Hildegard and John of Avila becoming 'Doctors of the Church'

German abbess fourth woman ever honored by Vatican

Hildegard and John of Avila becoming 'Doctors of the Church'

(ANSA) – Vatican City, September 28 – Pope Benedict XVI is to declare Saints Hildegard of Bingen and John of Avila Doctors of the Church on October 7, feast of the Holy Rosary. In Catholicism the title Doctor of the Church is given to a saint whose writings have benefited the entire Church and bestowed "eminent learning" and worthy of "great sanctity". The elevation of the 12th-century German mystic nun and the 16th-century Apostle of Andalusia to this level will take to 35 the number of Doctors of the Church, of whom Hildegard will be the fourth woman. Saint Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) was a writer, composer, philosopher, abbess and visionary who founded the monasteries of Rupertsberg and Eibingen. One of her works as a composer, the Ordo Virtutum, is an early example of liturgical drama and arguably the oldest surviving morality play. She wrote theological, botanical and medicinal texts, as well as letters, liturgical songs and poems, while supervising brilliant miniature illuminations. She has been held up by Benedict XVI as a model for the way Catholics should react at times when the Church is under duress. St John of Avila (1500-1569) was a Spanish preacher and mystic and reformer of the clerical life in Spain. His best-known works are the Audi Fili, one of the best tracts on Christian perfection, and his Spiritual Letters to his disciples. photo: a film still from Vision, about Hildegard of Bingen

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