of Bingen highlights October Monastery events
Hildegard of Bingen was a Renaissance woman long before the Renaissance ever began. Before Leonardo da Vinci proved that one could be both an artist and a scientist, the 12th-century Hildegard expressed herself in diverse ways: as mystic, theologian, musician, composer, poet, botanist and naturopath.
This month, the Monastery of St. Gertrude presents a lecture, concert and weekend retreat exploring the life and work of this Benedictine abbess who founded two monastic communities in Germany.
It all begins on Thursday October 21, when the Historical Museum at St. Gertrude hosts a free lecture on Hildegard by Dr. Katherine Ramos Baker, a scholar and musician from CSU Northridge. The lecture is part of the 11th Annual Fall Lecture Series and is from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
On October 22-24, the Spirit Center presents a weekend retreat, “Hildegard of Bingen: Her Artistic World.” Also led by Dr. Katherine Ramos Baker, this integrated spirituality and arts retreat will explore the music, art, poetry and history of Hildegard.
The highlight of the weekend will be the Chapel Candlelight concert of Hildegard’s music featuring Baker as vocalist and flutist. The concert will be a feature of the retreat, but is also open to the public on a limited basis. The concert begins on Saturday, October 23 at 6:00 p.m. with a Prelude Social at Spirit Center at 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $25, advance purchase only.
To learn more about the Hildegard of Bingen events, visit www.StGertrudes.org or call 208-962-2000.
Jazz concert is held
A brilliant autumn sun appeared early to bless the launch of the Spirituality and the Arts program on Sunday, September 26. In anticipation of their afternoon concert, the Sharp Five Jazztet joined the Community for dinner. Also present were relatives and friends of Father Gary Uhlenkott, director of the ensemble.
Soon the Chapel filled for Mass. Father Gary and the rest of his trio, David Fague and Mellad Abeid provided jazz renditions of “Precious Lord,” “This Little Light of Mine” and other favorite hymns. Father Eamonn McNerney spoke about how “artists can be of service to humanity” by revealing a life “enriched with new artistic possibilities where we are called to pay attention and stay awake.” He described inattention as a spiritual problem and that art is “a place where we can overcome the disability of not paying attention.” The service concluded with a blessing for artists and the creative inspiration that moves through all.
Then Spirit Center and the Historical Museum opened their art shows. Spirit Center featured the work of iconographer Sister Carolyn Miguel. The show also turned out to be when Curtis and Jill Arnzen of Lewiston received a finished commission work titled, “Perfect Marriage” featuring St. Anne and Joachim. The piece was commissioned by Curtis in celebration of his engagement to Jill.
At the Historical Museum, director Lyle Wirtanen, Sister Bernice Wessels and Sister Wendy Olin showed guests the art and artifacts of the collection including exquisite needle work of vestments, palls and lace by the Monastery’s Swiss foremothers.
At 2:30, everyone reconvened in the Chapel for a jazz concert by the Sharp Five Jazztet. In her introduction, Prioress Sister Clarissa Goeckner explained the monastic relationship to art: “Benedictines have a 1500 history of art in their monasteries. Musicians, painters, woodworkers, calligraphers and sculptors have always played a respected and essential role in Benedictine life. Benedict recognized the value of artists and their capacity to deepen our relationship with God, invite us beyond our comfort zone and stimulate our conversion.”
The crowd swayed to jazz favorites such as Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll” and Miles Davis’s “All Blues”. After the concert, the art shows reopened and people gathered for a reception in the dining room.
The Spirituality and the Arts program continues with the Historical Lecture Series and a Chapel Candlelight Concert of the music of medieval mystic Hildegard of Bingen on October 23 (limited tickets available). The same weekend also features a retreat called “Hildegard of Bingen – Her Artistic World.” In addition, Spirit Center will be featuring a series of mid-week, one-day retreats called “Creative Expressions.” Learn more at www.Spirit-Center.org or call 208-962-2000.
See videos and audience feedback of the launch event at the Monastery of St. Gertrude Facebook Page.