St. Mechtilde was born Matilda von Hackenberg-Wippra around the year 1240. She came from a noble family in Saxony, and when she was seven years old, she was so inspired by the lives of the nuns that she went to live at the convent of Helfta. She learned a great deal there, and was known for her humility and her fervent love for God.
Mechtilde was close with the child who would become St. Gertrude the Great, who was given to the nuns at Helfta when she was five. Mechtilde was 15 years older, and took Gertrude under her wing. They shared a strong spirituality and devotion to Christ’s humanity and the Eucharist.
Both nuns were known to be mystics. Mechtilde had her first mystical vision when she received Holy Communion. Jesus appeared to her and held her hands. She said he left an imprint on her heart “like a seal in wax,” and gave her his own heart in the form of a cup, saying, “By my heart you will praise me always; go, offer to all the saints the drink of life from my heart that they may be happily inebriated with it.”
In another vision, Mechtilde wrote that she had seen that “the smallest details of creation are reflected in the Holy Trinity by means of the humanity of Christ, because it is from the same earth that produced them that Christ drew his humanity.”
Because of her visions, Mechtilde was highly revered by her community, and considered a prophet and counsellor. St. Gertrude recorded her teachings and visions in the “Book of Special Grace.”
St. Mechtilde died on Nov. 19, 1298.