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Creative Flourishing with St. Hildegard of Bingen

A Self-Study Online Retreat

Registration Fee: $150 USD

Program Description

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?

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.

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 with a written reflection from Christine into Hildegard’s writings. The recording of the reflection is available as a video card with closed captions and an audio file available to stream or download.
  • 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.

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 expressiondaily 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.

Weekly Themes

Week 1: Viriditas

Week 1: Viriditas

Hildegard coined the term viriditas which means the greening power of God. It is the life principle that contributes to flourishing of both body and soul.

Week 2: Body, Soul, & Senses

Week 2: Body, Soul,
and Senses

Hildegard had a positive view of the body and the senses, they were the doorway into experiencing the presence of the sacred in all things.

Week 3: Incarnation

Week 3: Incarnation

For Hildegard, Mary played an instrumental role in bringing about the incarnation and she views her as co-creator with God through her sacred yes.

Week 4: The Greening of the Virtues

Week 4: The Greening of the Virtues

The virtues are those qualities we can cultivate in our lives to act as an antidote to the vices that might tempt us. Humility is considered to be Queen of the virtues.

Week 5: Holy Wisdom

Week 5: Holy Wisdom

For Hildegard, Wisdom is the immanent, feminine, divine principle which mediates between the transcendent God and all of creation, offering the face of the divine to us.

Week 6: Music and Integration

Week 6: Music and Integration

Music and singing was an essential dimension to Hildegard’s spirituality. At the end of her life she writes a powerful letter to the bishop about music’s power as part of the liturgy of the Hours.

Your Guides for the Journey

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE

Christine is the director of, 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, MM 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. As dancer, choreographer, author, mother, wife, teacher and spiritual director, she is passionate about living life fully and fostering creativity in all those with whom she shares life and ministry. Betsey’s publications include books (she is co-author of Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Expressive Arts to Spiritual Direction), recordings, and The Dancing Word series of DVDs on embodied prayer. She offers the gift of playful improvisation whenever possible.

Praise for the Course

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
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
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
My heart is so full. This has been the best retreat in my life.
Louise Thigpen
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
This has been a very rich retreat. I have loved creating, singing, breathing, moving, reading and praying with you. Thank you.
Judith Bryan


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