Hildegard of Bingen, the 12th-century German Benedictine nun who was also known as a composer, philosopher, writer and physicist, will be named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XVI in September 2012. This will end a canonisation process that has been underway for many years
Hildegard, who came from a wealthy family in Bermersheim vor der Höhe, is thought to have been born around 1098. As a young girl she started experiencing visions and at the age of eight entered a convent. She later developed a powerful musical voice and it is for her music that Hildegard is most widely known. She left some 72 songs as well as letters, poems and nine books. Her music gained popularity as the result of various recordings, including Gothic Voices' 'A Feather on the Breath of God', recorded by Hyperion in April 1985 and which won numerous awards, including Gramophone's Choral Award. Hildegard's music has also been championed by the ensemble Sequentia under the direction of Barbara Thornton and Benjamin Bagby. They recorded seven albums comprising all of Hildegard's symphoniae as well as her music drama Ordo Virtutum (which they recorded twice).
Pope Benedict said of Hildegard that she 'brought a woman’s insight to the mysteries of the faith. In her many works she contemplated the mystic marriage between God and humanity accomplished in the Incarnation, as well as the spousal union of Christ and the Church. She also explored the vital relationship between God and creation, and our human calling to give glory to God by a life of holiness and virtue.'
Hildegard's feast day is September 17.