- Early Life
- A Visionary Saint
- Related Saints
- Related Prayers
- Birth: September 17, 1098
- Location: Bermersheim vor der Höhe, Germany
- Death: 1179
- Canonized: May 10, 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI
- Feast Day: September 17th
- Patron Saint of: musicians, writers, and ecology
St. Hildegard of Bingen lived in Germany in the 12th century. At an early age, she was sent to live with nuns, who taught her how to read and write. She didn’t begin to write formally until she was 42, but once she started, she didn’t slow down.
A Visionary Saint
In 1141, Hildegard began to experience a series of visions she described as “a flow of light” that “kindled her whole heart, not burning but warming.” At first, she was reluctant to speak of her visions, but she eventually came to believe that she had been called by God to share them with the world.
Her visions were the inspiration for her many writings about a wide range of topics, including theology and medicine. She also wrote music that is still performed today and is considered to be some of the most beautiful and expressive music of the Middle Ages. There are more surviving chants by Hildegard than by any other composer from the Middle Ages, and she is one of the few known composers to have written both the music and the lyrics.
Hildegard’s other works include three volumes of theology, two volumes on natural medicine, one of the largest bodies of letters to survive from the Middle Ages, and many sermons in which she denounced clerical corruption and called for reform.
Few women during this time were permitted to preach publicly, but she attracted many by her humility, intellect, and holiness.
In 2012, she was named a Doctor of the Church.
St. Hildegard of Bingen Prayers
St. Hildegard of Bingen is known for her visionary talent in glorifying God through music, writing, theology, and natural science. To gain inspiration, here are some words of a psalm antiphon for the Holy Spirit to which St. Hildegard composed music:
“The Holy Spirit: living and life-giving,
the life that’s all things moving,
the root in all created being:
of filth and muck it washes all things clean—
out-scrubbing guilty staining, its balm our wounds constraining—
and so its life with praise is shining,
rousing and reviving all.”
“O Shepherd of souls
and o first voice
through whom all creation was summoned,
now to you,
to you may it give pleasure and dignity
to liberate us
from our miseries and languishing.”
St. Hildegard of Bingen, your mystical visions witnessed the extraordinary beauty of God’s love to the world—pray for us!
St. Hildegard of Bingen Quotes
- “The mystery of God hugs you in its all-encompassing arms.”
- “Holy Spirit, the life that gives life: You are the cause of all movement. You are the breath of all creatures. You are the salve that purifies our souls. You are the ointment that heals our wounds. You are the fire that warms our hearts. You are the light that guides our feet. Let all the world praise you.”
- “There is the music of Heaven in all things.”