Hildegard, Saint

Hildegard, Saint

▪ German mystic
also called  Hildegard of Bingen  or  Hildegard von Bingen , byname  Sibyl of the Rhine  
born 1098, Böckelheim, West Franconia [now in Germany]
died September 17, 1179, Rupertsberg, near Bingen; traditional feast day September 17
 German abbess, visionary mystic, and composer.

 Hildegard was born of noble parents and was educated at the Benedictine cloister of Disibodenberg by Jutta, an anchorite and sister of the count of Spanheim, whom Hildegard succeeded as prioress in 1136. Having experienced visions since she was a child, at age 43 she consulted her confessor, who in turn reported the matter to the archbishop of Mainz. A committee of theologians subsequently confirmed the authenticity of Hildegard's visions, and a monk was appointed to help her record them in writing. The finished work, Scivias (1141–52), consists of 26 visions that are prophetic and apocalyptic in form and in their treatment of such topics as the church, the relationship between God and man, and redemption. About 1147 Hildegard left Disibodenberg with several nuns to found a new convent at Rupertsberg, where she continued to exercise the gift of prophecy and to record her visions in writing.

      A talented poet and composer, Hildegard collected 77 of her lyric poems, each with a musical setting composed by her, in Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum. Her numerous other writings include lives of saints; two treatises on medicine and natural history, reflecting a quality of scientific observation rare at that period; and extensive correspondence, in which are to be found further prophecies and allegorical treatises. She also for amusement contrived her own language. Though her earliest biographer proclaimed her a saint and miracles were reported during her life and at her tomb, she has not been formally canonized. She is, however, listed as a saint in the Roman Martyrology and is honoured on her feast day in certain German dioceses.

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Universalium. 2010.

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