St. Hildegard of Bingen, nicknamed Sibyl of the Rhine, was a German abbess, visionary, writer, philosopher, mystic and composer. Born in 1098 to a noble family, Hildegard was the youngest of ten children and experienced her first vision at the age of 3. She was later given to religious life at the age of 8 by her family. In 1136, Hildegard was elected abbess of her Benedictine monastery. Hildegard was also a mystic and received many visions throughout her life. She had been sickly since she was a child and spent a lot of her time by herself, and it was when she was alone that she often received visions. Her first written work called “Scivias” contained her total of 26 visions. Hildegard was also a skilled musical composer and believed that music was divinely inspired and the highest form of human activity. Many people sought Hildegard’s advice throughout her life as she was an expert in many subjects ranging from philosophy to medicine. Hildegrad has been named a Doctor of the Church and was canonized in May 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Questions for Reflection:
- Hildegard channeled her faith through her composition of church hymns. How does music enhance your faith life?
- Hildegard experienced her first vision at the age of three. Do you have a memory of a moment that affirmed your faith during your childhood? How did you view God as a child vs. now?