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Hildegarde of Bingen - Abbess and Writer: 1098-1179

Hildegard of Bingen was a remarkable woman, a "first" in many fields. At a time when few women wrote, Hildegard, known as "Sybil of the Rhine", produced major works of theology and visionary writings.

Hildegarde was born in 1098 AD and received a religious education from Jutta the anchorite. Upon the death of Jutta in 1138, she became the superior of the budding convent in the anchorage at Disibodenberg. In 1147, she and a group of her nuns moved to a new convent near Bingen where she functioned as Abbess.

She began her major work, Scivias (Know the Ways of the Lord) in 1142. Scivias is a detailed account of 26 of the visions she experienced. Some of these visions are said to throw light on meaning of the religious texts. She submitted some of her writings to Church officials and Pope Eugenius (1145-53) gave her a Papal Imprimatur and encouraged her to continue writing.

She completed Scivias in c. 1151. It contains prophetic visions and cautions about sinful living. The work is divided into three main parts, the first book describing six of her visions, the second describing seven visions, and the third book explaining 13 visions. She continued to write other works and ever since her work has attracted by a wide readership of people who respected her wisdom and guidance including bishops and kings.

Hildegarde also had a great passion was music and she is the first composer whose biography is known. She composed many hymns and plays, often in plainchant, which utilized just a single line of vocal melody.

Wijngaards Institute for Catholic ResearchThis website is maintained by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.

The Institute is known for issuing academic reports and statements on relevant issues in the Church. These have included scholars' declarations on the need of collegiality in the exercise of church authority, on the ethics of using contraceptives in marriage and the urgency of re-instating the sacramental diaconate of women.

Visit also our websites:Women Deacons, The Body is Sacred and Mystery and Beyond.

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