Egeria vs. Hildegard

Today it’s Egeria vs. Hildegard of Bingen. The world’s original “Mystery Worshipper” vs. a 12th century renaissance woman. Both have had a major impact upon the Christianity we have inherited, yet only one will advance to the Saintly Sixteen. We’re expecting a flurry of comments on this. Let the agonizing over votes begin!

But first, speaking of comments, sometime during yesterday’s battle between Jackson Kemper and Margery Kempe, we passed the 20,000 comment milestone on the Lent Madness website. That’s a lot of conversation about holy people, don’t you think?

Oh, and Kemper trounced Kempe 74% to 26% meaning he’ll face the winner of Bernard Mizecki vs. Margaret of Antioch in the Saintly Sixteen.

egeria 3Egeria

Egeria gives us the earliest glimpse we have into organized Christian practice and belief.

We don’t know much about who she was, exactly. Many say she was a Spanish nun, which makes sense given her unusually high level of literacy — and the way she addressed those she wrote to as sisters. Others point out she must have been an unusual sort of nun, if she was a nun at all. Her letters were detailed and practical, betraying none of the fascination with the miraculous and fanciful that some other clerical pilgrims loved. And what sort of nun was free to travel around the known world for years at a time? Possibly this made her a sort of wandering monastic — additionally unusual for her time. Or maybe she was a very devout noblewoman, called to pilgrimage, who wrote letters home to other devout women at her church.

Egeria traveled across much of the known world during 381-384 CE to Jerusalem, Mount Sinai, Constantinople, and Edessa. Her letters were collected in monasteries and copied, then copied again. They were housed in the library of Monte Cassino, and the oldest surviving copies were made there in the eleventh century.

Egeria recorded everything: she stayed in Jerusalem to witness an entire liturgical year and wrote down the liturgical practices of the local Christians. She described the holy sites on the Mount of Olives and the rituals around Holy Week. She told of the ritual of the eucharist as practiced in Jerusalem, and Egeria applauded the practice of reading from the Old and New Testaments as well as passages from the gospels. She described the process by which catechumens were taught the faith and baptized. It is from Egeria that we know about Holy Week rituals like the veneration of the Cross and the procession of the palms on Palm Sunday. It is also from her that we hear for the first time of the Easter Vigil and lighting of the first fire of Easter.

She described liturgical practice at a time when Christian beliefs were just becoming unified across the known world. Remember, the Second Ecumenical Council met in 384 CE, so Egeria was traveling and writing about liturgical practice before the formalization of the Nicene Creed, much less other traditions of the Church.

Through her bravery, her wandering feet, and her meticulous eye for detail, Egeria connected our liturgical practice with that of our earliest sisters and brothers in Christ.

Collect for Egeria

Jesus, our brother, as we, like Egeria, dare to follow in the steps you trod, be our companion on the way. May our eyes see not only the stones that saw you but the people who walk with you now; may our feet tread not only the path of your pain but the streets of a living city; may our prayers embrace not only the memory of your presence but the flesh and blood who jostle us today. Bless us, with them, and make us long to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God. Amen.

Megan Castellan


Hildegard of Bingen is one of the most accomplished women in church history. The twelfth-century abbess was a mystic, theologian, composer, cloistered nun, and autodidact who wrote one of the largest bodies of letters to survive from the Middle Ages.

Born into a noble family and sickly from birth, Hildegard experienced visions beginning in early childhood. Perhaps because of them, her family dedicated her to the church; her fellow brides of Christ recognized her gifts for leadership, unanimously voting her abbess.

At the age of forty-two, Hildegard received a divine vision to“write down that which you see and hear.” Hesitant to do so, she resisted and became physically ill. “But I, though I saw and heard these things, refused to write for a long time through doubt and…in the exercise of humility, until, laid low by the scourge of God, I fell upon a bed of sickness; then, compelled at last by many illnesses…I set my hand to the writing.”

Later, she commissioned an ornate manuscript of her writings, including images of her visions. The original was lost in World War II, but its images were preserved in a copy painted in the 1920s. Notably, these theological works contain one of the earliest descriptions of purgatory.

Hildegard’s musical compositions make up one of the largest extant medieval collections in the world. Her medical writings demonstrate her vast experience in the monastery’s herbal garden and infirmary. Physica and Causae et Curae provide a rare view into the practical medicine employed primarily by medieval women. Hildegard believed there was a vital connection between the natural world and human health. Her reputation as a medical writer and healer was used in early arguments for women’s right to attend medical school. Hildegard also invented an alternative mystical language, the Lingua Ignota, perhaps to strengthen the bonds among her nuns, and potentially as a result of all that time she spent in her herb garden.

On September 17, 1179, Hildegard died, and two beams of light were said to shine across the sky and into her room. Her relics are housed in her parish in Eibingen, Germany. In Anglican churches, she is commemorated on the day of her death.

Modern feminist scholars have drawn attention to the way Hildegard strategically belittled herself and other women in her writing, and thus claimed her wisdom had solely divine origin, giving her the authority to speak in a time and place where few women could do so. She also stated that, “woman may be made from man, but no man can be made without a woman.”

In space, the minor planet 898 Hildegard is named for her, which only seems fair, given her astronomical intellect and accomplishments.

Collect for Hildegard

God of all times and seasons: Give us grace that we, after the example of thy servant Hildegard, may both know and make known the joy and jubilation of being part of thy creation, and show forth thy glory not only with our lips but in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Amber Belldene


Egeria vs. Hildegard

  • Egeria (51%, 3,458 Votes)
  • Hildegard (49%, 3,322 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,780

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364 Comments to "Egeria vs. Hildegard"

  1. Pam Griffin's Gravatar Pam Griffin
    March 5, 2015 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    I’m listening to Hildegard right now. Wonderful!

    • Deborah Wikander's Gravatar Deborah Wikander
      March 5, 2015 - 8:25 am | Permalink

      I was fortunate to be able to worship at the church dedicated to Hildegard in Bingen several years ago while visiting friends in Germany. I was so impressed by the service even though I speak no German because they had children bring up the gifts which included real bread! I have never been to a Catholic church which celebrated the Eucharist in this way! The church is magnificently beautiful and inspiring. It is a worthy tribute to such a dynamic women. Debbie Wikander

    • Holly's Gravatar Holly
      March 5, 2015 - 10:46 am | Permalink

      That was my tipping point – she’s the first composer we have music for. She’s my pick for the Golden Halo (after facing Margery Kempe in the finals) so I may have to pick some new favorites for the Saintly 16. Egeria is certainly an inspiring person as well.

    • Christina Thom's Gravatar Christina Thom
      March 5, 2015 - 11:41 am | Permalink

      Hildegard as noted has gotten a lot of adulation and Egeria very little. Egeria got my vote because I had never heard of her and Lenten Madness is about learning more about those that went before us.

      • Susan F's Gravatar Susan F
        March 5, 2015 - 3:56 pm | Permalink

        Egeria caught me when the writing referred to her writing down the rites and rituals. I had never experienced the veneration of the cross until a couple of years ago and was very moved by the experience so my vote was for Egeria.

      • Beth M's Gravatar Beth M
        March 5, 2015 - 7:22 pm | Permalink

        Christina–I so agree with you. Hildegard was wonderful and has been acclaimed throughout the ages, but I admit to never having heard of Egeria either. Like you,
        I believe that it’s learning about “heroes” that makes this site so great. Also, I some-
        times like to go with the underdog–but HEY,, Egeria is ahead right now.

    • Denise Starkey's Gravatar Denise Starkey
      March 5, 2015 - 1:40 pm | Permalink

      I led a pilgrimage to Germany for Hildegard’s 900th anniversary – that included Eibingen and the ruins at Disibodenberg as well as a Hildegard themed meal at a local organic restaurant. One of the most amazing things to me about Hildegard was her astuteness – via the mediation of Bernard of Clairvaux she received papal protection from the Synod at Trier – which made it possible for her to write scathing critiques to Popes, Bishops and Emperors alike. She had a real gift for “a word in season.”

    • Maria's Gravatar Maria
      March 5, 2015 - 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Wow! What a tough choice. I was impressed by Egeria’s recording of the Holy Week traditions in the Church, but as both a writer AND a musician, I had to go with Hildegard. You have inspired me to re-buy the recordings of her music that I lost to Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago. I’m also awed by her support of women’s rights, way back then. Too bad we don’t have her to lobby for us today!

  2. Lore's Gravatar Lore
    March 5, 2015 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    When one thinks about it; Egeria was an early Anthropologist. She observed and recorded early Christian practices.Hildegard of Bingen is a worthy opponent but Egeria got my vote because she was a ” practical ” Christian. Without her writings a lot would have been lost to the mists of times. Early Christianity could not have grown much less survive on visions alone.

    • Sharon Kilpatrick's Gravatar Sharon Kilpatrick
      March 5, 2015 - 9:43 am | Permalink

      why say that? she recorded what she saw, didn’t develop these practices herself. Word of what was going on in Jerusalem could have gotten out another way. Hildegard for me.

      • Kathleen's Gravatar Kathleen
        March 5, 2015 - 10:02 am | Permalink

        I am with you! Hildegard kept a convent afloat in difficult circumstances, was a valued advisor to all kinds of people, and can be said to have invented opera while she was composing great religious music. She was a genius, a star, and deeply devoted to her order and her community. No contest for me.

      • Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
        March 5, 2015 - 11:25 am | Permalink

        I rather agree. Many commentators stress Egeria’s important contributions to our liturgical practices, but I can’t help feeling that if Egeria, hadn’t told us about them, someone else would have sooner or later. But nobody else could have written the music Hildegard wrote.

        • Harry Moncelle's Gravatar Harry Moncelle
          March 5, 2015 - 12:46 pm | Permalink

          I think the fact that Egeria DID record the liturgical practices rather than waiting for someone else to do this “sooner or later” merits my vote.

          • Carol's Gravatar Carol
            March 5, 2015 - 1:54 pm | Permalink

            I agree. Egeria for me today. (although it was close)

          • Marisa's Gravatar Marisa
            March 5, 2015 - 2:13 pm | Permalink

            I also agree. This was a tough choice because both contributed much, but Egeria DID indeed revere and record for us!

          • Warner Seargeant's Gravatar Warner Seargeant
            March 5, 2015 - 7:01 pm | Permalink

            I’m with you on that score.

          • Anne Middleton's Gravatar Anne Middleton
            March 5, 2015 - 7:27 pm | Permalink

            Wish we knew more about Egeria’s life. However, she gave us wonderful insight into the early church. Egeria’s for me.

      • Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
        March 5, 2015 - 11:56 am | Permalink


        • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
          March 5, 2015 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

          Yes, it COULD have but did we indeed get that plethora of ancient info besides hers?

        • John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
          March 5, 2015 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

          Ouch,indeed! We forget that in liturgical practice the Church was anything but universal for its first thousand years (and then came the Great Schism). The copying and circulation of Egeria’s letters is the best evidence we have for the route by which the Holy Week rituals became universal. In Charlemagne’s time the Nicene Creed was bot oart of Sunday worship at Rome though it had become standard practice in the Imperial Chapel at Aachen. Charlemagne hinted to the Pope that it would be a good idea to institute the practice at Rome, the Pope agreed, and Sunday recitation of the Creed was on its way to becoming universal. Contacts, personal or through writing, have been crucial to the development of a Universal (but currently broken) Church. Egeria is a key agent of this process, not a mere observer.

      • Carolyn D. Mack's Gravatar Carolyn D. Mack
        March 5, 2015 - 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Cultural anthropologists record what they see rather than try to change or effect it. I was thinking about her as one of the first anthropologists while I was reading her history and liking her for her recording of current practice at the time. It seems that without her writing, we might think many practices were later Medieval additions, but because of her, we know they were very early practices within the Church. Hildegard seems a very worthy opponent, and I enjoyed reading about her, but I will cast my vote for Egeria.

    • Emily Joyce's Gravatar Emily Joyce
      March 5, 2015 - 10:31 am | Permalink

      I agree. This one was tough, but I tend to lean toward practical Christianity and useful results.

      • Gail Crouch's Gravatar Gail Crouch
        March 5, 2015 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

        Without music we are all deeply impoverished!

  3. Francis of Granby's Gravatar Francis of Granby
    March 5, 2015 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    So without Egeria no procession on Palm Sunday? No veneration of the Cross on Good Friday? No Easter Vigil?

    • March 5, 2015 - 2:26 pm | Permalink

      We’d still have the Holy Week and Triduum liturgies even without Egeria, because she didn’t invent them — she merely described what already existed. Had she not written about them, they still would have been practiced, year-in, year-out, in the life of the Church.

      • Jan Cherry's Gravatar Jan Cherry
        March 5, 2015 - 4:23 pm | Permalink

        As a liturgical theologian, and a lifelong Lutheran, I have to say that my tradition did NOT practice the entire Holy Week liturgies, consistently until the liturgical renewal of the late 20th century. The writings of Egeria have helped us to understand that the practices were developed early in the life of the church and that the proposed “new liturgies of the Triduum” were not just invented by post Vatican II liturgists, nor were they “Catholic” but rather “catholic”. I am deeply moved by the realization that we have been practicing these liturgies and ordos from the early days, and that they continue to have meaning and contribute to the mystogogy of today. I also love the way they can open us to the ecumenical understanding of liturgy and the formative power of consistent-though-contextualized liturgical practice. I love Hildegard’s music; I am transformed by the evidence provided for us by Egeria. Thank you for giving us the choice and telling us of her contributions to the faith.

        • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
          March 5, 2015 - 6:35 pm | Permalink

          Well said, Jan!

          • Janice Mclemore's Gravatar Janice Mclemore
            March 5, 2015 - 6:42 pm | Permalink

            I maintain that reverence and celebration of the earth trumps liturgy!

  4. Deborah DeManno's Gravatar Deborah DeManno
    March 5, 2015 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    This maybe the most agonizing matchup thus far – at least for me. I was all set to vote for Hildegarde and then I read about Egeria. Now I am firmly undecided.

    • Linda McConnell's Gravatar Linda McConnell
      March 5, 2015 - 8:25 am | Permalink

      Me too!! What a difficult decision!

    • Michael Gray's Gravatar Michael Gray
      March 5, 2015 - 8:35 am | Permalink

      How about Hilderia?

      • Kim's Gravatar Kim
        March 5, 2015 - 8:49 am | Permalink

        Sounds like a plan to me, because it is so hard to choose between such worthy women!

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 5, 2015 - 8:57 am | Permalink


    • Katharine Wiley's Gravatar Katharine Wiley
      March 5, 2015 - 8:36 am | Permalink

      Exactly what happened with me, Deborah!

    • Nora's Gravatar Nora
      March 5, 2015 - 8:41 am | Permalink

      I agree. I am impressed by both women. I voted for in the end since I am a physician. 🙂

    • Jann Briscoe's Gravatar Jann Briscoe
      March 5, 2015 - 9:00 am | Permalink

      Agonizing choice is right! I was all set to vote for hildegard, and then … this to me previously unknown woman… Where can I learn more about her?

    • jen Boyd's Gravatar jen Boyd
      March 5, 2015 - 9:46 am | Permalink

      Agreed – I am torn. This is an “unfair” match up. Guess I will need to wait for a vision to lead me to my vote.

    • pHil's Gravatar pHil
      March 5, 2015 - 10:11 am | Permalink

      Sounds like a left brain/rain brain inner argument is going on here that may be the results of an SEC plot to experiment with a new schizophrenic dimension of Lent “madness.” Beware people.

    • Madelynn's Gravatar Madelynn
      March 5, 2015 - 10:40 am | Permalink

      Completely and utterly undecided….both women were absolutely amazing….

    • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
      March 5, 2015 - 10:50 am | Permalink

      Two wonderful women who each left us with so much history in their own way. Tough to decide who to vote for!

    • Patricia Nakamura's Gravatar Patricia Nakamura
      March 5, 2015 - 11:28 am | Permalink

      Just so!

    • Babzee's Gravatar Babzee
      March 5, 2015 - 11:52 am | Permalink

      my thoughts exactly. this is the toughest one yet for me.

    • Angie's Gravatar Angie
      March 5, 2015 - 12:50 pm | Permalink


  5. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    March 5, 2015 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    Although I voted for Hildegard, I am fascinated by Egeria. I would like to learn more about her.

  6. Susie's Gravatar Susie
    March 5, 2015 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    Egeria, because she taught us so much about Holy Week practices. Found her to be fascinating.

    • Mary Winston's Gravatar Mary Winston
      March 5, 2015 - 8:24 am | Permalink

      I didn’t think about that, without Egeria there would be no Lent Madness! But I voted for Hildegard and have been a lurker until now.

  7. Deborah DeManno's Gravatar Deborah DeManno
    March 5, 2015 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    *Apologies for the ‘e’ I added to St. Hildegard’s name. I work with a Hildegarde and autocorrect took over.

  8. Thomas van Brunt's Gravatar Thomas van Brunt
    March 5, 2015 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    This ought to be very close as both women are great heroines. I voted for Egeria, because like her I am a pilgrim in my retirement.

    For some reason I am no longer getting automatic e mails from lent madness. I have subscribed again, but am not getting the mail. Help, I can’t find a place on the web site to contact the Supreme whatever’s.

    • Katrina's Gravatar Katrina
      March 5, 2015 - 10:13 am | Permalink

      Just type into your search bar.

    • sue's Gravatar sue
      March 5, 2015 - 10:39 am | Permalink

      I had that problem with another blog I follow. It wouldn’t send to me no matter what. My email was originally @netscape which then was bought out by @aol and I noticed that also sometimes there’s @aim. So I can use any of the 3 and get my emails. So I resigned up with the one and they are coming to my box again. You might see if you have a similar option.

    • Megan's Gravatar Megan
      March 5, 2015 - 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Check your “junk” file, too. sometimes my email program will randomly decide that people or organizations from whom I’ve been receiving emails for years are now junk. As if!

  9. Diane's Gravatar Diane
    March 5, 2015 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    As a liturgist, I have to go with Egeria!

    • March 5, 2015 - 8:52 am | Permalink

      There are good liturgical reasons to go with Hildegard, too! Her theology of music and the the connection between the Benedictine “Opus Dei” (the Divine Office of sung prayer) and the “Opus Dei” as the foreordained “Work of God” of creation is a deep hallmark of her perspective. Music, for her, is the natural and harmonious language of Creation (and thus also the Word which God spoke [or rather, sung!] to bring Creation into being). Music for her is the language of the angels, the original human speech that had as its end and object the praise of God, its source and summit.

      Moreover, she understood music to be almost a sacrament, and one that she and her nuns could themselves enact! In singing for the Lord, adorned as his Brides, they became themselves actors in the divine drama, feminine agents of divine power. Indeed, they literally acted out those roles when they performed as the various Virtutes—not just virtues, but emanations of divine power working within the world—in the sung morality play, “Ordo Virtutum,” that Hildegard composed for them. Hildegard understood the monastic liturgy of the hours to channel the perfection of divine grace from the heavenly choirs down to the Church’s choirs of virgins, where they reflected the symphony in the blessed joy of song.

      (I’ve written more on this in my 2013 article, “‘Imago expandit splendorem suum’: Hildegard of Bingen’s Visio-Theological Designs in the Rupertsberg Scivias Manuscript,” available online: )

      • relling's Gravatar relling
        March 5, 2015 - 9:04 am | Permalink

        Thanks for filling in more about Hildegard

      • Phyllis Drackley's Gravatar Phyllis Drackley
        March 5, 2015 - 10:27 am | Permalink

        Thanks so much for your reply, Nathaniel, highlighting Hildegard’s musical output. While I’m a great fan of Lenten Madness and the education it gives us about various saints, I think one sentence about Hildegard’s music is a large omission.

        • Babzee's Gravatar Babzee
          March 5, 2015 - 11:53 am | Permalink

          it is probably in the info for the second round if she advances. got to save something for later!!

  10. Betsy Swank's Gravatar Betsy Swank
    March 5, 2015 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    Got to go with Hildegard. My maternal grandmother Hilda Flanigan was born on her feast day. She always hated her name,

  11. Lesley Hildrey's Gravatar Lesley Hildrey
    March 5, 2015 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    This clinched it for me: “woman may be made from man, but no man can be made without a woman.” Need I say more?!

    • Ann's Gravatar Ann
      March 5, 2015 - 11:14 am | Permalink

      That’s what the tipping point was for me too. I was ready to vote for Egeria, a new saint to me, as I was very impressed with her story. But then I read that wonderful feminist ‘barb’ of Hildegard’s, and my vote went to her–an old favorite.

    • MCL's Gravatar MCL
      March 5, 2015 - 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Exactly what got my attention and my vote!

  12. Laura's Gravatar Laura
    March 5, 2015 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    It’s worth mentioning that Hildegard was often consulted by the Holy Roman Emporer and other powerful men for her wisdom. She is a saint I keep in my pocket to remind me of all the things women can accomplish in a man’s world. That said, I voted for Egeria because I had never heard of her gifts to our liturgy. It echoes forward to all the wonderful work people are doing to keep it alive, fresh, and the “work of the people.”

  13. fredericka l smith's Gravatar fredericka l smith
    March 5, 2015 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    this was an unfairly difficult choice. both are valuable contributors to the growth of the church. Hildegard is better known because of an eclectic curiosity and immense intelligence. her struggle with her vision shows a humanity that binds me to her,; she gets my vote.

  14. Rev Deacon Pat Gotautas's Gravatar Rev Deacon Pat Gotautas
    March 5, 2015 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    You have decided that this year you will stretch the hearts and minds of those of us who love Lent Madness to a maddening level. I can’t wait to see what other impossible matchups you have in store for us. Will vote on this one eventually maybe if I can see a light. Thanks for all your hard work!!!! 🙂

    • Katharine Wiley's Gravatar Katharine Wiley
      March 5, 2015 - 8:39 am | Permalink

      Yes! That! Pretty much every match-up has been agonising for me. Which is good… but agonising. Also means I am reading a *lot* of the comments this go round; I love seeing the thoughts of others.

      • Katharine Graham's Gravatar Katharine Graham
        March 5, 2015 - 10:51 am | Permalink

        Me, too.

  15. Denise Bell's Gravatar Denise Bell
    March 5, 2015 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    I wish there was a way to “like” comments.

    My vote is for Hildegard, although I did enjoy learning about Egeria. I love that H described herself as “a feather on the breath of God.”

    • MegN's Gravatar MegN
      March 5, 2015 - 9:04 am | Permalink

      I wish there was a way to “like” comments, too!

      I’m agreeing with everyone who has found this pair an extremely difficult choice.
      Since Hildegard already has been discovered and celebrated by the world, after much internal debate, I finally decided to vote for Egeria… but would have voted for Hildegard in almost any other match-up!

  16. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    March 5, 2015 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    I’m glad I have a day to consider this. I always wondered from where our information about the early practices came. Egeria was/is a treasure! But then the music and the knowledge and the grace and the total Hildegard is a treasure of another sort. One is newly found by me, the other I’ve known for some time — oh what to do and who to do it for. Thoughtful pondering over this one.

    • March 5, 2015 - 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Ah, for those in the antipodes, by the time I get up and do my prayers etc, the voting time is almost done. Maybe I should log in the night before… but then I would get no sleep agonising about the choices. It’s autumn down here.

  17. Linda McConnell's Gravatar Linda McConnell
    March 5, 2015 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    O, SEC, thou art cruel indeed today, to present us with such a difficult choice. I know not how to cast my vote; for lo, though I have long been a fan of Hildegard, I find Egeria to be compelling as well. Woe is me. Woe, woe, woe.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 5, 2015 - 8:35 am | Permalink

      I’m with thee on that.

  18. Catherine Lincoln's Gravatar Catherine Lincoln
    March 5, 2015 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    Definitely a tough match up. I didn’t know much about Egeria so I voted for her. But in honor of Hildegard, I’m off to listen to her music!

  19. Barb's Gravatar Barb
    March 5, 2015 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    Hildegard’s music is what first drew me to this extraordinary woman. Having read everything I could find about her and listening to her music led me to do a quiet day in her honor during Lent several years ago. It was a joy to see the response of the women to the life of this blessed woman.

  20. RMA's Gravatar RMA
    March 5, 2015 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    It was so hard to decide this morning. They are both fascinating women, and I am definitely going to look into Egeria’s writings.

  21. Lois Keen's Gravatar Lois Keen
    March 5, 2015 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    I do not accept the results of the previous vote, allegedly in favor of Kemper. I assume it is a typo and will put Kempe’s name as winner on the Trinity Parish bracket, until Bernard Mizecki wins in the Sweet 16.

    • Anne's Gravatar Anne
      March 5, 2015 - 8:42 am | Permalink


    • bridget's Gravatar bridget
      March 5, 2015 - 9:37 am | Permalink

      What a good idea. I too shall assume Margery won. I think people took against her unfairly.

  22. Rev. Debbie Graham's Gravatar Rev. Debbie Graham
    March 5, 2015 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    Egeria is not well known yet her contributions to the church and to the world are profound. I vote for Egeria to fit her up so others may learn about her and learn of her example of devoted pilgrimage and service. I love Lent Madness because it helps us learn about some of the lesser know saints as well as more about the well known ones. Good Holy Fun!

    • Katrina's Gravatar Katrina
      March 5, 2015 - 10:15 am | Permalink

      I had the same thoughts, Debbie. Was fascinated by Egeria, a woman of whom I had not previously heart. I figured I’d be voting for Hildy, because I love her chants (listen to them in the car sometimes) but I went with Egeria.

      • Sonia's Gravatar Sonia
        March 5, 2015 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

        I agree with you both. And one thought strikes me that where would Hildegard be without the likes of Egeria before?
        I also tried a little research on Eg. and came up with a translation of her travels and liturgical observations. It makes for wonderful reading. “The Pilgrimage of Egeria”

    • Katherine Schroeder's Gravatar Katherine Schroeder
      March 5, 2015 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Yes. I’d never heard of Egeria before today. I really admire people who have the wits to record what’s going on in the world at large during their own lifetimes — from Egeria to “Notes From the Warsaw Ghetto” to Studs Terkel’s oral history books. So I’m going with Egeria.

      But it was a very tough choice.

  23. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 5, 2015 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    For me this has been the perfect example of how LM is supposed to work. I knew about and admired Hildegard and expected to vote for her against whoever this Egeria was, and then after finding that out voted for Egeria. I also know Hildegard better and admire her all the more as well.

    I will say this is the closest I have come to casting an illegal second vote for the opponent from another computer. O Supremes, lead us not into temptation!

  24. jackie berry's Gravatar jackie berry
    March 5, 2015 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    This was the hardest decision so far. I had to think long and hard to make a decision, but in the end Egeria won my vote.

  25. Ellen Gracie's Gravatar Ellen Gracie
    March 5, 2015 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    I agree with those comments that Egeria was so very practical, which will always get my vote. But this was a very hard choice today. I also voted for Egeria because I’ve never heard of her!

  26. Cathy Hamilton's Gravatar Cathy Hamilton
    March 5, 2015 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    Let’s hear it for the scribes who copied and recopied Egeria’s letters.

  27. Tutu Lois's Gravatar Tutu Lois
    March 5, 2015 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    It is so rare to have a woman’s voice speaking to us from the 4th century, and the account Egeria gives of early Christian worship is priceless. Hildegard is priceless as well, but Egeria has my vote today.

  28. March 5, 2015 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    This is a particularly difficult vote since I believe both women deserve a chance to move on. Some of the match-ups have been extremely one-sided; this one may be a nail-biter to the end.
    I am sorry to see some of the more unsettling women (such as Kempe) eliminated. Especially since stories of women tend to be more incomplete and influenced by cultural attitudes in the telling (women who didn’t behave “appropriately” tend to get critical press!)
    This whole process has been fascinating, though, and I have learned about some interesting folks.

  29. Cheryl's Gravatar Cheryl
    March 5, 2015 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    I know I had to vote…but this one is a tie for me

  30. Betsey's Gravatar Betsey
    March 5, 2015 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    Egeria – for being practical, for traveling, her eye for detail .. I think I would have loved accompanying her.

  31. KathleenMc's Gravatar KathleenMc
    March 5, 2015 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for Egeria, having just visited the Holy Land and learned about her contributions. A tough choice today!

  32. Matthew's Gravatar Matthew
    March 5, 2015 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    I can’t deny both were influential. I think I’ll go with Hildegard, since her influence went beyond the church and into medicine.

  33. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    March 5, 2015 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    As a dietitian, I must vote for a woman who was an early herbalist and nutritionist. Anyone who has a category of foods named “foods of joy” and who encourages us to savor and respect our foods as divine gifts has my vote. If only the SEC had delayed this match up until March 10, National Dietitians Day!

  34. Dave H's Gravatar Dave H
    March 5, 2015 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    This one is going to be tight. I too went in thinking Hildegard all the way, but Egeria is more than worthy for the nod, upon reflection. That said, being a singer with a penchant for the mystical, I went down the HoB lane…but this one was particularly cruel.

  35. Blair Holbein's Gravatar Blair Holbein
    March 5, 2015 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    Indeed, the SEC set this pairing to to make us think about the role of women throughout our ecclesiastical history (perhaps). Hildegard has long been a favorite. Her writings, music, and poetry still resonate nearly a thousand years later! She was even named a doctor of the church in 2012. Definitely – Hildegard.

  36. Katie's Gravatar Katie
    March 5, 2015 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    This match up is the the toughest one for me yet, what great rolls each woman has played in the life of the church and how very important their parts are…..what to do what to do.

  37. Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
    March 5, 2015 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    I was confident that Hildegarde would beat the pants off of Egeria, and was surprised to find it’s pretty much neck-and-neck, with Egeria slightly in the lead at this early hour.

  38. Walter Gladwin's Gravatar Walter Gladwin
    March 5, 2015 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    Just because I see feminism as a major schism in the Chruch today, I’ll always vote for the saints that formed our foundation and celebrate its rich tradition of unity through Christ. Hence it’s Ergie for me.

  39. Isabel Stanley's Gravatar Isabel Stanley
    March 5, 2015 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    This is a great exercise and learning opportunity, but I noticed many long years ago that 80% of the saints are male, no doubt reflecting the greater saintliness of men. ; ) Also, the male saints are more swashbuckling, so they tend to stand out. As I look around the world today, I think we could use a few more of those quiet women (and men).

    • Barbara S.'s Gravatar Barbara S.
      March 5, 2015 - 4:15 pm | Permalink

      Actually, 44% (14 out of 32) on this bracket are female this year, vs. 56% (18/32) male…..

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 5, 2015 - 5:20 pm | Permalink

        Given that primarily men wrote the history of the church the 80% of saints being men is not surprising. What’s surprising is that there are any women saints at all and that more of them don’t have the gift of tears.

  40. Frances Jennings's Gravatar Frances Jennings
    March 5, 2015 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    Anticipating my favorite service of the entire church year, the Great Vigil of Easter, no other choice but Egeria!

    • Sister Janet's Gravatar Sister Janet
      March 5, 2015 - 9:08 am | Permalink

      I first came across Egeria when I was writing a paper on the Exultet for school a few years ago. I’m so glad the church has seen fit to come back around to some of the deeply meaningful ancient practices like the Easter Vigil. So I voted for Egeria, because I would love to see her become more well known! I greatly admire Hildegard, and felt terrible voting against her, but she is already so well-known and beloved that I hope she won’t mind sharing the glory!

      • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
        March 5, 2015 - 9:47 am | Permalink

        I agree. Hildegard is well-known and left us many gifts ~ but the lesser-known Egeria, through her quiet, persistent, and faithful work, has gifted us with some of the church’s most profound liturgies!

  41. Bob K's Gravatar Bob K
    March 5, 2015 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    In studying for a masters in liturgical arts I became acquainted with Egeria. So much of what we know about early liturgical practice in the church comes from her writings. The baptismal ritual that I use was developed based upon her diaries. Her influence on modern liturgy is unknown to most worshippers but is profound and lasting.

  42. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    March 5, 2015 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    This is a tough one but voted for Egeria.

  43. March 5, 2015 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    I’ve been waiting to vote for Hildegard since the Saintly competitors were announced. She’s a favorite of mine. I am intrigued by Egeria, so if the saint of my heart loses this battle, it won’t be a total loss.

  44. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 5, 2015 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    Regardless of which woman I ultimately vote for – need lots of time to discern that choice – Egeria wins the Collect comparison.

    I also support adding the ability to “like” comments.

  45. March 5, 2015 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    Being a story teller and one-time reporter, I had to go with Egeria, the Liturgical Reporter.

  46. jack zamboni's Gravatar jack zamboni
    March 5, 2015 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    Very tough choice, since I am a liturgist and a singer. Had to go with H., but wish I didn’t have to make the choice! I think a match up like this doesn’t belong in the first round…

    • Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
      March 5, 2015 - 11:35 am | Permalink

      Why, why are the choices this year so tough? As a German scholar who spent 2 years studying in Germany and being familiar with Hildegard, I originally chose her. But, as a deacon who struggles through the Exsultet and all the prayer chants during Holy Week, I just had to vote for Egeria.

  47. Billie Jo's Gravatar Billie Jo
    March 5, 2015 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    Two very strong contenders. Appropriately selected as we prepare to celebrate International Women’s Day on Sunday. Voted for Hildegarde with a strong feeling for Egeria. Tough decision.

  48. Cindy's Gravatar Cindy
    March 5, 2015 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Feel I have to go with Egeria as she set the church services I love, Holy week, the procesion of the Palms on Palm Sunday and the Easter Vigil. My favorite time of the year!

  49. Cricket's Gravatar Cricket
    March 5, 2015 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    I totally expected to vote for Hildy, as she is so beloved and her gifts to us so rich…
    but honestly, I didn’t know much about Egeria, and her bio today won me over.

    Travel is still challenging in those areas~ but to imagine doing that in the 300’s?
    UNimaginable. What a gift to us to have her insights.
    Hildegarde knows she is beloved, so I thought to be generous, we could spare some love for Egeria today.

  50. Patrice's Gravatar Patrice
    March 5, 2015 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    While I find Hildagard’s life and contributions incredibly inspiring, Egeria’s story moved me to tears. To think that her boldness and determination to go back to the fountain head of our faith has provided such enduring and priceless gifts for generations since, just gives me chills. Her story affirms and explains a tangible connection with our earliest brothers and sisters in the faith. I am so grateful to learn about these two amazing women, but so vexed to have to choose between them.

  51. Cassandra's Gravatar Cassandra
    March 5, 2015 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Here is a sample of Hildegard’s music:

    And lots more is available online, sometimes in modern mixes like this one:

    • Katrina's Gravatar Katrina
      March 5, 2015 - 10:22 am | Permalink

      Thank you. Lovely.

    • shawn's Gravatar shawn
      March 5, 2015 - 10:25 am | Permalink

      Many thanks! What a way to start the day!

    • Diane Norton's Gravatar Diane Norton
      March 5, 2015 - 11:32 am | Permalink

      Beautiful. Many thanks. Also for the link.

    • Judy Newblom's Gravatar Judy Newblom
      March 5, 2015 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

      This is a REALLY difficult one but the music was a high note in my decision!

  52. March 5, 2015 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    So, I appreciate both very much. Not sure who to go with. I’ll wait a bit and read what y’all have to say!

  53. March 5, 2015 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    This was a really really hard choice. I’m a journalist (a newspaper reporter but that title has gone the way of buggy whip maker) and they were both writers, reporters. But I voted for Egeria, more fully a reporter. Would like to cast an illegal second vote–but I didn’t, I didn’t. Don’t yell at me.

  54. March 5, 2015 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    For those who might like to explore Hildegard’s liturgical music more fully, the International Society for Hildegard von Bingen Studies is currently producing an online edition of her musical corpus. So far, we have 31 of her compositions fully posted, with texts, translations, recordings, transcriptions of the musical notation, and commentaries:

  55. March 5, 2015 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    One of my music history profs recorded some of Hildegard’s music way back in the 70s which was way before she became popular. I am leaning a bit for her.

  56. Linda Clader's Gravatar Linda Clader
    March 5, 2015 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    A very tough decision for me, but I have to go with Hildegard. As a student of preaching, I have tried to track how women have found their voices by ascribing their ideas and words to the a Holy Spirit, or just spirits (see Ann Braude, “Radical Spirits”, about women spiritualists speaking while in a trance–a way to speak without asserting a woman’s right to do so). Hildegard had a momentous intellect, and even she had to give the credit to the Spirit. Ummm…but perhaps more of the time the rest of us should?

  57. Grace Cangialosi's Gravatar Grace Cangialosi
    March 5, 2015 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    This may be the first coin-toss vote for me! I’d never heard of Egeria and assumed I’d vote for H. However, E probably deserves more press than she’s gotten. Two real trailblazers and role models for the women of their times–and ours.
    Can’t vote yet. So far, I’ve only missed on one of the winners; this may turn out to be the second!

  58. Cheryle's Gravatar Cheryle
    March 5, 2015 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    You have no mercy! I was all set to vote for Hildegard. I have long loved her connection with nature, and who among us can’t identify with someone who resisted God’s direction, who doubted her visions? To have done all that she did as a self-taught person is impressive, even by today’s standards.

    But then you give us Egeria, whose name I had never heard, yet who has now captured my imagination. How could I not vote for the one who recorded the earliest liturgical practices? I love our liturgy so much, and I especially treasure the Great Vigil, the lighting of the first fire – the moving celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord. So I embrace – and cast my vote for – Egeria, but oh, how I wish I could vote for both!

  59. Beth Baier's Gravatar Beth Baier
    March 5, 2015 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    My aunt was nothing like her namesake, but I voted for Hildegard anyway for the maddest of reasons: familiarity through culture. (If the Irish can do it, then so can us Germans.) I love the collect for Egeria and want to hear more about her, so I actually hope she wins this match!

  60. March 5, 2015 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    Hildegard is so well known and has many publicly acclaimed works that it’s tempting to vote for her. I learned about Egeria a few years ago when Prf. Ruth Meyers came to my church and did a Lenten Series on Holy Week. I was fascinated to learn that much of what we know of early church liturgical practice, came from this woman’s writings! Early church woman verses medieval church woman, this one was harder for me than others….Hmmm….Got to go with Egeria!

  61. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    March 5, 2015 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    Thrice a pilgrim to the Holy Land in the past ten years, I don’t think Egeria gets enough credit. She gets my vote.

  62. Patrice's Gravatar Patrice
    March 5, 2015 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    Dear SEC,
    Could we not petition for the runner-up of this round to re-emerge as a “wild card” contender down the line?

    • Vicki Hughes's Gravatar Vicki Hughes
      March 5, 2015 - 10:25 am | Permalink

      Now there’s a thought!

    • Frett's Gravatar Frett
      March 5, 2015 - 11:24 am | Permalink

      Another idea: every seventh year, y’all do a year of the “also-ran’s”, pulling in the “Round of 32” dropouts in the previous 6 years’ closest match ups. It would kinda give the SEC a break, ya know. Single elimination is cruel enough before the tough decisions result in the down-select of perfectly good, worthy contenders who otherwise, against less-popular, or less- intriguing match ups, might advance.

      • Jenn Potter's Gravatar Jenn Potter
        March 5, 2015 - 1:34 pm | Permalink

        I love this idea — I know there are plenty of saints that were gone too soon for me to have enough information about them!

      • March 5, 2015 - 6:02 pm | Permalink

        Yes! This is a great idea!

  63. Aleia's Gravatar Aleia
    March 5, 2015 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    As a musician, I had to go with Hildegard! She was a remarkable woman!

  64. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    March 5, 2015 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    Under critical scrutiny the New Testament yields only fragmentary evidence of Christian worship in the first century. The next couple or three centuries tantalize but also yield few certainties. And then there’s Egeria, who noted it all down, our Protoanthropologist extraordinaire. For me liturgy is the cradle of faith, the heart of Tradition (that Quadrilateral again) and the birthplace of theology. Egeria is our witness to liturgy that’s come out of the shadows; she didn’t create it, the “holy people of God” (St. Augustine’s phrase) were doing that, and have continued to do so, and will keep doing so to the end of this world. Hildegard the reluctant visionary laboring in her garden, which I’m sure was a Mappa Mundi or microcosm, is a wonderful icon of the engaged Christian life. Even the Jesuit-trained Voltaire would have praised the way she cultivated her garden!

  65. Lithophyte's Gravatar Lithophyte
    March 5, 2015 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    No I can’t find a reason to favor one of these very interesting and special ladies. Unfair is the word, but in the bigger context, learned much and am appreciative of good scholarship. In the end I did a statistical exercise with random numbers (sophisticated, flip a coin) to make the choice for Egeria.

    Madness is an understatement today Retlaw

  66. linda d's Gravatar linda d
    March 5, 2015 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    Hildegard today. So rich in experience of the wonders of God’s world. So generous in her expression through music, works and the written word.

  67. Jan Hubbell's Gravatar Jan Hubbell
    March 5, 2015 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    Aargh! It took these two amazing women to push me from lurker to commenter. So difficult to choose. Cassandra, thank you for posting a Hildegard playlist. Beautiful! At the same time, Egeria’s early travels and notations of early liturgy are very inspiring. I’m going off to contemplate for awhile.

  68. Dava's Gravatar Dava
    March 5, 2015 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    I’ll vote for anyone with severe writer’s block. Team Hildegard!

  69. Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
    March 5, 2015 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    What a difficult choice! I was all set to go with Hildegard-until I read about Egeria. I now want to find and read all of her writings. I have always been drawn to Hildegard, but today have broken ranks with my fellow HoB suppoters to go with Egeria. Besides, Hildy has a planet already. Surely a shot at the Golden Halo is the least we can do for Ms. E!

  70. JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
    March 5, 2015 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    Wow! This turned out to be a lot tougher choice than I thought it would be! I had never heard of Egeria before, and now I am driven to learn more about her…but I still voted for Hildegard, whom I admire greatly – I think I would probably vote for her if she were up against Jesus!

  71. Greg Eischeid's Gravatar Greg Eischeid
    March 5, 2015 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    Voted with all lights shining, Egeria’s light shone brighter. I relish the comments as I listen to the music from a previous comment. Thanks all! This is why I vote first, then read comments(all day mind you). Please, teach me more about Egeria and Hildegard!

  72. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    March 5, 2015 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    I love to be a lay reader, and somehow I feel I owe the opportunity in part to Egeria. I thought I would be voting for the underdog, but for now she is in the lead. Another tough choice today, with the consolation that they’re both pretty wonderful and a “wrong” vote is impossible (unless it’s your second of the day).

  73. Vicki Wadlow's Gravatar Vicki Wadlow
    March 5, 2015 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    What a match! I would love to vote for both, but had to vote for Egeria. Can you imagine the difficulties a woman traveling along during that time had to face? For her bravery, Egeria won my vote.

  74. Sharon Boivin's Gravatar Sharon Boivin
    March 5, 2015 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    I had no clue about the important contribution of Egeria to our liturgy. It gives me goosebumps to know that some of my most cherished practices such as the veneration of the Cross come from her writings. We should indeed bless those monks who copied her letters!

    Echoing the other commenters: this was by far the hardest choice yet.

  75. Ellen Batchelor's Gravatar Ellen Batchelor
    March 5, 2015 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    This is the first day I’ve read completely through the comments – a real treasure! I voted for Egeria for her travel and reporting via letters about the early church. Makes our journey deeper learning about our roots. Hildegard deserves our admiration also. I learned about her healing gifts through God’s Hotel.

  76. March 5, 2015 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    What a difficult choice today! I too was set to vote for Hildegard until I read about Egeria. Her travels and writings have preserved for the Church many of the practices that are held in our hearts as we approach Holy Week. The choices this year are really interesting and thought provoking!! This exercise so enriches our Lenten discipline!

  77. March 5, 2015 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Wow!! This was the toughest one yet. I hope that whoever loses in this round will get new life with the SEC in future match-ups of Lent Madness. Both of these women are worthy of the Golden Halo!

  78. Francis of Granby's Gravatar Francis of Granby
    March 5, 2015 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Egeria = the original Church Lady?

  79. Mary W. Cox's Gravatar Mary W. Cox
    March 5, 2015 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    Another IMPOSSIBLE choice! However…

    New fire at Easter?
    Or healing herbs, sacred songs?
    Tough call, but…music.

  80. Priscilla's Gravatar Priscilla
    March 5, 2015 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    This was really a toss-up, but because of my love for liturgy I voted for Egeria, who saw its value early.

  81. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 5, 2015 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    Even my tie-break rules are busted this time; should I vote for the earliest saint – or for the mystic?

    I ended up going with Egeria. I wrote about the Palm Sunday procession a couple of years ago and cited her in re the ceremony in Jerusalem. Anyway, what’s not to like about a 4th-Century pilgrim to the Holy Land?

    You can read her travelogue here:

  82. Mike's Gravatar Mike
    March 5, 2015 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    “Vision” – A great movie about the life of Hildegard – released in 2009. Here is a link with more about the movie

  83. Ann E's Gravatar Ann E
    March 5, 2015 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    So difficult to choose just one of these remarkable women. I finally went with Egeria. She sounds like a sensible and sensitive person. Her great gift to us is recording the liturgy as it was at the beginning. How many wonderful elements of our worship are due to her careful observation and notes! I’m glad to have met Egeria here and now.

  84. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 5, 2015 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    What a difficult choice the SEC has given us today! Hildegard would be a shoo-in, but Egeria the underdog with such important contributions gets my vote!

  85. bridget's Gravatar bridget
    March 5, 2015 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    This is indeed really hard. I assumed I’d vote for Hildegard although i did already know about Egeria, as a pilgrim. I have myself pilgrimmed to Santiago de Compostela by foot and by bicycle. Byt i didn’t realuse that she is the source of so much of our knowledge about early worship etc. Egeria it shall be. Hildegard won’t be forgotten.

  86. Catherine Schiesz's Gravatar Catherine Schiesz
    March 5, 2015 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    you had me at Easter Vigil

  87. Susan Mattingly's Gravatar Susan Mattingly
    March 5, 2015 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    Although I admire Hildegard and love her musicality I had to vote for Egeria. I found it challenging enough to travel to the Holy Land in this century, much less in the 300’s !And, how wonderful we got more than a “wish you were here” post card !

  88. Susan Comer's Gravatar Susan Comer
    March 5, 2015 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    Both women are extremely worthy of advancement to the next or even top level of Lent Madness. I love Egeria for her love of knowledge, the love of what is happening all over the world now, the courage to pursue it in a man’s world, and the foresight to know the importance of what she is observing. I love Hildegard for her intellect as well, and her leadership skills which had a profound effect on the church, again in a man’s world. As a physician and musician, I love the fact that she was also a healer and composer. Unable to choose between the two, I rely on the fact that I was place in the Saint Hildegard group for our church supper club and am thus voting for her….

  89. March 5, 2015 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    While I voted for Hildegarde, I must say that the collect for Egeria is one of the best I’ve ever seen for celebrating the life of a saint and what it might mean to us.

    • Megan Castellan's Gravatar Megan Castellan
      March 5, 2015 - 10:49 am | Permalink

      I adapted the collect for Egeria from a prayer from Janet Morley’s book “Companions of God: Praying for Peace in the Holy Land”. The book is a series of prayers that Ms Morley wrote when she was on pilgrimage in the Holy Land in the 1990s.

  90. Denise's Gravatar Denise
    March 5, 2015 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    I found this to be a tough match up. Ultimately I went with Hildegard. Hey, she’s even got a planet named for her!!

  91. Harry Alford's Gravatar Harry Alford
    March 5, 2015 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    Hardest choice yet. Had to re-read and ponder several times. In the end it was all that talk about Hildegard and her herbs and the time she spent in her herb garden that did it for me. It almost led me to the temptation to sneak into my neighbors yard and snip one of their herbs that was recently legalized here in Washington State to assist in my decision. But I did not. Clear head. Clear choice. Egeria!

  92. Ralegh's Gravatar Ralegh
    March 5, 2015 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    Both worthy candidates with similar accomplishments, but Hildegard was the first woman composer from that time period I’d ever heard of, and I love her music.
    So Hildegard it is!

  93. Jim Bimbi's Gravatar Jim Bimbi
    March 5, 2015 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    As the liturgical officer for my diocese, a two-time pilgrim to Jerusalem, and the Secretary to the Board of Directors of the North American Committee for St. George’s College, Jerusalem (SBDNACSGCJ – hey SEC, how’s that for a handle?), my vote today goes to Egeria. Think Hildegard is quite the accomplished saint, but Egeria’s diligent and loving records have enriched the worship of the faithful beyond measure. And want a life changing pilgrimage to the Holy Land? Check out St. George’s at

    • March 5, 2015 - 10:08 am | Permalink

      If Egeria wins then I will learn more about the contributions of this saint I never heard of before. Seems a good enough reason…

  94. Janet Taylor's Gravatar Janet Taylor
    March 5, 2015 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Cassandra, for posting the beautiful music of Hildegard and to Nathaniel for reference to She had written “Singing summons the Holy Spirit.” I cast my vote for her!

  95. Barbara from St. Barnabas's Gravatar Barbara from St. Barnabas
    March 5, 2015 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    My vote is for Hildegarde! As a very young girl she was given my her parents to the church. She was actually entombed in a cloistered setting with Jutta, a teenage visionary. The two lived and worked together in isolation – praying, caring for a small garden.. When Jutta died, the walls of the tomb were taken down to remove the body and Hildegard fought for her own independence. She was placed in charge of a group of nuns. She then, fought for an independent residence for her nuns. She was never one to cower away from a challenge. She’s an intelligent spiritual woman who stood up to men! I learned a lot about her reading the book “Illuminations” by Mary Sharratt. She impressed me as a person, as a visionary and she clearly was a saint! She made contributions to theology, music, and medicine.

    Some quotes from Hildegard:

    “A human being is a vessel that God has built for himself and filled with his inspiration so that his works are perfected in it.”

    HILDEGARD OF BINGEN, letter to Elisabeth of Schönau, c. 1152

    “Just as a mirror, which reflects all things, is set in its own container, so too the rational soul is placed in the fragile container of the body. In this way, the body is governed in its earthly life by the soul, and the soul contemplates heavenly things through faith.”

    HILDEGARD OF BINDEN, letter to the Monk Guibert, 1175

  96. Gwen's Gravatar Gwen
    March 5, 2015 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    This was an extremely tough choice. Our Christian roots and traditions were set down to be shared and to inspire future generations by these two women. Neither probably understood fully the impact she would have. Both are testiments to what one person can do and the difference a quiet, reflective life can make.

  97. Lisa's Gravatar Lisa
    March 5, 2015 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    Today is the day that I might have to cheat and vote twice! I can’t make up my mind!

  98. Carol Townsend's Gravatar Carol Townsend
    March 5, 2015 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    Like so many others here, this was an agonizing choice. I voted for Egeria simply because I want her to move on to the next round so I can learn more about her!

  99. Kim Olstad's Gravatar Kim Olstad
    March 5, 2015 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    Such fun. As someone relatively new to the Episcopal church, Lent Madness has been a delightful way to learn and interact! Just had to thank you for this introduction to Egeria…who took my vote! I love meeting these new heroes from so many times and cultures.

  100. Regina Walton's Gravatar Regina Walton
    March 5, 2015 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    Hildegard even has her own movie! It was very faithful to her biography and beautifully filmed; highly recommended. I love Egeria, too, so this was tough–but Hildegard was an amazing Renaissance woman–even before the Renaissance!

  101. Katherine's Gravatar Katherine
    March 5, 2015 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    BBC’s “Great Lives” Podcast did one on Hidegard a year or so ago, and listening to her music and listening about her writing really made me adore her. She was really a great person.

  102. shawn's Gravatar shawn
    March 5, 2015 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    I did a little research on the two. What strikes me most is that it appears (from what little I read so far) that Egeria does not mention her personal relationship with God. She seems more to be a great pioneer and journalist to me. I read a little of her writings and I can’t wait to read more but Hildegaard’s suffering and resulting relationship to God and all creation really speaks to me.
    I have not read a lot about Hildegaard either and anxious to do so. But based on what I have read she must have suffered deeply being rejected (even if lovingly) at such a young age by her family and separated from her siblings to live such an odd life with strangers. I can relate to her in that I lost my family at a very young age and also suffered several long-term illnesses. Yet out that pain and suffering came my most profound connection to God as Christ suffering on the Cross and how that connects to all suffering. But unlike Hildegaard who continually said “Yes” to God, selflessly moved on with her life and gave birth to a phenomenal amount of grace and good, I still have many hurdles to overcome to even begin to follow in her footsteps.

  103. Nancy Wylie's Gravatar Nancy Wylie
    March 5, 2015 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Wow! What a match up! I have held a great affection for Hildegard for her music, elevation of women, and gardening, all right down my alley. Also I find that she has a minor planet and I have a star. Now you give me Egeria and as I consider myself a lay liturgist, you have brought me out of my lurking into the comment community. I, too, wish to know where her writings can be found. I haven’t voted yet. Conflicted.

  104. Tom Gerald's Gravatar Tom Gerald
    March 5, 2015 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Such wonderful, thoughtful probings here and contributions to our mutual knowledge and understanding! Possibly not being able to “like” comments helps maintain the civility of our sharing?
    Anyway, after some convoluted thinking, I cast my vote for Egeria in thanks to the SEC for bringing her to my attention.

  105. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    March 5, 2015 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    I expected Hildegard to win by a landslide, and it was a surprise to see Egeria in the lead. I voted for her because of her significant contribution to our knowledge of the early Church. This was another difficult choice. Keep challenging us, SEC. This is how we learn and grow.

  106. March 5, 2015 - 10:13 am | Permalink

    what a difficult decision, both so important in history……love reading all the comments to give more insight…..hard to decide who gets my vote, but ultimately had to go with Hildegard, given all her work with herbs and medicine and her connection to the earth and healing, as well, as all her musical contributions, maybe Egeria will be a wildcard and we will be able to cast yet another vote, in her favor!

  107. Rebecca's Gravatar Rebecca
    March 5, 2015 - 10:14 am | Permalink

    This was a hard choice! I really like both of them, and I’m glad to learn about Egeria for the first time. I hope that whichever woman doesn’t continue on to the next round comes back next year!

  108. March 5, 2015 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    My vote goes to the Visionary Doctor of the Divine Work. In Hildegard’s final volume of visionary theology, the “Liber Divinorum Operum” (“Book of Divine Works”), she elaborates grand vision of all of salvation history as the Work of God, a work in which humans are direct and essential participants, effecting the work to its consummation. This project is at the center and culmination of Hildegard’s entire theological project. When the Word of God, by speaking (or singing!) which God created the world at the beginning of time, became a human being, fulfilling his eternal predestination, the world was set on its perfect course, the malicious plots of the Devil brought to naught. This is also the impetus of for her contributions to the musical liturgy, for the daily hours of prayer and psalmody that set the rhythm of Hildegard’s holy monastic life were described by St. Benedict as the Opus Dei, the Work of God.

    It is a work of community, a work of creation, a work of speech that sings and visions that illuminate. The Work of God is the irruption of the divine into creation, into history, so that human beings might participate and glorify in God’s Love. The scope of Hildegard’s visionary theology is both cosmic and close—reflections of God’s loving revelation of himself to humanity are both grand and utterly intimate, calling us day-by-day to join in the heavenly banquet. Hildegard presents us with a breathtaking and lifegiving image of God and ourselves, working together towards the perfection of Love. We are the Divine Work.

    I have made two of the Liber Divinorum Operum’s most beautiful visions available online, in advance of the publication of the work’s first full, scholarly translation next year in CUA Press’s “Fathers (!) of the Church, Medieval Continuation” series:

    • shawn's Gravatar shawn
      March 5, 2015 - 10:41 am | Permalink

      Thankyou….very excited about this.

    • John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
      March 5, 2015 - 11:50 am | Permalink

      Nathaniel, what a fine statement of the case for Hildegarde! In graduate school I audited a course on the 12th Century Renaissance taught by Herbert Bloch of Monte Cassino fame, and it gave me a whole new perspectiive on the ancient and medieval worlds in relation to each other and to us Johnny-come-latelies. Nobilissima Visione indeed!

    • March 5, 2015 - 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Oh, *please* tell me the exclamation point is part of the actual series title….

      CUA Press’s “Fathers (!) of the Church, Medieval Continuation” series

      • March 5, 2015 - 8:34 pm | Permalink

        Of the almost 150 volumes published in either the patristic or the medieval sections of CUA’s Fathers of the Church series, as far as I know, Hildegard will be the first female author. So yeah, the exclamation point is my own addition, to note the irony.

  109. Alec Clement's Gravatar Alec Clement
    March 5, 2015 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    I am fascinated by the Lone Rangers of Christianity. ( who was that masked woman?) Here is one who travelled long
    distances ostensibly by herself
    …couldn’t have been easy..courage and tenacity I bet..driven by a love of God ..she has my vote.

  110. Gwyneth's Gravatar Gwyneth
    March 5, 2015 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    I was inclined to Hildegard because of my passing familiarity with her music and reputation. When I read Egeria’s story, however, I was more intrigued by her journey at a time when the Christian world was still new. As a journalist, I can relate to her writings about everything she saw and her eagerness to share them. Nun or nomadic noblewoman, she got my vote. And that wasn’t easy.

  111. Deacon Edith's Gravatar Deacon Edith
    March 5, 2015 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    Hildegard is one of my heroes. She was so courageous. Her music pulls at my heart strings. When I play her music for my students, they say it sounds like angels singing.

  112. Barbara Ross's Gravatar Barbara Ross
    March 5, 2015 - 10:18 am | Permalink

    The toughest match-up this season! I was prepared to vote for Hildegard, whom I know well through her music, writings and the film someone else mentioned. Had never heard of Egeria, but I’m fascinated by her and would’ve loved to be her travel companion. Must meditate on this before I vote.

  113. Kandy's Gravatar Kandy
    March 5, 2015 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    Self-deprecating women get in my craw, Egeria all the way and the beauty that is in liturgy!

  114. Phil Matthews's Gravatar Phil Matthews
    March 5, 2015 - 10:20 am | Permalink

    Before I read the descriptions I thought it was a no brainier to vote for Hilda since I knew a lot about her already and have a several of her songs on iTunes. I have always admired her. But upon reading Egeria’s story I was struck with the view she is like the venerable Bede except on a much broader world level recording the early history of the church and passing on the formative practices of the early Christian church. To be honest I could vote for either and hope both win. But Egeria’s story was more compelling this morning over this morning’s cup of coffee.

    I love the enlightened of Lent Madness and the ensuing comments each Saintly battle brings.

    Wrestling with Saints and my fellow Lenten groupies is a rewarding educational and spiritual experience.

    Go Saints! Go Lenten Commentors!!

  115. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 5, 2015 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    Music and herbs, Hildegard is my woman today.

  116. Millie Ericson's Gravatar Millie Ericson
    March 5, 2015 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    Dare I say without Egeria there would have been no Hildegard?

    • March 5, 2015 - 10:40 am | Permalink

      Well, you can say it, but it wouldn’t be true!

    • Susan Boyer's Gravatar Susan Boyer
      March 5, 2015 - 11:02 am | Permalink

      Yes Millie. And with love for the memory of my dear hubby singing the Exultet and my own experiences of pilgrimage in Jerusalem and Istanbul/ Constantinople, I’m voting for Egeria.

  117. Carol Kangas's Gravatar Carol Kangas
    March 5, 2015 - 10:24 am | Permalink

    As a language teacher, gardener, and fallen-away violinist, I have to go with Hildegard.

  118. Julie Reynolds's Gravatar Julie Reynolds
    March 5, 2015 - 10:24 am | Permalink

    My vote went to the historian – Egeria.

  119. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 5, 2015 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    Unfair, SEC! Y’all are mean!! Cannot decide. I love them both. Must ponder this one….

  120. Carmen's Gravatar Carmen
    March 5, 2015 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    Yesterday I think that too many voters gave Margery Kempe short shrift and tossed her off as a flawed human being with symptoms that portrayed her as a weepy drama queen with perpetual postpartum depression who waffled on her parental and marital duties and ran off to become a pilgrim. Some commenters had done background reading and homework, and I was impressed with the thoughtful details revealed about the gift of tears in devotion and phenomenon of mysticism, which when probed, in Margery’s case reveals that she had mystical visions of Jesus that caused her life to change. She turned to Julian of Norwich for mentorship in properly understanding these visions. During the Middle Ages her medieval piety set her up to arouse suspicions of heresy; however, in our enlightened state, how can we denigrate her deeply personal spiritual experiences without attempting to understand who she was in the context of her faith and her calling. I am drawn to seeking out and reading a copy of Margery Kempe’s autobiography titled “The Book of Margery Kempe.”

    • shawn's Gravatar shawn
      March 5, 2015 - 10:55 am | Permalink

      I’m with you!

    • Babzee's Gravatar Babzee
      March 5, 2015 - 11:58 am | Permalink

      yes I was one of those who were a bit hard on Margery. I repent.

  121. March 5, 2015 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    As a musician this was the easiest vote so far.

  122. Nancy Temple Jerome's Gravatar Nancy Temple Jerome
    March 5, 2015 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    A long deliberation! As a singer and church musician I’ve always loved Hildegard. But because of Egeria we are linked to traditions from the early Church, especially the incomparable Holy Week liturgies. Egeria gets my vote today, and my heartfelt thanks.

  123. Gloria Rousseau's Gravatar Gloria Rousseau
    March 5, 2015 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    Hildegard is the quintessential Renaissance woman…bring on a more difficult decision.

  124. Tracey's Gravatar Tracey
    March 5, 2015 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    Church ritual as we know it today wouldn’t exist w/o Egeria. Just another woman reporting the news to the world. Not quiiiite up there with the Marys and Martha, a little closer to the Phoebes and Dorcases, but vital nonethess!

  125. March 5, 2015 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    I’m busting my own bracket again today, but reading about Egeria reminds me just how important I believe her travels and letters were.

    As my Episcopal 101 class looks forward during Lent to the Easter feast, we are spending each Sunday discussing another day of Holy Week in order to be prepared to fully celebrate the Paschal mystery.

    Today I’m reminded just how great a debt we owe to Egeria for helping us imaginatively to walk in Jesus’ steps during his last days in Jerusalem.

    Some of our parishioners will actually go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land this fall, following very literally in Egeria’s steps. For the rest of us, her writings and the Church’s Holy Week services will take us there in spirit.

  126. Francis of Granby's Gravatar Francis of Granby
    March 5, 2015 - 10:44 am | Permalink

    The Liturgy of Jerusalem, according to Egeria.

    (In user-friendly format: with one easy click, you can directly go to Egeria’s description of a specific liturgy– the Palm Sunday procession, Stations, the Veneration of the Cross, the Vigil of Easter, etc.):

    • Jules's Gravatar Jules
      March 5, 2015 - 11:24 am | Permalink

      Wow – thanks for this link!

    • shawn's Gravatar shawn
      March 5, 2015 - 11:59 am | Permalink


  127. David Crosson's Gravatar David Crosson
    March 5, 2015 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    Hildegard’s music alone transports us to the mystical world of the divine. “A Feather on the Breath of God,” indeed.

  128. Elise's Gravatar Elise
    March 5, 2015 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    Ha ha, what herbs did she grow? “Hildegard also invented an alternative mystical language, the Lingua Ignota,… potentially as a result of all that time she spent in her herb garden.” I’m voting for the one who spent her time recording so many of the rituals we now treasure–Egeria!

  129. dewluca's Gravatar dewluca
    March 5, 2015 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    I’m a musician who has lived with migraines for over 30 years, so it’s Hildegard, no question.
    Yesterday we were encouraged to post a comment and add to the discussion.
    Okay, here I go:
    This is my first “Lent Madness”. I have no interest in basketball and am generally distainful of college sports, so I was skeptical about anything resembling “March Madness”, though curious about how this would work. I did not fill out the bracket in advance; I read/pray/vote each day and keep track of that.
    I’m a “cradle Episcopalian” which means I grew up “learning” that only Catholics worried about “Saints” 🙂 About 10 years ago I started reading the online Morning Prayer posted over at and was fascinated by the James Kiefer Hagiographies. Unfortunately, I was totally underwhelmed by the “Official” “Holy Women, Holy Men” when I read the drafts online. I felt it totally lacked “soul” and often lacked basic information (my apologies to any of its authors who might be reading this).
    So, I’m enjoying revisiting some of the Holy Women and Holy Men, but I’m afraid I am baffled by most of the results of these polls. I can only conclude I have little in common with most of the folks voting.
    Which brings me to my main point/question: What are the characteristics we/you use to evaluate “holiness” or “sainthood”? Is this more than just a popularity contest? How do we/you weigh/compare the people presented in the pairings to decide who “wins”?
    Sorry this is so long, it will likely be my first and last post. Further apologies if the non-Egeria/Hildegard portion should have been posted somewhere else.

    • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
      March 5, 2015 - 11:15 am | Permalink

      It’s for fun. The whole thing – I mean, we’re voting for saints in a single-elimination, head-to-head bracket format! – is quite absurd, which to me is a strong clue not to take the “contest” part too seriously.

      It’s all pretty tongue-in-cheek – and as this post ( ) points out, it’s garnered over 20,000 comments about the saints of the church! Show me another place you find that kind of action.

      People become interested in saints that are barely known at all anymore – like Egeria and Cuthbert – and decide to read more about them. We learn more about history and about the way people have lived out their faith in times and places different from our own. What’s not to like about all that?

      Welcome to the Madness.

    • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
      March 5, 2015 - 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Deluca, there is no knowing how anyone will respond to any saint on any given day. Neither does it matter: all saints, even the least likely or understood, are on a calendar because they do speak to people, perhaps when we least expect it. Enjoy the journey in the understanding that all these saints have been somewhere around here before us. (the other Barbara)

      • Barbara S.'s Gravatar Barbara S.
        March 5, 2015 - 1:37 pm | Permalink

        That’s a really important point, Barbara – that these people speak to all of us in different and various ways. It’s always been that way, I think; saints have been thought of as “patrons” of particular aspects of human life for just that reason.

        (I added my last initial to avoid future confusion….. 😉 )

    • shawn's Gravatar shawn
      March 5, 2015 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

      I felt that way at first too but as I continued I found that it is a fun, interactive way to learn about the saints and church history as well as to connect with others. You can take it as seriously or not as you want and I have found both mindsets throughout.
      I am also a cradle Episcopalian but sometimes I think we didn’t get enough of this stuff…..I really enjoy learning now.

    • Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
      March 6, 2015 - 1:18 am | Permalink

      You have stated The central question: what is holiness? It’s central to LM and to our lives . LM is silly, but studying about saints is serious stuff. I guess most of us are confused, or irritated or flummoxed, from time to time, by LM. Hang in there!

  130. Mark Gallagher's Gravatar Mark Gallagher
    March 5, 2015 - 10:49 am | Permalink

    For one who has led a nomadic existence, at least in part because of service to the church, Egeria’s travels resonate. And to think the trials of travel weren’t offset by banking frequent flyer miles.

  131. Jason F.'s Gravatar Jason F.
    March 5, 2015 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    Para dejar de ser otro lurker voy a comentar que me encanta que Egeria sea una española tan importante en la historia de la Iglesia. Me alegro de que (y agradezco a Dios que) ella nos haya traído esta información histórica sobre las tradiciones originales de nuestros hermanos. Amén. 🙂

  132. Sharon Monroe's Gravatar Sharon Monroe
    March 5, 2015 - 10:58 am | Permalink

    For the first time I am not voting at the first descriptions of today’s opponents. I can usually make up my mind quickly, but today – NOooooooo! I will continue reading posts and will most likely vote later this evening.

  133. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 5, 2015 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    I went into today’s match up already planning to vote for Hildegard since I had read a book about Hildegard. However when I read about Egeria, I changed my mind. Some of the most treasured rites and practices Of the church year are mine to celebrate because of Egeria’s descriptions of them. The different ceremonies of Holy Week and the Easter Vigil are practices that I truly appreciate and would hate to do without. Thank you, Egeria!

  134. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    March 5, 2015 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    Wow, talk about mind games! I was going to vote for Egeria, because although I love Hildegard I figured Egeria would be the underdog, and worth learning more about. Then I checked the results and found that she was actually ahead! So I’m going with Hildegard after all.

  135. Fiona Haworth's Gravatar Fiona Haworth
    March 5, 2015 - 11:01 am | Permalink

    My vote was accompanied by great wailing and gnashing of teeth. Two wonderful women who have contributed so much to the church. I am profoundly grateful for both, but voted for Egeria because to hear a woman’s voice from the fourth century is rare and glorious. And her collect is very moving too 🙂

  136. Ann Wetherell's Gravatar Ann Wetherell
    March 5, 2015 - 11:03 am | Permalink

    I’ve sung Hildegard’s moving, ecstatic music for many years. I must vote for her, but I’m interested in finding out more about Egeria!

  137. Edna English's Gravatar Edna English
    March 5, 2015 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    This challenge brought me out of the shadows, no longer a lurker! While listening to the strains of Hildegard’s music, I voted for Egeria. I’ve always appreciated Hildegard, but the history of a woman who travels and writes about everything strikes a chord deep within me. (Thanks to the commenter who posted the Hildegard playlist.)

  138. sue's Gravatar sue
    March 5, 2015 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    A cruel duel, such amazing women. But I felt Egeria did more to make our religion what it is today through preserving early practices and educating us. Not to mention an amazing role model for women. Unimaginable travels for a woman in those times. So I vote for Egeria with some sadness as I listen to this heartbreakingly beautiful music Hildegard gave us plus I’m a gardener with herb beds. So it’s hard to vote against her.

  139. Jen E. Ochsner's Gravatar Jen E. Ochsner
    March 5, 2015 - 11:06 am | Permalink

    A very difficult choice……….wish it could be a tie. I admire what Egeria did, but years ago a friend and I were in Germany and stumbled upon Bingen and the fountain in the square. So hard to choose…….I love the liturgy of the church but am and have been deeply involved in the music of the church…… vote goes to Hildegard!

  140. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    March 5, 2015 - 11:11 am | Permalink

    Although Egeria is a fascinating person with an impressive life, I went with Hildegard because of her music–only one of her many accomplishments. Many years ago, one of the choirs I was in did a program devoted almost entirely to Hildegard’s music, with maybe a little padding from other plainsong hymns, and it was mind-blowing. Not only her music, but her own lyrics, which show her ecstatic mysticism (“The sun’s warmth trickled into you like the fragrance of balsam”).

  141. Terry Proctor's Gravatar Terry Proctor
    March 5, 2015 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    Hildegard’s my gal!

  142. Judith Comer's Gravatar Judith Comer
    March 5, 2015 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    I admire both these women, but voted for Egeria. When I think of the people sitting in the pews in any given Episcopal church, I think that their spiritual lives have been more influenced by Egeria. Our celebration of the church year, especially Holy Week, would have suffered had not Egeria been so meticulous in sharing what she experienced of those celebrations in the Holy Land. Those celebrations in our churches today inform the spiritual lives of contemporary Christians as we walk the way of the Cross through Lent. Hurrah for Egeria! And thank God for both these women.

  143. BetsyA's Gravatar BetsyA
    March 5, 2015 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    Thus far a lurker, but feeling compelled to comment today because this has been, for me, the hardest choice yet. Love of liturgy swayed me at first, but then I listened to some of Hildegard’s music and that in combination with her reluctance to follow God’s plan for her to write until she could deny it no longer pulled me over to that side. Still I can’t help but think about voting for the “underdog” relative unknown whose contribution to our rich tradition is great. What to do?

  144. March 5, 2015 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    I toured the Holy Land with the St George College and I’m a gardener and love music. what to do. I will vote later after I let all this information sift through my brain.

  145. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 5, 2015 - 11:15 am | Permalink

    I voted for Egeria because I never heard of her. I have always felt a deep connection to unnamed people of ages past who lived out their lives as best they could and who followed their faith and taught their children. They may be now unremembered but I know that their faith and lives helped to build the great chain of faith that stretches to eternity.
    Likewise my own circle of influence may be small but with all of our small circles the chain continues.
    It was hard not to vote for Hildegard for the music and the medicine.

  146. Carol Ann Webb's Gravatar Carol Ann Webb
    March 5, 2015 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    Hildegard all the way! She and Mary Magdalene are my two favorite women saints, so it’s only right that she follow in Mary Magdalene’s steps to the Golden Halo. 🙂 I was blessed to be part of a week-long icon workshop where Hildegard was beautifully written by each of the participants. I treasure my icon of her.

    Go Hildegard!

  147. Cricket Park's Gravatar Cricket Park
    March 5, 2015 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    i had to vote for Hildy because you forgot to include her recipe for Nerve Cookies in the Saintly Scorecard. Tsk Tsk.

  148. March 5, 2015 - 11:20 am | Permalink

    A difficult choice but I voted for Egeria because of the courage it would have taken in her days for a woman to do all that she did and that she did it so well that people preserved it down through the ages. What kind of foundation would Hildegard have been able to build on if it hadn’t been for others like Egeria? Hildegard added much but Egeria preserved foundations and I find it incredible that in the 1970s we went back to much of what she reported on 1600 years earlier such as 3 readings and the Holy Week liturgies.

  149. Sally Duernberger's Gravatar Sally Duernberger
    March 5, 2015 - 11:23 am | Permalink

    Many thanks to Cassandra for posting the music of Hildegard. Would not have thought to pursue it on my own. I did,however, vote for Egeria. A difficult choice,indeed.

  150. Jules's Gravatar Jules
    March 5, 2015 - 11:25 am | Permalink

    This is the hardest matchup to date. Both saints are hugely deserving. I voted for Egeria in the end because I am fascinated by early Church history.

  151. Phil Kober's Gravatar Phil Kober
    March 5, 2015 - 11:28 am | Permalink

    As both a musician and physician, I can only vote for Hildegard of Bingen. Although Egeria described many liturgical practices that are used today in a variety of churches, she did NOT develop those practices. She only wrote about what she observed! Hildegard wrote music (as well as hymns) and actually worked as a healer to provide for human health at a time when medicine was very primitive. That gets my vote!

  152. Nancy Gilmour's Gravatar Nancy Gilmour
    March 5, 2015 - 11:31 am | Permalink

    I’ve appreciated the contributions of Hildegard for many years. Today was my first intro to Egeria. She appeals to the anthropologist in me who yearns to know more about our earliest Christian beginnings. Someone commented earlier that Egeria’s contributions could just as easily have been made by others as well. If so, where are they? Today I’m glad to cast my vote for another lesser known saint who deserves our deepest gratitude. Thank you, Egeria! And thank you everyone for your thoughtful, helpful comments!

  153. Meridith's Gravatar Meridith
    March 5, 2015 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    As a music historian and church musician, I really have no choice. Hildegard and her accomplishments would be amazing today, but the fact of what she was able to accomplish in her time is simply astounding. Truly a woman completely in tune with the Spirit. Thanks to those who have shared some of her music here. That should be adequate to sway the fence-sitters!

  154. Diane Norton's Gravatar Diane Norton
    March 5, 2015 - 11:38 am | Permalink

    I like early. Thankful for the few contemporary documents that have survived. A great race this time although I am not predicting a photo finish. Congrats on the 20,000 milestone.

  155. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 5, 2015 - 11:42 am | Permalink

    As a singer, church musician, clergy, hospital chaplain, student of healing prayer, history, herbs, and nutrition, and mystic, I have found in Hildegard von Bingen a true patron saint. It was an easy vote for me. However, I am grateful to have met a new source of inspiration! Thank you for Egeria’s story.

  156. Alana A's Gravatar Alana A
    March 5, 2015 - 11:44 am | Permalink

    I feel like Hildegard is the favorite here, but I gotta go with Egeria. To travel, to spend a YEAR in Jerusalem so you can record a whole liturgical calendar, to write in meticulous detail and preserve those writings…. It was a vocation, of some strange and beautiful kind. To know that Veneration of the Cross was part of the Good Friday liturgy by the fourth century, almost immediately after St Helen discovered the True Cross, reminds me again of the richness of our Catholic Tradition and just how unbroken it is from such early times. Go Egeria! Whomever you were!

  157. Carol Virginia's Gravatar Carol Virginia
    March 5, 2015 - 11:47 am | Permalink

    I have trouble remembering whosies name so I have decided to think of the Swiss Alps Eiger, Jungfrau and Monch., and then say, “did Eugenia visit Algeria?” It worked!!
    However, much as I am inclined to help elevate awareness of wonderful
    Egeria, I am planning to vote for Hildegard. It will be, in part, in honor of her herb garden.
    When we moved into our new home in 2002, we had a neighborhood “House Blessing” instead of a house warming party. A very dear new neighbor came. She is now well into her nineties and drives herself into nearby New Haven to help feed the hungry. Interestingly, she is the grand-daughter-in-law of the landscaper Frederick Olmstead who once had a farm by her modest home. She brought us a framed poem with pressed flowers at the bottom. I keep it on the side-board.
    It reads:
    The kiss of the sun for pardon…
    the song of the birds for mirth…
    You are nearer God’s heart
    in a garden
    than any where else on earth.

    I treasure friendship, modesty, kind thoughtfulness and such a loving gift.

  158. Judith Schellhammer's Gravatar Judith Schellhammer
    March 5, 2015 - 11:49 am | Permalink

    This was also tough for me but I ultimately voted for Egeria. Hildegard is better-known and I went into this competition today just sure she would get my vote. But, then I read about Egeria and I was inspired by her pilgrimage and her letter-writing which has left us with images of the early church’s liturgical practices. I was also sure that Egeria would be the underdog in this one, so I wanted to give her a boost! I’m glad to know something about her!

  159. Bee Jay's Gravatar Bee Jay
    March 5, 2015 - 11:50 am | Permalink

    I’ve known of Hildegard for a long time. And I thought I’d vote for her. She’s an herbalist, among other attributes. And I do love my herbs — ever since Cadfael.
    But, having learned a bit about Egeria, I vote for her.

  160. lysbeth Andrews's Gravatar lysbeth Andrews
    March 5, 2015 - 11:59 am | Permalink

    Thank you Cassandra for the beautiful music by Hildegard, but I still had to vote for Egeria, who has done a great deal and is little known.

  161. Janice Mclemore's Gravatar Janice Mclemore
    March 5, 2015 - 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Hildegard whose visions included a reverence for our green verdant earth needs to be honored now.

  162. Nancy R Evans's Gravatar Nancy R Evans
    March 5, 2015 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

    A very close race!!! It was difficult by I like Egeria mostly since I knew nothing abut her. As others have commented, it is great to learn about new saints.

  163. John the former Lurker's Gravatar John the former Lurker
    March 5, 2015 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

    I agree that this was one of the closest contests yet and I commend the SEC for its pairing on this one. I typically go with the mystic saints over the practical ones, but this time I voted for Egeria. I have read a lot about the early church lately, and recognize now just how important Egeria’s writings were to spreading to the early church our most important ancient practices. Thank you Egeria! I have learned an incredible amount about some incredible people/saints and its just round one!

  164. Val Smith's Gravatar Val Smith
    March 5, 2015 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Like Deborah, I was torn between these two wise and independent women. Having never heard of Egeria, I now want to read her writings. Since I love the Easter rituals and Lent Madness, my vote is for Egeria.

  165. Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
    March 5, 2015 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

    This isn’t fair. Egeria and Hildegard are both worthy of votes. I was inspired by their faith and accomplishments and hope that today’s loser will be in next year’s bracket.

  166. Marjorie Jodoin's Gravatar Marjorie Jodoin
    March 5, 2015 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Egeria, partly because I’d never heard of her before and I am thrilled to learn of the enormous contribution to the history of the church she provided. Also to see the important role women played in the early church. I loved reading Eusebius and the diversity of practice he describes. Now I must find Egeria’s writings! Wonderful! Hildegard has her merits to be sure, but she has had more than her share of attention.

  167. Carol D's Gravatar Carol D
    March 5, 2015 - 12:20 pm | Permalink

    This was IMPOSSIBLE!! I almost refused to vote between two iincredible women both of whom should be awarded the halo. However I wanted to compliment Egeria’s collect. A prayer to use for more than just today.

  168. Linda Goertz's Gravatar Linda Goertz
    March 5, 2015 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Egeria because I actually think it should be a tie & I’d assumed everyone would be going for the rightly-beloved Hildegard. We need BOTH inspiration & tradition, both reverent attention to our sacred liturgy and a mystic immersion in the music of unpredictable Spirit. Indeed, perhaps Spirit will nudge us to a precise tie – and what would you do then, SEC??

  169. March 5, 2015 - 12:24 pm | Permalink

    For more on Hildegard as seen by a contemporary doctor and author who includes Hildegard and her medical approaches in her book, see GOD’S HOTEL, by Victoria Sweet, MD.

  170. Brian Perkins's Gravatar Brian Perkins
    March 5, 2015 - 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I had never heard of Egeria before this. What an amazing gift she gave us all! I wonder if she was part of the groundswell leading to the Creed (and related body), or if she actually shaped it through her observations and writings. I rarely have an interest in reading Early Christian writings – too messy and not yet shaped by the needed dialogue. However, this chronicle I would love to see.

  171. Timothy J Hallett's Gravatar Timothy J Hallett
    March 5, 2015 - 12:26 pm | Permalink

    In Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Canon Chasuble, bidding adieu to Miss Prism and Cecily, says, “But I must not disturb Egeria and her pupil any longer.” Of course, he’s referring to a different Egeria, but no doubt the pagan semi-goddess is the namesake of the Christian saint. I was inclined to go with Egeria anyway, but that sealed the deal. What’s good enough for Dr. Chasuble is good enough for me!

  172. Allison's Gravatar Allison
    March 5, 2015 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

    100% voting for Hildegard!
    As a Divinity student we have read and talked about Egeria — although Hildegard has not actually gotten any mention in any of my history courses (although I am already knowledgeable of her — my favorite saint).
    Hildegard’s music is the the most beautiful I think I have ever heard.
    She was THE ONLY WOMAN granted permission to speak in front of mixed audiences by the pope. She is LEGIT.
    And although her role model and mother figure was overly ascetic and harmed her body — Hildegard had the highest respect for it. Even writing about what is considered the first written description of the female orgasm! Do we even need any more convincing!?

  173. Cecile's Gravatar Cecile
    March 5, 2015 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Hildegard, for your ethereal, celestial music. Egeria would have loved it, too. Egeria got my vote because of her dauntless documentation of her fearless exploration of her world.

  174. Lauren Stanley's Gravatar Lauren Stanley
    March 5, 2015 - 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I am ashamed to admit that I had forgotten all I knew about Egeria, and thus had marked Hildegard on my bracket. But Megan did such an outstanding job telling Egeria’s story that I changed my mind and my vote. Without Egeria, we might not know of the Easter Vigil, and the first fire, and thus I might not be able to sing the holiest hymn in creation, the Exultet, which brings me so close to God at the Vigil that I am always ready to weep. Egeria, thank you for helping us to know the ancient traditions. Megan, thank you for a wonderful write-up.

    • March 5, 2015 - 12:39 pm | Permalink

      We would certainly still know of the Easter Vigil and the fire and the Exultet, because these liturgical celebrations continued quite independently of Egeria’s descriptions of them. Had there been no Egeria, the Easter liturgy would still have celebrated, the Exultet still sung — we moderns just wouldn’t know how early those traditions developed!

  175. March 5, 2015 - 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I think we should nuance the idea that “we wouldn’t have the liturgy” without Egeria. While her descriptions of early liturgy have certainly been very important for modern historians, they were not constitutive of liturgy in the fourth and fifth centuries — that is, the liturgy existed quite independently of her descriptions of it, and it would have continued to exist (and grow!) whether she wrote about it or not. Egeria did not create the liturgy in the Holy Land — it existed already, and she wrote down what she experienced.

  176. Mac's Gravatar Mac
    March 5, 2015 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Really a toughie, the SEC should be chastised for this matchup, they both deserve to forward to the Golden Halo! Egeria finally won out 4me.

  177. Kerrie C.'s Gravatar Kerrie C.
    March 5, 2015 - 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Team Hildegard! Great to see two such inspiring and accomplished women go head to head!

  178. Francis of Granby's Gravatar Francis of Granby
    March 5, 2015 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Calling Forward Movement (Scott, this means you):

    Any chance that Forward Movement might consider publishing a booklet with Egeria’s descriptions of the Holy Week liturgies, to serve as handy, pocket-sized reference during the season?

  179. Bill Ericson's Gravatar Bill Ericson
    March 5, 2015 - 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Egeria gets my vote, without her we might not know the shape of the liturgy.

  180. Lory Garrett's Gravatar Lory Garrett
    March 5, 2015 - 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Some of us don’t have visions. Some of us can’t compose. Some of us plod through appreciating, loving, noting. That may be our gift. Today I vote for Egeria, a faithful believer and reporter. Bless her and those who follow in her footsteps. We may not be imaginative but we see, hold in our heart and share with our words.

  181. Mary W's Gravatar Mary W
    March 5, 2015 - 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I really liked both of these candidates, but I’d heard of Hildegard before and never had a clue about this Egeria. In the end, Egeria got my vote simply because I want to know more about her!

  182. Alice Speers's Gravatar Alice Speers
    March 5, 2015 - 1:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m voting for Hildegard, but I want to read Egeria.

  183. March 5, 2015 - 1:13 pm | Permalink

    The namesake for our nonprofit arts organization is Saint HIldegard von Bingen, so I’m delighted to vote for dear Hildegard! Her contributions to the arts and message of hope, spiritual healing and care for the earth have inspired Hildegard Center for the Arts to “be the change”. Everyone is invited to “Celebrate the Arts and Inspire Humanity” at Hildegard. To learn more, please visit our website at

  184. March 5, 2015 - 1:19 pm | Permalink

    As a modern day “Mystery Worshipper,” my vote went immediately to Egeria. I’d never heard of her before and am totally fascinated.

  185. March 5, 2015 - 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Had to vote for Egeria. I had no particular knowledge of this woman before reading about her here. I admire her mobility, willingness to study and to learn about other Christians of the known world. We need to be in touch with other Christians, especially those who are in perils path in dangerous parts of the world. Maybe we would rise out of our complacency and proclaim the Gospel with more passion.

  186. joan's Gravatar joan
    March 5, 2015 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Not too tough of a decision for me..Hildagard truly turned her all to walking this earth for God.

  187. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 5, 2015 - 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Hildegard for the Golden Halo!

  188. Rich's Gravatar Rich
    March 5, 2015 - 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Wow, what a tough decision. I told myself that I would be voting for Egeria no matter what, but Hildegard made such outstanding contributions – in the end I had to vote for the traveling historian who helped preserve and save for veneration some of our most precious liturgies and practices.

  189. Jean Abbe's Gravatar Jean Abbe
    March 5, 2015 - 1:29 pm | Permalink

    As a woman physician and singer, I have to vote for Hildegard.

  190. Linda Maloney's Gravatar Linda Maloney
    March 5, 2015 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

    For the first time, I’m really torn. As a liturgical junkie whose greatest joy in life is to chant the Exultet at the Easter Vigil, I’m deeply indebted to Egeria. OTOH, I’ve translated three books by or about Hildegard, and have much of her music recorded by the Anonymous 4, so am especially close to her. In the end, my cat Hildegarde, purring on my lap, made the choice inevitable.

    • March 5, 2015 - 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Except that the Exultet (and other Triduum liturgical practices) were preserved in the life of the Church, quite independently of Egeria’s description of them. Even if Egeria had never written her Itinerarium, we would still have the Triduum liturgy, and we would still call out to the choirs of angels to Rejoice!

  191. Cheyenne's Gravatar Cheyenne
    March 5, 2015 - 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m equally impressed by Hildegard’s musical and language skills.

  192. Kim Prentice's Gravatar Kim Prentice
    March 5, 2015 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

    This was a tough match up. I was all set to vote for Hildegard before reading about each woman. Then I was tempted by Egeria because of all of her hard work to record the practices of early Christainity. Then back to Hildegard as a mystic, healer and leader…..usually I vote within seconds of reading about the day’s saints. Not today, I had to mull it over, read comments, talk to my husband. Now hours later I can vote for Hildegard. I love Lent Madness and learning about new people and more about people that I thought I knew.

  193. Mary Robert's Gravatar Mary Robert
    March 5, 2015 - 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Such a tough choice! But I am going with Egeria. Holy Week and the Easter Vigil are my most favorite times. I can still recall with awe the first Easter Vigil I ever attended, which was during seminary almost 40 years ago. It took my breath away then and it still does now. I’m glad Egeria wrote about it way back then so I could see it in my lifetime!

  194. Megan's Gravatar Megan
    March 5, 2015 - 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Every. Single. Day. Difficult choices. The above comments beautifully contain all the reasons to vote for either of these fine saints. For me, it came down to the realization that while there is a patron saint of archaeology, there is not a patron saint of cultural anthropologists. I would like to recommend that in addition to the Golden Halo, Egeria be also presented with the patronage of cultural anthropology. She was doing ethnographic field work centuries before anyone had ever thought of it or faced the difficulty of being a female ethnographist, and in so doing preserved cultural information that informs our actions to this day.

  195. Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
    March 5, 2015 - 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Interesting match today. My nephew just gave me an album of Hilda’s music and as I was listening to her music this morning we experienced an earth tremor. Okay…it’s Hilda for me.

  196. March 5, 2015 - 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Both yesterday’s Margery Kempe and today’s Egeria were diarists whose vivid descriptions of the everyday experience of Christian life in their respective time periods are valuable historical artifacts and poignant spiritual testimonies. Yet Kempe was widely denigrated as a nutcase in need of therapy, while Egeria is being celebrated as a “journalist.”

    I wonder what accounts for the difference in how moderns react to these two women and their accounts?

  197. Sr. Patricia Angela's Gravatar Sr. Patricia Angela
    March 5, 2015 - 2:16 pm | Permalink

    I had never heard of Egeria, but she is a woman after my own heart. I am a member of the Anamchara Fellowship, a group founded in the Celtic tradition, and the spirit of pilgrimage is very Celtic, and very much valued by our Fellowship. So I was delighted to vote for Egeria–but it will be a tough battle to make it to the Saintly Sixteen, I think.

  198. Jennifer Franz's Gravatar Jennifer Franz
    March 5, 2015 - 2:23 pm | Permalink

    This is a truly difficult choice – the SEC is definitely not being kind to us today! – but I simply had to vote for Egeria. Not only is she less known and thus a learning experience, as someone else pointed out, but she appears to have played a major role in documenting and maintaining the liturgy and rituals we have. These are aspects of the Episcopal Church that attracted me at the beginning (at a fairly advanced age) and continue to comfort and amaze me.

  199. March 5, 2015 - 2:30 pm | Permalink

    This was a rough one, actually. I finally decided on Hildegard because she used such ingenuity to work around those in power to get done what she needed done. Her music is amazing as well. Egeria was new to me, and I was really moved by her story. She needs more attention, for sure.

  200. Betsy's Gravatar Betsy
    March 5, 2015 - 2:31 pm | Permalink

    No comments about WWII impact on both these saints? A reminder that our civilized western countries have destroyed important parts of our heritage. It’s not just “those infidels”….. Monte Casino, Dresden, etc… plenty of destruction to go around. Pray for peace and understanding.

    • March 5, 2015 - 2:53 pm | Permalink

      The write-up on Hildegard did mention the fact that the illuminated Rupertsberg manuscript of her Scivias had been lost since WWII, though it did gloss over the fact that it went missing after being evacuated to Dresden for safekeeping (!).

      However, Barbara Newman recently pieced together new information on the circumstances. The illuminated Scivias manuscript (Wiesbaden Manuscript 2) was, in fact, kept in the same bank vault as the Riesenkodex (Wiesbaden Manuscript 1), which is the “giant” one-volume collected works of Hildegard copied right at the end of her life. That manuscript, it turns out, fell into the hands of the Soviets, from whom an art historian (known in the archival documents only as “Frau Dr. K.,” but whom I suspect to have been Dr. Hiltgart Keller) managed to repatriate it in 1947 (it’s now digitally available online from the Hessische Landesbibliothek in Wiesbaden). This information gives us new hope that, rather than being destroyed in the firebombing, the illuminated Scivias manuscript is simply languishing somewhere in a former Soviet warehouse — perhaps even the cavernous storehouses of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.

      (Newman’s report on this in the following article: )

  201. daryl storey's Gravatar daryl storey
    March 5, 2015 - 2:32 pm | Permalink

    i love them both! ultimately i chose Egeria, as she seems to embody our current Eucharist, which without, may have been so very different now. i also love the mystery of her. And Hildegard! ah, what a beautiful story. What wonderful choices these were today! thank you!

  202. March 5, 2015 - 2:35 pm | Permalink

    How can we not vote for Egeria? I would never have known about her had it not been through Lenten Madness. Let’s vote for Egeria so that others can say, Egeria who? And then they can discover this awesome woman of God. Thank you!!!!

  203. Marge Cull's Gravatar Marge Cull
    March 5, 2015 - 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Had to vote for Egeria. Our church is currently working on learning more about liturgy and she fits right in. Are her writings in one or two volumes or are they scattered all over? Does anyone know where I could find a copy of her writing? Thanks in advance.

  204. Lee Greenawalt's Gravatar Lee Greenawalt
    March 5, 2015 - 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Although the quantity of Hildegards work is greater, Egeria contributed unique insight into faith and practice that no other source reveals. Hildegard gets the “great effort ” award, but the uniquely saint halo goes to Egeria.

  205. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 5, 2015 - 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Many comments ago someone mentioned a combination, Hildaria. It was so hard to choose I wish we had the hybrid. I adore Hildegard the spunky, persistent, intellectual, faithful musician. I also deeply appreciate Egeria the early anthropologist. No matter who she was, she was gutsy, to travel so much and document as she did in that tumultuous world. By a hair, the nod goes to Egeria, who did what she did alone.

  206. patricia cooper's Gravatar patricia cooper
    March 5, 2015 - 2:43 pm | Permalink

    This was a hard choice. Both saints contributed in ways I felt were exceptional. After reAdding the information again Hildegard received my vote.

  207. eve lewis's Gravatar eve lewis
    March 5, 2015 - 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Easter is the reason we are Christians. Holy Week has always been the most important , moving, and beautiful time of the church year for me. As directness of the altar guild, I have helped plan for many a Holy Week over the years .
    In one church I attended, The Great Vigil of Easter in all it’s glory was declared by many as a “new” service and not really an Episcopalian liturgy!! Well, we all need to become educated

    . It wasn’t until this Shreve Tuesday that I read about Egeria . WOW I was amazed. To think about a woman traveling so far in her era is awesome in itself, but to have been able to take in all the detail of the liturgy of the Christians in Jerusalem for an entire year and write it all down is quite an undaunting task. I am forever grateful to this woman, be she noblewoman or nun. To write about the church service reading from the Old Testament as well as from the Gospels to the Procession on Palm Sunday, to the lighting of the first Fire of Easter. thank you Egeria. and my thanks to Hildegard whose music is a joy and a service in itself.

    Yes, today was a tough matchup. I would have voted for Hildegard bad she been up against anyone else, but Egeria will always get my vote. I hope she may win the Golden Halo. She was courageous to preserve our liturgy. Go E Go!!!

  208. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 5, 2015 - 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Let it be Hildegard!

  209. March 5, 2015 - 3:07 pm | Permalink

    So. If all the folks who were going to vote for Hildegard had, in fact voted for her, she’d be in the lead. Seems the “I feel sorry for” vote and the “I didn’t know this person before today” vote really is why this is called Lent Madness! Go Hildy, GO!

    • March 5, 2015 - 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Except that yesterday, the “I fell sorry for” folks voted *against* Margery Kempe, because they felt sorry for her, rather than *for* her.

      The pattern that I’m seeing emerging is a marked preference for saints from before 500 and after 1500, and a disdain for those who came during the half of the Church’s life in between.

      • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
        March 5, 2015 - 4:12 pm | Permalink

        Disdain is a little strong, don’t you think? People have expressed their rationales in both serious and lighthearted ways, but most seem to be to be voting for rather than against (and often with great anguish in the decision-making).

        • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
          March 5, 2015 - 5:14 pm | Permalink

          I think you’re correct, Linda, disdain is much too strong a word for what has been seen happening. I really can’t believe that people are voting against a candidate simply because of the tie period he or she is from. The comments I read are very heartfelt and personal feelings and reactions to a particular saint because of voter identification, voter experience, etc.

        • March 5, 2015 - 7:55 pm | Permalink

          Quite right — I retract the ill-will implied by “disdain.” The difficulty of choosing between two great holy women is well attested in the comments; and in yesterday’s contest, Bp. Kemper’s was the advantage of being so much more directly linked to the lives of so many American Christians.

  210. Marilyn D's Gravatar Marilyn D
    March 5, 2015 - 3:09 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never heard of Egeria and am intrigued that she had the forethought to WRITE THINGS DOWN. Everyone knows about Hildegard and I appreciate the fact that she wrote sacred music (since I’m a musician) and did other wonderful things, but I feel inspired to vote for Egeria!

  211. Gay Greenleaf's Gravatar Gay Greenleaf
    March 5, 2015 - 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I was set to vote for Hildegard, a long time favorite, but the story of Egeria and her travels in the 4th century blew me away. She would have been a great travel companion. My prayer book , with the “proposed” crossed out by Canon Guilbert after final approval at the 1979 General Convention in Denver, owes a lot to Egeria.

    This was by far the most challenging match up so far – and we are still in the first round!

  212. Christianne McKee's Gravatar Christianne McKee
    March 5, 2015 - 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Far be it for me to complain about the SEC, but this is an excruciatingly difficult choice: Egeria the courageous pilgrim, whose writings give us a glimpse into the life of the early church, and without whom we might not have the Easter Vigil. And Hildegard the mystic, musician and theologian. Two very strong and influential women, but today I have to vote for Egeria.

  213. JBH's Gravatar JBH
    March 5, 2015 - 3:30 pm | Permalink

    This one just isn’t fair! Two women who have so much to do with the beauty and quality of our liturgy. Hildegard of Bingen and her music were well known to me, but I had no idea that Egeria is our connection back to the earliest observances of Holy Week. For the gift of Easter Vigil, she gets my vote today.

  214. March 5, 2015 - 3:49 pm | Permalink

    What a hard choice! but I went with Hildegard because music, to me, is one of the surest signs of God’s existence and work in the world. Music, to me, can only be inspired by God and I quite well believe God’s speech must be singing. I never heard of Egeria before and am quite impressed by her travels as a woman so early in history, though I doubt she traveled alone. She deserves more press, as others have mentioned, but I have to go with the artist and composer.

  215. March 5, 2015 - 3:56 pm | Permalink

    The musician in my just can’t pass on Hildegard.

  216. Wendy's Gravatar Wendy
    March 5, 2015 - 3:58 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Egeria. I had never heard of her. The work of closely attending and recording is its own kind of calling. I have loved Hildegard of Bingen for a long time. I don’t feel the vote is about whether or not one values music. Music is breathing to me, but I still vote for Egeria. I was captured by learning her role in recording Holy Week practices. One of the things that nourishes me even in the stormiest dreadfulness of my demons that tear at my faith is knowing how ancient are our practices, that so many have done then for so long. This is deeply calming for me when in my storms: just as calming as the essential music of each church season. I give thanks for the knowledge that Egeria has helped us to know about and continue those ancient ways of marking our faith.

  217. Michael's Gravatar Michael
    March 5, 2015 - 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Touch choice indeed. Today brings clarity. No matter who one votes for (or against), there are no winners or losers. No better, no worse. There are preferences only. And the end shall bring all of us the most preferred Saint. And that is good, for we know each better.

  218. Suzanne's Gravatar Suzanne
    March 5, 2015 - 4:28 pm | Permalink

    So tough! I voted for Egeria, but just by a hair. Both of these contestants are amazing.

  219. jane's Gravatar jane
    March 5, 2015 - 4:32 pm | Permalink

    I went with my first choice after reading the bios. Somehow Egeria seemed more serene and her reporting helped to unify the beautiful worship traditions of the young church. I loved Hildegard too. Her music and her medical knowledge,her ability to shoot from the hip with the higher ups, her mysticism and more make her a medieval rock star but Egeria , the early wanderer captured my vote.

  220. Michelle Crull's Gravatar Michelle Crull
    March 5, 2015 - 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I think this was the hardest decision yet! I voted for Egeria because of her recording of the liturgy surrounding Holy Week in Jerusalem.

  221. Liz V.'s Gravatar Liz V.
    March 5, 2015 - 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I had to vote for Egeria, but it was a hard choice. I love the rituals of Holy Week from Palm Sunday through the Easter Vigil. Thank you, Egeria, for detailing these devotional practices for us. And thank you, SEC, for bringing her to our notice. Hildegarde, too. She was equally amazing.

  222. March 5, 2015 - 4:51 pm | Permalink

    This was a difficult choice. Hildegarde contributed much to the world, by example and particularly her music. Egeria contributed some the of the rite and rituals used in Christian liturgy today and left a great legacy based on observation of the early church.

  223. Deacon Georgia's Gravatar Deacon Georgia
    March 5, 2015 - 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Never heard of Egeria before so was pleased to learn of another saint. More food for the soul, thanks SEC.

  224. March 5, 2015 - 5:12 pm | Permalink

    I love that both these women were writers. I voted for Egeria because of her devotion to detail and bravery as a woman in a male dominated age.

  225. Gloria Rousseau's Gravatar Gloria Rousseau
    March 5, 2015 - 5:20 pm | Permalink

    The liturgy recorded by Egeria was created by others. Music and art are part of our liturgical tradition and Hildegard was one of the contributors.

  226. Hilda's Gravatar Hilda
    March 5, 2015 - 5:33 pm | Permalink

    It was a difficult choice but in the end, I went with Egeria. As a Hispanic who loves to travel and some of the early traditions she wrote about (which otherwise would have not been known by us) are some of my favorite practices, since Holy Week and Easter are my favorite seasons of the Christian calendar.

  227. Solange De Santis's Gravatar Solange De Santis
    March 5, 2015 - 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Seriously … it’s got to be Hildegard.

  228. Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
    March 5, 2015 - 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Interesting and rather exciting to see a relatively unknown contestant leading a better-known nominee. It makes LM more fun when voters venture out from the expected.

  229. Deb's Gravatar Deb
    March 5, 2015 - 5:54 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Egeria. The importance of writing down the daily liturgical practice in an she when few could write, and of communicating those practices across the Christian world when fee traveled, is huge. Without Egeria it is unlikely that we would have the rites that so move us today. It doesn’t matter that she didn’t invent them; she preserved them for posterity. As we approach Holy Week I will keep Egeria in my thoughts, and I will remember to thank her for her contribution to my worship.

  230. Joe Stroud's Gravatar Joe Stroud
    March 5, 2015 - 5:57 pm | Permalink

    To say that we would have learned about the earliest liturgies from SOMEONE, if not Egeria, sounds to me a little like saying, “Someone would have gotten to this side of the pond whether or not Columbus (or Leif Ericsson, or whomever) had done it.” Or, “Somebody would have eventually invented the light bulb, even if Thomas Edison had not.” As a “high church progressive” (who loves liturgy) according to one survey I took, my vote goes to EGERIA!

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 5, 2015 - 6:04 pm | Permalink

      As has often been said in the Diocese of New Jersey — RIGHT ONWARD!

  231. March 5, 2015 - 6:21 pm | Permalink

    3.5.2015 [Hildegard of Bingen]

    a feather on the
    breath of God
    you stole away
    the day

    to sail the skies
    of heavenly grace
    a paver of God’s

    health and heart
    all brilliant in
    your ways

    a voice of truth
    that freed your
    soul, embracing
    music’s sway,

    pray now for us
    our hearts to grasp
    the wisdom
    in your gaze.

  232. Susan Crawford's Gravatar Susan Crawford
    March 5, 2015 - 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Hildegard had me at Herb Garden.

  233. March 5, 2015 - 7:07 pm | Permalink

    I have to echo those who said this is the hardest choice so far. And I’d thought it was going to be so easy! Each of these women contributed so much in her own way. I’d be more upset with the SEC, but if they had avoided this match-up now, we’d probably have to face it sooner or later. What does the SEC do in the event of a tie?

  234. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    March 5, 2015 - 7:13 pm | Permalink

    The portrait of Egeria with her bio is quite lovely. Where might one find a copy?

  235. Mariana Bauman's Gravatar Mariana Bauman
    March 5, 2015 - 7:17 pm | Permalink

    I ‘met’ Egeria in Israel a few years ago and when I returned home – bought her book, Egeria: Diary of a Pilgrimage. She was indeed something of an anthropologist and a wonderful journalist. Those who feel that someone else would have recorded what she did are only partly correct I believe. Her extraordinary journey and the factual recordings she made of liturgy, events,etc. were remarkable untainted by ego and politics . She had a fresh, unbiased view of a developing world and I think the Christian churches are all the better for it. I love Hildegarde, another extraordinary woman but my vote goes to Egeria.

  236. David P's Gravatar David P
    March 5, 2015 - 7:22 pm | Permalink

    The SEC is clearly biased against women, pitting two of the best in the same first-round bracket?! Couldn’t one of these easily have taken out Branden the Navigator? The SEC clearly needs some feminizing influence.

  237. Linda Nichols's Gravatar Linda Nichols
    March 5, 2015 - 7:23 pm | Permalink

    While I have the utmost regard for Hildegard and her visions, music, and herbs, I am a historian at heart and so I must vote for Egeria, for without her, what would we know of the earliest Christian practices? If only she’d been there during Christ’s life!

  238. Bonnie Thacker Lloyd's Gravatar Bonnie Thacker Lloyd
    March 5, 2015 - 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Egeria it has to be. She ought to be the patron saint of Vergers. From her–we receive many of the descriptions and directions for the liturgy as we celebrate it today. Thank God for her attention to detail!!

  239. March 5, 2015 - 8:18 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Hildegard, because her pneumatology and theology of creation are drawn on today as valuable contributions that serve as resources for a deeper understanding of theology in the 21st century. In the Catholic church, her progression towards sainthood had languished for centuries; it was reinvigorated by Pope Benedict who not only canonized her, but also pronounced her a Doctor of the Church, and I’m convinced it was because of her insight into “the greening power of God.” Seeing God’s life-givingness all around us helps us to see all of creation as holy: something we desperately need at this time in the history of humanity. Pope Francis will be releasing an encyclical on the environment later this year, and I would bet we’ll see some citations of her work.

    Plus the music, plus the medieval medicine, plus the leadership: this woman was so gifted by God in so many different areas.

    At the same time, I rejoice to have been introduced to Egeria… and am pretty darned annoyed that I’ve never heard of her before, neither in my continuing-ed nor in my graduate level course on the first five centuries of the church, nor in the reader of spiritual pilgrims, nor in all the various readings I’ve done over the years on liturgy. Thanks to everyone who posted links, and I do believe I’ll be dropping a suggestion to add her to the curriculum at my school. 🙂

  240. Pat's Gravatar Pat
    March 5, 2015 - 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the web links to Egeria’s writings. After reading excerpts from her very informative writings, I wish I had had them as a guide when I visited the Holy Lands. Her writings are so simple and inclusive of all of the points of interest. Its hard to think she wrote them more than 1700 years ago. When one visits the Holy Lands there is a pervasive question expressed of the validity of the particular spot or point of interest i.e., did it really happen there? It seems from Egeria’s writings, Jesus and the Desert Fathers commerce was going strong very early and its comforting to know perhaps they have preserved the places where it really happened.
    My vote is for Egeria — which in no way diminishes the impact of Hildegard, whom I love and admire very much!

  241. Sandy's Gravatar Sandy
    March 5, 2015 - 8:20 pm | Permalink

    I don’t recall ever having thought of the SEC as cruel, but I find this match-up a cruel choice. Both are remarkable women. I’ve pondered all day and finally chosen to vote for Egeria, a traveler and writer – two things dear to my heart.

  242. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    March 5, 2015 - 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Really, SEC??? I can’t figure out anything to distinguish one of these women from the other in such a way as to make one the obvious winner. They are both kind of ridiculously awesome and speak to me equally. This will be my first ever coin flip vote!

    • Mike's Gravatar Mike
      March 5, 2015 - 8:38 pm | Permalink

      Noooo! Don’t flip a coin…just listen to some more of Hildegard’s music, and you’ll hear why you should vote for her 🙂

  243. Mike's Gravatar Mike
    March 5, 2015 - 8:34 pm | Permalink

    Go Hidegard Go!

    Making a comeback…almost there!

    Now we just need the Hidegard vote to do one of those lofty jumps to the heavens as is so distinctive in her music!

    • March 5, 2015 - 9:10 pm | Permalink

      YES! Been a big fan of Egeria since Louis Weil introduced us to her back in the day. But I’ve known of and admired Hildegard for much longer and as a [former?] musician and current mystic-o-phile I’ve gotta say I hope she wins today. A very close race. Where’s the Hilde-guard?

  244. Sharon Monroe's Gravatar Sharon Monroe
    March 5, 2015 - 8:34 pm | Permalink

    I figured if I waited all day and kept reading posts I would be able to make an “informed decision” but Nooooooo. The only thing I accomplished by waiting all day was waiting all day!

  245. Laura's Gravatar Laura
    March 5, 2015 - 8:36 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was a done deal for me. I’ve always been a fan of Hildegard. But then I read the biography of Egeria, and I love the idea of a roving reporter, an early Brenda Starr. (Okay, I’m dating myself.) My daughter, who is at this moment in Africa and will report on that, began her writing career as a newspaper reporter. So, Egeria, you have my vote!

  246. Heidi Shott's Gravatar Heidi Shott
    March 5, 2015 - 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Just for the record, my bracket has Egeria for the Gilden Halo.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 5, 2015 - 9:41 pm | Permalink

      You go girl!

    • sue's Gravatar sue
      March 6, 2015 - 7:36 am | Permalink

      Mine too!

  247. Carol Virginia's Gravatar Carol Virginia
    March 5, 2015 - 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Len Freeman, your poem of Hildegard is so beautiful. Thank you for your loving, inspirational contribution.

  248. Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
    March 5, 2015 - 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Wow, this is the closest yet. Both are worthy women. It will be exciting to wake tomorrow to discover the winner.

  249. Jody's Gravatar Jody
    March 5, 2015 - 10:02 pm | Permalink

    What a tight race between these two amazingly faithful women! I enjoyed learning about Egeria, but I cast my vote for Hildegard as I have long been a fan of her music and her writings. With two more hours left to vote, I hope Hildegard will gain the edge to advance to the Saintly Sixteen!

  250. Mary Hartman's Gravatar Mary Hartman
    March 5, 2015 - 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Oh, how I hated to have to choose between these two women! Both writers, and one a musician like me! I had never heard of Egeria. Thanks for the education, Lent Madness!

  251. Adrienne's Gravatar Adrienne
    March 5, 2015 - 10:36 pm | Permalink

    oh so difficult of a choice today – i would have delighted in spending a month with each. but choice goes today with medieval music. anyway, three cheers for the scribes!

  252. Harriette's Gravatar Harriette
    March 5, 2015 - 10:51 pm | Permalink

    As a life long healthcare provider I have to side with Hildegard for two reasons. She was an early health healer and she advanced the cause of women.

  253. Diane HH's Gravatar Diane HH
    March 5, 2015 - 11:09 pm | Permalink

    I was very excited to see Egeria in the bracket since she was one of the first (& favorite) resources I found when looking for more insight into Lenten practices. She gave us so many images that would have been lost without her desire to share, vividly, her experiences with her sister nuns back at home and to quote her: “Journeys are not hard when they are the fulfilment of hopes.” She is still guiding modern day pilgrims too. Please vote for Egeria!

  254. Debby Thomas's Gravatar Debby Thomas
    March 5, 2015 - 11:10 pm | Permalink

    And no mention of the 9 concentric circles…

  255. Diane HH's Gravatar Diane HH
    March 5, 2015 - 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Oh! And kudos on the Egeria Collect.

  256. Emily's Gravatar Emily
    March 5, 2015 - 11:45 pm | Permalink

    To say Egeria just wrote what she saw and that wasn’t such a big deal is the same as saying the apostles, who only wrote what they saw or heard aren’t that important either ….

  257. Miss J's Gravatar Miss J
    March 6, 2015 - 2:44 am | Permalink

    I majored in Journalism and love liturgy, so Egeria it is.

    Also someone in the comments up above mentioned having a masters in liturgical arts and all I could think of was which schools offer that degree program. (If anyone knows please let me know!)

  258. Karen's Gravatar Karen
    March 6, 2015 - 3:20 am | Permalink

    I was all set to vote for Hildegard, especially given her gorgeous music. We had studied her in our “Christian Mystics” study last fall, and she was the first one I had decided upon when the bracket first came out.

    But then I read about Egeria, her travels, and all the early church rituals and practices that she observed and documented – I was blown away! No contest – Egeria gets my vote!

  259. Eileen Fisher's Gravatar Eileen Fisher
    March 6, 2015 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    I regard Egeria as vastly more than a “cultural anthropologist” or the “Margaret Mead” of her day. I feel blessed to learn about this amazing woman who chronicled so many important Christian liturgical rituals as they existed in her day and continued to be practiced today.
    This was a tough vote for me, being a physician, I was really impressed (how can one not be) by the wundersame Werke von Hildegard, especially trying to get women accepted into medical education, but the life of Egeria, the traveler and chronicler won me over. It’s a tight race! There are no real “losers” in Lent Madness anyway. How much I have learned.

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