A Portrait of a Saint

Congratulations to Mary Sharratt on the publication of Illuminations. We are so excited to see the finished book – with one of the most gorgeous covers ever – and Mary has done readings to standing-room-only, sold-out crowds.

Skillfully interweaving historical fact with psychological insight and vivid imagination, Sharratt’s redemptive novel, Illuminations, brings to life one of the most extraordinary women of the Middle Ages: Hildegard von Bingen, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath.

Offered as a tithe to the Church at the age of eight, Hildegard was entombed in a small room where she was expected to live out her days in silent submission as the handmaiden of a renowned but disturbed young nun, Jutta von Sponheim. Instead, Hildegard rejected Jutta’s masochistic piety and found comfort and grace in studying books, growing herbs, and rejoicing in her own secret visions of the divine. When Jutta died some thirty years later, Hildegard broke out of her prison with the heavenly calling to speak and write about her visions and to liberate her sisters and herself from the soul-destroying anchorage. Riveting and utterly unforgettable, Illuminations is a deeply moving portrayal of a woman willing to risk everything for what she believed.

Hildegard is one of four women to be named Doctors of the Church. We love this video which really captures the mood of her amazing story.  You’ll want to read the book to truly get to know her.

The Star Tribune says, “The masterful skill Sharratt displays in Illuminations is to create a real and accessible Hildegard who rises above the legends, projections and reinventions, thus allowing readers to understand Hildegard’s spirituality as the nun herself may have experienced it.”

The Book Reporter praises, ” Illuminations is a fascinating work of historical fiction about the life and times of a saintly woman whose vision that the divine is present in all of God’s creation resonates across the centuries and is relevant today.”

For a fun introduction into Illuminations, check out Mary’s article in Huffington Post Religion: “8 Reasons Why Hildegard Matters Now.”