2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
Hildegard of Bingen
Known as the Sybil of the Rhine, Hildegard was one of the most influential women of the XII Century. Born in 1098 into a noble family at Böckelheim, Hildegard was, as a child, sickly; her visions, recorded in Scivias, began during childhood. Educated by a recluse, Jutta, she became a nun at 15, and in 1136, succeeded her mentor as abbess of the community that had grown up around Jutta. Hildegard moved the convent to Rupertsberg in 1147. A woman of many talents, Hildegard wrote poems and hymns, as well as medical and scientific works. The latter are remarkable in their observational skill. She wrote Scivias (variously Knowing the Ways of the Lord or Let us Know!) with the permission of her confessor, Godfrey, and the help of a monk, Volmer. She invented her own language, a blend of Latin and German, that had 23 letters and 900 words. Hildegard also wrote commentary on the gospels, the Athanasian creed, and the Rule of St. Benedict, which her nuns followed. She corresponded with Henry II of England, Frederick Barbarrossa, and Bernard of Clairvaux. She reproved people, even the famous in her circle, for their faults. Sometime before 1162, she established a daughterhouse at Eibingen, which has claimed her relics since 1632. Hildegard died in 1179, and her cult can be traced to the XIII Century. She has never been formally canonized, although the Roman martyrology includes her name and the Roman church approves her cult locally.
Karen Rae Keck
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