mystic and scholar (1099 - 1179)

She was the abbess of St. Rupert at Bingen-am-Rhine. She was one of ten children and was given to the Benedictines at the age of eight. She was a prolific writer, perhaps the most prolific of the Middle Ages. Four of her books are "Know They Ways", Book of Life's Merits", Book of Divine Works", Medicine". She wrote music as well. Performances of her original music are now available on CDs. Over 300 letters and 6 to 8 octave volumes of her writings survive.

She was called the marvel of Germany and the Sybill of the Rhine. Much of what she wrote is couched in mystical terms. Yet her ideas are quite modern. Her ideas on universal gravitation are correct and pre-date Newton's by several centuries.

You can find more information on Hildegard

She was sent to the convent as a young child. While there she wrote in her journal speaking of her nurse

"This wonderful woman who had guided me in observing the range of positions of the rising and setting Sun, who had had me mark with a crayon on a wall the time and place where the warming sunlight first appeared in the morning and finally disappeared each and every day of my eleventh year."
This is the mark of the true scientist.

She is honored by nurses as the founder of holistic medicine, and delightfully mixed a wonderful common sense with her healing. Here is her recipe for spice cookies (modernized). "Eat them often," she says, "and they will calm every bitterness of heart and mind - and your hearing and senses will open. Your mind will be joyous, and your senses purified, and harmful humours will diminish."

3/4 cup butter or margarine (1 1/2 sticks), 1 cup brown sugar, 1 egg, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ground cloves. Mix, form walnut sized balls, and bake for 10-15 minutes.

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