St. Hildegarde


The Hilde Girls Choir in Austin, Texas

Each year, The Hilde Girls perform a concert for the Austin Community.  They are a truly unique group of women who sing songs of the spirit from all over the world. They are especially inspired and guided by the teachings and music of 12th century abbess and mystic Hildegard of Bingen.

Despite her history of visions beginning at the young age of three, Hildegard was not venerated as a saint until 2012 when Pope Benedict XVI approved her sainthood. Hildegard von Bingen, a 12th-century German nun, was the first woman to be officially recognized as a “prophetess” by the Roman Catholic Church. On May 10, 2012, Benedict ordered Hildegard, who died in 1179, to be inscribed in the list of saints. German-born Benedict was influenced by Hildegarde. He reportedly turned to her writings and prophecies frequently.

Hildegard is recognized as an early Christian feminist. According to an article in Huffington Post posted 5/12/12, Benedict quoted a long passage from one of Hildegard’s visions to assess the damage done to the church by the sex abuse scandal, and to invite the Vatican hierarchy to accept this “humiliation” as an “an exhortation to truth and a call to renewal.” “In the vision of St. Hildegard, the face of the church is stained with dust. … Her garment is torn — by the sins of priests. The way she saw and expressed it is the way we have experienced it this year,” he said.

hildegardes abbey

Today the Abbey of St Hildegard is situated above Rüdesheim and the Rhine river.  The abbey has a long and storied history. In the most recent past, it was closed by the gestapo in 1945. After the war, it reopened and the work of Hildegard and the Benedictine monastery resumed. Thankfully, the abbey is now vibrant again and welcomes guests just as Hildegard did in the 12th century.

Far away in Austin, Texas, the Hilde Girls celebrate the life of this saint. Below, find some thoughts on wisdom from the writings of St. Hildegard.

From Hildegard’s writing: I am Wisdom. Mine is the blast of the resounding Word through which all creation came to be, and I quickened all things with my breath so that not one of them is mortal in its kind; for I am Life. Indeed I am Life, whole and undivided — not hewn from any stone, or budded from branches, or rooted in virile strength; but all that lives has its root in Me. For Wisdom is the root whose blossom is the resounding Word….

I flame above the beauty of the fields to signify the earth — the matter from which humanity was made. I shine in the waters to indicate the soul, for, as water suffuses the whole earth, the soul pervades the whole body. I burn in the sun and the moon to denote Wisdom, and the stars are the innumerable words of Wisdom.

The Holy Spirit as Caritas (Grace/World Soul & Wisdom/Creatrix)
St. Hildegard von Bingen
trans. B. Newman (mod.)

On this Palm Sunday, I wish all of you the wisdom of Hildegard and a blessed Holy week.



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