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Hildegard von Bingen, Mystic of the Rhine

August 9, 2016 4 Comments

art by Hildegard von Bingen

art by Hildegard von Bingen

Hildegard von Bingen

Hildegard von Bingen

Hildegard von Bingen

Hildegard von Bingen

“Even in a world that’s being shipwrecked, remain brave and strong.”

Hildegard von Bingen, mystic, visionary, polymath

Hildegard was born in 1098 in Bermersheim vor der Höhe, County Palatine of the Rhine, Holy Roman Empire.  She died on17 September 1179 (aged 81) at Bingen am Rhein, County Palatine of the Rhine, Holy Roman Empire.  She is venerated in Roman Catholic Church (Order of St. Benedict), Anglican Communion, and Lutheranism.  She was canonized 10 May 2012 (equivalent canonization), Vatican City by Pope Benedict XVI.  Her major shrine is Eibingen Abbey in Germany.  Her parents gave her as an oblate to a Benedictine order when she was a child.  She had visions before being enclosed in in order on All Saint’s Day, 1112.

She learned to read and write, wrote three books of visionary theology, and preached throughout the Rhineland during her lifetime.  She was exceptional for her time, and her work still shines as poetry inspired by divine mysticism.  She wrote music, created a written language, and was the author of what might have been the first morality play.  Her place in history remains because of her prolific recorded work.  She left us 70 poems and 9 books.  She wrote music and was an accomplished artist.  She recorded medical and pharmaceutical texts that are consulted and studied today.  I know of pharmacies in Europe that offer her original formulas today.  She wrote letters to popes, bishops and nuns that survive.  We are lucky she learned to write, a rare privilege for a woman at that time.  Her profound teachings apply to us now more than ever.  The world needs mystics and visionaries to lift us out of this material rut in which we find ourselves.  We all need to learn to be feathers on the breath of God.  We are too dependent on the earth, and have forgotten to look up to the heavens for eternal blessings.  What did she say about this?

“Listen: there was once a king sitting on his throne. Around Him stood great and wonderfully beautiful columns ornamented with ivory, bearing the banners of the king with great honor. Then it pleased the king to raise a small feather from the ground, and he commanded it to fly. The feather flew, not because of anything in itself but because the air bore it along. Thus am I, a feather on the breath of God.”

Hildegard von Bingen

baby Hildegard von Bingen

baby Hildegard von Bingen

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