About Me

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I am a medievalist and an adjunct college instructor in the humanities at Union College. My research includes medieval theologies of history, text/image relationships in visionary and mystical texts, and the writings of the twelfth-century Doctor of the Church, St. Hildegard of Bingen. I am also a translator of medieval Latin and German texts, especially as relate to my research. My translation of Hildegard's Book of Divine Works is available from Catholic University of America Press here. I completed a Master's in Medieval Studies at the University of Notre Dame in 2010, a Fulbright Fellowship in Germany in 2008, and a B.A. in Classics and German at Boston College in 2007.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Alleluia! O virga mediatrix (Symphonia 18)

For the Octave of Easter, an Alleluia-verse for the Virgin
by St. Hildegard of Bingen[1]

Initial F: Tree of Jesse
Stammheim / Hildesheim
Missal (ca. 1160-70), fol. 146r.
J. Paul Getty Museum
O virga mediatrix,
sancta viscera tua
mortem superaverunt
et venter tuus omnes creaturas    
illuminavit in pulcro flore
de suavissima integritate
clausi pudoris tui orto.
O branch and mediatrix,
your sacred flesh
has conquered death,
your womb the world illumined,
all creatures in the bloom of beauty
sprung from that exquisite purity
of your enclosèd modesty.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Nunc gaudeant materna (Symphonia 67)

For Easter, the Resurrection of the Lord, an Antiphon for the Church
by St. Hildegard of Bingen[1]

Scivias II.3:
Mother Church & Baptism.
Rupertsberg MS, fol. 51r.
Nunc gaudeant materna viscera
quia in superna simphonia
     filii eius
in sinum suum collocati sunt.
Unde, o turpissime serpens,
     confusus es,
quoniam quos tua estimatio
     in visceribus
     suis habuit
nunc fulgent in sanguine
     Filii Dei,
et ideo laus tibi sit, Rex altissime.  
Now let the womb and heart
     of Mother Church rejoice!
For in the starry symphony
     her children
are gathered to her bosom.
O vile snake, you are
for those your hollow jealousy
     had thought
     it clutched within its guts
now sparkle in the blood
     of God’s own Son—
praise be to you, the highest King!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Service and Sacrifice: A Friend and the Memorial of His Love

Bronze sculpture at
Church Street UMC.
You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you…
This I command you, to love one another.

     —John 15:14-17

We know that Jesus should be our role-model in service, but it’s often difficult to know just which Jesus we’re supposed to follow. The teacher, the healer, the broken, dying man—or the Christ and Son of God, Lord of Heaven and Earth? Some of these roles are easier to imitate than others, and we struggle to hold them all together. Jesus’ disciples, too, often struggled to understand just what it meant for their wise and compassionate teacher to be both Messiah and bound to die.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

O virgo Ecclesia (Symphonia 66)

For Holy Week, an Antiphon for the Church by St. Hildegard of Bingen[1]

Scivias II.6: The Crucifixion.
Rupertsberg MS, fol. 86rr.
O virgo Ecclesia,
plangendum est,
quod sevissimus lupus filios tuos  
de latere tuo abstraxit.
O ve callido serpenti!
Sed o quam preciosus est
      sanguis Salvatoris,
qui in vexillo regis
Ecclesiam ipsi
unde filios
illius requirit.
O Virgin Mother Church,
lament and mourn!
A savage wolf has snatched
your children from your side.
O woe to serpent’s trickery!
But O, how precious is
      the Savior’s blood
that with the royal banner sealed
his bridegroom’s promise
     to the Church,
whose children
he is seeking.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

O spectabiles viri (Symphonia 31)

For the Feast of the Prophet Ezekiel, an Antiphon for Patriarchs and Prophets
by St. Hildegard of Bingen [1]

Scivias III.4: The Pillar
of the Word of God.
Rupertsberg MS, fol. 145v.
O spectabiles viri
qui pertransistis occulta,
aspicientes per oculos spiritus
et annuntiantes
in lucida umbra
acutam et viventem lucem
in virga germinantem,
que sola floruit
de introitu radicantis luminis:

Vos antiqui sancti,
predixistis salvationem
exulum animarum
que inmerse fuerant morti,
qui circuisti ut rote,
mirabiliter loquentes
     mistica montis
qui celum tangit,
pertransiens ungendo
     multas aquas,
cum etiam inter vos
surrexit lucida lucerna,
que ipsum montem precurrens    
O men of sight—what a sight!
Through mysteries you’ve passed
with gaze of spirit’s eyes,
to announce
in shining shadow
a living, piercing light
that buds upon that single branch
that flourished at
the entrance of deep-rooted light:

You saints of old!
You have foretold salvation
of souls in exile plunged,
in death immersed.
You circled, spun like wheels
as wondrously proclaimed
     the mountain’s mysteries
whose top the heavens touched
and passed through many waters
     with anointing—
yet still among you
arose a shining lamp
that raced ahead, that mountain
     to reveal.

Friday, April 04, 2014

O successores (Symphonia 40)

For the Feast of St. Isidore of Seville, an Antiphon for Confessors
by St. Hildegard of Bingen [1]

Initial D: Lion of Judah
Stammheim / Hildesheim
Missal (ca. 1160-70), fol. 111v.
J. Paul Getty Museum
O successores fortissimi leonis,
inter templum et altare
dominantes in ministratione eius  
sicut angeli sonant in laudibus
et sicut assunt populis
     in adiutorio,
vos estis inter illos
qui hec faciunt,
semper curam habentes
     in officio Agni.
Successors of the mighty Lion,
between the temple and the altar
commanding in his service:
as angels sing in praise resounding
and quicken to defend the people
     with their aid—
so you among them
as they do these things,
keep ever carefully the office
     of the Lamb.