Saint Hildegard, Doctor of the Church

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Today, Pope Benedict proclaimed St. Hildegard of Bingen a Doctor of the Church. In his homily opening the thirteenth general assembly of the synod of bishops with the theme of the new evangelization, Benedict spoke of Hildegard as follows:

Saint Hildegard of Bingen, an important female figure of the twelfth century, offered her precious contribution to the growth of the Church of her time, employing the gifts received from God and showing herself to be a woman of brilliant intelligence, deep sensitivity and recognized spiritual authority. The Lord granted her a prophetic spirit and fervent capacity to discern the signs of the times. Hildegard nurtured an evident love of creation, and was learned in medicine, poetry and music. Above all, she maintained a great and faithful love for Christ and his Church.

My online writings on Hildegard:

Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Doctor of the Church

Hildegard of Bingen, Saint of the Universal Church

There are many books on Hildegard, but unfortunately many of them play down the medieviality of her beliefs and loyalty to the Church. To begin, I’d refer readers to Regine Pernoud’s Hildegard of Bingen. Originally in French, the link is to the English translation (in spite of the cover Amazon is using). Then those ready to go deeper could go to the Scivias itself in the Classics of Western Spirituality series, which has a lovely introduction. Finally, Benedict has a chapter on her (originally delivered as a Wednesday catechetical lecture) in Holy Women.

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