Why hello Hildegard von Bingen: I’m a big fan of your work!
I discovered your Vision CD in art school (I think I’d been rooting around in the bargain bin in a music store in downtown Calgary) and honestly, it is now my go to CD for when I want to listen to music while getting my art on.
I. LOVE. IT.
I had no idea how neat you were. Born in 1098, you passed away 795 years before I was born, almost to the day (September 17, 1179). Wow, it’s like we were fated to be brought together by that bargain bin.
You were a German polymath having knowledge and expertise in a number of different fields: you wrote theological, medical and botanical texts, you composed music, you were an abbess and founded a monastery. Your Order of the Virtues liturgical drama is quite possibly the oldest morality play and the only Medieval play that we know of that has been attributed to its author.
You are a saint but not because you were martyred, but because your work was important. In fact, last year you were recognised as a Doctor of the Church. In other words, your life was spent forming what the church is today, you were finally recognised for your role as a pillar of the church
Better late than never, I suppose.
You still have relevance today and that’s what I find fascinating. That a simple woman of the church from 800 years ago has the power to touch us today: through music (me! – Living Fountin is one of my faves), through holistic medicinal healings and mysticism, without a doubt due to visions and the writings taken on because God told her to write them down so that they weren’t lost.
You fascinate feminists of our modern world because of how you made yourself relevant in your own time by seeming to negate your relevance because of the fact that you were a woman. I wrote that and I’m not sure if it makes sense. I’ll try again: When you claimed that your body is a simple vessel for the visions that you receive, you thereby made your voice louder because it made your visions more believable. In an era where interest in what a woman thought was a laughable idea, the way you turned things around so that you could have more authority to decry certain practices of the church is very impressive.
To top it all off, I don’t know how you did it, Hildy darling, but you got yourself a freaking minor planet named after you (898 Hildegard).
This all this makes me wonder: in 800 years, who will still be modernly relevant from our age right now?
Hmm, on second thought, perhaps I won’t go down that road as I’m not sure that I’ll like what I see.
Suffice it to say that I find it heartening that a woman, from way back in the depths of the darkness of the middle ages, found a way to shed light.