She became abbess of a Benedictine monastery in Disibodenberg which, as it grew, was moved to Bingen. There she graced the Church as a philosopher, theologian, botanist, medical scientist, and musician. She charted the orthodox way through some of the more fantastic heresies and enthusiasms afflicting the twelfth century, most notoriously the Cathars. St. Bernard commended her writing to Pope Eugenius III, who had been trained by him, and after that she became well known beyond Germany. Her musical compositions have become popular in our own day, a vivid glimpse of liturgical chant at the cusp of a golden age. She is the first composer whose biography is known, and she may have written the first opera - Ordo Virtutum. In it, the Virtues sing angelic melodies while Satan only speaks, for he cannot sing.
While The Incomparable Hildegarde's signature song "Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup" will not be confused with St. Hildegard's Ordo Virtutum, she was a Third Order Carmelite and a daily communicant. She made a point of having the best silks and satins of her wardrobe tailored into vestments for the missions. St. Hildegard died at 82, a great age in the Middle Ages, and our Hildegarde was 99, a great age in any age. I visited her as she was dying in a nursing home, where her one room was considerably smaller than her ten-room suite at the Plaza. And instead of her favorite Renoir, there was a small lithograph of the Sacred Heart. She wore none of her famous line of cosmetics as she said the Rosary, and she never looked lovelier. She would have understood what her patroness and Doctor of the Church said: "I am a feather on the breath of God."