1098 AD (Bermersheim vor der Höhe, Germany) – 1179 AD (Bingen am Rhein, Germany)
Imagine being three years old and suddenly seeing something beautiful but strange appearing before your eyes. You would know straightaway that it was special, but you probably would not know what it was. That is precisely how Saint Hildegard felt when her visions started. As she grew up, and these beautiful sights and sounds continued appearing to her, she understood that they were messages from God, in which He told her about Himself and about how the whole universe worked.
Saint Hildegard knew that her visions were very special and precious and she wanted to make sure that they would be used wisely. So, she only shared them with her closest friends. One day a friend of Saint Hildegard’s told the Pope about them, who confirmed that they came from God. This gave Saint Hildegard a great sense of peace and freedom to share them with others and she ended up doing a lot of good with these special gifts she received.
Saint Hildegard really followed Jesus’ parable about the talents. Do you know what that story is about? Yes, it is about making good use of the gifts we receive from God. Instead of hiding them or using them just for ourselves, Jesus asks us to share them and use them to do good to others. Can you think of a gift that you have? Some of us are good at music or computers, or are good listeners or can help friends when they are sad – all of these are gifts that God gave us for sharing with everyone. Will you try to do the same?
Saint Hildegard did amazing things with the gifts she received from God. First, she took careful notes and painted beautiful images to try and capture her visions so that others could learn from them too. Did you know that her paintings can still be seen today – a thousand years after she made them? She also used the knowledge she received to write to kings and popes to help them make wise decisions. Saint Hildegard was also an amazing musician, who wrote new kinds of music that are still played today. She also invented a new way of writing, to help her fellow nuns, and she was a great doctor and scientist. Saint Hildegard understood how everything around us is good and how God made a world where everything is connected and where we need to look after and care for nature. This also helped her discover how different plants can help cure illnesses and how different parts of the body can be healed.
Saint Hildegard was a doctor, a scientist, a musician and a saint. But what makes her so special is that she used her gifts for helping others and for giving thanks to God for the beautiful universe he created for us.
“Glance at the sun.
See the moon and the stars.
Gaze at the beauty of earth’s greenings.
What delight God gives to humankind
with all these things.”
Hildegard von Bingen