From Vatican Information Service:
Vatican City, 10 May 2012 (VIS) – The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. During the audience he extended the liturgical cult of St. Hildegard of Bingen (1089-1179) to the universal Church, inscribing her in the catalogue of saints.
Medievalist Sandra Miesel wrote a CWR article in January about Hildegard of Bingen, titled, “Hildegard of Bingen: Voice of the Living Light”. An excerpt:
Nothing would have seemed extraordinary about Hildegard for the first half of her long life. She did not wish to publicize the visionary experiences she had been having since the age of three when a blaze of dazzling brightness burst into her sight. A diffuse radiance which she called her visio filled her field of vision for the rest of her life without interfering with ordinary sight. Hildegard came to understand this phenomenon as “the reflection of the living Light” which conferred the gift of prophecy and gave her an intuitive knowledge of the Divine.
Hildegard’s visions were not apparitions or dreams. She scarcely ever fell into ecstasy but rather perceived sights and messages with the “inner” eyes and ears of her soul. She dictated what she “saw” and “heard” to secretaries while fully lucid. Because the astonishing images she described and directed artists to illustrate feature sparkling gems, shimmering orbs, pulsating stars, curious towers and crenellated walls, modern psychologists have suggested that Hildegard suffered from a form of migraine called “scintillating scotomata.” The debilitating illnesses that preceded or accompanied her visionary episodes might have been migraine attacks. Because supernatural communications are received according to the capacity of the receiver, neurology can offer insights on Hildegard’s particular repertory of forms. But it cannot explain away her experiences or the religious meanings she assigns to them. These were genuine occasions of contact between Hildegard and God.
In 1141—on a date she was careful to record exactly—heaven opened upon Hildegard as “a fiery light of exceeding brilliance” and a mighty voice commanding her to “tell and write” what she sees of God’s marvels. Like Jeremiah and several other prophets, Hildegard quailed at her call. Pleading her sickly female constitution and lack of formal education, she fell ill. But she confided in the convent’s provost, who shared the matter with his abbot at Disibodenberg who urged Hildegard to accept her call. She rose from her bed and set to work on her first book, Scivias.
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