Hildegard von Bingen was born on 16 September 1098 in Bermersheim vor der Höhe into an aristocratic Rhineland family. Her father, Hildebert von Bermersheim, was a member of the high nobility. Her mother's name was Mechtild. At the age of eight, Hildegard entered the Benedictine convent in Disibodenberg, her father having promised to give his tenth child to the Church, first for her education and then to take the veil at the age of fourteen (1 November 1112). Hildegard remained there for the next eighty years of her life.
In 1136, at the age of 38, Hildegard became Abbess of the convent of Disibodenberg and about ten years later she founded her own convent, independent of the men's monastery, in Rupertsberg. The monastery became prosperous and around 1165 Hildegard was able to found a branch in the neighbourhood, in Eibingen.
Her involvement in civil life and politics is as impressive as her total dedication to the spiritual life, which she teaches to her sisters in the convent. Her first visions are recorded in the bookScivias, which she completed in 1151. Her overall work is immense, recording her visions in dense books or her musical and poetic talents in seventy songs and hymns. The wealth of her correspondence, the development of a new language and alphabet, two medical works, the only ones of their kind in the 12th century, constitute a veritable encyclopaedia of the knowledge of the time in the fields of natural science, music and medicine.
As an accomplished woman, Hildegard von Bingen was also a master of psychosomatic medicine and the art of healing with plants. In the vicinity of the monastery, the abbess was known and appreciated as a healer. The scholar healed both bodies and souls and taught her nuns engraving, writing, bookbinding, singing and science, a field usually reserved for men! She inspired Dante with her holistic conception of the universe, based on the unity of body and spirit.
Hildegard von Bingen devoted her life to the education and intellectual development of nuns, sharing with them her thirst for knowledge and harmony.
She died on 17 September 1179 in Rupertsberg (near Bingen), after a long illness, in the midst of her nuns. St Hildegard was also proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.
● Causes and Remedies (translation Pierre Monat, 2005).
● Hildegard of Bingen by Régine Pernoud Editions du Rocher Paris 1995.
● Hildegarde von Bingen by Elaine Audet .