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St. Hildegard Tells Her Story

Underneath all the texts, all the sacred psalms and canticles, these watery varieties of sounds and silences terrifying, mysterious, whirling and sometimes gestating and gentle must somehow be felt in the pulse, ebb and flow of the music that sings in me. My new song must float like a feather on the breath of God.

- St.Hildegard of Bingen. 

I am St. Hildegard of Bingen.

I was born in the year 1098 in Bermersheim, Germany.

I was only three years old when my visions started. They were always so bright and my soul always trembled.

 

My parents and nine older brothers and sisters never saw them. They were so worried...how could I ever have a normal life, they wondered. In their eyes, I was weak --peculiar even-- and they knew I needed more than they could give me.

When I was eight, I was given as a companion to Jutta, the head anchoress at the nearby Benedictine Cloister.

My days at the Benedictine Cloister of Saint Disibod began. Under Jutta’s wing at St. Disibod, I learned how to read, I sang in Latin all day long, I prayed. I also sewed and copied the Scriptures. I received the veil from Otto, Bishop of Bamberg when I was 15.

I continued my education with Volmar of Saint Disibod, a monk not much older than me, my true teacher who would become my secretary and lifelong friend.

In 1136, when I was 38, Jutta died, and I was the unanimous choice of the sisters to replace her as abbess of our community. How I loved those women.

And yet, during all those years my body was often in pain. There were many times when I didn’t know if I was going to live or die. The brightness continued and with it visions, voices, and melodies. Because the visions were accompanied by illness, I saw them as an embarrassment, a punishment from God. I lived in constant terror.

What was happening to me? Why was this happening to me? How was I going to communicate my experiences to the world? Was this God’s doing or the devils? Jutta and Volmar were the only ones I told about my visions.

 

When I was 43, I received a vision of blinding light, and I finally accepted my divine call to tell and write what I saw and heard in my visions. Yes, tell and WRITE what I saw and heard. I remember saying to Volmar, “How is it that I, a lowly woman, am being called to write such things?” I knew of no women writing about God in those days.

Volmar never stopped encouraging me. He was convinced God was working through me and that it was good. As I began to write, I rose from my sickbed. I felt God’s strength pulsing through me as I wrote my first theological work, Scivius: Know the Ways of God.

I sent my Scivius to France and with the support of Bernhard of Clairvaux,  the Pope read and approved of my writings. I began to trust the Living Light. I realized I was a feather on the breath of God.

 

At age 46, I received a vision to secede from the Abbey of St. Disibod and create my own community in Rupertsberg.   Abbot Kuno and the monks resisted my move since they would suffer both spiritual and material losses. Eventually they conceded. Despite initial challenges we built Rupertsberg and manifested the Power of the Living Light.

I knew how plants and animals could heal so I created my medical texts: Physica and Causes and Cures.

I have always said, we must be useful, we must create goodness, so I developed my own forms of worship and dress. My sisters and I wore white and adorned our heads with the tiaras in my visions.

I spent many of my days writing books, songs and writing letters to people like Emperor Friedrich and Pope Anastasius about the injustice I saw in our world.
I completed four preaching tours, and when I was 67, I created a second convent at Eibingen.

Volmar died when I was 75.  I still thank God that I was given the strength to carry on without the support I had had for sixty years from the spiritual father of the Rupertsberg Convent.

When I was 80, I stood up for a revolutionary youth who, upon death, had repented. I agreed to have him buried on my property which upset the male authorities in Mainz. They placed my convents under interdict which meant no sacraments and no singing. I fought against this injustice and won even another battle in the end, shortly before I died at age 81, and once again opened the gates of heaven.

 

The Music of Viriditas
O Virga Ac Diadema
 
Feathers On The
     Breath Of God
is a theatrical, musical and visual performance that illuminates the journey to wholeness of an artist living in the 21st century, inspired by Hildegard of Bingen.
 
Hildegard Exhibit
a Journey Through The Senses. Hand crafted artwork that embodies the beauty, warmth and power that is the life and work of Hildegard.
 
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