The life and works of Hildegard assume special significance because of the times in which she lived. The Medieval Ages were not conducive for the education of women, but since Hildegard had been given as a tithe to the church at the tender age of eight she soon imbibed the Seven Offices that the monks sang, as well as the special liturgical chants observed for feasts and other important days of the church calendar. Benedictine nuns, of which Hildegard was a member, had to learn the Psalter in Latin and several other songs and responses which were a part of church ritual. In spite of her knowledge of the rituals and the Holy Scriptures, Hildegard was apprehensive about revealing her visions for fear of being ostracized. But since visions, which Hildegard, had in plenty, were sanctioned by the Church, the supreme temporal and intellectual authority in those days, she gained easier acceptance as a pioneer, both in religion and medicines, in her time. Hildegard came to be looked upon as a healer with miraculous powers and the common people looked to her for alleviating their miseries. The Life of Hildegard as the Greatest Women of Religion.
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Introduction by Barbara J. Newman, and Preface by Caroline Walker Bynum. Hildegard von Bingen, Scivias, trans. by Columba Hart and Jane Bishop (New York: Paulist Press, 1990) 60-61
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