This is a framed icon by Robert Lentz, OFM of Saint Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179). Known as the “Sibyl of the Rhine,” Saint Hildegard was a German writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath. This framed icon – measuring 14.25 x 12 inches (outer frame) and 12 x 9.75 inches (actual print) — is indeed a wonderful gift to celebrate her feast day on September 17th. This framed icon is also an exquisite gift for a birthday, first communion, confirmation, ordination, vows jubilee, and Christmas. This will also be a most fitting gift for that special “Hildegard” in your life!
A Modern Icon by Robert Lentz, OFM
Robert Lentz (born 1946) is an American, member of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM), and iconographer especially known for incorporating contemporary social themes into his icons. Lentz was born in rural Colorado to a family of Russian origin. He originally intended to enter the Franciscan Order as a young man in the 1960’s but left before taking his vows. He was later inspired by his family’s Russian Orthodox heritage and became interested in “writing” icons. In 1977 he became an apprentice to a master of Greek iconography from the school of Photios Kontoglou at Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, Massachusetts. During his time in the Secular Franciscan community in New Mexico, Lentz developed a close relationship to the local friars, and again felt the call to join the order. He was received into the Order of Friars Minor in New Mexico in 2003, and transferred to the Holy Name Province on the East Coast in 2008. After relocating he taught at St. Bonaventure University. He is currently stationed at Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Maryland. Lentz’s icons include fourteen large images of recently canonized saints (including Saint Hildegard of Bingen), people of various cultures and ethnicities, and modern secular political and cultural figures.
Saint Hildegard of Bingen – Mystic and Doctor of the Church
Saint Hildegard (1198-1179) produced major works of theology and of her mystical visions in an era when few women were even able to write. She was sought out by bishops, popes, and kings for her wisdom and counsel. After learning the healing powers and medicinal uses of plants, animals, trees, and stones, she authored treatises of her findings. Hildegard is the first composer of music whose life is known in detail. One of the works she composed, the Ordo Virtutum, is an early example of liturgical drama and perhaps the oldest extant morality play. She founded a convent where the sisters performed her musical plays. Although she has been revered as a saint for centuries, and several Popes have referred to her by that title, she was never officially canonized. So Pope Benedict XIV eliminated any lingering uncertainty by announcing on May 10, 2012 that St. Hildegard should be inscribed in the catalog of saints. Musicologists and historians of science and religion have spurred on a revival of interest in this extraordinary woman of the Middle Ages. She was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XVI on October 7, 2012. She is now the fourth woman Doctor of the Church after St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Therese of Lisieux. There are in all now only 34 Doctors of the Church.