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Preaching Love Incarnate: The Beguines Mechthild of Magdeburg, Catherine of Siena, and Hadewijch of Brabant

with Sister Laura Swan

Saturday, November 19, 2022

9am-12pm Pacific

12-3pm Eastern

5-8 pm Ireland/UK time

Program Description

This retreat is part of our 10 month series The Mystical Heart: Love as a Creative Force. 

A movement of women known as “beguines” erupted across Europe around 1200 CE. The 13th-century beguine, Mechthild of Magdeburg, served as magistra to a community of beguines.  From a young age, Mechthild experienced “greetings” from the Holy Spirit. Writing down the substance of her visions and spiritual learning, her book was called The Flowing Light of the Godhead. For Mechthild God is “pulsing with erotic love for his creatures” and “God is Love and Love burst forth in paradox.” The writings of her contemporary Hadewijch of Brabant are considered masterpieces of Low Country literature. And 14th-century beguine Catherine of Siena (known locally as Mantellate) left us extensive writings, revealing a passionate love of God that inspired her to preach against corruption and for an unhindered relationship with the Divine. 
Join us on November 19th, Mechtild’s feast day. Together we will explore their writings through teaching, conversation, quiet time, and journaling, as well as visio divina

The retreat will be recorded for those who register and made available within 48-72 hours of the program. A notification will be sent when it is available for viewing.

Your Guide for the Journey

Laura Swan

Sister Laura Swan

Benedictine Sister Laura Swan is a member of St. Placid Priory in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She is a spiritual director and archivist as well as faculty at Saint Martin’s University where the students inspire her to learn and rethink and learn even more. Her passion has been around restoring the histories and stories of women to history (to the narratives that shape our understanding and perceptions). She is the author of numerous books including The Wisdom of the Beguines: The Forgotten Story of a Medieval Women’s Movement,  The Forgotten Desert Mothers and Engaging Benedict: What the Rule Can Teach Us Today.


Your registration constitutes an agreement with our online program Terms and Conditions below.

We offer a sliding scale of 3 fees for payment. The reduced fee for those who have lost their income and the sponsorship fee helps support our ability to offer scholarships. In an effort to keep this program accessible, please carefully consider both your own resources as well as honoring the expense, time, and energy required to run these programs and keep our work sustainable. Thank you!
Please be careful to enter your correct email address when you register. 
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If you need a different payment plan or a greater scholarship to make this program accessible, please get in touch with us.

Terms and Conditions

Please consider your purchase carefully and review the many free materials we have on our website to make sure the program will be a good fit or get in touch with any questions.

We ask that you honor our work by not sharing the program materials with others who are not enrolled.

Please contact us for permission to quote in settings beyond the program

These videos are made available to registered participants and may also be included in future versions of the program including self-study. If you choose to speak during a recorded gathering, you are giving us your consent to record that contribution. If you prefer not to be seen or heard, you can of course switch off or mute your camera or microphone at any time. Chat sessions are recorded and posted as well. Participation in the chat function is also giving consent to their recording. Breakout groups are never recorded.

If you choose a payment plan and stop payment before fulfilling the commitment without contacting us to make other arrangements, your access to the program will be removed.