Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) was born into a well-established noble family in Bermensheim and was given to the monastery as a young child. She became a nun and later founded her own convent at Ruperstberg. With papal approval she wrote down her visions and travelled through Germany preaching. As well as her visionary writing, she composed liturgical music and was skilled in medicine, and was canonized after her death. Mark Atherton teaches English at Regent's Park College, Oxford.