in Germany, producing devotees given to prophetic visions such as Gertrude the Great and the abbess’ sister, Mechthild.