• 17 Sep 20

Sep 17 - “St. Hildegard of Bingen” © icon by Br. Robert Lentz, OFM. Happy Feast Day St. Hildegard!

St. Hildegard was the tenth child of a noble German family. She was promised to the church and raised from the time she was 8 years old in a hermitage that later became a Benedictine monastery. In time she became the leader of this monastery. When she was 52 years old, she founded a monastery of her own, and then a second one 15 years later. Each week she traveled back and forth between these monasteries in a small boat on the Rhine. Because she was known as a healer and miracle worker, people gathered on the riverbanks to ask for her help. She used river water to bless them -- as she is shown in this icon, ready to sprinkle them with water with a wild rose she has picked.

From childhood and throughout her life she had mystical visions, which she kept to herself until her teen years. As an adult she began writing them down. Her writings speak of the divine feminine and the dignity of women. She believed that every woman who gave birth helped clothe God with humanity. She composed music for her nuns to sing, and spoke of Christ as God’s song. She taught that music recreated the original harmony that once existed between God and humankind, and that the human soul was a musical instrument on which God played music.

Apart from healing through her prayers, Hildegard was skilled in herbal healing and in other medical lore of her day. She took particular interest in the health problems of women. Her scientific books contain more than 2000 remedies and health suggestions.

Women in her monasteries had opportunities to develop their intellectual, artistic, and spiritual gifts. The monasteries she built had large, beautiful rooms, with piped water. On feast days her nuns wore white veils and gemstones to celebrate the dignity of their espousal to God.

Near the end of her life she became involved in a dispute with male church authorities over the burial at her monastery of an excommunicated man. She was vindicated shortly before her death. Completely exhausted, she died at the age of 81. Legend tells that the skies were filled with colorful lights at her death. She was canonized by popular acclaim.