On her 90th birthday, noted philosopher and Catholic theologian Alice von Hildebrand has been lauded for both her teachings and example of “authentic womanhood.”
“Alice von Hildebrand has written eloquently on the beauty of femininity,” John Henry Crosby, director of the Dietrich von Hildebrand Legacy Project, told CNA March 12.
“Yet what makes her such a compelling proponent is that she embodies in her own person the grace, depth, receptivity – and, indeed, the genius – of authentic womanhood.”
March 11 marked von Hildebrand's 90th birthday. She is regarded as a pillar of courage, knowledge, and wit, and is well known in the Catholic world and beyond.
von Hildebrand is a philosopher and theologian and spent 37 years as a professor of philosophy at Hunter College in New York City. Hunter College is a private, secular institution, yet Alice was able to spend many years there influencing the thought of students.
“Nowadays, Alice von Hildebrand writes for a worldwide audience of devoted fans. Yet we cannot forget that her gifts were honed in the crucible of tremendous opposition she endured during her thirty-seven years as professor of philosophy in a secular university,” Crosby said.
“Her witness needs to be emulated, for she did not rail against her situation; rather, she became an extraordinary teacher who won over thousands of students by persuasion, intelligence, and wit.”
She is the widow of Dietrich von Hildebrand, also a philosopher and theologian. They were married from 1957 until his death in 1977, and co-authored several books. Many of his works were publicized because of her efforts typing and editing his manuscripts.
Crosby noted that von Hildebrand “has devoted her life to promoting the thought of her late husband, the great Catholic philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand. She has no equal in her ability to distill his profound insights into practical wisdom.”
Alice herself is the author of “Greek Culture,” “Introduction to a Philosophy of Religion,” “By Love Refined: Letters to a Young Bride,” and “The Privilege of Being a Woman,” among other works.
She is also a guest columnist at Catholic News Agency.
The occasion of her 90th birthday is being celebrated with a year-long exploration of her “rich life and innumerable contributions” by the Dietrich von Hildebrand Legacy Project.
“Great and inspiring lives need to be celebrated – to honor those who have lived them, to be sure, but perhaps even more so to awaken us all to the beauty of giving ourselves totally and generously to our particular vocations,” Crosby wrote in an announcement of the initiative.