Monday, July 29, 2019

Hildegard Pilgrimage with Deacon Shanon Sterringer, ARCWP - Day 1 - B: Hildegard Abbey in Eibingen, Germany

Day 1 - Hildegard Pilgrimage led by Deacon Shanon Sterringer, ARCWP - July 28, 2019. Shanon's commentary follows:

The Abbey of St. Hildegard was built in the early 1900's and is the home to a community of cloistered Benedictine Sisters. While it is not built on a location where St. Hildegard had built either of her two monasteries, it is just up the hill from the Eibingen Monastery and her spirit continues to permeate this new space.  The Abbey is open daily and welcomes pilgrims and visitors for Liturgy of the Hours and Mass and with enough advance notice, guest rooms are even available for overnight retreats.  St. Hildegard's earliest theological work, Scivias, is preserved (not the original but a facsimile) in the Abbey.   

Statue of St. Hildegard in the Abbey wall as one walks up the driveway.  She is depicted with a feather ("I am a feather on the breath of God..."), a copy of Scivias, and a crosier!

This is a statue of St. Hildegard created by Karlheinze Oswald in 1998 and is an iconic piece outside of the Abbey Church in the rose garden.

Breathtaking view of the Abbey vineyards from outside the chapel.  The town below is Rudesheim and across the Rhine River (not visible in this photo) is Bingen.
St. Hildegard's Abbey Chapel, Eibingen, Germany. The Benedictine Sisters are cloistered and attend liturgies from a side nave.  The main area is for visitors and pilgrims.

Relic preserved within the statue of Mary, Mother of God

The following mosaic pieces on the left side of the Abbey chapel depict St. Hildegard's life journey.  

This first one is of St. Hildegard being tithed to the Benedictine Monastery of Disibodenberg under the care of Jutta von Sponheim at the age of eight years old. 
The second mosaic piece depicts St. Hildegard moving her sisters out of Disibodenberg to the Monastery she built at Mount St. Rupert (better known as the Monastery of Rupertsberg) around the early 1150's AD.
This third piece depicts St. Hildegard's well-known meeting with the Emperor Barbarossa at Ingelheim.  More pictures and information on Ingelheim will be posted following our journey to the ruins in a couple of days. 
This fourth mosaic depicts St. Hildegard crossing the Rhine River into Eibingen (Rudesheim) to build her second monastery in the 1160's AD.  It is in this space where her reliquary is preserved today at the Parish Church of St. Hildegard in Eibingen (see previous blog post for photos).  
This last tile piece depicts St. Hildegard's death in 1179AD.  According to her Vita (biography), when her spirit left her physical body, her sisters saw a cross of brilliant light appear in the sky.
This piece hangs to the right of the sanctuary in the Abbey church.  It is an image of St. Hildegard the Prophetess.   She is often referred to as the "Sybil of the Rhine" because of her unique gift of spiritual sight. There is a statue of St. Hildegard in a prophet's cloak at the Parish Church of St. Rupert (pictures to follow in a later blog). 

Rev. Dr. Mary Theresa Streck and Rev. (bishop) Mary Eileen Collingwood at the gates entering the Abbey of St. Hildegard, Eibingen, Germany
St. Hildegard was a Benedictine Sister.  This is a medal which hangs above the doors entering the Abbey Church.  This metal is incorporated throughout the facility (on the metal gates, walls, etc.) It is the medal of St. Benedictine and is a prayer to keep away all forms of evil and darkness.
The rose gardens at the Abbey (and throughout the Rhine Valley) are breathtaking.  

Photos by Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP

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