Hildegard von Bingen
1089 - 1179
Holy Spirit, The Life That Gives Life,
A 12th century abbess, Hildegard of Bingen was the most celebrated woman of her age as a visionary, naturalist, playwright, poet and composer, as well as politician. Although not yet canonized, Hildegard has been beatified, and is frequently referred to as St. Hildegard.
This web page used to say that Hildegard was tried by the church as a heretic in 1148. It was brought to my attention by Denise Starkey, a Dominican sister and Hildegard scholar, that Hildegard of Bingen was not tried as a heretic. I asked Denise if Hildegard had ever come close to being tried, and here is Denise's response:
"I believe that Hildegard had a number of encounters with the church as she was quite willing to confront the popes, bishops and emperors who she felt needed to be set back on the right course. She received perpetual protection from Emp. Barbarossa which did not stop her from fileting him with words. In the last year of her life, her convent was put under interdict (no music/eucharist) for supposedly burying an unconfessed soldeier in her cemetary; however, she fought the powers that be and that was lifted. That was the closest the church ever came to sanctioning her, to my knowledge."
Thanks, so much, Denise Starkey, for that input.
Check out HildeGirls
You can find contemporary recordings of Hildegard's music and poetry from The Ladyslipper Catalog. Hildegard viewed her compositions as having been divinely inspired and, like all sacred music, one of the highest forms of human activity as it aspires to the sounds of the heavenly spheres and angel choirs. Many female divinities figured prominently in much of Hildegard's work: the Virgin Maria, the virgins who inhabit heavenly realms at the end of time, St. Ursula, and the virtue of Wisdom, traditionally considered a feminine Deity.
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