i was first introduced to Hildegard von Bingen in the 1980s by the activist priest and theologian Matthew Fox, who is almost single-handedly responsible for getting her work known in the United States. He wrote the introduction to Mystical Visions, a translation of Hildegard's first book Scivias (Know Thy Ways), which was first published in 1986. Since then, he has written and contributed to a number of landmark books about her, including Hildegard of Bingen: A Saint For Our Times (2012). Fox has been criticized for labeling her as one of the first feminists and "eco-warriors." I for one am grateful for his work in making this remarkable woman more well-known in America.
Several years ago, I dragged my family to Germany hot on the trail of Hildegard. My hopes were that I could turn this information into a stage play, but despite my extensive research, no specific story worthy of her popped out. When visiting Bingen, our family stayed at a once-grand villa on the Rhine River that I found on AirBnB. The proprietor, an elderly woman, took me aside upon my arrival. In hushed tones, she confided to me that she WAS Hildegard von Bingen reincarnated; she had summoned me to her villa so that I would write her story. She spent the afternoon telling me juicy information about Hildegard that I've not encountered anywhere else. Those stories remain untold. Some day...
Riehm has been a lifelong writer, musician, educator and playwright (under the name of Sarah Lawrence). She currently resides in rural southwestern Colorado. For more information, visit www.sarahlawrencewrites.com.
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