Saint Hildegard Feast Day
Saint Hildegard had been venerated as a Saint in the Rhineland for centuries, and, although she is also listed in the Acta Sanctorum, the official Calendar of Saints in the Catholic Church, more than 800 years after her death had passed before Pope Benedict XVI officially canonized her for the whole Catholic Church on Pentecost Monday, May 10, 2012. On October 7 of the same year, also by the personal intervention of the German pope, Hildegard – the fourth woman after Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena and Therese of Lisieux – was promoted as a Doctor of the Church.
September 17th is a special day on the Catholic Church calendar as it is the feast day of a Doctor of the Church: St. Hildegard of Bingen. While some would like to think of her as the patron saint of creativity, the Catholic Church hasn’t made that an official acknowledgement yet, but we can hope.
On September 17, 2013, American filmmaker, Michael Conti, was in Germany to complete filming for his documentary and took part in the procession of Hildegard’s relic during her feast day. It was a remarkable experience that I included in my film, The Unruly Mystic: Saint Hildegard.
A saint’s feast day can be the day of their actual death or a day assigned by the Church. Typically, the Church only assigns a day when the day of death is unknown or if several other saints are already assigned to that day. The number of canonized saints, however, is greater than the number of days in a calendar year. So two or more saints often share the same feast day. Because overlap often occurs, and the Church isn’t sure of the date of death of some saints, other calendar dates are sometimes chosen — such as the day that the saint was canonized.