Immanuel Retreat Center presents music of St. Hildegard of Bingen
St. Hildegard of Bingen.

Immanuel Retreat Center presents music of St. Hildegard of Bingen

BELLOWS FALLS — Saint Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179 CE) was a German magistra or monastic leader, mystic, healer, artist, author, counselor, and composer of music.

In a Dec. 9-11 weekend retreat/workshop at Immanuel Retreat Center, 12 and 14 Church St., participants will explore her prolific life.

From the time she was very young, Hildegard claimed to have visions. She received a prophetic call from God five years after her election in 1411 as magistra, female leader of a monastic foundation or abbess, demanding of her, “Write what you see.” She eventually collected her visions into three books.

Recent interest in women in the medieval church has led to a popularization of Hildegard - and particularly of her music. Approximately 80 compositions survive, a far larger repertoire than almost any other medieval composer. In addition to music, Hildegard also wrote books and articles on medical, botanical, and geological subjects, and she even invented an alternative alphabet.

Hildegard was a powerful woman by the standards of the Middle Ages. She counseled popes, statesmen, emperors, abbots, and abbesses. She traveled widely, giving public speeches, a rarity for a woman of the time.

Retreat participants' experiences of Hildegard will be enhanced by contemplative prayer and other spiritual practices, song, music, optional spiritual direction, informal discussion, and personal time, as well as the main group sessions.

The weekend also includes a public concert of Hildegard's music on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., performed by Ruth Cunningham and others. The faculty for the retreat include Melinda Gardiner, musician and nurse, Leslie Lassetter, a healer and music therapist, and Robert Bowler, an ordained minister.

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