Hildegard von Bingen's feast day is coming up, on September 17th. This is a particularly special year for Hildegard: in May, she went through an "equivalent canonization" process, and this October, she will be named the 35th Doctor of the Church.
Born in 1098 in Bemersheim, West Franconia (now Germany), Hildegard was the tenth child born to a family of lesser nobles. She was sickly from birth, and began having visions at three years of age. She recognized them as visions by the age of five, but kept them to herself for many years. It was customary for noble families to offer their tenth child as oblate to the Church (where the term “tithe” comes from), and around the age of eight, Hildegard was sent to the 400-year old Disibodenberg Monastery in the Palatinate Forest, where she lived with Jutta von Sponheim, a nun of noble descent who had chosen the extreme, acetic lifestyle of an anchoress.