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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Mechthild of Hackeborn

b. 1241, Helfta, Germany; d. 1298, Helfta, Germany

Mechthild entered the convent at Helfta in 1258. Directed by her sister, Gertrude of Hackeborn, the convent was the center of mysticism in Germany, a sympatico environment for Mechthild as she had experienced visions from an early age. Endowed with musical abilities, she became the monastery’s cantrix, singing the liturgy in the choir. After 1290, confined to a sickbed, she dictated a record of her visions, the Liber specialis gratiae, to Gertrude the Great, a nun in the convent.