in search of Hildegard of Bingen. Short listed SWW 2017

in search of Hildegard of Bingen

I take a train out of Bingen
through the Rhine Valley
on this sweaty summers day
trek up a steep hill
relieved to find an old sign klosterruine
which points to a verdant track
into a cool shady grove

here remnants of the twelfth century monastery
moss-mottled stone walls
mostly buried by vines
and embedded tree roots
is Hildegard’s world

standing in this moment
with the outlines of another world
time is shapeless
the divide of centuries a blur

only my mind’s eye can see
a spirited young woman
flourishing herb gardens

she prepares salves and tonics
attends the sick
listens to the breeze
and finds God in the hills above her

kairos time
for her visions writings mandalas and music
later a powerful feminist voice
against corruption patriarchy and senseless war

the earth is our mother she would sing
revere and care for her
if we exploit and savage her
she will be out off balance
and the price will be high

then silence for nine hundred years
in our time
the scales are tipped loudly out of balance
the all ords and the dow are the measure
a daily intake of massacres crowds our entertainment
soul mutilation makes soldiers unable to cry

I lean against the wall marked Hildegard’s cloister
in the lush shade of an almond tree
hanging fruit voluptuous now
is falling to emptiness
the void
the nothingness
how human to fear the waiting
for fullness to return

scattered around me
are rotting almond fruits
flies enjoying their feast
the decay fodder for the soil

my eyes scan for her presence

a maiden hair fern
grooved into a crumbling niche
catches my eye
delicate and tenacious
I feel a quickening
like a first flutter of new life

too often the fragile the intimate whisper
the lightness of touch
the flicker of a sanctuary lamp
like the breath are portals and easily missed

I ponder the rise and fall of my breathing
listen to the rhythmic heart beat
hear veriditas chants in the crumbling walls

veriditas murmurs hildegard

hildegard is here
I do not flinch i expect her

nothing like the grey statue at the abbey
holding the orb and feather

her presence is intimate
light glows luminous
her arms full of herbs from the garden
and her muddy hand-made sandals
make me laugh




Hi Colleen,

We have received international acknowledgement for In Search of Hildegard of Bingen short film by being selected for this festival.  The film will be played at the 7th GAMIP Summit launching their Film Forum between 27 Sept +  3rd-7th October in a hybrid format: live in BogotaColombia at the Universidad Pedagogica y Technologica Colombia and online for a global audience. Visit to learn about the summit’s full program “Peace in Action“.   I have attached their program as a PDF.
Please feel free to share the news to your friends in Australia and around the world.  I will work something up on my side of the world.  If you want to participate more, please respond to their email address directly.
To festival organizers:  Dr. Annette Esser is the Saint Hildegard that appears in the film.  She is also the author of Hildegard Speaks, and the originator of the Hildegard Way in Germany.  You can see more about her at

Congratulations, Michael Conti!

Your talent and enthusiasm for our initiative are heartwarming and changemaking.  We have reviewed your film submission and appreciate announcing to you and our world that your film, In Search of Hildegard of Bingen, is part of the Official Screening Selection of the I AM PEACE GAMIP Global Short Film Forum 2022.
Michael Conti, Colleen Keating
In Search of Hildegard of Bingen
The film will be played at the 7 th GAMIP Summit launching our Film Forum between 27 Sept +  3rd-7th October in a hybrid format: live in Colombia at the Universidad Pedagogica y Technologica Colombia and online for our global audience. Visit to learn about the summit’s full program “Peace in Action“. 
Forum SCREENING Schedule 2022
You can check our website soon for an updated Summit Program, including times for all the screenings, trailers and post screening talks.