Saint Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) was a German abbess, mystic, writer, composer, philosopher, and polymath. She is considered one of the most important figures of the 12th century and is known for her extensive writings on theology, medicine, and natural history.
Hildegard was born in Bermersheim, Germany, in 1098 and was the tenth child of a noble family. At the age of eight, she was sent to a convent to be educated by Jutta of Sponheim, who became her spiritual mentor. In 1136, Hildegard became the abbess of the convent of Rupertsberg in Bingen, a position she held until her death in 1179.
Throughout her life, Hildegard experienced vivid visions that she recorded in her writings. She is known for her visionary texts, including "Scivias," in which she describes her visions of God and the workings of the universe. She also wrote several treatises on natural history, medicine, and theology, including "Physica" and "Liber Simplicis Medicinae."
Hildegard was a strong advocate for the rights of women and the importance of education for both men and women. She corresponded with bishops and popes, and even held public debates with theologians of her time. She is known for her music, which was considered revolutionary for her time. She composed over 70 works, including hymns, sequences, and antiphons, many of which are still performed today. She also developed a healing system based on traditional herbal medicine, which she called “the Virtues of Nature.”
Saint Hildegard was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 7th, 2012. She is the patron saint of healing and natural science.
Saint Hildegard's feast day is celebrated on September 17th in the Roman Catholic Church and some Lutheran churches.