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Hildegard of Bingen

Scholars generally regard the twelfth century as an era of renaissance and spiritual renewal. However, Hildegard saw it as a time when scripture was being neglected, Christian people were ill-informed, and the clergy were “lukewarm and sluggish.” She understood her mission as a prophetic one, in which she, a weak woman, was called to bring justice to a “womanish” age in place of priests who were failing in their respon¬≠sibilities. Hildegard penned one of the highest praises of women to emerge from the Middle Ages: “O, woman, what a splendid being you are! For you have set your foundation in the sun, and have conquered the world.” Because women have been created so splendidly by God, they ought to adorn this splendor when they come to worship the Creator. Hildegard claims that these ideas were not her own, but came from the “Voice of the Living Light.”

Essay by Dr. Joan Nuth and prayer by Christine Schenk, CSJ