Hildegard of Bingen was born in 1098, the youngest of ten children, and grew up in a time when most children, especially girls, were not taught to read and write, unless, like Hildegard, they were from an aristocratic family.
As a child, Hildegard began to experience “visions.” In light of her visions and in order to stay in good standing in the church (the tenth child from each family at that time was typically dedicated to the church and given as a tithe or an offering), Hildegard's family sent her to a Benedictine monastery.
Hildegard’s life was spent in complete enclosure, in a cell as an oblate (an extension of a religious order). However, her visions and the theories and the research that arose from them, contributed to her lifelong creative work.
Hildegard left the protection and shelter of the monastery and founded two
convents, one on the Rhine River near Bingen and in Eibingen.
Her prolific body of writings surpassed most of her male contemporaries in medicine, theology, nature, music, cosmology, and poetry. Her writings were a source of inspiration to German Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, Catholic bishops and cardinals and Pope Eugenius III, among others. She would have been an impressive individual in any era.
Hildegard lives on in history as one of very few prominent women in medieval church history. In fact, she is one of only four women who were named a Doctor of the Church, meaning that her doctrinal writings have special authority in Roman Catholicism. She is considered by many to be a patron saint of musicians and writers.
Here is link to a YouTube Video to sample of her extraordinary skill as a composer. Enjoy!