Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich...

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Since I alluded to these women in another posting, I wonder if anyone has any thoughts concerning Hildegard or Julian. Here we have two women who are recognised has holy women by the general body of the church (you and me) and by many many religious, yet it seems like they will never be canonized. And while Julian is roundly regarded as a great teacher and Hildegard as a supremely talented mystic, neither are they doctors of the church. Any thoughts? Let me say up front, I am no feminist, but I can't help feeling sometimes that the reason these women are not given their due is that they were extremely independant, strong women. They gave their due to the church, but were still considered independant, belonging to Jesus first. I wonder if the chuch is afraid to promote Hildegard or Julian out of fear of stirring up all the women in the church. We have many brave examples of women in the chuch. Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, Joan of Arc, Catherine of Bologna, even humble Bernadette Soubirous who was hounded by her own church regarding the visions at Lourdes ...why do YOU think Hildegard and Julian,, powerful voices for Christ during their lives, are still the wee quite voices on the back row of the Catholic Book Stores?

-- Anonymous, June 22, 1998



Don't be so ready to see plots and conspiracies against women... Often, what determines whether a saintly person becomes a Saint has more to do with how well organized the people are who are preparing that person's cause for canonization.

Many of our Saints are the founders and foundresses of Religious Orders. This is because the orders themselves invest a lot of effort and prayer into the cause for the canonization of their founder/foundress. They ensure that things keep moving along, they rally the faithful to pray to the candidate to obtain a miraculous cure needed for beatification then canonization.

And then, there are those candidates who simply have an enormous public "cult" and that is what keeps the process moving. You mention St Bernadette. From the day she died, people thronged in droves to the convent. It was this outpouring of piety and devotion that she brought about in the faithful after her death, and which did not die down, that lead the order of Sisters she belonged to and her bishop to open her cause for Sainthood. Finding that her body was incorrupt when it was exhumed as part of the investigation certainly helped also.

Perhaps Julian and Hildegard are not canonized because noone is really showing any interest in progressing their cause and there is no strong public cult calling for their canonization. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has thousands upon thousands of causes it is investigating. It does not pick and choose, it simply deals with the most advanced causes as they develop.

Another example is Blessed JoseMaria Escriva. He was beatified less than 20 years after his death. Apart from his great personal holiness and the verified miracle required, this can only have happened so fast because of the immense effort being put into his cause for beatification by the organization he founded "Opus Dei".

That is also why there are so few saints who are ordinary mums and dads. It doesn't mean there aren't any saintly mums and dads, it just means they don't have whole religious orders praying for their beatification and preparing all the necessary documentation and people flocking to venerate their remains or the places they lived.

God bless, Paul McLachlan

-- Anonymous, June 22, 1998

Actually, I recently read there is speculation that these two will be canonized in the year 2000.

-- Anonymous, July 10, 1998

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