Hildegard of Bingen

Topics: Pope John Paul II, Hildegard of Bingen, Benedictine Pages: 1 (328 words) Published: June 17, 2013
Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179)
Hildegard was the tenth child born of noble German parents in the province of Rheinhessen. During that time, it was not unusual for a family to offer up a child as a “tithe.” A sickly child, at the age of eight she was given to the care of her aunt, Blessed Jutta Von Spanheim, to live with her in her cottage next to a Benedictine monastery. This abandonment devastated Hildegard. Jutta raised Hildegard, and when the girl reached eighteen, she became a Benedictine nun. By this time Jutta had attracted a like-minded group of women around her. When Jutta died, Hildegard, at the age of thirty-eight, became prioress of the community. As a child Hildegard had visions, and she finally told her confessor about them when she was in her early forties. She felt a deep desire to write down all that she had seen and experienced, but she was afraid. When she shared some of her visions with a monk named Godfrey, he asked his abbot what Hildegard should do. This abbot ordered Hildegard to make a record of her visions. When Pope Blessed Eugenius III heard of her visions, he encouraged her to publish whatever she wished. After years of concealing her most private experiences, she began to embrace them and share them with the world. When Hildegard finally started writing, she couldn't stop. She wrote plays and songs, poetry and commentaries on the Gospels, as well as natural history and medical books. Hildegard died on September 17, 1179, when she was eighty-one years old. Although three attempts have been made to canonize her, she was never formally canonized. Yet her feast day of September 17 is celebrated by the Benedictines and Anglicans, and on the eight-hundredth anniversary of her death, in 1979, Pope John Paul II described her as “an outstanding saint … a light to her people and her time who shines more brightly today.”
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