Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Feast of St Hildegarde von Bingen

In the (traditional) Benedictine calendar (and cracking a mention in the Roman Matyrology), today is the feast of St Hildegarde von Bingen. Hildegarde has become very popular in recent times, and rightly so (although as ever, her appropriation by some groups such as feminists is an utter distortion of who she really was).

Hildegarde was actually a child oblate (like St Bede), brought up by a hermitess, around whom a larger community generally formed. Her music has become reasonably well known, but her visions and other writings (many scientific) are still less available, though fascinating.

Hundreds of her letters survive - she consulted St Bernard of Clairvaux for example, on her visions, and whether or not to make them more widely known, and corresponded with many Popes, bishops, abbots and Emperors. She was also something of a twelfth century Mother Angelica in some respects, in that she undertook what were effectively preaching tours. She also wrote a commentary on the Rule of St Benedict.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Hildegarde is a darling of the new age and feminist movements. However, I have found her teachings a lot clearer now I am reading them from a traditionalist perspective rather than a liberal and new age perspective from which I read them when I was first introduced to her in the early 1990s.