Respected Vatican reporter Andrea Tornielli writes
at Vatican Insider
that Pope Benedict XVI will canonize Hildegard
von Bingen in October of next year, and at the same recognize her as a Doctor
of the Church.
If Tornielli is correct, Hildegard the 12th-century
mystic, prioress, and composer who has been popularly revered as a saint for
centuries, though never formally canonized would become the Church’s fourth
female doctor (alongside Saints Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, and Therese
of Lisieux). Earlier this year, during his visit to Spain, Benedict announced
his intention to declare St. John of Avila a doctor, the first since John
Paul II so designated Therese in 1997.
Tornielli is short on details or sources in his report, but
he notes Pope Benedict’s frequent mentions of the “Sybil of the Rhine,”
including two Wednesday audience addresses he devoted to her and her work last
year (the texts of which can be read here
Tornielli also reports, “The Congregation for the Causes of Saints, headed by
Cardinal Angelo Amato, is
terminating a study of the documents on Hildegard,” presumably as the last step
before the announcement of her canonization.
Toward the end of Tornielli’s report which includes some
fascinating biographical information is this odd little fact about Hildegard,
previously unknown to me. Grounds for naming Hildegard
the patron saint of Catholic nerds, perhaps?
The German nun is also the patron
of scholars of Esperanto,
because she is the author of one of the first artificial languages, the Unknown
Language, a secret language used for mystical purposes composed of 23
letters. She herself describes it in a code that also contains a glossary
of 1011 words in “unknown language”.