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, September 17, 2023

O virgo visionibus fulgens: A Chronogram for the Feast of St. Hildegard of Bingen

Humility; detail from the
Pillar of the Savior's Humanity,
Scivias 3.8
(Rupertsberg MS, fol. 178r)
o VIrgo VIsIonIbVs fVLgens,
qVIbVs VIrgo DeI genetrIX
et eCCLesIa sponsa eIVs
VIae sanCtItatIs reVeLantVr:
ora pro nobIs In ItInere nostra,
Vt VIrtVtes CaeLestes
qVasI tVrres CorVsCantes
In nobIs aeDIfICentVr.

O virgin, gleaming with visions,
in which the Virgin Mother of God
and the Church, His spouse,
are revealed as pathways of holiness:
pray for us on our journey,
that the heavenly virtues
like sparkling towers
might be built up within us.

(O virgo visionibus fulgens, quibus Virgo Dei Genetrix et Ecclesia sponsa eius viae sanctitatis revelantur: ora pro nobis in itinere nostra, ut virtutes caelestes quasi turres coruscantes in nobis aedificentur.)

This year’s Chronogram for the Feast of St. Hildegard of Bingen was inspired by the connections between the Virgin Mary, the Church, and the Virtues in modeling and sustaining the religious life in Hildegard’s Scivias. I laid out these connections in a paper published earlier this year: “‘O Jewel Resplendent’: The Virgin Mary and Her Analogues in Hildegard of Bingen’s Scivias.” As I argued in that paper, the Virgin Mary’s presence beams like a light-filled gem across the whole of the work, as different elements within salvation history refract that light. In particular, the Virtues that dominate the third book of Scivias as they construct the Edifice of Salvation often echo the Virgin’s traits, becoming analogues and models of her sanctity. In this way, the Virgin Mary models the path of virtuous virginity that Hildegard holds up as the singular road to holy perfection for herself and the nuns under her care.

About the Chronogram

The chronogram is an epigrammatic form where, if you take all of the letters that are also Roman numerals (I, V[U], X, L, C, D, and M, which are capitalized in the prayer above) and add their values together, the result is the year you are commemorating. In this case, 2 D’s = 1000, + 7 C’s = 1700, + 4 L’s = 1900, + 1 X = 1910, + 18 V(U)’s = 2000, + 23 I’s = 2023. I was inspired to write chronograms to honor Hildegard by those composed by Sr. Walburga Storch, O.S.B., a nun of the Abbey of St. Hildegard in Eibingen, Germany, which appeared in Festschriften for the Sibyl of the Rhine in 1979 and 1998.

Here are links to previous chronograms I have composed for St. Hildegard:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are an inspiration! What an amazing work you have done . I may say mor Ethan work a piece of art and celebration. Thank you 🙏