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Patron Saint of Creativity

Photo: Michael Conti with Sister Lydia Stritzl at Benedictine Abbey of Saint Hildegard, Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany. March 2013.

Patron Saint of Creativity

I found myself referring to her as a patron saint of creativity when I first starting my film.  Saint Hildegard of Bingen evokes a calling, that sweet spot of creativity that we all yearn to play in, which is also spiritual in nature.  She is venerated for her widely recognized impact on today’s theologians, artists, musicians, doctors and educators.   I explored that theme more closely in my finished film, The Unruly Mystic: Saint Hildegard.

She is indeed the unruly mystic. Her story, invites us all to embrace the connection between God, Nature and Art. This is the story of a powerful muse who invites us to create magic in our own lives by letting the ordinary touch the divine.  I think of how she has helped me connect with my own spirituality and creativity. 

People ask me how I came to make a documentary about Saint Hildegard of Bingen. I don’t see this film as a religious historical documentary, but a prescriptive documentary of how one woman that is still widely unknown (although recently canonized and made a doctor of the church by the Vatican in 2013) can continue to have a profound impact on today’s theologians, artists, musicians and educators.

When I decided to take my first ever pilgrimage to the Rhineland in spring 2013.  I took a 10-day retreat which was billed as a Birthing Vision, coinciding with spring equinox in the Rhineland, and the opportunity to immerse into the Light and Greening Power of Hildegard.  The result of that retreat was for me the start of a film entitled The Unruly Mystic which is a prescriptive documentary of how I as the filmmaker reaffirm my life’s work when I fell in love with a 12th century Saint.  It is a journey that has now taken me to Germany several more times, and given me to the opportunity to meet artists, writers, musicians, theologians and doctors around the world that have found their life changed by Saint Hildegard.

Dr. Wighard Strehlow’s healing work at the Hildegard Center in Allen Bach, GermanyIncluded in the film are other insightful interviews with Benedictine Sr. Lydia from the Abbey of St. Hildegard, Germany; Professor Beverly Mayne Kienzle at the Harvard Divinity School; the now deceased Linn Maxwell, a world-class mezzo soprano on her one-woman Hildegard show, The Living Light; Dr. Wighard Strehlow’s healing work at the Hildegard Center in Allen Bach, Germany; and American Episcopal priest and theologian Matthew Fox.

For me, Saint Hildegard of Bingen evokes a calling, that sweet spot of creativity that we all yearn to play in, which is also spiritual in nature.  The film reveals how she is still venerated for her widely recognized impact on today’s theologians, artists, musicians, doctors and educators.

She is indeed the unruly mystic. Her story invites us all to embrace the connection between God, Nature and Art. This is the story of a powerful muse who invites us to create magic in our own lives by letting the ordinary touch the divine.

It has been an amazing birthing process  when I first took that pilgrimage, and now with the film’s birth, and it has been another journey in screening and promoting the film’s message to an international audience.

This film presents a deservedly dynamic and alive portrait of this amazing pioneer and renaissance woman, Hildegard of Bingen, as it zeroes in especially on her powers of healing through her music and her dietary teachings.  It presents a diverse mix of contemporary persons, women and men, who have been affected by her many works so imbued with spirit in search of wisdom.  An excellent documentary, full of Hildegard’s spirit!

–Matthew Fox, author of “Hildegard of Bingen, a Saint for Our Times: Unleashing Her Power in the 21st Century” and “Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen” and “Hildegard of Bingen’s Book of Divine Works with Letters and Songs.”

As I witnessed how Saint Hildegard continues to inspire people in these challenging times, I was reminded of my own dark night of the soul moment as a 22 year old in Barcelona in 1983.  It was in that teaching moment I decided to pursue a life of creativity that I am still living today as a filmmaker.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but Saint Hildegard was already walking with me.  I rediscovered her as a source of my inspiration as I conducted my interviews and walked in her path during two visits to her Rhineland homeland.

It is my wish to inspire the audience on their own path of creativity and meaning through the telling of this unique mystic figure.  At the end of the film,  I give credit as being inspired by the Patron Saint of Creativity. Recently I wrote a new blog posting talking about the patron saint of creativity.

Crazy Wisdom Films

Inspiring documentaries from an international filmmaker, Michael M. Conti, about the old and upcoming unruly mystics that walk among us.  Let these films will wake us up!  These non-fiction personal narrative films inspire us through the filmmaker’s eyes to the stories of people living their own lives as mystics, artists, theologians, thinkers and writers.

Every generation when finding its own voice also rediscovers the teachers, mystics, geniuses, misfits, rebels, troublemakers from the past, and these films are the filmmaker’s gifts to remind us of those unruly mystics that stood strong, brave, open and everlasting awake for all of us.  We all need a patron saint of creativity in our lives!

The Unruly Mystics is multi–part series produced by Crazy Wisdom Films, explore the wellness and spiritual connection to creativity, nature and science.  These series are carefully curated around each subject theme, and produced to find the insightful stories of today’s modern mystics, to explore and engage the viewers with an experiential journey through the visual craft of film.

 

 

 

Von Bingen: Canticles of Ecstasy


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