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Gertrude the Great Church. Personalities Bernard of Clairvaux

Saint Hildegard von Bingen

Born: 1098; Böckelheim on the Nahe, Holy Roman Empire
Died:  17 September, 1179 (aged 81); Rupertsberg near Bingen, Holy Roman Empire

Saint Hildegard, also known as Sibyl of the Rhine, was Benedictine abbess, Christian mystic and visionary. She is regarded as a writer, composer and philosopher.

St. Hildegard wrote theological, botanical and medicinal texts, as well as letters, liturgical songs, and poems. Her books filled with the colorful miniature illusrations.

In Germany the veneration of St. Hildergard was well established in Church traditions for centuries, but for various reasons the formal process of canonization has not been completed until May 10 of 2012. Pope Benedict XVI has declared St. Hildegard of Bingen to be a saint in the process of “equivalent canonization”.

On 7 October 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named Saint Hildegard a Doctor of the Church.

“Christ’s wounds remain open because of the sins of priests”

“In the year of our Lord’s incarnation 1170, I had been lying on my sick-bed for a long time when, fully conscious in body and in mind, I had a vision of a woman of such beauty that the human mind is unable to comprehend. She stretched in height from earth to heaven. Her face shone with exceeding brightness and her gaze was fixed on heaven. She was dressed in a dazzling robe of white silk and draped in a cloak, adorned with stones of great price. On her feet she wore shoes of onyx. But her face was stained with dust, her robe was ripped down the right side, her cloak had lost its sheen of beauty and her shoes had been blackened. And she herself, in a voice loud with sorrow, was calling to the heights of heaven, saying, ‘Hear, heaven, how my face is sullied; mourn, earth, that my robe is torn; tremble, abyss, because my shoes are blackened!’

And she continued: ‘I lay hidden in the heart of the Father until the Son of Man, who was conceived and born in virginity, poured out his blood. With that same blood as his dowry, he made me his betrothed.

For my Bridegroom’s wounds remain fresh and open as long as the wounds of men’s sins continue to gape. And Christ’s wounds remain open because of the sins of priests. They tear my robe, since they are violators of the Law, the Gospel and their own priesthood; they darken my cloak by neglecting, in every way, the precepts which they are meant to uphold; my shoes too are blackened, since priests do not keep to the straight paths of justice, which are hard and rugged, or set good examples to those beneath them. Nevertheless, in some of them I find the splendour of truth.’

And I heard a voice from heaven which said: ‘This image represents the Church. For this reason, O you who see all this and who listen to the word of lament, proclaim it to the priests who are destined to offer guidance and instruction to God’s people and to whom, as to the apostles, it was said: go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation’ (Mk 16:15)”
(Letter to Werner von Kirchheim and his Priestly Community: PL 197, 269ff.).

The Vision of Saint Hildegard
From the Address of Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia
Sala Regia, Monday, 20 December 2010

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