The Saint God created man and He dwells in his soul, so that the soul is from heaven and the body is formed of the earth’s elements. The gift of creation is the sphere of my life, and it is the realm in which to experience the invisible God. As a labourer in God’s cause, I have a mission in the course of time. With God’s help, may I do good works. Saint Hildegard, teacher of the Church, pray for us, that we may be aware of our dignity and our mission - glorifying God in everything – and that we may, with His Son and the Church (His fair body), find our way home to the heart of the Father. Hiltrud Gutjahr OSB Abbey of St Hildegard Even in her lifetime, Hildegard of Bingen was revered by her contemporaries as a saint and a “prophet of the German people”. After her death on 17 September 1179, her grave became a place of pilgrimage, especially for the sick, in their hope of finding relief from pain and a cure for their illnesses. The abbess and convent of the monastery of Rupertsberg petitioned for the canonization of their founding abbess as early as 1227. Pope Gregory IX initiated the process and sent an assessment commission to Bingen, whose protocol was dispatched to Rome in 1233. As the accounts of witnesses did not meet the formal requirements, the pope charged a new commission in 1237. It is presumed that this commission never took up its work, and the canonization process came to nothing. Other initiatives were also unsuccessful, the last being those of the German Bishops’ Conference in 1979 and 1987. Nonetheless, Hildegard was regarded as a saint by people far beyond the borders of Germany. After the new edition of Hildegard’s main works was completed in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI gave two catecheses on Hildegard. He acknowledged her as a “great prophet who has particular importance for our own day”. Soon afterwards, on 25 December 2010, the abbess and convent of the Abbey of St Hildegard filed another petition for the canonization of their patron, and for her designation as a Doctor of the Church. Pope Benedict XVI re-initiated the process, and recognized as miracle the fact that Hildegard had been venerated as a saint by the people for more than 850 years as a miracle. On 10 May 2012, he entered her name in the martyrology of the Universal Church. On 7 October of the same year, she was formally proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in Rome.
The Doctor of the Church In Saint Hildegard exhibits an extraordinary harmony between her teaching and everyday life. With perceptive, wise and prophetic sensitivity, Hildegard focuses on the Revelation. Her analytical study develops from the biblical event, in which, stage by stage, it remains firmly grounded. The concept of the mystic of Bingen is not restricted to tackling individual issues, it presents a synthesis of the whole of the Christian faith. That is why in her visions and subsequent reflections, she encompasses the history of salvation from the beginning of the universe to the Last Day. Hildegard’s prominent teaching reflects the teaching of the apostles, the writings of the Church Fathers and the works of the authors of her time, whilst she finds a constant point of reference in the Rule of Saint Benedict of Nursia. Monastic liturgy and the internalisation of the Scriptures constitute the guidelines of her thinking, which is centred upon the mystery of the Incarnation, and is expressed at the same time in a profound stylistic and textual uniformity, which permeates all of her writings. Excerpts from the Apostolic Letter, proclaiming Saint Hildegard of Bingen a Doctor of the Church, Pope Benedict XVI, Rome, 7 October 2012 Saint Hildegard of Bingen, an important female figure of the twelfth century, made her valuable contribution to the development of the Church of her time, by making the fullest use of the gifts God had bestowed upon her. In so doing, she proved herself to be a woman of lively intelligence, deep sensitivity and recognized spiritual authority. The Lord granted her a prophetic spirit and a profound ability to read the signs of the times. Hildegard exhibited a pronounced love of creation, and devoted herself to medicine, poetry and music. Above all, she always maintained a great and faithful love of Christ and for his Church. Ceremony of the proclamation of Saint Hildegard as a Doctor of the Church on 7 October 2012 Pope Benedict XVI on 7 October 2012