Land der Hildegard - Hildegard von Bingen

Kloster Eibingen

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Her Life › Work as Abbess › Death

Navigationsbaum: Her Life › Work as Abbess › Death

After the successful end of her last big fight, the strength of the 81-year old Hildegard came to an end. She felt death and wanted it, because she knew that she had fulfilled her mission in this world. In her last vision, the day of her death was revealed to the prophet:

„God heard her wish, and as she desired it before herself, he revealed her end in the prophetic spirit that she also announced to her sisters. At the age of 82, after a time of struggling with her illness, she finally was on a joyful journey home to her heavenly groom on 17 September.“

Then the Vita further describes that as a sign of her going home, a mysterious light above Hildegard’s house appeared. Further miracles happened at her funeral, which was carried out by „venerable men“ and in an „honourable place“.

Guibert of Gembloux, Hildegard’s last secretary, was then still on the Rupertsberg and was surely not less affected by the death of the honoured Abbess than the nuns. He had the plan to write a biography about Hildegard and soon started his work. In 1180, however, he was interrupted in his work when called back to Gembloux. The work he started only fell back into his hands years later when he looked through his literary work. He wanted to finish Hildegard’s biography, but when he addressed Abbot Gottfried of St. Eucharius in Trier regarding his questions, the Abbot told him that the Vita sanctae Hildegardis had already been written. Abbot Ludwig of St. Eucharius (1173-1181), who supported Hildegard in finishing Liber divinorum operum, and his counterpart Gottfried of Echternach (1181-1210) had already entrusted the well-educated Theoderich from the monastery in Echternach with this task in the first half of the 1180s. Theoderich probably did not know the protagonist of his book, but he put the Vita together from existing written material. So he left behind a valuable biographical document which contains various fragments and views – amongst them also an autobiographic draft by Hildegard herself.