Book and Lyrics by Joanne Helfrich, Music by Paul Helfrich
Experience the life of Hildegard von Bingen, 12th Century nun, feminist, visionary, social activist, author, composer, philosopher, scientist, healer, saint, founder of monasteries, and Doctor of the Church. This fearless woman took on emperors, popes, and any member of the patriarchy who sought to inhibit care and concern for others. A timeless, relevant story of compassion and courage set to an original score.
Characters, in order of appearance:
Sister Heike, a kindly nun
Sister Gertrude, a sharp-tongued nun
Sister Franzi, a funny nun
Sister Hildegard, a gifted, contrary nun
Sister Jutta, Hildegard’s teacher and mentor
Brother Volmar, Hildegard’s friend and mentor
Abbot Kuno, head of Disenbodenberg monastery
Sister Richardis, a devoted nun
Sister Adelind, a joyful nun and cook
Lady von Stade, Richardis’ mother
Archbishop Hartwig, Richardis’ brother
Wilbert, Hildegard’s secretary
Elsie, a new novice
Setting: A monastery in the German Rhineland, hundreds of years ago
The songs and video below are from the Westside Waldorf’s 6th Grade as performed on Saturday, April 21, 2018.
ACT 1: Disibodenberg Monastery, Germany, Total Run Time [22:10]
Scene 1, The Great Hall, November 1, 1112
Sisters Heike, Gertrude, and Franzi discuss the two girls entering the monastery—Jutta and Hildegard—in A Very Noble Girl (Song) [3:25]
Scene 2, The Great Hall, Jutta’s Cell, soon afterwards
The monks sing. Hildegard tells Jutta about her visions. Volmar the monk offers to help. Psalm 150 (Song) [1:01]
Scene 3, The Garden, years later
The nuns and monks celebrate the earth, Green (Song) [2:33]
Scene 4, The Scriptorium, years later
Richardis helps as scribe. Abbott Kuno delivers news from Rome about Hildegard’s visions.
Scene 5, Abbot Kuno’s office, years later
The Abbot offers Hildegard a promotion. She has other ideas.
ACT 2: Rupertsberg Monastery, Germany, Total Run Time [24:36]
Scene 1, The Forest, soon afterwards
The nuns discuss the challenges of building a monastery.
Scene 2, The Great Hall, soon afterwards
The community celebrates, with joyful help from Sister Adelind, Song of Creation (Song) [2:50]
Scene 3, The Scriptorium, soon afterwards
Lady von Stade announces her plans. Archbishop Hartwig delivers news.
Scene 4, The Scriptorium, soon afterwards
Hildegard and Volmar discuss her recent letters… and her challenges.
Scene 5, The Scriptorium, years later
The new scribe, Wilbert, delivers difficult news. Hildegard takes action, and all reflect On The Turning Away (Song) by David Gilmour (used here for educational purposes) [3:26] (Note: this song has been replaced by the original song Show Us the Way).
Scene 6, Hildegard’s Cell and Great Hall, soon afterwards
The lineage continues.
Eight hundred years after her death, the Church recognized Hildegard—visionary, author, abbess, founder, philosopher, composer, scientist, and healer—as a saint and Doctor of the Church. Her feast day is September 17. Approximately 400 of Hildegard’s letters and many other works are preserved in museums around the world. Hildegard’s spirit lives on in those who, with compassion and courage:
- respect all of Creation
- serve the vulnerable
- help to restore balance to the planet