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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.

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.

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.

Join us in connecting more deeply with your 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.

It all started two years ago

When I decided to take my first ever pilgrimage to the Rhineland.  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.

Included 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; 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 these past two years when I first took that pilgrimage, and now with the film’s birth, there is another journey about to begin for me in screening and promoting the film’s message.

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.”

I have filmed over 20 hours of interviews in the United States, Germany, Switzerland with such notables as a medieval Christianity scholar, Dr. Beverly Kienzle at Harvard Divinity School, a world-class mezzo soprano and actor, Ms. Linn Maxwell, the outspoken mystic theologian, Rev. Matthew Fox from the Creation Spirituality Movement in California, and Dr. Wighard Strehlow, who runs German clinic that has treated over thirty thousand patients using Hildegard’s herbal remedies.  Additional B-roll footage was shot in Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Sicily and Spain.

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.

 

 

 

Von Bingen: Canticles of Ecstasy


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