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Dogma: St Hildegarde

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MessagePosté le: Mer Déc 19, 2012 4:50 pm    Sujet du message: Dogma: St Hildegarde Répondre en citant


SAINT HILDEGARDE OF BINGEN, patron saint of herbologists and healers

The early years

Hildegard of Bingen was probably born in the Rhineland in the Sacrum Romanorum Imperium Nationis Germanicæ in 1098 and died at September, 17th anno 1179 at Rupertsberg abbey near Bingen.

She was not only a mystic, but also a musician and writer, whose works not only embrace medicine in its different variations, but also Aristotle, Plato and man's place in the cosmos.

Being a child of a deeply faithful, but less distinguished noble family, she was destined for a life at a cloister at the age of eight. Indeed she was troubling her family on numerous accounts: at the age of five she developed special skills: one day while walking down a green meadow with her nurse she turned to her and said “Look over there, do you see that beautiful, small calf within that cow? It is all white but got some stains on it’s forehead, hind-legs and back!”
When the calf was born it was found to be exactly as the child had described it.

Later she joined the monastery, where she met sister Jutta of Sponheim, the leader of the female convent of Cloister Disibodenberg, who became her friend and confident. She was given a religious education until she, amongst others, took vows at the age of 15 at the Benedictine abbey of Disibodenberg. In the year 1136 Jutta died, and naturally Hildegard became her Successor in her duty.


Little is known about her early years. Indeed she received visions from GOD since her early childhood, but did not know how to deal with them.

Even more it unsettled the girl and young woman, which is why she dedicated herself fully to medicine. The abbey was rather small and the strict sexual segregation within the cloister restricted her procurement of knowledge.

She could not rely solely on the few medical books owned by the small abbey, nor the knowledge of other sisters, sister Jutta primarily, to help her take the first steps in the medical field and to explore the possibilities offered by the garden the monastery.

In these early periods, it was therefore her visions that helped her to acquire a greater knowledge (better than the books could get her) and thus better understand the human constitution.

Soon she was able to help people who needed her assistance. To one person she gave tea made with a corn cob to treat a cough. To another, who suffered from arthritis, she gave the primrose.

During these days, she spent many hours in the monastery garden. She cultivated herbs which had initially thought they were only good to be used in the kitchen of the monastery, but also those which were known for their medicinal properties.

In doing so, she enjoyed the peace and tranquility of the garden while observing the creation of God Almighty: the earth. She was enchanted by all of nature: the noise made by a rabbit running away; the soft sound of the wind rustling in the grass; the beautiful horizons that took your eyes away.

It is often at this point that she received new visions. By manipulating these herbs and the vegetables, she managed not only to find inner peace but also to show great charisma.

It is often stated, while talking about Hildegard, that she also used other elements for the healing process, particularly spelt (a type of grain) but also important minerals and gemstones. Amongst those were agate stone, mountain Crystal, gold, emerald and clay.

Integral components of healing to Hildegard were prayer, virtue and faith!

The epiphany

One day in June 1139, while picking honeysuckle, she heard a beastly moaning in a bush. As she approached, she could see that it was a beautiful spotless white dove, whose wings had got caught in a blackberry bush. The nun did not hesitate and freed the poor injured animal which flew away only to settle down on a near rock. The dove became a woman of exceptional beauty, who turned to Hildegard while her aura enlightened the surrounding area:

Raphaelle wrote:
My dear child... I am Raphaelle, archangel of faith. I have been sent to tell you that the way you have chosen is the right one. Follow it, a child is awaiting you.

Thereupon the epiphany disappeared. Hildegard was overwhelmed and wanted to visit the fish pond to calm down at its shore and to think about what had happened. There, right before the water, she noticed an oblong form. Asking herself what could it be, she approached it warily until finally seeing a little boy, totally unknown to her, whose face was bleeding. Gathering all her courage she spoke a short prayer and her faith gave her the power to carry the unconscious boy to the abbey. Day by day she watched over him, feeling sorrow for the boy, being more and more marked by the effort she took. On July 8th the body finally vanished while she had turned away for a moment. Instead in his place there lay a few leaves and roots of honeysuckle, the same plant she had not had the time to pick back in June.

The Mission

Agitated by this, she devoted herself to deep meditation for some time, seeking for the meaning of the incident. Also she, who had dedicated her life to medicine before, now tried to understand the meaning by having conversation with brothers studying theology. At this time it was prohibited to women to study theology and so they just alluded to single topics. It was her turn to proceed, in secret, the self-study of theology. But she was bothered with a guilty conscience.

With time, she learned more and more to help comprehend the visions that accompanied her throughout her whole life so far and of which she sometimes thought they were sent by the nameless creature.

Shortly after her nomination as abbess a voice spoke to her and placed the duty of writing a paper about her visions upon her to share them with the world. Startled, she thought she was being a victim of the nameless one and thus she refused to do so. Suddenly, lightning struck her! leaving her body paralyzed.

A sister of the convent found her and took care of her as good as she could. A priest came to her sick bed, devotedly wanting to take her confession and transmit it to his bishop. After long hesitation and a lot of consultations the bishop gave the young woman his permission to write her book. This event marked the beginning of her becoming a writer.

Her first book, Scivias, even reached the pope, who, attentive, assigned two bishops to the examination of the book. Their conclusion was clear: Hildegard was not possessed, she was leading a virtuous life in the light of GOD, there was no deceit by the nameless one.

After much thought and reading of the writings of the abbess within the episcopal assembly the pope wrote to Hildegard:

“We admire our daughter and we admire furthermore, that one is able to belief that GOD even nowadays reveals wonders and when he pours his spirit upon you, he guides you to a point where he says to all of us – you see, understand and reveal many mysteries.”

The proper cloister

Because of that permission and the fame as a prophetess her reputation in the world at that time increased. Indeed, lacking official studies, she was considered as not that educated compared to consecrated members of the holy mother church, but as she was getting her visions from GOD, quasi being a vessel for them, raised her above any doubt and suspicions.

Soon she maintained comprehensive correspondence with sovereigns, dukes, counts, even emperor Barbarossa, and all the more people came to the abbey and asked for her advice locally. Still, more and more noble families wanted to give their daughters to the church, to study under her.

Hildegard realized that she would need her own cloister to keep up with the rush of applications. For a long time she bargained with father abbot, who did not want to let her go because of the wealth of real estate that came with her. With the help of the archbishop of Mainz, she succeeded in establishing the Cloister Rupertsberg on Mount Rupert near Bingen in 1148, and some time later the transcription of the goods and lands to her cloister, which were given to the abbey Disibodenberg by noble families when they entrusted their daughters in Hildegard's care.

Over the Cloister Rupertsberg she presided as abbess and benefited from the wealthiness created from the noble families to purchase many books, theological as well as medical ones.

She eased the rules of Holy Benedict and allowed her nuns to study languages which they needed to read the works about medicine and theology, especially those in ancient Greek and the ones which were translated into Latin. This led to a big argument with bishops and priests.

To those ends Hildegard, supported by her visions, could hold her grounds in most instances. Indeed, the nuns still would not officially be counted as theologists or even got consecrated as priests, but they were allowed to study theology and in doing so the writings of Aristotle and Plato.

Further works

Nevertheless humble as she was, she availed herself only little of it, especially since the visions could not be put on a level with theological knowledge. Instead, she dedicated herself to other domains. She adjusted the medical record of her home to those of the ancient Greeks and started again to compose books.

These were also influenced by her visions, that even allowed her to find a plant once which, after boiling off, had rescued a child from death, or gave her also ideas of the circulation of blood and the characteristics of the nervous system.

The "Physica" (Doctrine of Nature), "Causae at Curae" (Causes and Cures) as well as the "Liber subtilitatum diversarum naturarum creaturarum" (Book about the inner life of several creatures and plants) were written.

Beside that she brought more works to parchment, which mostly mirrored her visions, the "Liber Vitae Meritorum" (Book of life merits) and the "Liber Divinorum Operum" (Book of divine works).

She spoke of the environment, nutrition science, plants, gems as well as healing sounds and colours. As for medicine, Hildegard was not content with attending to the symptoms, but also considered the causes. For this saint Hildegard wrote:
... evil is only the detachment from the divine order, so that the recovery of health of mankind requires an interaction with GOD."

In her writings she describes the Lord as the source of life, that is to say, the creation of all energy. Hildegard often returns in her works to the central position of human in the cosmos. She continuously considers the correlation of body, soul and spirit. She pays all her attention to the healing power of the soul in the organism:

Hildegard wrote:
The soul assumes the main role in the functioning of the human organism, for it takes leadership over it. It gives the organism what it needs. It effectively accomplishes this task with the help of the sensoric organs, which every human is provided with: The sense of seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting and touching. It’s for these that man is allowed to connect himself with other creatures..."

"... the power of the soul affects the health or illness of a human being..."

Healer but also musician.

Hildegard composed more than seventy songs, hymns and sequences: Ave Generosa, Columba aspexit, O presul vere civitatis… The last is a dedication to Disibod, an Irish monk who lived in the seventh century and whose biography was written by Hildegard.

She also wrote a liturgical drama titled Ordo virtutum that contains eighty-two melodies and presents the density of a soul between the creature and virtue.

The end of life and the heritage

Her influence increased even with increasing age. Soon she needed to establish a second nun cloister in Eibingen. While the first one, as was customary at the time, was only opened to the nobles, the second one was explicitly thought for daughters of the slowly upcoming middle classes, to let them too participate in medicine, illumination, singing, and theology.

Also she succeeded - like a priest – in achieving the right to preach to the people in the environment. With those homilies she awoke piety inside the people, which led to a blooming of belief around Bingen and Mainz, even in the whole Rhineland.

She finally died at great age at September 17th in 1179, which became her commemoration day, in her abbey on Mount Rupert. On her lifeless body rested, when found in her cell, a leaf of honeysuckle, the plant which had accompanied her throughout her whole life and to which she owed everything. On that day too there appeared as if by miracle a multitude of sprouts of this very plant all around the cloister. Today, her remains are kept in Abbey Rupertsberg. Her cincture in the dome of Konstanz.

In the German kingdom, the cloister was famous mostly as the origin of the Order of Saint Hildegard, which is based on her and carries her theological heritage. However famous above all is her medicine to the rest of the world, because two companions of Hildegard went to Embrun to strengthen the medicine there, and thereby took things with them, which Hildegard used for it, as well as a bone of the forefinger of her right hand.


"Bodily evil cannot be healed if one does not treat the words of the soul..."

"Balm in the heart is better than balm in the body."

"Penitence nurses, abstinence cures."

"The religious man aspire to GOD, to whom he faces in reverence. For while man sees the creatures everywhere with his corporal eyes, he sees the Lord everywhere in his belief."


Kept in the dome of Embrun:
    A melting pot, in which Hildegard produced the powders and unguents, especially the ones that rescued the child.

    A silken bag, which she used when harvesting ingredients for her medicine, to prepare those ointments.

    A bone of the forefinger of her right hand.

    A small cotton band which she wore a long time, tied around her arm.

Kept in Rupertsberg Abbey of the Order of Saint Hildegard:

    The bones of Hildegard.

Kept in the dome of Konstanz:

    The cincture of Hildegard.

Memorial day of Saint Hildegard is celebrated on september 17th.


Some recipies of Hildegard :

Cakes of Joy

• 1 ounce of nutmeg
• 1 ounce cinnamon
• 0.1 pound cloves
• 2.2 of floured spelt
• 10 ounces butter
• 1o ounces honey
• 10 ounces of crushed almonds
• 4 eggs
• a pinch of salt
• Water or milk

Mix ingredients with enough water or milk.

Adults can eat up to four or five biscuits a day, children 3.

Hildegarde says about these cakes: "They disperse the bitterness that is in thine heart, they soothe and open it. But they also open your senses, make you happy, purify your sensory organs, reduce harmful moods and give your blood a good composition. They make you strong, happy and effective in your work. "

The elixir of Violets

• wine
• Violets
• galangal
• Licorice

"Anyone who is weighed down by melancholy and anxiety, and is also hurt his lungs, should cook violets in pure wine, sieve it through a cloth and than add to the wine galangal and licorice as he wants, he then cooks it to make a clear beverage and drink it: it soothes the melancholy, makes you happy and heals the lungs.
Once daily for four weeks. "

Bean patties

• 1 ounce ground ginger
• 10 ounces milled beans
• 0.1 pound marigold petals

Wet it to obtain a paste. "Make cupcakes and let them dry in an oven that was stopped of heat for a while and eat these cupcakes, works well in Lent."

there are many more, these are examples

Former too many things
not enough active things

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