Celebrate the feast day of St. Hildegard of Bingen with your kids by making delicious German fare and a sweet plum apple sauce.
by Theresa Wilson
St. Hildegard of Bingen was a visionary, mystic, composer, artist, writer, botanist, Benedictine nun and all around Renaissance woman. Respected and revered by people from many different faiths, she wrote about the healing powers of herbs and holistic medicine, and composed choral music still loved and relevant today.
She started having visions at the age of 3, making her a perfect saint to celebrate with your kids. She was also a little different, very bold for a woman in her day, and, as mentioned, extremely talented — characteristics with which some kids can identify.
In her visions, she saw the light of God, which she called the “Living Light,” and later wrote three volumes describing and interpreting her mystic abilities and the Scripture. She was a force of feminine strength that stood up to the patriarchy of the Church. In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named her one of only four women to be declared a doctor of the Church.
To celebrate the feast of St. Hildegard Sept. 17, my children and I are making plum applesauce and “kartoffelpuffer” (German potato pancakes).
The pancakes are an obvious nod to St. Hildegard, but did you know Bingen is a town on the Rhine River and is known for its lush landscape and perfect environment for several fruits? Grapes are a major crop, and plum trees dot the hillsides. Using plums in this applesauce gave it the rosy color the kids love. These potato cakes with sauce can be enjoyed as a snack or as a side dish to a meal (maybe schnitzel!).
As my son enjoys cracking the eggs, and my daughter stirs and blends, we begin our conversation about St. Hildegard. She was a wonder woman who knew her talents were a gift from God. Although her visions and explosions of creativity exhausted her at different times throughout her life, she found encouragement from her faith and friends at the abbey.
While enjoying these special treats with your kids, you can read to them “Hildegard’s Gift” by Megan Hoyt. With its brightly colored pictures illustrating her view of God’s ultimate harmony in his creation, the book addresses in a way appropriate for young children the specialness of identifying and embracing God’s-given talents.
giving life to all life,
moving all creatures,
root of all things,
washing them clean,
wiping out their mistakes,
healing their wounds,
you are our true life,
awakening the heart
from its ancient sleep.
— St. Hildegard of Bingen