"Wisdom has built herself a house in me, has set up her tent here, and my very old age has afforded the rare privilege of growing more and more intimate with her," writes Barbara Lachman in this book of historical recreation. In the spirit of "The Journal of Hildegard of Bingen" the author puts herself in the shoes of this medieval abbess, musician, theologian, and healer during her 80th year in 1178.

During the last year of her life, Hildegard of Bingen defied ecclesiastical authorities at Mainz by refusing to remove the body of an excommunicated nobleman buried in the convent cemetery. As punishment, she and her nuns were forbidden to celebrate the Divine Office. In her journals, she reflects upon this edict of silence and concludes, "without sounding our praise, we are so many desiccated women." Lachman lifts up and affirms Hildegard's reflections on what it felt like to be "a mouthpiece for the Divine." She also shows us this multitalented woman's positive interpretation of old age, her love of the salvific power of music, and her enchantment with all of God's mysteries whether in nature, community, or death. Hildegard, The Last Year is poetic and poignant.