"All of creation God gives to humankind to use. If this privilege is misused, God’s justice permits creation to punish humanity."  ~Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard's life as recorded in history began after she heard the voice of the "Living Light" urging her "O fragile one, ash of ash and corruption of corruption, say and write what you see and hear" ...at that time she was already 42 years of age.  History remains silent about her dreams, her works, her deeds of her youth...so, take an excursion to the 12th century and entertain with me, tales of what may have been, an equally wonderous time in this remarkable woman's life.

Further Reading...

Sybil of the Rhine...

Introduction:

 

Cerys Matthews nominates in this BBC production of Great Lives - Series 25,  Hildegard of Bingen as one of history's great lives.  Listen as the presenters analyze and summarize her amazing accomplishments through her own words and songs. Discuss the idea of how being in a convent affected her life and her visions.  There are several frank discussions of the more controversial aspects of her life, such as whether or not she is an authentic seer.  Do you believe her? 



BBC Production of Great Lives - Series 25, Hildegard of Bingen



Reflection: 

Nine hundred years ago in medieval Germany, a mere woman, Hildegard of Bingen, endured the fury of enemies both worldly and spiritual.  With a sharp but wise scrutiny, divinely inspired, she prophesized an enlightened and hopeful message, accepting the interconnectedness of the arts, science and religion.  Even today society still struggles for this ideal.  From her haunting music to her visionary illuminations and scientific writings, this singular woman's legacy transcends the 12th century into the 21st century.  She remains an eloquent defender of social justice, the environment, and lost souls...if only we could be half so bold. 

Hildegard's courage and faith still speaks to our time.  Do you perceive any other similarities between her time, the 12th century and the present?



 



St. Patrick, Public Domain

Middle Ages...

Comprehensive Links:



Interactive Medieval Map.

This map interactively shows the changing of rule of the lands throughout Europe during the Middle Ages through 1483.

Life During Feudalism.  

This is a user-friendly website that gives excellent overviews of life during feudalism including religion, homes, clothing, health and much more. Written at an easy to understand level.



The Medieval Sourcebook.

A plethora of sources from the Medieval period, powered by Fordham University. Has topics ranging from Islam and the Crusades to the End of Rome and power of the papacy.  An excellent primary source collection.



Medieval Texts & Literature.
A collection of literature from the Middle Ages, with links directly to the digital works. These are primary sources and are therefore excellent for research.



Reflection:  

Consider too, the attitudes towards women during the Middle Ages.  Scripture was used by the religious authorities to dictate social customs.  Women were perceived as subordinate to men, even in so far as being sinful creatures.  The Medieval church embraced the image of women as "Daughters of Eve."  All women suffered from the origins of sin blamed on the temptress Eve.  God cursed women for her actions in the Garden of Eden by stating:   "To the woman he said, 'I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.'" Therefore, any doctrine or law limiting the rights of women during this time was in accordance with what was dictated in the Bible.


So, the church and its teachings were vitally important to most medieval people affecting their relationships and attitudes.  How is the church perceived today and how does the church view women, today?

 

Get inside the Medieval Mind!

Medieval Gardens

The Medieval Garden was used not only to grow food but was also used to grow plants for medicine and for paints used by Scribes in the Scriptorium.



HILDEGARD'S MEDIEVAL GARDENS READ MORE>

"O Vos flores rosarum You, who are rose blossoms, who in the flowing of blood are blessed, exuding the greatest scent of joy and giving off the grace which flows from the knowing of the inner mind, enduring from before eternity, through that One who has no beginning. In your companionship may there be honor, you who are instruments of the sacred gathering, And through whose wounds life-blood streams. with that One, who has no beginning."

 

Melody and Text by St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) Sung by Norma Gentile (www.HealingChants.com) Improvisational harp accompaniment by Gordon Johnston

Ruins of Disibodenberg Monastery...

This serene park was created by the well-known landscape architect Johann Metzger of Heidelberg in the middle of the 19th century.  Photos taken 24 December 2012