This grew out of the fact that her community was not an independent foundation, but rather grew out of an anchoress’s cell attached to a male monastery. As young women attached themselves to Hildegard’s mentor Jutta, an actual community of nuns was formed. While the relations between the two communities remained peaceful at first and Abbot Kuno supported Hildegard’s visionary work, conflicts soon arose.
Conflict continued after the move, this time focusing on the dowries the nuns had brought with them. Hildegard’s attempt to gain control of this income and her success in 1154/1155 soured relations further. The dislike between Hildegard and Helengerus, Kuno’s replacement as abbot, appears to have been mutual. At the very least she had a low opinion of his spiritual character (see above).
The situation did not get any better in 1173 when Volmar, Hildegard’s confidant and father confessor to her nuns. The monks of Disibodenberg were required to provide the nuns with replacement for him, an obligation Helengerus resented and did his best to avoid carrying out.
This particular conflict did not so much end as trail off. And one can’t really say the monks’ fears were unjustified. She is now known as St. Hildegard von Bingen, and rarely do people ever mention Disibodenberg in connection with her.
*Well, sort of. She never formally held that title, since for her community that position was already held by Abbot of Disibodenberg.
**There may also have been a sense of betrayal among the monks of Disibodenberg, since she had been raised in their monastery and was now abandoning them, taking the income and prestige she brought them with her.
***They received significant financial and political support in this from the mother and brother of one of her nuns, the Marchioness von Stade and the Archbishop of Bremen, as well as the Archbishop of Mainz, in whose archdiocese Disibodenberg lay. These were powerful figures and their support for Hildegard in this dispute was significant not only because it helped her win her point against Kuno, but also because she would find herself opposing them in the second major conflict of her life.
Baird, Joseph L. and Radd K. Ehrman, trans. The Letters of Hildegard of Bingen. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994, 1998, 2004.
Flanagan, Sabina. Hildegard of Bingen, 1098-1179: a Visionary Life. London: Routledge, 1989. [Note: Some excerpts from this book can be found here.]