Medieval nun – once suspect, now honored – a tale for today

Hildegard of Bingen, an extraordinarily accomplished, creative, and feisty Benedictine nun of the 12th century, recently was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XVI. There is a “curious irony” in this bestowal of official honors for a woman with whom Church officials had some difficulty during her life.

Professor Avis Clendenen, SXU faculty member and Hildegard scholar, will explore that irony and the meaning of Hildegard’s life and teaching for today in an illustrated lecture, “Experiencing Hildegard of Bingen – Medieval Nun, Doctor of the Church, Wisdom Figure for Our Time,” on Tues., Nov. 6, at 6:30 p.m. in the Butler Reception Room.

Enhancing her presentation will be the performance of some of Hildegard’s musical compositions. The SXU Women’s Ensemble, under the direction of Prof. Jan Bickel, will present three selections from the repertoire of this cloistered nun, abbess, theologian, church reformer, healer, ecologist, mystic – and now one of only four women identified by the Catholic Church as authentic teachers of the faith.

Sponsored by the Office for University Mission and Heritage, this Hildegard program is free and open to the public. The new edition of Clendenen’s book, “Experiencing Hildegard: Jungian Perspectives,” will be available for purchase. Complimentary refreshments will round out the evening, which will conclude by 8 p.m. so all can hurry home to monitor election returns.