Sep 1, 2010 / 03:39 am
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.