Youthful visions

St Hildegard was born around the year 1098. Her family were among the lower nobility in service of Count Meginhard of Sponheim.

From a very early age St Hildegard experienced visions and her parents offered her as an oblate to the Benedictine monastery at Disibodenberg.

The date is contested, but scholars do know that Hildegard was professed with an older woman known as Jutta and placed in her care when she

may have been as young as eight. The women formed the core of a growing female community attached to the male monastery. After Jutta’s death in 1136, Hildegard was unanimously elected as magistra of the community by her fellow nuns.

Following an illness which left her temporarily paralysed, Hildegard asked Archbishop Henry I of Mainz if the nuns could move to Rupertsberg to form a more independent community. They were eventually granted their own monastery in 1150.

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