Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday formally added
the name of a medieval German nun, Hildegard of Bingen, to the
Catholic Church's catalogue of saints.
A mystic, who also composed music and wrote plays, Hildegard has long been considered a saint, especially in her homeland, despite never having been formally canonized by the Church.
She has also been held in high esteem by some New Age movement members for her views on natural healing, and by some feminists for her outspokenness as a woman.
Since his election in 2005, German-born Benedict has in several of his public addresses, expressed admiration for the Benedectine nun who was born in Bermersheim in 1089 and died in Rupertsberg in 1179.
Also on Thursday, Benedict authorized the promulgation of decrees recognizing miracles, acts of martyrdom and "heroic virtues" to several candidates for sainthood.
Among the martyrs recognized by the pontiff were 20 Spanish Catholics killed in anti-clerical violence during the Spanish Civil War, and an Italian man, Odoardo Focherini, who was killed in a concentration camp in Hersbruck, Germany in 1944 for attempting to save Jews from Nazi persecution.
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