Hildegard of Bingen.
Today’s her feast day, this doctor of the Church. I learned a lot about her earlier this year while writing a 15 page paper on one of her visions. Her title of a polymath is fully grounded in the reality of her life.
Let me tell you, her visions are not easy to understand without a commentary. I made that mistake only once.
Life with God is meant to be is brimming with vitality and hope, her visions tell us. And her life itself is exemplary; she responded to God’s call in her life and started her abbey, she was a prolific writer of letters, both encouragement and reprimand. She wrote plays, she composed music that is still regarded as meritorious. Hildegard was well versed in healing methods of her day. This saint was sought for her counsel and preaching, even to groups of clerics (and she was not necessarily kind to them in what she had to say).
She was condescended and reprimanded by another abbess for allowing her sisters to wear their hair down (even for a play on the virtues that she wrote), and she defended the action christologically, saying they were as sisters and therefore brides of Christ himself. They were married women who could do so.
I have a printed picture of one of her visions on the wall beside where I sit at the table. Andy asks when I’m going to take it down, but it’s grown on me, this vision of humanity encompassed by God and given aide with grace and virtue.
Her life was a crazy roller coaster that she navigated by clinging to the Holy Spirit, crying out with joy.
St Hildegard, pray for us.