Benedictine saints & blesseds: May 2012 Archives

Reminding us that the Holy Spirit "continues to inspire women and men who engage in the pursuit of truth" Pope Benedict announced that on October 7, at the beginning of the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, he would proclaim St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen as Doctors of the Church. "These two great witnesses of the faith lived in very different historical periods and came from different cultural backgrounds," he said. "But the sanctity of life and depth of teaching makes them perpetually present: the grace of the Holy Spirit, in fact, projected them into that experience of penetrating understanding of divine revelation and intelligent dialogue with the world that constitutes the horizon of permanent life and action of the Church."

The Pope continued: "Especially in light of the project of the New Evangelization, to which the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will be dedicated, and on the vigil of the Year of Faith, these two figures of saints and doctors are of considerable importance and relevance."

Saint Gregory VII

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Pope Gregory VII Excommunicates Henry IV.jpgThe figures of the medieval period in church history is not high on many today. Issues of ecclesial reform and religious liberty during the 11th century are resonant today. Liturgically the Church recalls one of the popes who worked for reform and religious freedom: Pope Saint Gregory VII. The Tuscan pope was born between 1020 and 1025 and bore the name of Hildebrand. Reliable facts of his Hildebrand's life are obscure but we know his uncle Laurentius was abbot of a Roman monastery, where he engaged his education. Monasteries were great centers of education and culture.

St Hildegard of Bingen.jpg

This morning the Holy Father had received in a private audience Angelo Cardinal Amato, SDB, Prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, who presented the cases for sainthood that his office has been working on.

Among the many important things decided, the Pope has given us the liturgical memorial of and inscribed in the catalog of Saints of the Universal Church, the model of holiness in the person of Saint Hildegard of Bingen, a German Benedictine nun born in Bermershein in 1089 and who died in Rupertsberg on 17 Septemeber 1179.

What is interesting here is that Hildegard never really went through the same process of canonization that's done nowadays so you can say the Church is recognizing her sanctity and place with God without the rigorous investigation that is being done for the Venerable Servant of God Michael J. McGivney. In part, this is because through the centuries the Church has changed several times, the process by which it is judged a person is a blessed or saint. Previously, people used the title "saint" with Hildegard as "popular theology and cult of the saints."

So, with this ecclesial recognition Saint Hildegard of Bingen may be honored officially as a saint of the Church. She may be considered the Church's newest Benedictine saint.

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Benedictine saints & blesseds category from May 2012.

Benedictine saints & blesseds: April 2012 is the previous archive.

Benedictine saints & blesseds: June 2012 is the next archive.

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