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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Hildegard, 1179.

One of the most fascinating figures of twelfth-century Europe, Hildegard was given to the church by her parents and was raised by an anchoress who became abbess of a convent. From childhood Hildegard was subject to supernatural religious experiences which she wrote about in works she called Scivias. At age thirty-eight she became the abbess of the community in which she was raised.

She began to illustrate her Scivias and to share them with others. She attracted the attention of two of the most powerful men of her day: the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux (see August 20). She was invited to do preaching missions and traveled widely in northern Europe where she was gratefully received by princes and prelates.

Hildegard's writings covered an amazing range of subjects: natural science, medicine, and philosophy, as well as theology. She carried on brilliant correspondence with kings and queens, abbots, archbishops, and even popes. She was an accomplished musician and wrote some remarkable liturgical compositions. Some have considered her ahead of her time, a herald of the Renaissance, "the Sibyl of the Rhine." She was a truly medieval character, the very personification of the age in which she lived. She was a strict moralist and her writings are full of denunciations of vices and appeals to purity. They are also replete with enigmatic prophecies of disaster. Miracles were attributed to her.

We thank you for the vision and beauty of Hildegard's witness. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Creator God, your whole creation, in all its varied and related parts, shows forth your verdant and life-giving power: Grant that we your people, illumined by the visions recorded by your servant Hildegard, may know, and make known, the joy and jubilation of being part of this cycle of creation, and may manifest your glory in all virtuous and godly living; through Jesus Christ whom you sent, and who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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