Considering the third secret of Fatima and the interpretation of it by the Vatican, I could not help but believe that their interpretation was lacking somewhat. The reason for my belief in a different interpretation of this secret is that I have read the prophesies of many other saints who have seen similar visions of the sufferings and death of a Holy Father.
One of the most controversial of these prophets is St. Hildegard, so I have resolved to first look into her life story and the approval of the Church on her visions and life. It is interesting to note that her visions created great music, medical cures used today, and new understandings of theology. She advised Kings, Monarchs, Bishops and even Popes. (See note below about some arguments against her)
Born at Bockelheim on the Nahe. The family name is unknown of this great seeress and prophetess, called the Sibyl of the Rhine. The life of Hildegard as a child, religious, and superioress was an extraordinary one. Left much to herself on account of her ill health, she led an interior life trying to make use of everything for her own satisfaction. From her early years she was favoured with visions.
"Up to my fifteenth year I saw much, and related some of the things seen to others, who would inquire with astonishment, whence such things might come. ... Frequently, I my conversations, I would relate future things which I saw as if present, but, noting the amazement of my listeners, I became more reticent."
At a time when few women wrote, Hildegard produced major works of theology and visionary writings. When few women were accorded respect, she was consulted by and advised bishops, popes, and kings. She used the curative powers of natural objects for healing, and wrote treatises about natural history and the medicinal uses of plants, animals, trees and stones. She is the first composer whose biography is known. Founded a vibrant convent, where her musical plays were performed.
Although not yet canonized, Hildegard has been beatified, and is frequently referred to as Saint Hildegard. Revival of interest in this extraordinary woman of the middle ages was initiated by musicologists and historians of science and religion. Less fortunately, Hildegard's visions and music had been hijacked by the New Age movement, whose music bears some resemblance to Hildegard's ethereal airs. Her story is important to all students of medieval history and culture, and an inspirational account of an irresistible spirit and vibrant intellect overcoming social, physical, cultural, gender barriers to achieve timeless transcendence.
Hildegard was born the 10th child to a noble family. As was customary with the tenth child, which the family could not count on feeding, she was dedicated at birth to the church. The girl started to have visions of luminous objects at the age of three, but soon realized she was unique in this ability and hid this gift for many years.
At age 8, the family sent this strange girl to an anchoress named Jutta to receive a religious education. Blessed Jutta was born into a wealthy and prominent family, and by all accounts was a young woman of great beauty. She spurned all worldly temptations and decided to dedicate her life to god. Instead of entering a convent, Blessed Jutta followed a harsher route and became an anchoress. Anchors of both sexes, though from most accounts they seem to be largely women, led an ascetic life, shut off from the world inside a small room, usually built adjacent to a church so that they could follow the services, with only a small window acting as their link to the rest of humanity.
Food would be passed through this window and refuse taken out. Most of the time would be spent in prayer, contemplation, or solitary handworking activities, like stitching and embroidering. Because they would become essentially dead to the world, anchors would receive their last rights from the bishop before their confinement in the anchorage. This macabre ceremony was a complete burial ceremony with the anchor laid out on a bier.