Amt für Touristik, Veranstaltungsmanagement und Städtepartnerschaften


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55411 Bingen am Rhein

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Turning Point

From about 1147, Hildegard had plans to leave the Disibodenberg and to found a monastery on the Rupertsberg near Bingen, about 30 km away. However, one of the most important rules for monks and nuns stood in the way of these plans, the stabilitas loci which obliged them to never leave the monastery that they had once entered. So, her relocation plan encountered resistance:

„My Abbot, however, the brothers and the people of that region were very surprised when they learned about this change, (…). And they conspired together so this could not happen and that they would put up resistance.“

For the monks, this move of the magistra meant a hard loss, because her glory and reputation also transferred to the monastery. It became more attractive for new members and received more donations. Additionally, due to the move there was also the risk of losing the nuns’ dowry.

That Hildegard was finally successful with her relocation, was not least due to her relationships that she kept with powerful families of the region. These also included the Margravine Richardis of Stade, the mother of her confidant of the same name. She stood up for Hildegard before the Archbishop of Mainz and obtained his support.

Then, Abbot Kuno had to give his approval, where upon Hildegard immediately started to plan the new monastery on the Ruperstberg. For someone of almost 50 years old at this time, this was an extraordinary feat, because apart from planning the construction she also had to fulfil her duties as head of the women’s community and also continued to write her first work Scivias. Firstly, building and cultivation plots had to be purchased and again, Hildegard’s family connections and friendships helped so that she could find sponsors for her project quickly. The land clearing and building work must have begun immediately, because by 1150, Hildegard had together with her nuns, moved to the new site:

„As the Maiden of God finally left her former residence together with eighteen consecrated virgins, she brought the region she moved to as much joy and rejoicing as she brought pain and sorrow to the ones that she had left behind. Many dignitaries and a significantly large crowd from the town of Bingen and neighbouring towns walked towards her and welcomed her with loud cheering and divine hymns of praise.“

This unspoilt pleasure, however, did not last very long and soon the new Abbess of the monastery on the Rupertsberg had to overcome problems and disputes again.