Hildegard of Bingen and Viriditas
St. Hildegard of Bingen, whose feast day we celebrate with vigor every September 17, was not only a brilliant composer, artist, and visionary, she was also an herbalist. Her belief in the “greening of man,” or viriditas as she called it, led her to trust that God had given mankind herbs, spices, and foods to serve our bodies and keep us not only healthy but full of joy and peace. What a lovely idea from a truly remarkable woman, living in an age where women were seen primarily as accessories created to adorn men, creatures to woo, or saintly idols to be placed on a pedestal and thought of while on crusade... (read more)
St. Hildegard of Bingen: Doctor of the Church
Hello friends of Hildegard! Happy Feast Day! And when I say Feast Day, I don’t just mean a celebration of the life of St. Hildegard of Bingen. I also want to share some of my favorite Hildegard recipes so you can create your own feast at home today with your children... (read more)
Hildegard's Music and Light Accessible to All
The work of great composers will stand through the course of time because their music is so powerful, their talent and ability so rare, or because their unique personal lives so clearly inform their music. We love Rossini for his Duetto Buffo di Due Gatti(Humorous Duet for Two Cats). It’s a lighthearted tune based on his frustration with the mewling alley cats behind his house, who were so loud that he had trouble composing.
I love Rossini, but St. Hildegard of Bingen will always hold a special place in my heart for her haunting chants, her brilliant, incisive wit, the way she could take down a cardinal with a few choice words of conviction, her herbalism, and, of course, her glorious visions, which she insisted came directly from the Creator of the Universe Himself... (read more)
Abbey of the Arts: Transformative Living Through Contemplative and Expressive Arts
Megan Hoyt has recently published, Hildegard’s Gift, a children's book about Hildegard of Bingen (whose feast day is September 17th and is, of course, one of our dancing monks!) Here Megan offers a few reflections on the impact of Hildegard for her:
I first "met" St. Hildegard of Bingen when a friend shared her chants with me over a quiet cup of tea, during a lull in our conversation. I was a lover of all things Medieval, and my friend knew this about me. She must have known the lilting tones and haunting melody would catch me off guard. I held my breath for a moment. I tend to get emotionally involved with the composers I study, having been raised by symphony musicians and on a steady diet of classical music. But this was different. Hildegard's melodies were sad and humble and maybe even a little vulnerable. Who was this nun and mystic named Hildegard? I had to know... (read more)
Mysticism Unveiled: The Gentle Heart of Hildegard of Bingen
Our guest poster today is Megan Hoyt, a longtime Ambleside Online user and the author of Hildegard's Gift (see details below). Hildegard of Bingen is the AO composer for this term.
When I first began reading about the early life of Hildegard of Bingen, twelfth century composer, artist, herbalist, visionary, and lover of God, I really began to identify with this mysterious, solitary child. Like other good Catholics of the Middle Ages, her parents sent her away to live as an anchoress in total isolation at an early age. As their tenth child, they considered her a “tithe to the church,” which seems like a beautiful and godly idea unless you are the frightened little girl being sent away... (read more)
When Megan Hoyt first stepped into a tiny library in East Dallas and checked out The Fairy Doll, time stood still for one brief moment. A book! A lovely, magical book about a little girl, overshadowed and overlooked, the youngest of four, just like me! she thought. Rumer Godden gave way to Madeleine L’Engle and Frances Hodson Burnett. Soon, a sturdy, low-hanging backyard branch became a thoughtful spot where some rather large ideas began to take shape. If reading James Barrie can make a girl flap her arms and jump off a garden wall fully expecting to fly, books truly do pulse with life.