Hidegard of Bingen
Alternate Name:
Hildegard von Bingen
Birth Date:
Death Date:
1179, September 17
Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palantine)
Location of Work:
Went on four preaching tours between 1158 and 1171, visiting towns along the Rivers Rhine, Mosel and Main.

10th and last child, brothers Drutwin, Hugo, Roricus and sisters Irmengard, Odilia, Jutta, Clementia.

Hildebert of Bermersheim
Mechthild of Merxheim
Other Family:

Drutwin is mentioned with Hildebert as witness to a document in 1157. Hugo became Praecentor of Mainz Cathedral and his name appears on a Rupertsberg document in 1158. Roricus became a canon at the Tholey monastery on the Saar. Clementia may have joined Rupertsberg as a nun. Nothing is known of the rest of her siblings.


The exact extent of Hildegard’s education is unclear. Jutta instructed her in the Psalter and rudimentary Latin and Volmer extended her education in Latin and encouraged her to record her visions, serving as her secretary where her own skills were insufficient.

Social Status:

Lower nobility

Religious Titles:

Magistra (elected 1136) Blessed/Beata

Religious Roles:

An anchoress from the time that she was given into Jutta’s care at the age of eight (or ten) in 1106 until their cell developed into a female monastery due to other noble women attracted by their spirituality. Hildegard was a mystic and visionary from early childhood and composed religious music and drama. She also conducted four preaching tours.



Ecclesiastical Relationships:

Given into the care of NULL at Disibodenberg in 1106 [?] at the age of eight (or ten) where both women lived in an enclosed cell under the jurisdiction of Abbot Cuno. After Jutta’s death in 1136, Hildegard was elected the leader of the group of noble women that had gathered at the monastery during Jutta’s lifetime. Volmer of St. Disibod, first mentioned in a letter to Bernard of Clairvaux in 1146 or 1147, served as her secretary, spiritual advisor and friend. Between the time of her first letter to Bernard of Clairvaux (1146/1147) and her death, Hildegard also corresponded frequently with many church officials including Popes Eugenius, Anastasius, Hadrian and Alexander III as well as Abbot Sugar, Hartwig, Archbishop of Bremen, Mistress Tengswich of Andernach and many others. She also had a friendship with NULL: [Letter to Hildegard, magistra of Bingen, undated], [Letter to Elisabeth of Schönau], [Letter to Hildegard, magistra of Bingen, undated (2)].

Secular Affiliations:

Corresponded with and advised lay rulers and nobility including Conrad III, Frederick Barbarossa, Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Irene Bertha of Sulzbach, Margravine Richardis von Stade, and Philip the count of Flanders.

Feast Day:
September 17

Heart, tongue, skull and bones in Eibingerstrasse parish church in Rudesheim, Rhineland-Palantine, Germany (current location).

Founder of:

Illuminations based on her visions in Scivias and De Operatione Dei

Brief Profile:

A visionary from early childhood, Hildegard was chosen for the monastic life from birth by her parents. At the age of eight (or ten, Hildegard's Entry into Religion Reconsidered) she was given as an oblate into the care of Jutta of Sponheim at the monastery of St. Disibodenberg where the two lived in an enclosed cell attached to the monastery. She took up the veil in 1112/1113 at Disibodenberg. The cell that Jutta and Hildegard originally shared eventually grew into a female monastery attached to Disibodenberg and Hildegard was appointed its prioress in 1136 after Jutta’s death. In c. 1147, Hildegard received another vision commanding her to leave Disibodenberg and build the Monastery of Rupertsberg where she and her sisters lived until her death in 1179 at the age of 81. She received a vision commanding her to share her visionary experience at the age of 42. After receiving the vision she, with the help of Volmer composed Scivias and began a teaching, writing and preaching career during which she corresponded with many ecclesiastical and political leaders as well as produced major written works on theology, monasticism, medicine, botany, zoology, physiology, music and drama.

Misc Info:

Canonization was attempted three times for Hildegard, under Gregory IX, Innocent IV and John XXII but none was successful due to insufficient documentation. Her cult was allowed from the fifteenth century and she was included in the Acta sanctorum Ordinis s. Benedicti in saeculorum classes distributa as “Saint Hildegard.”

Secondary sources:

Hildegard has been the subject of intense study in several languages. Among these are Acta sanctorum Ordinis s. Benedicti in saeculorum classes distributa; Hildegard of Bingen, 1098-1179: A Visionary Life; Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen. For 100+ additional works, please consult the bibliography for http://monasticmatrix.usc.edu/bibliographia/index.php?function=bySubject...(1098-1179)&subjectType=">books with Hildegard of Bingen as the subject.

Julia Zhao