Tradition and legend
Hildegunde was the daughter of Harper von Helpenstein, a ministerial of the Archbishop of Cologne. After the death of her mother, she made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem with her father in the spring of 1183 . On the crossing from Brindisi to Tire , the father died of "hot fever"; he is said to have been buried in the Cathedral of Tire.
In order not to be bothered on the way home, Hildegunde dressed in men's clothes. As a name she chose Joseph - the protector of families and children. According to tradition, she was accused of stealing on the way back to Neuss. She was sentenced to death, but an angel of God is said to have testified to her innocence.
By visiting their relatives, the Beguine Mechthildis in Speyer she came in the Palatine area. Finally, she appeared as a novice at the Cistercian monks in the monastery Schoenau (Odenwald) a. As brother Joseph, she lived there without revealing her true gender, which was only discovered after her death at the age of only 18. She was buried in the choir of the monastery church in Schönau and quickly gained the reputation of holiness.
Her feast day is April 20th.
- Wilhelm Wattenbach: Hildegund . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 12, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1880, p. 408 f.
- Andrea Liebers: This man was a woman. eFeF, Zurich 1989, ISBN 3-905493-06-3 .
- Helmut Wessels: Neuss and St. Quirin on foot. 3 tours through medieval Neuss . Bachem, Cologne 2004, ISBN 3-7616-1801-8 .
- Andrea Rottloff: Stronger than men and braver than knights. Pilgrims in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages . Zabern, Mainz 2007, ISBN 978-3-8053-3766-3 , (= cultural history of the ancient world, vol. 115).
- Friedrich Wilhelm Bautz : Hildegundis von Schönau. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 2, Bautz, Hamm 1990, ISBN 3-88309-032-8 , Sp. 853.
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Hildegunde von Schönau; Joseph|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||Saints of the Catholic Church, disguised as a man in the monastery|
|DATE OF BIRTH||March 1170|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Neuss|
|DATE OF DEATH||April 20, 1188|
|Place of death||Schönau near Heidelberg|