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The Greeley Tribune reviews St. Hildegard's Exhibit and "Feathers On The Breath of God", July 2013

by Dan England, writer for The Greeley Tribune

The Greeley Tribune reviews St. Hildegard's Exhibit and "Feathers On The Breath of God" at the Bas Bleu Theater, July 2013.

Read the article on the Viriditas Blog.

Greeley artists pitch in for Boulder woman’s production about Saint Hildegard of Bingen


This is one of the stained glass pieces contributed by Greeley artist Francis Denning. Seven Greeley artists made pieces for a play written and performed by Boulder playwright Jeannine Goode-Allen.

Jeannine Goode-Allen found a Boulder choir that performed the work of the 12th-century mystic Saint Hildegard of Bingen after a close friend recommended she seek out the mystic. No matter how drained Goode-Allen was from a day of teaching, she always left choir rehearsal feeling alive.

“Like I was plugging into a battery,” Goode-Allen said in a phone interview. “I’d never experienced that before.”

Goode-Allen’s life in many ways was transformed by the woman who was a leader in the Catholic church at a time when other women were burned at the stake. St. Hildegard was a writer, philosopher, a founder of two monasteries and even dabbled in medicine.

Goode-Allen used some of her remedies for her heart condition, and she credits the mystic as much as her surgery for healing her. St. Hildegard’s inspiration led Goode-Allen, now 52, to try tap dancing even as she approached 50, which helped heal a chronic pelvis condition. Goode-Allen isn’t the first to recognize St. Hildegard’s power in her life. Last October, the former Pope Benedict XVI named her a Doctor of the Church.

Goode-Allen wrote a play about how St. Hildegard’s works changed her own life — a play that includes a mini-biography of St. Hildegard’s amazing 81 years (an unheard of age for the 12th century). The musical production also features an exhibit of the work of Greeley artists and opens in Fort Collins tonight and runs through Sunday.

Starr Jageler of Greeley got seven artists from Greeley together for Goode-Allen. Richard Basely made a medieval cabinet and display cases; Francis Denning, who owns the Dragon’s Cache with his wife, Nellie, contributed three stained-glass pieces; Gabriel and Jody Lopez made three models of abbeys and the shrine; Tammy Burleigh did some painting of stone walls; and Colette Pitcher contributed 13 pieces of calligraphy.

Pitcher, like the rest, had the charge of showing aspects of St. Hildegard’s life. Goode-Allen shows off the works, in her St. Hildegard character, in an exhibit an hour before the presentation. She also shows photos of the works during her production. The play premiered in Boulder a year ago, so Pitcher needed a little prodding before she remembered the play. But the work she did for it was a recent favorite project. She recreated St. Hildegard’s manuscripts using calligraphy. She had to order animal skin out of a place in Washington so her work was authentic.

“It was kind of neat for Greeley to get used by Boulder,” Pitcher said. “It was lots of fun.”

That was the idea, Jageler said. She used as many Greeley artists as she could. It took eight months to get all the material together before last year’s debut in Boulder.

“I was especially proud to use mostly Greeley artists,” Jageler said. “I am amazed at the talent pool we have here.”

Goode-Allen was happy with the work of the Greeley artists — she visited their studios and “fell in love” with all of them — and their work helped fulfill part of her mission of helping others discover St. Hildegard the way Goode-Allen discovered her.


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Psalm 91
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