Sybil of the Rhine: Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard of Bingen (1089 - 1179) was a remarkable 12th century woman. For Anglicans and Catholics 17th September is her special day.

As the 10th child of her family with fragile health Hildegard was placed in the care of her reclusive aunt Jetta. Jetta formed a monastic community and when she died Hildegard became its prioress. Hildegard moved this community of nuns to Bingen on the Rhine river in what is now Germany.

Later she established another convent at Eibingen near the town of Rüdesheim am Rhein. There is a Benedictine Abbey there now on that site. It is in a beautiful position high on the hillside overlooking the Rhine and surrounded by vineyards. I just got a glimpse of it last year and that visit got me interested in finding out more about Hildegard.

I am not an expert on Hildegard's life and work. You can find links to her work and commentary on it as well as tourist information about the Bingen area of Germany at 'St Hildegard of Bingen'. Wikipedia also has some information here.

Hildegard was a Christian mystic who became known for her visions and prophecies which she recorded. have read a little of those and they did not speak to me. She also wrote poetry, medical and theological works, corresponded with Popes and rulers including Henry II of England. She composed some wonderful sacred music which is still sung. 

Digitalnun's post today 'Child of Her Time: St Hildegard of Bingen' is worth a read as are the previous posts that have links in that one. I was particularly struck by this comment:
"Her remarkable gifts were all brought to bear on her search for God, just as ours must be, but it was not her giftedness that brought her close to God but her determination to live a holy life, to make everything a means of following Christ. She heard the music of heaven in all things. May we do the same."
Although written nearly a thousand years ago, I find that Hildegard's beautiful music, resonates with me and inspires me to hear in her music, the 'music of heaven' and let it encourage me in my attempts to follow Christ. In honour of her day here is her 'Spiritus Sanctus' with some beautiful natural images:




Image Credit: wikipedia

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