Wednesday 9 March 2022

Hildegard of Bingen - Angelo Amato - CTS Great Saints

Hildegard of Bingen
CTS Great Saints
Angelo Cardinal Amato
Matthew Sherry (Translator)
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860828850
eISBN 9781784693794
ASIN B073H25233
CTS Booklet B755

Over the last several years I have read over 275 books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society. The CTS is now among my favourite publishers. I love that I have yet to encounter a bad volume from them. I stumbled upon them while researching works by a specific author. And I love these books and booklets. In 2021 the CTS rebranded many of the books and series. They are apparently moving away from a series model. The eBook edition of this still has CTS Great Saints Series but some in the series have the rebranded is tagged with ‘Saints and Blesseds’. Having reached out to the CTS they have confirmed the rebranding and less of a focus on series. I find that a pity as there are several series I am trying to finish. But all the biographies in many series have the CTS Booklet B### format. I loved the books in the CTS Great Saints Series. I have already read 23 books in this series and over 65 CTS Biographies from the CTS, and this is the first from Angelo Cardinal Amato, and I believe his only book available in English. I have enjoyed all of them. This volume is another wonderful read, in an excellent series! 

The description of the book is:

“Hildegard of Bingen was one of the most extraordinary women of the medieval period, or indeed of any age. She was an Abbess and polymath who excelled in music, medicine and poetry. She was a playwright and a mystic and founded two monasteries. In 2012 she was declared a Doctor of the Church and her work ‘perennially relevant’ by Pope Benedict XVI. This text written by Cardinal Angelo Amato gives a wonderful insight into her importance for the Church and the world.”

And the chapters in this little volume are:

The ‘Canonisation Equivalent’
Biographical Sketch
Attempts at Canonisation
Exemplarity of Life
The Reputation of Holiness and Miracles
Eminens Doctrina
The Perennial Validity of Hildegard
Message of Holiness
Benedict XVI and Hildegard of Bingen

This volume was originally published in 2012, translated and published by the CTS in 2013 and the eBook edition was released in 2017. This volume both begins and ends with reference to Pope Benedict XVI. The boog begins with these words:

“On 10th May 2012, the Holy Father Benedict XVI “extended to the Universal Church the liturgical devotion in honour of St Hildegard of Bingen, a professed nun of the Order of St Benedict, who was born in Bermersheim (Germany) in 1098 and died in Rupertsberg (Germany) on 17th September 1179, inscribing her in the catalogue of the saints.” This is the brief statement that appeared in L’Osservatore Romano on 11th May 2012.

So we ask ourselves: wasn’t Hildegard of Bingen already considered a saint before this? Blessed John Paul II, in 1979, had said of her: “A light of her people and of her time, St Hildegard of Bingen shines more brightly during these days in which we celebrate the eight hundredth anniversary of her departure from this world, the malice and sin of which she kept far away from her, but who, driven by the love of Christ, benefitted by countless gifts to live in eternity with God.”1 And Benedict XVI dedicated two catecheses to her in September 2010, affirming: “Various female figures stand out for the holiness of their lives and the wealth of their teaching even in those centuries of history that we usually call the Middle Ages. Today I would like to begin to present one of them to you: St Hildegard of Bingen, who lived in Germany in the twelfth century.”

And so: who was Hildegard of Bingen, and why this delayed official recognition of her sanctity?”

The next section of the book, ‘An Unusual Case for Sainthood’ states:

“Let us say at the beginning that the case of ‘St’ Hildegard of Bingen is very unusual for at least two reasons. The first concerns the particular historical moment (which spans from 1170/71 to 1234), in which there had not yet been a definitive transition from canonisation by the bishop to canonisation by the Pope. As a result, the first steps for canonisation, taken immediately after the death of the Rhenish abbess in 1179, have the feel of a climate of transition, in which the canonical procedures to be followed in this regard were not yet well defined.”

This volume was a fascinating read. It was one I wished to track down for a while, but could not find the eBook at my usual vendor. I ordered an out of print physical copy that was lost in shipping, and finally found it on a different eBook format. I am thankful I finally tracked it down and gave it a read. There is something fascinating about this saint, her life and her writings. I hold a Religious Studies Degree with a specialization in Roman Catholic Thought. I did a seminar course many years ago focusing on Catholic Thinkers. This book would have been an excellent beginning point for seminar prep. But it is also a great read for anyone hoping to learn and grow from the example of this Great Saint.

As mentioned previously this book both begins and ends with Benedict XVI. The book ends specifically with two papal catechesis dedicated to Hildegard of Bingen, on 1st and 8th September 2010 from Pope Benedict XVI. It is another great Biography from the Catholic Truth Society. I am certain you will be blessed and challenged by the reading of this little volume! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the CTS Great Saints Series:
Antonio Rosmini - J.B. Midgley
Bernard of Clairvaux - J.B. Midgley
Benedict Patron of Europe - J.B. Midgley
Charles Borromeo - J.B. Midgley
Dominic - J.B. Midgley
Elizabeth of the Trinity The Great Carmelite Saint - Jennifer Moorcroft
Francis de Sales - J.B. Midgley
Gemma Galgani Gem of Christ John Paul Kirkham
George: Patron of England - J.B. Midgley
John Baptist de La Salle - J.B. Midgley
John of the Cross - Jennifer Moorcroft
John Vianney - J.B. Midgley
Louis Marie de Montfort His Life, Message and Teaching - Paul Allerton SMM
Martin de Porres - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
Patrick Missionary to the Irish - Thomas O’Loughlin 

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