St. Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard van Bingen was born in 1098 in Bermersheim Germany. She was the tenth daughter of a noble family and, according to tradition, her parents promised to donate her and her dowry to the church. Hildegard was thus transferred quite young to a nearby monastery where an aunt of hers, Jutta von Sponheim, was abbess. Hildegard was devoted to religious life in the Benedictine abbey of Disibodenberg. She took her vows on All Saints' Day in 1112.

Jutta became her teacher and confidante and helped Hildegard, along with a few other young girls, to build a life as a nun. Hildegard built her life within the strict Benedictine tradition. In addition to reading, writing, composing music, she also learned Latin and of course interpret the religious texts.

When Jutta died in 1136, the nuns chose Hildegard as their new abbess.

Hildegard had visions quite early in her childhood. She kept it a secret for a long time. Around her 42nd birthday she started to write down what she saw. Her first work was the Scivias or Know the Ways of God.

Hildegard then lived and worked in the abbey on Disibodenberg. After a conflict with the abbot, a shortage of space for her nuns and the need for independence, she decided to leave Disibodenberg and found her own monastery on Rupertsberg. The consecration of the new church and monastery took place in 1152.

In 1165 Hildegard founded a second abbey in Eibingen.

In addition to the Scivias, Hildegard wrote more books, namely Causae et Curae and Physica. Books that can be seen as the basis for current holistic medicine. Some of the work focused on descriptions of medicines and natural remedies, while the other emphasized the causes of disease along with various methods of treatment. In the 13th century, the church split this work into two parts.

Hildegard also composed music and perhaps Ordo Virtutum or The Order of Virtues is her most famous work. All music can be situated within her way of thinking, namely keeping body, mind, and soul healthy.

Hildegard's last major work was Liber divinorum operum or Book of Divine Works, written from 1163 to 1170. The 10 visions in the work deal with the birth and existence of the cosmos and consider nature in the light of faith. She describes the world as God's masterpiece and expresses her belief that man represents and reflects everything in the cosmos. All the physical and mental conditions of man exist in the same way throughout the universe.

For Hildegard of Bingen, man is at the centre of the universe. Man is the entire work of the Creator. Only man can know his Creator. When he rises, creation goes with him. When he falls, he carries all of creation with him.

When man goes beyond egocentrism, he stops rebelling against God and discovers communion with all other creatures. A primal joy arises in man from the connection with nature.

The concept of unity and balance can be found throughout Hildegard's entire work. She viewed illness as an imbalance between body, mind, and soul, and described illness as a deficiency or excess of bodily fluids. The concept of harmony is also reflected in how she describes nutrition and fasting.

Hildegard played an important public role during her lifetime, interacting with high-ranking figures such as Emperor Barbarossa, popes, Bernard of Clairvaux and other influential leaders and thinkers of her time.

She died in the abbey on September 17, 1179. The correspondence and books have been preserved. Her body lies in state in a shrine that can be visited in the Pfarrkirche in Eibingen, Rüdesheim-am-Rhein.

Hildegard received the recognition of Saint and Doctor of the Church (teaching theologian) in 2012.

Hildegard is still a source of inspiration to this day, and is mainly known for her herbs, visions, and music. Hildegard's medicine is recognized in Germany.

Hildegard inspires many therapists and doctors who practice holistic medicine. Holistic medicine that stands for harmony in body, mind, and soul. The interconnectedness of all living things in the universe. The cosmic presence of us in the universe and in each individual.

Hildegard of Bingen is Germany's greatest mystic. She mastered art, science, mysticism, medical knowledge, poetry, and politics. She influenced all later thinking in theology, nature, medicine, cosmology, and the worldview in general.