Vatican City, Oct 8, 2020 / 03:10 am
Pope Francis hailed the “great” Doctor of the Church St. Hildegard of Bingen in a message to a Vatican women’s group issued Thursday.
“Like St. Francis of Assisi, she composed a harmonious hymn in which she celebrated and praised the Lord of and in creation,” he said in the text dated Oct. 1, the feast day of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, another female Doctor of the Church.
“Hildegard united scientific knowledge and spirituality. For a thousand years, she has masterfully taught men and women through her writings, her commentaries and her art.”
The pope noted that the German Benedictine abbess, composer and philosopher challenged prevailing restrictions on women.
He said: “She broke with the customs of her time, which prevented women from study and access to libraries, and, as abbess, she also demanded this for her sisters. She learned to sing and compose music, which for her was a means of drawing nearer to God. For Hildegard, music was not only an art or science; it was also a liturgy.”
The pope made the comments in a message to members of the Women’s Consultation Group of the Pontifical Council for Culture taking part in a webinar Oct. 7.
He noted that the group, established in 2015, was a “novelty” within the Roman Curia.