Come delve into the life and creativity of Hildegard of Bingen, a twelfth-century Rhineland mystic, writer, healer, leader, playwright, composer, and preacher. In 2012, 833 years after her death, she was declared a saint of the universal church and one of only four women among 35 persons officially recognized in Catholicism as a “Doctor of the Church.”
In addition to a thorough examination of her life and visions, this interdisciplinary series will explore a Jungian perspective on her visions and key theological topics found in her writings, such as the dark side of God, the divine feminine, mother church, and her concept of the green life-force, viriditas. Compare mandalas in her visions and those found in Jung’s Red Book and probe Celtic influences on her spirituality. We’ll wrap up in April 2017 with a retreat and reflections on the contemporary implications of Hildegard’s life and thought led by Avis Clendenen, author of Experiencing Hildegard: Jungian Perspectives.
Schedule & Assignments
Opening Event: Friday, September 16, 7:00 – 9:15 pm
Introduction to Hildegard.
Includes viewing the award-winning German film “Vision: From the Life of Hildegard of Bingen” followed by brief discussion.
Session One: Saturday, September 17, 8:30 am – 12:00 pm
An overview of course contents plus ritual and celebration of Hildegard’s life and ministry on this Feast Day of Hildegard.
Read chapters 1 &2, in Clendenen, Experiencing Hildegard.
Session Two: Tuesday, October 18, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Spirituality and mysticism.
Hildegard from a Jungian perspective. Overview of Jungian psychology and key ideas in it. Interplay of light and shadow, and the dark side of God.
Read chapters 3,4,5 in Clendenen, Experiencing Hildegard.
*If you are attending this session, please bring something that connects you to Hildegard.
Session Three: Tuesday, November 15, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
A primary theological view of Hildegard: viriditas, the green-life force. Ecology. Hildegard and Celtic spirituality.
Read chapter 8 in Clendenen, Experiencing Hildegard.
Session Four: Tuesday, December 20, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Hildegard’s Feminine Divine, and Mater Ecclesia (Mother Church): an Advent exploration.
Read chapters 6 & 7 in Clendenen, Experiencing Hildegard.
Session Five: Tuesday, January 17, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Hildegard and Music.
It has been said that her music has no ancestors and no descendants. We will explore its unique character and contemporary groups performing it today.
Session Six: Tuesday, February 21, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Hildegard and Art.
Comparing the symbol of wholeness, the Mandela, in Hildegard’s visions and Jung’s Red Book, his personal journal.
SPECIAL GUEST: Artist Elizabeth Erikson
Session Seven: Tuesday, March 21, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Hildegard and Healing.
An exploration of her nutrition methods, medical treatments and body/soul connections, still in use.
Retreat: Friday, April 21, 7:00 – 9:00 pm and Saturday April 22, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
CLOSING RETREAT with lunch included, presented by Avis Clendenen
Hildegard of Bingen as Doctor of the Church and Implications for Today
Through presentations, ritual, and group discussion, Avis Clendenen will explore in greater depth and richness that Hildegard of Bingen and Carl Jung, 12th and 20th century mystics bring to us precisely because we need them now more than ever.
Experiencing Hildegard: Jungian Perspectives
Expanded and Revised Version
Avis Clendenen, 2012, Chiron Publications
Additional recommended readings and resources:
- Papal statements of Pope Benedict XVI: available on the Vatican website and also through the Abbey of St. Hildegard website.
- Reflections on Hildegard of Bingen presented at General Audiences – September 1, 2010, and September 8, 2010.
- Proclaiming Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Professed Nun of the Order of St. Benedict, a Doctor of the Universal Church – October 7, 2012.
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A bibliography of other books will be available that participants can choose from to read and give brief reports if they wish.
Atherton, Mark, trans. Hildegard of Bingen: Selected Writings. Penguin Books, 2001.
Clarke, J.J. Jung and Eastern Thought: A Dialogue with the Orient. London: Routledge, 1994.
Clift, Wallace. Jung and Christianity. New York: Crossroad, 1983.
Dreyer, Elizabeth. Accidental Theologians. Cincinnati, OH: Franciscan Media, 2014.
- Man and His Symbols. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1964.
- Memories, Dreams, Reflections. New York: Vintage Books, 1961.
- Modern Man in Search of a Soul. New York: A Harvest Book, 1933.
- The Red Book: Liber Novus. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2009.
Ohanneson, Joan. Hildegard of Bingen: Lady of the Light, Woman for the World.New York: Crossroad, 1997.
The Unruly Mystic, 2015, documentary produced by Michael Conti Productions.
Mary Kaye Medinger, MA, is a lifelong educator with a particular interest in women’s history and spirituality. A writer, editor and retreat leader, she holds degrees in history, education and pastoral studies as well as certificates in holistic health studies, spiritual direction and The Sacred Art of Living and Dying. A consociate of the Sisters of St. Joseph, she has spent 37 years in various ministerial positions in parish, diocesan and ecumenical settings. Hildegard is one of her mentors!
Ed Sellner, PhD, is professor emeritus in theology, St. Catherine University, where he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses for the past 35 years and administered pastoral ministry, spiritual direction, and master’s degree programs. Ed has studied at the Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland, and is the author of 12 books on mentoring, Celtic spirituality, the history of Western monasticism and spirituality, and more recently on Buddhism and other Asian religions. He has long been an admirer of Hildegard, and shared his enthusiasm for her in many courses.
Avis Clendenen, PhD, DMin, author of Experiencing Hildegard: Jungian Perspectives (Expanded and Revised Edition, 2012), is professor emerita of religious studies at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, where she also served as Sister Irene Dugan R.C. Scholar in Spirituality. A pastoral theologian and gifted teacher, Avis provides days of reflection and retreats that integrate the arts and technology, exploring the intersections of Christian spirituality, depth psychology and the tasks of living fully in the second half of life. She is the co-author of Love is All Around in Disguise, and Forgiveness: Finding Freedom through Reconciliation.Avis will lead the closing retreat in April 2017.