During the late spring/summer I am involved with facilitating a book club in my parish. It's a good way for me to keep up with my reading. We've read biographies of two women Doctors of the Church over the last two years and this year we are tackling St. Hildegard of Bingen. She was named a saint and Doctor of the Church in 2012 by Pope Benedict who wanted to see the process completed during his pontificate. It took the Church over 800 years to canonize her. She was a very unusual woman mystic. Hildegard lived in the Middle Ages (1098-1179) and was a remarkable and influential woman, who is most noted today for her music. She was a German Benedictine abbess, composer, musician, expert in herbs and using them for healing, philosopher and polymath.
I didn't read the biography before suggesting it to the Church readers' group. I should have I might have considered a different biography.....don't want to go into the details here but she used herbs for all sorts of medical problems and I didn't realize what this would entail. Oh well, I figured she's a doctor of the church, how can I go wrong, but secular writers highlight different things in saints' lives then theologians would. But anyway, everyone seems to be enjoying the book. I didn't know much about Hildegard which is why I was happy to read about her. I find the saints' very inspiring. We've read about St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa of Avila and now St. Hildegard. Since there are 4 women Doctors, next summer (God willing) we will read about the youngest doctor of the Church, St. Therese of Liseiux. I know the most about her, I've taken a course about her, with a Carmelite expert and have a great devotion to her besides, so I saved her for last.
The next book we are reading this summer is a much discussed book (I've heard Cardinal Dolan and others speak about it on TV), titled, "The Benedict Option-A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation" by Rod Dreher. Probably my next post will be about that book.
"Let us always invoke the Holy Spirit, so that he may inspire in the Church holy and courageous women like St. Hildegard of Bingen, who developing the gifts they have received from God, make their own special and valuable contribution to the spiritual development of our communities and of the Church in our time." Pope Benedict