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60 – Bad Habits: Two True Stories of Twelfth Century Nuns

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This week we’re taking the time machine back to the filthy land of Europe circa 1100 AD to tell a couple stories of that most entertaining class of characters: nuns. Or to put it a cooler way, the stories of two women, Christian mystics and “anchoresses” both, deep in one of the absolute worst times to be alive ever. First we talk about Christina of Markyate, whose mystic visions led her to flee from her abusive family’s constant imposition of sin and debauchery on young Christina to join a convent. But first she just lives in some dude’s wall for seven years. Then we learn about Saint Hildegard von Bingen, AKA Sibyl of the Rhine, a polymath, natural philosopher, writer, medical practitioner, composer and basically every other really cool thing someone could be. Hildegard’s mystical writings and musical compositions made her about as close to a rock star as a 12th century nun could be, and offers evidence that that there were points of light in what was otherwise just a truly stupid place and time to be alive. 

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