Interfaith Pilgrimage to Germany: In the Footsteps of Hildegard of Bingen
9–18 September 2013
Pilgrim Guides: Betsey Beckman and Christine Valters Paintner
Spiritual Directors International Hosts: Liz Ellmann and Rose Slavkovsky
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
Join a community of pilgrims in Germany as we experience the landscapes and rhythms that nourished Hildegard of Bingen, mystic, poet, healer, and spiritual director. Let Hildegard become a soul guide as you discover viriditas, the greening power of God, and embrace the legacy of her creative outpourings as gifts for our time.
Through presentations, community, contemplative practices in sacred spaces, and creative forms (including movement, music, writing, and visual art), explore how the paths of the monk and artist can become doorways to interfaith companioning and the greening power of the Divine Presence in our lives.
Registration: Pilgrimage tuition amount, download forms, and register online.
Travel and Safety: Learn more about traveling to Germany.
Frequently Asked Questions: Find answers to your pilgrimage questions.
PDF Flyer: Download and spread the word about the SDI pilgrimage.
Day 1 │ Monday, September 9 │ Crossing the Threshold onto Pilgrimage
Retreat welcome and introductions. Evening orientation and session on pilgrimage. Invitation to intentionally begin with a slowed pace to help you arrive and ground in this beautiful setting and experience the landscape that nourished over half of Hildegard’s life.
Day 2 │ Tuesday, September 10 │ Viriditas and the Greening Life Force
One of Hildegard’s great gifts was insight into the greening power of God. On our first full day, we will tend together the juicy gifts of viriditas, the creative life-giving force at the heart of everything alive and at the heart of Hildegard’s soul and work.
We will also set into motion our monastic rhythm, pausing at the four main hinges of the day of dawn, day, dusk, and dark for creative and contemplative explorations. We will keep this rhythm on each of our “home” days at the hotel, exploring practices such as adaptations of lectio divina (which originates in the Benedictine tradition), movement, music, mandala-making, yoga, photography, and writing.
Day 3 │ Wednesday, September 11 │ Nourishing Roots
On this day we will explore Hildegard’s roots and the culture and context in which she lived. We venture on a bus trip to make the pilgrimage to Disibodenberg, the former Benedictine monastery where Hildegard first entered monastic life and spent much of the first half of her life. We will then travel to the nearby city of Worms to learn about Jewish communities during the time of Hildegard.
Day 4 │ Thursday, September 12 │ Body and Soul
Hildegard embraced the positive role of the body and the senses in the spiritual life as the doorway to encountering God in the world. Rooted in her Benedictine life, she saw moderation and balance as the heart of thriving physically and spiritually. Enjoy the rhythm of prayer as well as the balance of hiking in the nearby nature preserve and rejuvenation in the hotel’s thermes—sauna and swimming pool—and learn about Hildegard’s herbal healing practices.
Day 5 │ Friday, September 13 │ Sacred Embodiment and the
Divine Feminine (Day of Silence)
For Hildegard, the incarnation could be said to be more important than salvation. Her theology and practice opens us up to a profound honoring of the sacred present in all creation. Mary and the divine feminine play a central role in being the bearer of this holiness into the world. Betsey will offer us a dance of Hildegard’s story.
Day 6 │ Saturday, September 14 │ The Flowering Gifts of Midlife
Around the year 1147, Hildegard left Disibodenberg with about twenty of her fellow sisters to found her own monastery, Rupertsberg Abbey, above the grave of Saint Rupertus. We will tour the ruins, and then travel nearby to the Hildegard Forum for a meal inspired by her writings and recipes, and experience a musical meditation. In the afternoon we will cross the river by ferry to visit the current Abbey of Saint Hildegard in Eibingen and the parish church where the holy shrine with Hildegard’s relics is kept.
Day 7 │ Sunday, September 15 │ Holy Wisdom and the Virtues
Wisdom, or Sapientia, was a key figure in Hildegard’s visions and theology as were the virtues which she named as the gifts given to us to cultivate our inner greenness. Always appearing as feminine presences, we will explore what Wisdom and the Virtues can offer to us for living in a complex world. We will spend time breaking open Hildegard’s Ordo Virtutum, (one of the first-ever Morality Plays) and share a creative reading and enactment of her drama.
Day 8 │ Monday, September 16 │ Slowness and Splendor of the Rhine
We embark on a boat trip up the Rhine, the river which deeply inspired Hildegard and carried her on her preaching tours later in life. Together we will enjoy a leisurely sail past vineyards and cliffs, magical castles, and quaint churches. A preacher who was prophetic and challenging to church authorities, Hildegard will help us consider ways that contemplative practices also call us to give voice to our own sacred visions in the world.
Day 9 │ Tuesday, September 17 │ Integration and Celebration—Feast Day
A day of integration and joy, we will gather to honor Saint Hildegard’s feast day! Hildegard will be celebrated for the first time in history as both a saint and a Doctor of the Church.
Day 10 │ Wednesday, September 18 │ Endings and New Beginnings
Together we will reflect on our experience of pilgrimage and integrating Hildegard’s wisdom to bring back to our everyday lives. Pilgrimage concludes at noon.
The above schedule is tentative and subject to change.
For additional information, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions and Travel and Safety pages.