What an interesting story of Hildegard Von Bingen. From a very young age she was taught always to obey and remain silent while other in authority decided her fate. But in living her humble existance she produced many remarkable accomplishments. She learned how to thrive in a myopic cell existance and put her mind to learning what beauty the world held. In her later years she became a powerful abbess and she learned how to exist in a man world. This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in Women's studies.
Rated of 5
by Tracy B. (New Castle, DE)
What a shocking story. Well written and hard to put down. I wasn't raised as a Catholic so this was all very new to me. I had heard of female mystics but didn't know what their life was like? True women have come a long way in history but being walled into a space of two rooms for your life because you are a mystic as a young girl with a child caregiver doesn't seem like the good life or spiritual. The lack of choices that presented themselves to women in this time especially the ones of wealth. There was no way to protect the daughters, it was off to the church or marriage with the life of bearing children. Men would have control and power of the family Just as the church controlled knowledge of the the written word, healing...
I must say that I felt like a fly on the wall encased in those two rooms. As the courtyard gathered plants it seemed to grow. Jutta seemed to shrink as Hildegard started to flourish. Who would have guessed that Hildegard would have the spirit to survive. Could this have happened without the friendship of Volmar? When Hildergard escapes the confinement of those 2 rooms, a walled in prison within a prison, taking her sisters with her, does she have the courage to attain some freedom? Her belief system and knowledge of the world was limited to the church. Her lack of political understanding & confusion opened and closed doors around her. She was not able to manage the power that came with the Abby. The friendships and visions she cast aside believing that no one understood or supported her in this her final endeavor, to build Rupertsberg. Hildegard was alone again cast out of the church and the real world that got in the way. She fought for women, truth and knowledge.
Rated of 5
by Pamela F. (Grants Pass, OR)
I really didn't know much about Hildegard, and being a Catholic, I was really curious about this Saint. I read it more as a novel as I am not sure of the accuracy, but major events check out and I found the novel to be fascinating. Hildegard is going to be made a doctor of the Church and so this was timely. She was very independent for her time and forward thinking. I enjoyed this book and loved learning about the times.
Rated of 5
by Elinor S. (Loudonville, NY)
This beautifully written book about an extraordinary woman was so informative about a time of such corruption and turmoil in the Catholic church. At the time that sons were being sent off to the crusades and daughters were being sacrificed to monasteries (sons also) in the name of salvation for the parents. It makes a mockery of the folly of men in the name of Christianity. That Hildegarde had the strength (apparently through her visions or holiness) to stand up to the hierarchy of the church and though her teachings not only of the divine but her herbal and medicinal knowledge that centuries later I are still respected. I was happy to be introduced to her.
Rated of 5
by Linda A. (Palo Alto, CA)
12th Century Women's Rights Advocate
Illuminations is the powerful story of Hildegard von Bingen, songwriter, abbess, religious leader who established the first monastery for women. At odds with the requirements of women to submit to the authority of powerful monks, Hildegard found a way to honor her visions, claim her talent, and enter into sisterhood with like-minded women. An interesting fictional account of the life of a fascinating woman of history.
Rated of 5
by Ann D. (Clearfield, PA)
In her book, Illuminations, Mary Sharratt has crafted novel about the life of Hildegard von Bigen. Having known a little about St. Hildegard, I was eager to read this book. The story flowed, but in the end, I was left wanting more. This, in itself, is not a bad thing. I did a little research on my own, which proved to me that Scharratt had done her homework. Illuminations could have included a great deal more of Hildegard von Bingen's writings, but was a very good as it is.
Rated of 5
by Linda S. (Oceanside, NY)
Illuminating the life of an anchorite
Imagine being bricked up into a small two room enclosure, with no windows and only a small courtyard that receives sparse light. This enclosure is attached to a church and your only contact with the outside world is through a small screen in the wall into the church. Your sole purpose is to be a handmaiden to Jutta von Sponheim, a noble woman who has agreed to be anchorite to the Disbodian abbey. Now imagine that you are only eight years old. This is the life of Hildegard von Bingen who became one of the most famous women in the Catholic Church, a writer, mystic and eventually a saint.
This was a fascinating book about the life of Hildegarde. She was a truly remarkable woman, a feminist for her time. After 35 years of living with the possibly mentally unbalanced Jutta, Hildegarde broke free of her anchorite, established an abbey and spoke all over Europe against the corruption of the church.
This book was fascinating. I knew very little about the life of an anchorite, I had read a little about Julian of Norwich but I learned so much more from this book. It is not a 'religious' book so much as it is an examination of human fortitude and the courage to fight for your convictions.
Falls short of five stars because I found the ending a little rushed. The opening chapters start with a mystery, but it is just explained away in the afterword. Up until this point I loved the book and wish it had been a little longer, about ten years seemed to be summed up in a few pages.
For those who like historical fiction, especially medieval history this is an excellent choice.
Amazon cuts off 5200 affiliates in Minnesota(Jun 19 2013) With Minnesota's online sales tax law due to take effect July 1, Amazon has played a familiar card by cutting ties with 5,200 members of its Associates...