Hildegard von Bingen

Hildegard von Bingen

Hildegard von Bingen is also known as Hildegard of Bingen, Saint Hildegard, and Blessed Hildegard. The German woman was born in 1098 and spent her older years in a German convent. She also founded two different monasteries and wrote both books and music. Her surviving work today is considered very important in terms of history.

When Hildegard was born, she was the youngest of ten children and spent most of her life feeling weaker than the other children. She also experienced unearthly visions, which she attributed to her sickness. At a young age her parents passed her off to a local church and she spent her teenage years enclosed with an older nun. The nun Jutta also experienced visions and people came from miles to see the two women. Under her care, Hildegard learned how to read and write.

After Jutta dies, Hildegard became the leader of her convent. While in her forties, she became paralyzed and was forced to stay in bed. She claimed God caused her condition because he was unhappy with her and some problems she had with the Church. Throughout her life she was plagued with visions and in her forties she claimed God spoke to her and asked her to write down her visions. When she refused, she became violently ill.

Hildegard began recording her visions, turning them into prayers and musical compositions. Today over 70 of her musical recordings still exist and have been recorded by other artists. She continued to write, recording her visions on paper and writing a book about natural science. Hildegard was canonized as a saint and given a feast day on September 17. There are also several churches named after her.

A complete history of Hildegard von Bingen is available on Other Woman‘s Voices, a website devoted to female writers working prior to the 18th century. Another long biographical page is located at Information Sciences Institute.

Poet Seers offers a series of poems written by Hildegard during her life, as well as some of her prayers. They also include a quote the woman made about her own writing and books that readers may find helpful. Some of her prayers are also found at The Lectionary.

A complete listing of her musical work including the names and dates of her music can be found at Medieval Music & Arts Foundation. The website also includes links to recordings of her work. The 9 Time Zones website includes a full discography as well as pictures of recordings others have done based on her work.  

One of the best resources for information on Hildegard von Bingen is located at International Society of Hildegard von Bingen Studies. They also have a series of useful links for users to visit at their leisure.

As Hildegard is also a saint, there are several websites devoted to her work and the work she did to capture sainthood. A good place to visit is New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia.

Universat des Saarlandes is another good website, though their information is in German.

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