Hildegard’s Feast Day This is a Countdown . . . .

Hildegard’s Feast Day  This is a Countdown  Day 4

Four days until Hildegard’s feast day  – 17th September

In this poem from my new book Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey

Hildegard is now a young woman. You may wonder how she, from a restricted beginning, could grow in learning and knowledge to became such a great influence on Western World music, medicine, ecology and environment.

 The young man is the monk Volmar. He is one of the few literate  monks and a Latin scholar. He is the scribe for the monastery.  It is 1120.

 

Getting of Knowledge 

Seasons fall one upon another.
Hildegard tends their courtyard,
a patchwork of green colour.

Pilgrims throng to Disibodenberg,
seek Jutta for blessing.
Jutta sits at her window                                                          
to the world.
Hildegard observes Jutta’s gifts
of healing and prophecy,
aware of the pilgrims, their fears,
their sense of longing.

After Divine Office
the monk Volmar taps the window,
gives them a vellum-bound manuscript.
He speaks softly,
This is my new work.

In dim afternoon light
Hildegard and Jutta sit together,
marvel at illustrated works
he has copied into German,
of the vegetation found sheltered
in woodlands and meadows,
herbs, ferns, moss and lichen

They pour over each page.
Illustrations shimmer
under Hildegard’s enquiring gaze.
They smell the hide, minerals,
ink’s oak oil, plant dye.
Hildegard’s hunger quickens.
Her hunger for the getting of knowledge.

 

 

 

PS The writing pictures are of mediaeval time but not Hildegard’s actual writing.

Book Review by Dr. Christine Cameron. Hildegard of Bingen:A Poetic Journey

AFFIRMING REVIEW        by     Dr Christine Cameron

Hildegard’s life sings and dances across the pages of this engaging harmony of her works, set out in this poetic journey that commences at the twilight of her life and then rewinds back through the lens of time. There is the separation from family to “entombment” in an anchorage with Jutta and another; words that then envelop the reader in frigid emotions of isolation and confinement – words that explore the lack of warmth amidst sanctity and penance! Nevertheless, an inner glow returns with the descriptive analysis of freedom becoming a reality, when there is a re-emergence into the light and life of the monastery – its interior and exterior – its undulating fields and its healing life-giving plants.

While engaged on the journey the foremost characters are given personalities that leap lifelike from the pages – Jutta is a living saint who projects perfection; the personality clash with the Head Abbot Kuno simmers and grows; the bond between Hildegard and her sisters is as a mother with her daughters; Hildegard’s incredible friendship with the ever faithful Volmar and her undying but questionable love for the young Richardis when there was a need to treat all equally – demonstrate a logical progression of words and ideas leading to a climax. As magistra – teacher Hildegard’s awareness of the confinement of the monastery leads her to respond to the “divine call” for change and meeting the challenges she creates new foundations with her group of nuns. 

A mystical writer, a visionary, a healer, a scientist, a writer of plays, a musician – what a woman! In this Poetic Journey Hildegard’s genius is explored with cadences and rhythms that flow from verse to verse and page to page. There is the illness that plagues her through her long life which ends in pain and sanctified silence but is expertly shown by the writer that Hildegard’s life has really only just begun for as a saint and Doctor of the Universal Church her life is immortalised in the annals of the Church. The many gifts of Hildegard – including her charisma – are expertly embedded in this “Poetic Journey” that gives voice to the “Living Voice”. A very enjoyable and fascinating read!

Dr Christine Cameron – 15 March 2019.

Christine is a seasonal lecturer with the Australian Catholic University. She has served as Principal and in administrative positions in Catholic primary schools in NSW Australia. Christine’s books are based on her successful PhD research into Women Doctors of the Catholic Church: A Study in servant Leadership.

Her first book Leadership as a Call to Service (2012)  explores the then three female Doctors.  Her second book, on the The Life and Works of Hildegard of Bingen  (2013) shows her a regarded scholar of Hildegard and 12th century  mystical writings, as she 

“seamlessly weaves the golden thread of SERVANT LEADERSHIP through the life and works of St. Hildegard