Benedict XVI holds up St. Hildegard as model for nuns
St. Hildegard of Bingen
St. Hildegard of Bingen
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Every gift from the Holy Spirit is meant for the edification of the community of believers, taught the Pope at Wednesday's general audience. Dedicating his catechesis to St. Hildegard of Bingen, Benedict XVI praised her as a model for modern women religious, and noted that she benefited the faithful by her willingness to submit her supernatural visions to the interpretation of the Church.

The Holy Father addressed an estimated 5,000 people in the main square of the town of Castel Gandolfo. According to L'Osservatore Romano, it is the first time any Pope has ever held a general audience there. Benedict XVI did so seated in the doorway of the Apostolic Palace, a little above the eye-level of the crowd.

Referring first to Venerable John Paul II's Apostolic Letter on the role of women in the life of the Church, entitled "Mulieris dignitatem," Benedict XVI noted that the letter "gives thanks for all the manifestations of the feminine 'genius' which have appeared in the course of history." The Pontiff then focused in on the figure of St. Hildegard of Bingen as one of the saintly women who stood out nearly a millennium ago.

Born into a noble German family in the year 1098, she began her studies in human and Christian formation at a Benedictine convent in the town of Bingen, took her vows to cloistered life and, 30 years after she began her formation, became a mother superior.

Carrying out this role competently, she was able to found an additional convent nearby where she spent a great part of her life, recalled the Pope. The way she exercised authority there continues to be an example for religious communities today, he said, explaining that she was able to create an atmosphere of "holy emulation in the practice of the good, so much so that ... the mother and daughters competed in respecting and serving each other."

Benedict XVI also recalled her mystic visions which she first shared with people in confidence, including her spiritual director, a fellow sister and St. Bernard of Clairvaux. "As always happens in the lives of the true mystics," said the Pope, "Hildegard also wished to submit herself to the authority of wise people to discern the origin of her visions."

St. Bernard, whom the Pope said held "maximum esteem" in the Church at the time, "calmed and encouraged" the sister about the visions, and eventually Pope Eugene III gave her the authorization to write and speak about the visions publicly.

"This," taught the Pope, “is the seal of an authentic experience of the Holy Spirit, source of every charism: the person (who is the) repository of supernatural gifts never boasts, does not flaunt them and, especially, shows total obedience to the ecclesiastical authorities.

"Every gift distributed by the Holy Spirit, in fact, is destined for the edification of the Church, and the Church, through its pastors, recognizes their authenticity."

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Liturgical Calendar

January 27, 2015

Tuesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 3:22-30


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 3:22-30