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"Born at Böckelheim on the Nahe, 1098; died on the Rupertsberg near Bingen, 1179; feast 17 September. The family name is unknown of this great seeress and prophetess, called the Sibyl of the Rhine. The early biographers give the first names of her parents as Hildebert and Mechtildis (or Mathilda), speak of their nobility and riches, but give no particulars of their lives. Later writers call the saint Hildegard of Böckelheim, of Rupertsberg, or of Bingen. Legends would make her a Countess of Spanheim. J. May (Katholik. XXXVII, 143) shows from letters and other documents that she probably belonged to the illustrious family of Stein, whose descendants are the present Princes of Salm. Her father was a soldier in the service of Meginhard, Count of Spanheim. Hildegard was a weak and sickly child, and in consequence received but little education at home. Her parents, though much engaged in worldly pursuits, had a religious disposition and had promised the child to the service of God. At the age of eight she was placed under the care of Jutta, sister of Count Meginhard, who lived as a recluse on the Disenberg (or Disibodenberg, Mount of St. Disibod) in the Diocese of Speyer. Here also Hildegard was given but little instruction since she was much afflicted with sickness, being frequently scarcely able to walk and often deprived even of the use of her eyes. She was taught to read and sing the Latin psalms, sufficient for the chanting of the Divine Office, but never learned to write. Eventually she was invested with the habit of St. Benedict and made her religious profession. Jutta died in 1136, and Hildegard was appointed superior. Numbers of aspirants flocked to the community and she decided to go to another locality, impelled also, as she says, by a Divine command. She chose Rupertsberg near Bingen on the left bank of the Rhine, about fifteen miles from Disenberg. After overcoming many difficulties and obtaining the permission of the lord of the place, Count Bernard of Hildesheim, she settled in her new home with eighteen sisters in 1147 or 1148 (1149 or 1150 according to Delehaye). Probably in 1165 she founded another convent at Eibingen on the right side of the Rhine, where a community had already been established in 1148, which, however, had no success...."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hildegard_of_Bingen ildegard of Bingen From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Hildegard of Bingen
Illumination from the Liber Scivias showing Hildegard receiving a vision and dictating to her scribe and secretary Sibyl of the Rhine Born 1098 Bermersheim vor der Höhe Died September 17, 1179 (aged 81) Bingen am Rhein Venerated in Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, Lutheranism Canonized No formal canonization, but her name is in the Roman Martyrology Major shrine Eibingen Abbey Feast September 17 Blessed Hildegard of Bingen (German: Hildegard von Bingen; Latin: Hildegardis Bingensis) (1098 – 17 September 1179), also known as Saint Hildegard, and Sibyl of the Rhine, was a writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, German Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath. Elected a magistra by her fellow nuns in 1136, she founded the monasteries of Rupertsberg in 1150 and Eibingen in 1165. One of her works as a composer, the Ordo Virtutum, is an early example of liturgical drama.
She wrote theological, botanical and medicinal texts, as well as letters, liturgical songs, poems, and the first surviving morality play, while supervising brilliant miniature Illuminations.
Contents [hide] 1 Biography 2 Works 3 Significance 4 Bibliography 5 See also 6 Notes 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links Biography
Hildegard's preaching tours Hildegard of Bingen's date of birth is uncertain. It has been concluded that she may have been born in the year 1098. Hildegard was raised in a family of free nobles. She was her parents' tenth child, sickly from birth. In her Vita, Hildegard explains that from a very young age she had experienced visions.
Perhaps due to Hildegard's visions, or as a method of political positioning, Hildegard's parents, Hildebert and Mechthilde, offered her as a tithe to the church. The date of Hildegard's enclosure in the church is contentious. Her Vita tells us she was enclosed with an older nun, Jutta, at the age of eight. However, Jutta's enclosure date is known to be in 1112, at which time Hildegard would have been fourteen. Some scholars speculate that Hildegard was placed in the care of Jutta, the daughter of Count Stephan II of Sponheim, at the age of eight, before the two women were enclosed together six years later. There is no written record of the twenty-four years of Hildegard's life that she was in the convent together with Jutta. It is possible that Hildegard could have been a chantress and a worker in the herbarium and infirmarium. In any case, Hildegard and Jutta were enclosed at Disibodenberg in the Palatinate Forest in what is now Germany. Jutta was also a visionary and thus attracted many followers who came to visit her at the enclosure. Hildegard also tells us that Jutta taught her to read and write, but that she was unlearned and therefore incapable of teaching Hildegard Biblical interpretation. Hildegard and Jutta most likely prayed, meditated, read scriptures such as the psalter, and did some sort of handwork during the hours of the Divine Office. This also might have been a time when Hildegard learned how to play the ten-stringed psaltery. Volmar, a frequent visitor, may have taught Hildegard simple psalm notation. The time she studied music could also have been the beginning of the compositions she would later create.
Upon Jutta's death in 1136, Hildegard was unanimously elected as "magistra" of her sister community by her fellow nuns. Abbot Kuno, the Abbot of Disibodenberg, also asked Hildegard to be Prioress. Hildegard, however, wanted more independence for herself and her nuns and asked Abbot Kuno to allow them to move to Rupertsberg. When the abbot declined Hildegard's proposition, Hildegard went over his head and received the approval of Archbishop Henry I of Mainz. Abbot Kuno did not relent, however, until Hildegard was stricken by an illness that kept her paralyzed and unable to move from her bed, an event that she attributed to God's unhappiness at her not following his orders to move her nuns to Rupertsberg. It was only when the Abbot himself could not move Hildegard that he decided to grant the nuns their own monastery. Hildegard and about twenty nuns thus moved to the St. Rupertsberg monastery in 1150, where Volmar served as provost, as well as Hildegard's confessor and scribe. In 1165 Hildegard founded a second convent for her nuns at Eibingen.
Hildegard says that she first saw “The Shade of the Living Light” at the age of three, and by the age of five she began to understand that she was experiencing visions. In Hildegard’s youth, she referred to her visionary gift as her viso. She explained that she saw all things in the light of God through the five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Hildegard was hesitant to share her visions, confiding only to Jutta, who in turn told Volmar, Hildegard's tutor and, later, secretary. Throughout her life, she continued to have many visions, and in 1141, at the age of 42, Hildegard received a vision she believed to be an instruction from God, to "write down that which you see and hear."  Still hesitant to record her visions, Hildegard became physically ill. The illustrations recorded in the book of Scivias were visions that Hildegard experienced, causing her great suffering and tribulations. In her first theological text, Scivias ("Know the Ways"), Hildegard describes her struggle within:
But I, though I saw and heard these things, refused to write for a long time through doubt and bad opinion and the diversity of human words, not with stubbornness but in the exercise of humility, until, laid low by the scourge of God, I fell upon a bed of sickness; then, compelled at last by many illnesses, and by the witness of a certain noble maiden of good conduct [the nun Richardis von Stade] and of that man whom I had secretly sought and found, as mentioned above, I set my hand to the writing. While I was doing it, I sensed, as I mentioned before, the deep profundity of scriptural exposition; and, raising myself from illness by the strength I received, I brought this work to a close - though just barely - in ten years. [...] And I spoke and wrote these things not by the invention of my heart or that of any other person, but as by the secret mysteries of God I heard and received them in the heavenly places. And again I heard a voice from Heaven saying to me, 'Cry out therefore, and write thus!'
Hildegard's Vita was begun by Godfrey of Disibodenberg under Hildegard's supervision.
Attention in recent decades to women of the medieval Church has led to a great deal of popular interest in Hildegard, particularly her music. Between 70 and 80 compositions have survived, which is one of the largest repertoires among medieval composers. Hildegard left behind over 100 letters, 72 songs, 70 poems, and 9 books.
"O frondens virga"
From Ordo Virtutum Problems listening to this file? See media help. One of her better known works, Ordo Virtutum (Play of the Virtues), is a morality play. It is unsure when some of Hildegard’s compositions were composed, though the Ordo Virtutum is thought to have been composed as early as 1151. The morality play consists of monophonic melodies for the Anima (human soul) and 16 Virtues. There is also one speaking part for the Devil. Scholars assert that the role of the Devil would have been played by Volmar, while Hildegard's nuns would have played the parts of Anima and the Virtues.
In addition to the Ordo Virtutum Hildegard composed many liturgical songs that were collected into a cycle called the Symphonia armoniae celestium revelationum. The songs from the Symphonia are set to Hildegard’s own text and range from antiphons, hymns, and sequences, to responsories. Her music is described as monophonic; that is, consisting of exactly one melodic line. Hildegard's compositional style is characterized by soaring melodies, often well outside of the normal range of chant at the time. Additionally, scholars such as Margot Fassler and Marianna Richert Pfau describe Hildegard's music as highly melismatic, often with recurrent melodic units, and also note her close attention to the relationship between music and text, which was a rare occurrence in monastic chant of the twelfth century. Hildegard of Bingen’s songs are left open for rhythmic interpretation because of the use of neumes without a staff. The reverence for the Virgin Mary reflected in music shows how deeply influenced and inspired Hildegard of Bingen and her community were by the Virgin Mary and the saints.
The definition of ‘greenness’ is an earthly expression of the heavenly in an integrity that overcomes dualisms. This ‘greenness’ or power of life appears frequently in Hildegard’s works.
In addition to her music, Hildegard also wrote three books of visions, the first of which, her Scivias ("Know the Way"), was completed in 1151. Liber vitae meritorum ("Book of Life's Merits") and De operatione Dei ("Of God's Activities", also known as Liber divinorum operum, "Book of Divine Works") followed. In these volumes, the last of which was completed when she was about 75, Hildegard first describes each vision, then interprets them through Biblical exegesis. The narrative of her visions was richly decorated under her direction, with transcription assistance provided by the monk Volmar and nun Richardis. The book was celebrated in the Middle Ages, in part because of the approval given to it by Pope Eugenius III, and was later copied in Paris in 1513.
Aside from her books of visions, Hildegard also wrote her Physica, a text on the natural sciences, as well as Causae et Curae. Hildegard of Bingen was well known for her healing powers involving practical application of tinctures, herbs, and precious stones. In both texts Hildegard describes the natural world around her, including the cosmos, animals, plants, stones, and minerals. She combined these elements with a theological notion ultimately derived from Genesis: all things put on earth are for the use of humans. She is particularly interested in the healing properties of plants, animals, and stones, though she also questions God's effect on man's health. One example of her healing powers was curing the blind with the use of Rhine water.
Alphabet by Hildegard von Bingen, Litterae ignotae, which she used for her language Lingua Ignota Hildegard also invented an alternative alphabet. The text of her writing and compositions reveals Hildegard's use of this form of modified medieval Latin, encompassing many invented, conflated and abridged words. Due to her inventions of words for her lyrics and a constructed script, many conlangers look upon her as a medieval precursor. Scholars believe that Hildegard used her Lingua Ignota to increase solidarity among her nuns.
Hildegard's musical, literary, and scientific writings are housed primarily in two manuscripts: the Dendermonde manuscript and the Riesenkodex. The Dendermonde manuscript was copied under Hildegard's supervision at Rupertsberg, while the Riesencodex was copied in the century after Hildegard's death.
Mutterschaft aus dem Geiste und dem Wasser (Motherhood from the Spirit and the Water), 1165 Hildegard's visionary writings maintain that virginity is the highest level of the spiritual life; however, she also wrote about secular life, including motherhood. In several of her texts, Hildegard describes the pleasure of the marital act.
In addition, there are many instances, both in her letters and visions, that decry the misuse of carnal pleasures. She condemns the 'sins' of same-sex couplings and masturbation. After confession, severe repentance expressed in fasting and bodily penance is needed to obtain forgiveness from God for such sins. For instance, in Scivias Book II Vision Six.78:
God united man and woman, thus joining the strong to the weak, that each might sustain the other. But these perverted adulterers change their virile strength into perverse weakness, rejecting the proper male and female roles, and in their wickedness they shamefully follow Satan, who in his pride sought to split and divide Him Who is indivisible. They create in themselves by their wicked deeds a strange and perverse adultery, and so appear polluted and shameful in my sight...
...a woman who takes up devilish ways and plays a male role in coupling with another woman is most vile in My (God's) sight, and so is she who subjects herself to such a one in this evil deed...
...And men who touch their own genital organ and emit their semen seriously imperil their souls, for they excite themselves to distraction; they appear to Me as impure animals devouring their own whelps...
...When a person feels himself disturbed by bodily stimulation let him run to the refuge of continence, and seize the shield of chastity, and thus defend himself from uncleanness. (translation by Mother Columba Hart and Jane Bishop)
Human beings show forth God's creative power, and man and woman have complementary roles in the world.
...When God looked upon the human countenance, God was exceedingly pleased. For had not God created humanity according to the divine image and likeness? Human beings were to announce all God's wondrous works by means of their tongues that were endowed with reason. For humanity is God's complete work.... Man and woman are in this way so involved with each other that one of them is the work of the other. Without woman, man could not be called man; without man, woman could not be named woman. Thus woman is the work of man, while man is a sight full of consolation for woman. Neither of them could henceforth live without the other. Man is in this connection an indication of the Godhead while woman is an indication of the humanity of God's Son.
"Universal Man" illumination from Hildegard's Liber Divinorum Operum, 1165 Hildegard communicated with popes such as Eugene III and Anastasius IV, statesmen such as Abbot Suger, German emperors such as Frederick I Barbarossa, and other notable figures such as Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, who advanced her work, at the behest of her abbot, Kuno, at the Synod of Trier in 1147 and 1148. Hildegard of Bingen’s correspondence with many people is an important element of her literary work because this is where we can see her speaking most directly to us.
Many abbots and abbesses asked her for prayers and opinions on various matters. She traveled widely during her four preaching tours. She had several rather fanatic followers, including Guibert of Gembloux, who wrote frequently to Hildegard and eventually became her secretary after Volmar died in 1173. In addition, Hildegard influenced several monastic women of her time and the centuries that followed; in particular, she engaged in correspondence with another nearby visionary, Elisabeth of Schonau.
Contributing to Christian European rhetorical traditions, she “authorized herself as a theologian” through alternative rhetorical arts. Hildegard was creative in her interpretation of theology. She believed that her monastery should not allow novices who were from a different class than nobility because it put them in an inferior position. She also stated that ‘woman may be made from man, but no man can be made without a woman’. Due to church limitation on public, discursive rhetoric, the medieval rhetorical arts included: preaching, letter writing, poetry, and the encyclopedic tradition. Hildegard’s participation in these arts speaks to her significance as a female rhetorician, transcending bans on women’s social participation and interpretation of scriptures. The acceptance of public preaching by a woman, even a well-connected abbess and acknowledged prophet does not fit the usual stereotype of this time. She conducted four preaching tours throughout Germany, speaking to both clergy and laity in chapter houses and in public, mainly denouncing clerical corruption and calling for reform. Maddocks claims that it is likely she learned simple Latin, and the tenets of the Christian faith, but was not instructed in the Seven Liberal Arts, which formed the basis of all education for the learned classes in the Middle Ages: the Trivium of grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric plus the Quadrivium of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. The correspondence she kept with the outside world both spiritual and social transgressed the cloister as a space of female confinement, and served to document Hildegard’s grand style and strict formatting of medieval letter writing. Recent scholars have asserted that Hildegard made a close association between music and the female body in her musical compositions. The poetry and music of Hildegard’s Symphonia is concerned with the anatomy of female desire thus described as Sapphonic, or pertaining to Sappho, connecting her to a history of female rhetoricians.
In recent years, Hildegard has become of particular interest to feminist scholars. Her reference to herself as a member of the "weaker sex" and her rather constant belittling of women, though at first seemingly problematic, must be considered within the context of the patriarchal church hierarchy. Hildegard frequently referred to herself as an unlearned woman, completely incapable of Biblical exegesis. Such a statement on her part, however, worked to her advantage because it made her statements that all of her writings and music came from visions of the Divine more believable, therefore giving Hildegard the authority to speak in a time and place where few women were permitted a voice. Hildegard used her voice to condemn church practices she disagreed with, in particular simony.
Hildegard has also become a figure of reverence within the contemporary New Age movement, mostly due to her holistic and natural view of healing, as well as her status as a mystic. She was the inspiration for Dr. Gottfried Hertzka's "Hildegard-Medicine", and is the namesake for June Boyce-Tillman's Hildegard Network, a healing center that focuses on a holistic approach to wellness and brings together people interested in exploring the links between spirituality, the arts, and healing,.
Before Hildegard’s death, a problem arose with the clergy of Mainz. A man buried in Rupertsburg had died after excommunication from the Church. Therefore, the clergy wanted to remove his body from the sacred ground. Hildegard did not accept this idea, replying that it was a sin and that the man had been reconciled to the church at the time of his death. On September 17, 1179, when Hildegard died, her sisters claimed they saw two streams of light appear in the skies and crossed over the room where she was dying.
Hildegard was one of the first persons for whom the canonization process was officially applied, but the process took so long that four attempts at canonization were not completed, and she remained at the level of her beatification. Hildegard's name was nonetheless taken up in the Roman Martyrology at the end of the sixteenth century. Her feast day is September 17. Numerous popes have referred to Hildegard as a saint, including Pope John Paul II  and Pope Benedict XVI. Hildegard’s Parish and Pilgrimage Church house the relics of Hildegard, including an altar encasing her remains, in Eibingen near Rüdesheim.
Hildegard of Bingen also appears in the calendar of saints in various Anglican churches. In the Church of England she is commemorated on 17 September.
Primary sources Editions and manuscripts of Hildegard's works Hildegardis Bingensis, Opera minora. edited by H. Feiss, C. Evans, B. M. Kienzle, C. Muessig, B. Newman, P. Dronke, Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis CCCM 226 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007), ISBN 978-2-503-05261-8 Wiesbaden, Hessische Landesbibliothek, Hs. 2 (Riesen Codex) or Wiesbaden Codex (ca. 1180-85) Dendermonde, Belgium, St.-Pieters-&-Paulusabdij Cod. 9 (Villarenser codex) (ca. 1174/75) Otto Müller Verlag Salzburg 1969: Hildegard von Bingen: Lieder (modern edition in adapted square notation) München, University Library, MS2∞156 Leipzig, University Library, St. Thomas 371 Paris, Bibl. Nat. MS 1139 Beate Hildegardis Cause et cure, edidit L. Moulinier, Berlin, Akademie Verlag, 2003, CXVII + 384 p. Hildegardis Bingensis, Epistolarium pars prima I-XC edited by L. Van Acker, Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis CCCM 91A (Turnhout: Brepols, 1991) Hildegardis Bingensis, Epistolarium pars secunda XCI-CCLr edited by L. Van Acker, Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis CCCM 91A (Turnhout: Brepols, 1993) Hildegardis Bingensis, Epistolarium pars tertia CCLI-CCCXC edited by L. Van Acker and M. Klaes-Hachmoller, Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis XCIB (Turnhout: Brepols, 2001) Hildegardis Bingensis, Scivias. A. Führkötter, A. Carlevaris eds., Corpus Christianorum Scholars Version vols. 43, 43A. (Turnhout: Brepols, 2003) Hildegardis Bingensis, Liber vitae meritorum. A. Carlevaris ed. Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis CCCM 90 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1995) Hildegardis Bingensis, Liber divinorum operum. A. Derolez and P. Dronke eds., Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis CCCM 92 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1996) Hildegard of Bingen, Two Hagiographies: Vita sancti Rupperti confessoris, Vita sancti Dysibodi episcopi, ed. and trans. Hugh Feiss & Christopher P. Evans, Dallas Medieval Texts and Translations 11 (Louvain and Paris: Peeters, 2010)
Other sources Friedrich Wilhelm Emil Roth, "Glossae Hildigardis", in: Elias Steinmeyer and Eduard Sievers eds., Die Althochdeutschen Glossen, vol. III. Zürich: Wiedmann, 1895, 1965, pp. 390–404. Analecta Sanctae Hildegardis, in Analecta Sacra vol. 8 edited by Jean-Baptiste Pitra (Monte Cassino, 1882). Patrologia Latina vol. 197 (1855). Explanatio Regulae S. Benedicti Explanatio Symboli S. Athanasii Homeliae LVIII in Evangelia. Hymnodia coelestis. Ignota lingua, cum versione Latina Liber divinorum operum simplicis hominis (1163-73/74) Liber vitae meritorum (1158–63) Libri simplicis et compositae medicinae. Physica, sive Subtilitatum diversarum naturarum creaturarum libri novem Scivias seu Visiones (1141–51) Solutiones triginta octo quaestionum Tractatus de sacramento altaris. See also
Anglicanism portal Bibliography of Hildegard of Bingen Discography of Hildegard of Bingen Hildegard has been portrayed on film by Patricia Routledge (Keeping Up Appearances) in a dramatized BBC biographical documentary called "Hildegard Von Bingen In Portrait: Ordo Virtutum."
The film Vision - From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen, directed by Margarethe von Trotta, premiered in Europe in 2009. Its US distributor is Zeitgeist Films, where it is due to be released in October 2010. Hildegard is played by Barbara Sukowa.