Land der Hildegard - Hildegard von Bingen

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Her Life › Years of study in the hermitage › Entry

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The question when and where Hildegard started her life in the nun’s convent together with Jutta of Sponheim again brings us to an issue of the research concerning Hildegard, since the statements in the sources are contradictory. According to Hildegard’s Vita, she was almost eight years old when she started this new period in her life, which is in 1106.

„When she was about eight years old, (…) she was locked away at Mount St. Disibod together with Jutta, a pious woman consecrated to God.“.

In an autobiographic fragment contained in the Vita she also mentioned that she was about eight years old when she started a consecrated life. However in 1106, the Disibodenberg was not yet inhabited by Benedictine monks. According to the evidence contained in a certificate, this only occurred in 1108! A solution to this contradiction can be found in the stated Vita domnae Juttae inclusae, where 1112 is referred to as the year of entry of Jutta, Hildegard, who was then 14 years old, and a third girl into the nun’s convent on the Disibodenberg. This time of entry is also confirmed by a record in the Annales Disibodenses, according to which Jutta spent, up to her death in 1136, 24 years of her life at the Disibodenberg.

If one does not want to mistrust data relating to age completely, one can assume – as some Hildegard researchers do (e.g. Monika Klaes) – that Hildegard had already met Jutta in 1106 and together, they stayed with the pious widow Uda of Göllheim, who taught Jutta for three years. Perhaps Jutta and Hildegard lived a pious life on Castle Sponheim during this time and until 1112, or Hildegard until then still lived with her own family. On All Saints’ Day of 1112, the three girls finally separated from their secular lives and were admitted as recluses (lat.: enclosed) on the Disibodenberg. Between 1112 and 1115, Hildegard took her profession and so permanently committed herself to the congregation.