Who was the Saint Hildegard of Bingen?
Hardly does any medieval personality today enjoy as much attention as Hildegard of Bingen – one of the most important women of the German Middle Ages. She is regarded today in various circles to be the first German natural scientist, the first female doctor, an important politician of her time and even the first feminist. In connection with the emerging esoteric and health boom, the natural historical texts attributed to her were used and marketed within the framework of the so-called “Hildegard medicine”. However, this term is an invention of the 20th century.
Hildegard of Bingen has set new impulses and opened new perspectives through her approaches. Her self-confident, charismatic demeanor led to great fame. She became a guide for many people. Even when she was alive, many called her a saint. Hildegard of Bingen justified this view by repeatedly invoking visions for her theological and philosophical statements. In doing so, she safeguarded her doctrines against the belief that women were not capable of theological knowledge on their own.
“To connect the celestial with the earthly” was always the special task of those who live their lives according to the instructions of St. Benedict at all times. In this sense, Hildegard of Bingen is quite a daughter of St. Benedict: She wanted to be a bridge builder between heaven and earth and thus contribute to the transformation of the world. Her main concern was a religious interpretation of the entire universe and a consistently lived Christian life in all areas of life. Everything, heaven and earth, faith and natural history, human life in all its facets and possibilities, was for them a mirror of divine love.
The nuns of St. Hildegard Abbey in Rüdesheim am Rhein see themselves as an establishment of Hildegard of Bingen. Although the abbey was only built at the beginning of the 20th century, the monastery is still directly linked to the Benedictine tradition of the former Hildegard monastery in Eibingen in the Rheingau. To this day, the nuns still invoke their founder – Hildegard of Bingen. One of their main tasks as “Hildegard’s grand children” is to enlighten the public about Hildegard’s true heritage.