The first feminist. St. Hildegard von Bingen
Today’s feminists aren’t really feminists. They’re mostly just spoiled suburban mall rats trying to get attention.
Fortunately, this brand of “Benson and Hedges” feminism is dying on the vine. None too soon, thank you.
The new 21st century feminist is more like the 12th century St. Hildegard von Bingen.
A somewhat abbreviated version of her life can be seen the movie “Vision.” It’s in German but a version with English subtitles can be found on Amazon Prime here.
[bctt tweet=”To me, the allure of St. Hildegard is a combination of two things. First, her accomplishments. She basically invented scientific method in the field of medicine. At the same time, she invented homeopathic medicine and the value of faith, prayer and belief in healing. More about that later.” username=”@PaulSchwartzme1″]
One of truly miraculous things about St. Hildegard is that most of what she wrote was preserved and still exists. Her most famous book, Causae et Curae, contains over 300 chapters on psychology, medicine and the causes of disease and is the largest body of medieval science in existence.
St. Hildegard’s most striking quality is that fact that she’s all but totally IGNORED among today’s leftist feminists.
There are several reasons for this. First is that she was German. German women don’t fare well in today’s media. Second, she was celibate. Not declaring a sexuality is soooo 12th century.
[bctt tweet=”Finally, she believed that sexuality was a physical manifestation of God’s creation, not a fluid choice.” username=”@PaulSchwartzme1″]
I stumbled upon the story of St. Hildegard while studying the roots of my own family that came from an area near Kaiserslautern, in the modern-day Rhineland. It’s an area west of Munich, dotted with farming villages, castles and sleepy towns.
St Hildegard the mystic.
Hildegard was born into a wealthy family, one of 9 children. She was placed in a male convent by her parents because of her ill health, something that would dog her all the 91 years of her life.
It was in times of extreme pain that God would come to her in visions of light. At these times she would be in so much pain she would go into a near comatose state and stay in this state, sometimes for weeks.
But St. Hildegard’s mysticism ended there.
Shortly after her attaining, by populate vote, the title of magistrate in the convent, she convinced the church to grant her a woman’s only convent. It was here that she created one of the world’s most advanced herb gardens specifically for healing.
[bctt tweet=”St Hildegard’s advances in scientific method were staggering for her time.” username=”@PaulSchwartzme1″]
In fact, they’d be amazing today. She believed that all disease originated because of Adam’s original sin having been banned from the garden of Eden. As tempting as this is to think of this as non-scientific, think it through. It’s VERY close to today’s thinking.
St. Hildegard believed that all bad health was due to Adams having to eat bad food! That is, food that wasn’t grown in the garden of Eden. (Think pesticides!) But, keep in mind “Causae et Curae means cause AND cures.
Her convent spent 6 decades studying and using a combination of body cleansing, herbs, freshly grown food, music and prayer to heal the sick that came to her convent. It’s only today, 8 century’s later that science has “discovered” that faith (what we call the placebo affect) is important in healing.
St. Hildegard wasn’t a mystic in her hospital.
She was a doctor. Every cure she developed was tested, measured and the result logged into journals and done in a very practical way.
In one famous case she described the amount of blood that was needed to be leached out of a sick man by writing, “the amount that one would get in a single gulp.” This sounds absurd unless you realize that in 1185, the only place where you could find measuring cups was a convent. To be sure you wouldn’t find them on rural farms two days from the nearest village!
St. Hildegard was also an accomplished musician.
She believed that music was an integral part of healing.
She wrote both the music and lyrics to an enormous body of music, much still in existence. She made changes to traditional Benedictine choral music that was transformative for it’s day. She also created an opera which was performed all over Europe.
St Helena and Mother Theresa
One thing that always amazed me about these two women was their longevity.
How does one live to be 91, or 87 in the case of St. Theresa, having spent your entire life in the company of sick people, many with highly contagious diseases?
Hildegard’s nuns were from rich families.
In today’s society this is hard to digest without a good dose of cynicism.
Today’s historian’s practice what I like to call Hist-erics. It’s a type of history where you project back your current values into a prior century. It’s best described in an old SNL skit called “The girl you wish you didn’t start a conversation with at a party.” (Cecily Strong. You’ll piss you pants laughing.)
It’s hard to imagine today that the main operating system in the minds of educated, intelligent, upper class people in the 12th century was their religion. To them, faith wasn’t mystic. It was reality and the practice of faith was grounded in deeds.
And not grandiose deeds like proclaiming an end to global climate change, but hundreds of daily practices like praying the rosary at specific times, the sign of the cross, adherence to strict rules of conduct and penance.
One of my favorite stories of St. Hildegard was when she was given her first woman’s convent. (She started several) A man was buried there that was a famous convict. The church wanted to remove the body to purify the land for the convent. Hildegard ordered that he stay because since he died, he had met his maker and was cleansed.
Where will the next feminists come from?
Contrary to what politically minded people think, today;s women are not particularly leftist. They’re just branded that way.
Both of my daughters graduated from what are considered liberal, leftist, feminist mind control laboratories. I spent a lot of time on both campuses for parent’s days, softball games and choral concerts. I didn’t see many leftists.
I’d say a good 90% of the girls were from conservative suburban families. The girls were all hard working and polite. Today, of the ones I still know, all are successful and working in corporate America.
Are they feminists?
Yes. Exactly like their predecessor, St. Hildegard von Bingen. They’re making huge contributions, but if you get in their face, they fight back.