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Hildegard of Bingen

  • Date Submitted: 10/05/2010 06:31 PM
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Hildegard of Bingen
Hildegard of Bingen’s exact birthdate is uncertain, but she is believed to have been born in 1098. She was born in Bemersheim (Böckelheim) in West Franconia which is now Germany. She was born the tenth child of a prosperous family, and was sickly from birth. From the time Hildegard was young, she claimed to have experienced visions. Some scholars think that in 1106, at the age of eight, her parents sent her to a 400-year old Benedictine monastery and put her under the care of a noblewoman named Jutta. This is believed because it is documented in her vita, but there is also a known date of enclosure in 1112 at which time she would be fourteen, not eight.
Jutta taught Hildegard to read and write. Jutta also became the abbess of the convent, which resulted in other young noblewomen coming to the convents. The convents were often places of learning and a welcome home to women who had intellectual gifts. Hildegard, as well as many other women in convents at this time, learned Latin, read the scriptures, and had access to many other books of religious and philosophical natures.
After Jutta died in 1136, Hildegard was elected as the new abbess, but under the authority of the abbot of St. Disibod. Within a few years, she told her confessor of visionary experience. He had her write them down and show them to the abbot. Hildegard was ordered to keep writing and she began the ten-year task of writing that would become Scivias, a report of twenty-five visions that would sum up Christian doctrine on the history of salvation. In 1147, Hildegard was still concerned about whether or not her visions should be published. Because of this, she wrote to Bernard, the abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Clairvaux. He responded in favor of publishing.
      In 1148, while she was still working on Scivias, Hildegard decided to move the convent to Rupertsberg, where it was on its own and not under supervision of the male house. Because of this, Hildegard had...

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