with Christine Valters Paintner and Betsey Beckman

A self-study retreat (start any time, move at your own pace, lifetime access)

Fire of the Holy Spirit,
life of the life of every creature,
holy are you in giving life to forms.
Rivers spring forth from the waters
earth wears her green vigor.
-Hildegard of Bingen


St. Hildegard of Bingen, who in 2012 was canonized and made a Doctor of the Church, was a visionary leader of extraordinary creative power.  Benedictine Abbess, healer, artist, musician, preacher, spiritual director, prophet, poet, the list goes on and on.  She has left us with a tremendous legacy.

One of her great gifts was insight into viriditas, or the greening power of God, the life force at work in all of creation.  This central creative principle was key for Hildegard in sustaining her soul and her work.

We often experience our life as a kind of wandering through the desert, experiencing the spareness of the landscape.  But there is another side to the desert.  The prophet Isaiah writes that “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing.” (35:1-2)

This abundant blossoming is the provenance of viriditas.  Together we will wander through the desert tending to the juicy gifts of viriditas, the creative life-giving force at the heart of everything alive.  We will contemplate Hildegard’s wisdom for living a life that is fruitful and green and overflowing with verdancy.  We will look for fecundity in barren places.

*This retreat was originally offered for Lent 2013 and in the two guided meditations there is a brief reference to Lent at the start, but all other references to Lent have been edited out of the materials.

Do you long for ways to enter more mindfully into this holy time of year?  Are there stories you would like to remember and honor?

Weekly Themes

Week 1: Viriditas

Week 2: Body, Soul, & Senses

Week 3: Incarnation

Week 4: The Greening of the Virtues

Week 5: Holy Wisdom

Week 6: Music and Integration


What's Included

Six days each week you will receive an email with a link to the day's content. The 7th day is a time for rest and integration. The materials are in written, audio and video formats which you can read, listen to and watch at any time. You have forever access to the materials in the course.

  • Day 1 arrives to launch the week’s theme and offer you some wisdom and reflection from Christine into Hildegard’s writings.  This will be a longer email.
  • Days 2-6 will offer a daily quote and suggested mandala practice to carry the theme through the week.
  • Each week also includes a printable pdf file for easy access to the week’s written materials.
  • Each week also includes links to various YouTube videos with Hildegard of Bingen's music selected for the week's theme and a song inspired by Hildegard, a movement prayer, and a vocal exploration by Betsey Beckman as well as a movement prayer from Jamie Marich to enrich your experience aurally and visually.

How the Retreat Works

As a part of this retreat you will be invited to make a commitment to a daily contemplative and creative practice.  I will suggest a text from Hildegard of Bingen for each day to pray lectio divina with, to listen for the wisdom that stretches out to us across 800 years.  This kind of daily deep listening can open up new reservoirs of inspiration and creative outpouring.

In response to your lectio practice, you also will be invited to a practice of creative expression, daily mandala drawings (Hildegard saw the circle as a sacred form echoing the cosmos) and journaling.  Suggestions and guidance will be offered for both.

Of course, you can decide how much or how little of the suggested practices to engage.  This retreat is for your enrichment and deepening.


Pay in Full


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

  1. No refunds are provided for online program registrations. 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.
  2. You will have access to all the program materials for the lifetime of this website.
  3. The registration fee is per person; we ask that you honor our work by not sharing the program materials with others who are not enrolled.
  4. All materials presented in our online programs are copyright. Please contact us for permission to quote in settings beyond the program.
  5. Some self-study retreats include video or audio recordings of session that were recorded in a live community offering of the retreat and may make reference to forums or other modes of sharing. Please disregard these as self-study retreats do not have these available.
  6. All fees include VAT where applicable.
  7. If you need a payment plan or a more of a scholarship to make this program accessible, please get in touch with us. Small group discounts are also available.

Your Guides for the Journey

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
Christine is the director of AbbeyoftheArts.com, a virtual monastery exploring contemplative practice, creative expression, and ways to nourish an earth-cherishing consciousness. She is a spiritual director, teacher, pilgrimage guide, and author of nine books on spirituality and the arts. Her deepest belief is that the earth is the original monastery--a wisdom guide and mentor in living a soulful and vibrant life. Visit the "About Christine" page for more information.


Betsey Beckman, MM
Betsey Beckman is nationally acclaimed as a spirited dancer, storyteller, teacher of SpiritPlay and dancing Spiritual Director. With her extensive repertory of sacred storydances, she is regularly featured as artist/presenter at national conventions as well as local churches. She earned her Masters in Ministry degree from Seattle University, her certificate in Movement Therapy from the Institute for Transformational Movement, and is a certified InterPlay leader. Betsey’s publications include books, recordings, and The Dancing Word series of DVDs on embodied prayer. Find out more about her work at her website: The Dancing Word.


Praise for the Retreat

Thank you, Christine, for the best retreat I've ever experienced. I'm hooked on Hildegard! She will ever be part of my spirituality as she has added both depth and richness to my faith. -Evelyn Jackson

It's Easter Monday and I am sad to see the end of this Creative Flourishing retreat, but oh so grateful for the multi-layered experience. I made the decision to take this journey at the last minute, but with great conviction it would deepen my Christian life. I had no idea what it would be like. It was like nothing I have experienced before. Thank you to Christine for originating the idea and doing such a thoughtful and tender job of guiding us through this journey. My deepest joy was to reconnect with the artist within me. The art literally flowed from me. Like living water. A well-spring fed by Christ himself. -Laurie Wagner

Sincere and grateful thanks for this marvelous retreat. Your guidance and song will live in my heart. Hildegard's presence has been a source of light and love. Your ministry is much appreciated. We are greener! -Mary Mason

I'll be stepping into the season of Easter and spring with more ease, joy and awake from having prayed with, reflected on, moved with and daily witnessing of the mandalas during the past five and one half weeks. Thank you Christine for your vision, knowledge, design and guidance throughout this Lenten season; Hildegard of Bingen is now a living Saint for me. Betsey, i've become more embodied, through participating in your interpretations of Hildegard in dance and chant. This spiritual community has filled my heart with divine blessings. I will pass these blessings on. -Beatrice Randall

My heart is so full. This has been the best retreat in my life. -Louise Thigpen

This has been a very rich retreat. I have loved creating, singing, breathing, moving, reading and praying with you. Thank you. -Judith Bryan

I'm so grateful for this retreat. It has been the most amazing experience of learning and growth, spiritually, artistically, and emotionally. Most of which I was not expecting when I signed up. Christine, I want to thank you again for this amazing Lent retreat. It was a joy, honor and privilege to attend. This has been an experience I won't soon forget. I've learned so much about myself and this process of healing through artistic expression. I look forward to doing more with you. -Tamara Mapp

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