Guest Post by the Holy Rover, part three on Hildegard von Bingen: Hildegard’s living legacy

In her third and final installment on Hildegard von Bingen, Lori Erickon (aka The Holy Rover) describes her visit to an abbey that keeps the spirit of Hildegard alive. The fifty nuns that currently dwell in the abbey have noticed a marked increase in visitors interested in Hildegard since the 1970s. She is a saint that appeals to modern minds while imparting ancient truths.

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Today we cross the Rhine River (it only takes about five minutes by ferry) to explore Hildegard of Bingen’s legacy in the town of Rüdesheim, Germany. Remember I told you that Hildegard founded a second convent here when her Bingen abbey was full? Like her original abbey, her second one was destroyed hundreds of years ago. But I’m pleased to report that Hildegard’s legacy is flourishing at the Benedictine Abbey of St. Hildegard, which is built on a hill overlooking the towns of Rüdesheim and Bingen.

hildegard benectine abbey
The Benedictine Abbey of St. Hildegard sits on a hill overlooking Rudesheim and Bingen. (Bob Sessions photo)

I’ve visited a lot of abbeys, and this is among the loveliest I’ve seen. Surrounded by vineyards, it has expansive views of the lush Rhine River valley. The building itself lives up to its dramatic setting. It was built between 1900-08 by Prince Karl of Lowenstein, who (during an era when Hildegard was largely unknown to the larger world) wanted to celebrate her spiritual legacy near the site of her original abbeys. He contacted an order of Benedictine nuns in another part of Germany and made them an offer they couldn’t refuse: if they agreed to move to the new abbey and name it after Hildegard, he would give it to them.

The Benedictine nuns happily moved into their new home and in their own quiet ways honored Hildegard’s memory, singing her music, researching her history, and welcoming the trickle of guests who came on the Hildegard Trail.

hildegard mural bob sessons
Murals depicting scenes form Hildegard’s life adorn the church’s interior. (Bob Sessions photo)

That trickle began to swell in the 1970s and has been growing every since. Today many pilgrims make their way to the Abbey of St. Hildegard, some for a brief visit and others for longer retreats. About 50 nuns live here, following the rhythms of Benedictine life that haven’t changed much since the days of Hildegard. In addition to hosting retreats, the nuns of the abbey have a variety of enterprises that support the community, including making wine from the vineyards and repairing books.

Click here to read the rest of the post.

Click here to read part one of the series.

Click here to read part two of the series.

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Guest post from The Holy Rover: With Hildegard in Bingen – 12th century mystic and woman of extraordinary accomplishments

I have been dying to do a post on Hildegard von Bingen since I saw a wonderful movie on her life called Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen. If you click on the link you can see a trailer and read some reviews from Rotten Tomatoes. It does have subtitles but I had no trouble following it.

Lori Erickson, aka The Holy Rover, has just posted a wonderful article on Hildegard. Hildegard was a true Renaissance woman: 12th-century mystic, writer, composer, counselor, leader, the list goes on and on. She is a saint and Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church.

Here’s a portion of Lori’s article – follow the link to see the rest and the great pictures her husband Bob provided of their visit to Bingen:

hildegard von bingen
Mural of Hildegard from the Benedictine Abbey of St. Hildegard near Bingen (Bob Sessions photo)

If Hildegard of Bingen had a resume (unusual for a 12th-century mystic, I admit, but humor me) it would have been many pages long. She was an abbess, healer, writer, musician, visionary, counselor, preacher, linguist, naturalist, poet and an adviser to kings, bishops and princes. She wrote more than 70 liturgical songs, the first sung play, and books on theology, medicine, diet and natural history. All the while she kept up a voluminous correspondence with people in and out of the church, leading one scholar to dub her the “Dear Abby of the 12th century.”

If I could invite a handful of people from history for dinner at my house, Hildegard would be among them—though I suspect she would likely dominate the conversation so much that the other guests would be intimidated.

Click here to read the rest and see the photos.

Click to Tweet & Share: From The Holy Rover: With Hildegard in Bingen – 12th century mystic, woman of accomplishments http://wp.me/p2D9hg-A7 @holyrover

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