St. Hildegard of Bingen: A deep, holy, and uncomfortable charism

by Cardinal Karl Lehmann | Source:

For almost 2000 years the doctors of the Church were invariably men. However, the period following the Second Vatican Council marked a great turning point, for between 1970 and 1997 three women were elevated to the rank of doctor of the Church: St. Teresa of Avila (on September 27, 1970) and St. Catherine of Siena (on October 4, 1970) were both named by Paul VI, and St. Thérèse of Lisieux was proclaimed a doctor ecclesiae on October 19, 1997 by John Paul II. On October 7, St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) was added to their ranks. She too maintained an extensive correspondence with popes, kings, princes, bishops, religious, and laity. She too undertook various missionary journeys, especially along the banks of the Rhine and into southern Germany, where she preached conversion to the faithful and clergy alike. And she too was endowed with extraordinary poetic gifts. While the other three saints hail from Italy, Spain and France, St. Hildegard of Bingen is the first female saint from central Europe, and th first of German tongue, to be so honored.

Humanitas 2013, IV, pp. 348-363
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