Hildegard von Bingen
1098-1179
Hildegard von Bingen was born of noble parents, sometime near the year 1098, and was educated at the Benedictine cloister of Disibodenberg by Jutta, an anchorite and sister of the count of Spanheim. Hildegard was 15 years old when she began wearing the Benedictine habit and pursuing a religious life. She succeeded Jutta 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. About 1147 Hildegard left Disibodenberg with several nuns to found a new convent at Rupertsberg.

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. She traveled widely throughout Germany, evangelizing to large groups of people about her visions and religious insights.

Her earliest biographer proclaimed her a saint, and miracles were reported during her life and at her tomb. However, she was not formally canonized until 2012, when Pope Benedict XVI declared her to be a saint through the process of “equivalent canonization,” a papal proclamation of canonization based on a standing tradition of popular veneration. Later that year Benedict proclaimed Hildegard a doctor of the church.