Prophesies of St. Hildegard

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Not all of her writings were devoted to revelations as such, but all of them were meant to edify. She composed the words and music of 70 hymns; wrote 50 homilies; authored a morality play or cantata; and in her leisure time even devised an international language similar to Esperanto.

 

She also showed herself a keen observer of nature, and wrote two books on medicine and natural history. Plants, animals, and the human body and its ailments were her subject matter. In her comments on physiology she showed deep awareness, and she came close to discovering the circulation of the blood. She showed good psychological discernment, too. For instance, Hildegard cautioned against diagnosing as diabolical-possession types of behavior more likely attributable to physical and nervous disorders.

 

Abbess Hildegard was not without her trials. Her physical weakness increased with age and she often had to be carried places. The vicar general also interdicted her church not long before her death. An excommunicated man had been buried in its cemetery, and the vicar general ordered the body removed. Hildegard declined to do so because it had been revealed to her that the excommunicate had indeed received the last sacraments.  Fortunately, when her bishop returned to the diocese, he lifted the interdict.



With her mystical writings, this "Sybil of the Rhine" inaugurated the tradition of mystical writing for which the Rhineland became famous. Today scholars are even more interested in her work as a scientific pioneer.



All in all, the "incomparable Hildegard" was one of the most remarkable of female saints in gifts and influence. She ranks with Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila and Bridget of Sweden as a woman who, in her own generation, acquired international importance.


Then a monk was ordered to put in writing whatever she related; some of her nuns also frequently assisted her. The writings were submitted to the bishop (Henry, 1145-53) and clergy of Mainz, who pronounced them as coming from God. The matter was also brought to the notice of Eugene II (1145-53) who was at Trier in 1147. Albero of Chiny, Bishop of Verdun, was commissioned to investigate and made a favorable report. Hildegard continued her writings.


Crowds of people flocked to her from the neighborhood and from all parts of Germany and Gaul, to hear words of wisdom from her lips, and to receive advice and help in corporal and spiritual ailments. These were not only from the common people, but men and women of note in Church and State were drawn by the report of her wisdom and sanctity. Thus we read that Archbishop Heinrich of Mainz, Archbishop Eberhard of Salzburg and Abbot Ludwig of St. Eucharius at Trier, paid her visits.

 

St. Elizabeth of Sch nau was an intimate friend and frequent visitor. Trithemius in his "Chronicle" speaks of a visit of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, but this probably was not correct. Not only at home did she give counsel, but also abroad. Many persons of all stations of life wrote to her and received answers, so that her correspondence is quite extensive.

 

Her great love for the Church and its interests caused her to make many journeys; she visited at intervals the houses of Disenberg and Eibingen; on invitation she came to Ingelheim to see Emperor Frederick; she traveled to W rzburg, Bamberg, and the vicinity of Ulm, Cologne, Werden, Trier, and Metz.  

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