Friday, October 28, 2011

"Hildegard of Bingen" by Janice Sevre-Duszynska, A Roman Catholic Woman Priest Visits St. Hildegarde's Monastery

Check out beautiful photos on Picasa album -

How breathtaking the land is bordering the Rhine River in Germany where Hildegard lived and prospered. For so many years I have listened to her soaring yet haunting music and now I understand how the river’s water and the movement of its swaying flow influenced her music. I, too, grew up around water, the Kinnickinnic River “creek” and Lake Michigan.
This is what Hildegarde says about her music.“Underneath all the texts, all the sacred psalms and canticles, these watery varieties of sounds and silences, terrifying , mysterious, whirling and sometimes gestating and gentle must somehow be felt in the pulse, ebb, and flow of the music that sings in me. My new song must float like a feather on the breath of God.”Like the movement of the water and the creative Holy Spirit that radiated from her being, Hildegard could not be contained.
Writer, prophet, composer, playwright, herbalist, painter, woman who challenged kings, popes and men, Hildegard’s talents accord her the title of Holy Renaissance woman hundreds of years before that Age began.“She even wrote on medicine and nature -- and it's important to note that for Hildegard of Bingen, as for many in medieval times, theology, medicine, music, and similar topics were unitary, not separate spheres of knowledge.” Jone Johnson Lewis, The Legacy of Hildegard of Bingen.
Most of Hildegard’s music honors Mary and the saints as she and her sisters sought hope and comfort from the wisdom of their lives. As abbess of her community, her music was performed each day for four hours of liturgical chanting by a choir of nuns.
To Hildegard, joy is an awareness of God’s secrets. She asks the question, “Can we see God?”Her answer to how we can become conscious of Holy Mystery is in the life-force all around us, as expressed in Psalm 19, suggests author Carmen Acevedo Butcher in her book : Hildegard of Bingen: A Spiritual Reader..
The heavens are telling the glory of God;And the firmament proclaims [Her] handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.There is no speech, nor are there words;their voice is not heard;yet their voices goes out through all the earth,and their words to the end of the world.“
Hildegard called this vigor viriditas, the ‘green’ energy of agape love pulsing through the entire universe. Over and over in her writings she chooses viriditas to express God’s vitality and the ways [Her] goodness and love charge the whole world with life, beauty, and renewal - literally with ‘greenness.’” (Butcher: Hildegard of Bingen: A Spiritual Reader)
The opposite of ‘greening’ she saw as spiritual depression. However, we can be revitalized by viriditas, which comes through God’s grace. This greening force animates every plant and being on the earth with verdant divine love.
We walked around the cloister, the Benedictine Abbey of St. Hildegard at the top of the hill in Eibingen, that was built in 1902 in her honor. Then we drove further down the hill and through the village to the church where her remains are kept on the altar. The church has an elegant feminine feel to it, filled with soft yet regal blues and golds. Above the altar is a painting of her in a sun-like gold circle fitted within a purple rectangle immersed in a royal blue background. Donna and I were grateful to visit this church.
At the side altar stood a statue of Hildegard with a pen in her hand. We each lit a candle and gently prayed. In the book beside her statute I wrote: “With gratefulness for your guidance and direction.” Then I signed my name and after it, “Roman Catholic Woman Priest.” I believe Hildegard is singing with joy for us ordained women priests while praying for the full greening of our church and world community.
Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

No comments: