The courage that St. Hildegard had in the 12th century is truly an inspiration to all of us today. She felt that God was speaking through her in the many powerful visions that she experienced, and she soon felt called to share them with others.
Yet, St. Hildegard often doubted herself and her abilities to share this with the world. She lived in a time where women did not preach, speak publicly, or write. Certainly not on controversial topics such as visions from God!
One of her greatest visions she had, at 52 years of age, was when she was called to leave her home of 40 years and build her own abbey.
At the time, she was living at the convent at St. Disibod along the Rhine River. She experienced a vision where she saw a place on a hill where the river Nahe flows into the Rhine that would be dedicated to the name of St. Rupert. At that location, St. Rupert’s church had stood centuries before, but Viking invaders had destroyed it in the 9th century.
For St. Hildegard, it was the perfect place to build her own abbey. The inspiring work of St. Rupert in the 7th century fueled her commitment to move forward with this project.
And yet, she was faced with many obstacles along the way.
The monks at St. Disibod strongly objected to her leaving. The monastery had profited well through the years from her presence as she had risen to become a leader in the community. The women who came to join the religious community at that time paid a dowry. Additionally, those who came to visit brought gifts including valuable property. To have many sisters leave with St. Hildegard meant that the monks’ financial support would too.
Yet, St. Hildegard persevered. She felt she was being divinely called to create an abbey that was separate from the monastery at Disibod.
Soon, as often happened with St. Hildegard, she fell ill. She laid in bed without the ability to move or speak.
During a visit from the abbot at her sick bed, he became convinced that her illness was a sign of God’s displeasure with the delay in fulfilling his will that was communicated in her vision. So, at that point, the move was approved and supported.
When her health returned, St. Hildegard moved with approximately 20 nuns and her friend, Volmar, from Disibodenberg to the new location that would become Rupertsberg. There they moved into the old and decaying buildings that were still standing on the Rhine.
Even though finances for restoring the existing buildings were uncertain, workers were hired. St. Hildegard oversaw every aspect of the project, even as she worked alongside the builders and artists. Rupertsberg would have every detail needed for self-sufficiency including a mill, gardens, stables, a chapel, infirmary, dormitories and more.
This incredible project took years, even as St. Hildegard entered into her 6th decade of life on earth. But soon, her perseverance and courage were rewarded as the vision of Rupertsberg reached completion. She felt it was truly a place that could manifest the Power of the Living Light and could house 50 nuns on the property.
St. Hildegard later wrote a song, O Jerusalem, that honored this new creation of the Living Light and the respect and even kinship she felt toward St. Rupert who lived centuries ago. We can imagine that St. Hildegard, in her song, was drawing a comparison between her abbey and the Holy City of Jerusalem awaiting its rebuilding in heaven.
But, St. Hildegard’s work was not done yet. She continued to encounter obstacles even after the opening of Rupertsberg. The early years were quite difficult ones. Some sisters even left. Still, she persevered with the passion she had for the project.
And then at the age of 67, marching forward, she even created a second abbey!
St. Hildegard is truly an inspiration to all of us today to find our courage to manifest our visions and persevere through the obstacles that come into our paths.
What are you being called to create in your community? New solutions, new ideas, and new ways of thinking are needed in our world today.
It is possible to manifest the vision that you’re being called to create.
Even through obstacles!
Remember the strength and power of St. Hildegard, and you can find yours too. Let the words of St. Hildegard echo in your mind as you take your next steps forward, “God created me… God is also my strength… Through God, I have living spirit. Through God I have life and movement. Through God I learn, I find my path…”
The Divine is always there to support us on our paths!
Interested in more support to manifest your creative vision for the world, sign up here for my FREE training "5 Steps To Mastering Your Creativity".
I was born in London, England, educated in Switzerland, and am fluent in English, German, Spanish, and French. I hold a Doctorate in Ministry Degree and Masters Degrees in Counseling Psychology and Education. Also, I am an accomplished artist and educator. I use all of this and much more when helping others heal their souls.