Why the name “Hildegard” for this Center?
Hildegard Von Bingen (1098-1179) was an extraordinary woman of incredible spirit, talent, drive and intellect. She was a “painter and poet, musician and healer, theologian and prophet, mystic and abbess, playwright and social critic.” During her 82 -year life span she made amazing creative and intellectual contributions and became so well respected, that she was consulted by and advised bishops, popes, noblemen and kings. Her work influenced thousands during her lifetime and she was highly respected in religious, scientific, political and artistic circles, during a time when women were generally not accorded such respect.
Hildegard was also a nun who founded a “vibrant convent” and produced theology and visionary writings (including Scivias) . She had her texts “illuminated”, or illustrated. These 36 renditions of her images or vision make her one of the few identifiable women artists of the middle ages.
She is the first composer whose biography is known; Hildegard was famous for writing sacred music ( about 70 chants, hymns and songs) and composed music for a medieval morality play called Ordo Virtutum ( Play of Virtues), the origin of the art form of opera. Music was extremely important to Hildegard. “She described it as the means of recapturing the original joy and beauty of paradise…music was invented and musical instruments were made in order to worship God appropriately. Perhaps this explains why her music most often sounds like what we imagine angels’ singing to be like.”
In addition to her theological writings, music and painting, Hildegard also had a keen interest in nature, science and healing. She wrote of remedies for psychic and physical ailments and she was a social activist who took on issues of social disease and injustice in her preaching and writing.
To learn more about Hildegard visit the following website: The Life and Works of Hildegard Von Bingen by Kristina Lerman.
A Celebration of “Life and Light” honoring Hildegard of Bingen | October 7, 2012
On Sunday October 7th, 2012, at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, NE. Hildegard Center for the Arts hosted an inspirational “Celebration of Light and Life” event honoring the canonization of Hildegard of Bingen and Pope Benedict XVI’s proclamation to make her a “Doctor of the Church” (in Rome on October 7, 2012.) The celebration included a special presentation by Dr. Carole Levin, Professor of History and Director of Medieval and Renaissance Studies at UNL, as well as dedication given by Fr. Paul Rutten for a sacred Hildegard relic recently acquired by HCFA. A Hildegard chant composed by Hildegard of Bingen was performed by the vocal group Dulces Voces, and a final blessing was offered by Rabbi Craig Lewis. Afterward, guests were treated to a reception that included sacred art and German cuisine in honor of Saint Hildegard. Music was shared by the group Celtic Pilgrims.