Hildegard Von Bingen was born in 1098, the tenth child of a noble family. She lived in the twelfth century, in a Germany which was predominantly patriarchal, had corruption in the church and was experiencing political unrest. Hildegard’s works and teachings reflect her ambition to change these social norms, and it is this attitude that made her revered in her time and makes her unforgettable to Christian adherents today – her impact was, and still is, significant.
Hildegard was raised into the church from birth. At the age of eight she joined the Benedictine order under the guidance of Jutta, the local duke’s daughter. Upon the death of Jutta in 1136, Hildegard was elected to abbess, a position she did not desire, but excelled in none the less. As her convent grew, so too did her influence on society.
Hildegard’s main contribution to Christianity began when she started receiving visions from God at the age of forty two, in the year 1141. These visions inspired Hildegard to create a trilogy on visionary theology, consisting of Scivias (Know the Ways of the Lord), Liber vitae meritorum (The Book of the Merits of Life) and Liber divinorum operum (The Book of Divine Works). These books are still being referred to by theologians and art historians today. In consideration for those of the public who were illiterate, Hildegard had her visions painted – these are referred to as the ‘illuminations’ and are an artistic manifestation of her views on justice, ecumenism and ecology. In addition to this she produced a liturgical drama – Ordo virtutum – which is today considered the earliest play of morality. The use of this symbolism encouraged the church to utilise art, science and religion as a whole. Her visions were deemed authentic by Pope Eugenius III and, as a result, she gained an apostolic license to continue her writing and publishing. Through her work, she influenced the decision making of religious