Hildegard von Bingen to be canonised

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Composer and mystic made a doctor of the church

The 12th-century mystic and composer Hildegard von Bingen is to be canonised by Pope Benedict XVI in September 2012 – a process which started in 1223.

The German abbess became famous in her own time for her prophecies and miracles and was known as the ‘Sibyl of the Rhine’.

She wrote around 70 songs, collectively known as the Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum, which include antiphons, responses and hymns. Many of her works were recorded by Gothic Voices and conductor Christopher Page on a recording called A Feather on the Breath of God on the Hyperion label – a disc which features in the list of the 50 greatest recordings of all time in the January issue of BBC Music Magazine.

Pope Benedict said of Hildegard ‘She brought a woman’s insight to the mysteries of the faith. In her many works she contemplated the mystic marriage between God and humanity accomplished in the Incarnation, as well as the spousal union of Christ and the Church.’

There are currently only 33 doctors of the church – three of whom are women.

Elizabeth Davis