Abbess, Poet, Pharmacist, Mystic

The Life of St. Hildegard of Bingen

Abbess, Poet, Pharmacist, Mystic

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We’ve all heard about the typical “renaissance man”—someone who is talented in a wide variety of areas and who puts those talents to good use.

We might think of the scholar-athletes we knew in high school, or the business manager who is also a concert pianist. Pope John Paul II himself was a poet, philosopher, skier, playwright, and diplomat.

Even though she was born long before the Renaissance began, St. Hildegard of Bingen, is another figure who merits the title. Equipped with a stunning array of talents and gifts, this abbess from Germany rose to heights of influence and accomplishment that were truly exceptional, especially for a woman of her day.

At the same time, Hildegard probably deserves another title: “late bloomer.” It wasn’t until she was forty-two years old that God sent her into the world, calling her to proclaim what he had been teaching her in the hidden life of a Benedictine monastery. For the next forty years, Hildegard’s…

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