Gertrud the Great (1256–1302) entered the monastery of Helfta in eastern Germany as a child oblate. At the age of twenty-five she underwent a conversion that led to a series of visionary experiences, some of which she recorded in Latin “with her own hand,” in what became Book Two of The Herald of God’s Loving-Kindness, the standard version of her revelations. The other four books were written down by a close confidant of the saint, now often known as "Sister N."
Recently a different version of Gertrud's revelations has been discovered, in an early fourteenth-century manuscript held at the University of Leipzig, Germany, much older than the known manuscripts of The Herald. The Memorial of the Abundance of the Divine Sweetness is shorter than The Herald, and while the two versions have some text in common (notably most of The Herald's Book Two), the new manuscript also contains some completely new material, which sometimes modifies and sometimes complements what readers already know of the saint.
Alexandra Barratt is professor emeritus at University of Waikato, New Zealand. She studied at the Universities of Cambridge and Toronto and has published extensively on religious writing by medieval women in Latin and English. She has previously translated Books One and Two (CF 35), Book Three (CF 63), Book Four (CF 85), and Book Five (CF 86) of The Herald for the Cistercian Fathers series.