St Hildegard of Bingen – Doctor of the Universal Church

Hildegard grew from childhood to maturity in a monastery, without the comforts of parents or home. Losing a parent or indeed losing both parents, can have “a traumatic effect on a child” (James Hamilton, 2006:1, cited in Cameron, 2015a:13). The warmth of the family home was absent and replaced with the cold walls of a monastery. Even when living within a community of people, there would be occasions when loneliness would intrude, and particularly more so when a child is separated from parents. Though her spiritual mother Jutta Von Sponheim was a presence in her life, Hildegard’s major source of solace, was her time spent in prayer. Lucetta Scaraffia (2012, May 11) writes of Hildegard’s “mystic childhood experiences”, which continued through to adulthood. So, the warmth or light that Hildegard was seeking, became centered on her relationship with God. In her prayer life, she was serving “a Higher Purpose” (Sipe & Frick, 2015:30), which we have seen in the narrative of her life – this “closeness to God” equipped her to cope with all situations. She was an enigma – frail of body but strong of mind.