Befriending Our Souls: Hildegard of Bingen and Spiritual Direction

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Are you ready to “live illumined”?



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Befriending Our Souls

Hildegard of Bingen and Spiritual Direction

Are you ready to "live illumined"?


Sue Garthwaite, PhD

in conversation with

Judy Borchers


June 9, 16, 23, & 30, 2022



1:00 PM – 2:30 PM (Pacific)
4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

Find your local time here.



6 hours (total)


Webinar will be recorded.

“Be a faithful friend to your soul, so that you may live forever.”

~Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard of Bingen says befriending your soul is an essential step in the spiritual journey so that “the terrible shipwreck of this world will not overwhelm us.”

What does she mean by “befriending our souls”?

How can this soul friendship help us befriend God?

How can spiritual directors and companions apply Hildegard’s insights to their own life experience?

And how can we use her transcendent, yet-down-to-earth, wisdom to help us in our calling, where we use deep listening to help others to find their own paths to wholeness and the holy?

This 4-part series invites you on a webinar journey that is replete with spiritual direction simulations and reflections. Throughout, we will incorporate Hildegard’s insights, images and assurances and leave plenty of time for questions and discussion.

Hildegard was a mystic visionary who gave spiritual counsel to her contemporaries, poor and powerful alike, during the troubled times of the 12th century. Her healing, liberating and feminine wisdom still speaks to us now.

"Soul and body cannot be disjoined
but work together."

~Hildegard of Bingen

Great spiritual riches abound in Hildegard’s books, letters, and songs. How can we partake of those and gain wisdom for our own pilgrimages as well as for supporting others on theirs?

Our presenter, Sue Garthwaite, PhD, is a spiritual director, retreat leader, and spiritual writer. She is joined by Judy Borchers, her conversation partner, a spiritual director with a Benedictine background.

"Life of the life of every creature, anointment of hearts, you continually instruct, making us joyful by the inspiration of wisdom, bestowing gifts of light."

~Hildegard of Bingen

Sue Garthwaite is author of Saint Hildegard: Ancient Insights for Modern Seekers published by She Writes Press. The book is helpful reading for the webinar series, though not required. The book purchase is not included in the webinar cost.

It may be purchased here:

This Webinar Series Will:

“Thus am I, a feather on the breath of God."

~Hildegard of Bingen

Course Description

We begin by exploring Hildegard’s life – how she befriended her own soul and became a friend of God. Nearly buried among the visions she writes about in her books are the gems and pearls of practical spiritual wisdom few people have heard about. These are of great help to spiritual directors and spiritual companions. We’ll bring some of them forth and offer them to attendees for reflection, but also show how they might come into a spiritual direction situation and bring new light to the conversation.


Session I: Hildegard and Spiritual Direction

Our journey begins with a Hildegard prayer. Then, we introduce Hildegard of Bingen and her credentials as a spiritual director. We relate a story of how her insight deepened spiritual understanding. A spiritual direction simulation featuring a Hildegard “gem” is presented. Time is allowed for reflection, discussion, and questions.

Session II: Hildegard and Befriending the Soul

We learn more about the multi-faceted Hildegard and her concept of “befriending the soul.” We explore how we do that, and how we develop “a taste for the gifts of God.” A new spiritual direction simulation is presented. Time is allowed for reflection, discussion, and questions.

Session III: Hildegard and Becoming a Friend of God

More of Hildegard’s own journey to friendship with God comes out. She says, “I hold you with joy in my heart, being confident in God that through God’s grace, you will be made God’s dear friend.” What shifts in our move from befriending our soul to becoming the friend of God? How does mysticism change life? A challenging spiritual direction simulation is presented. Time is allowed for reflection, discussion, and questions.

Session IV: Hildegard and “Recounting the Marvels” of Spirituality

What is Hildegard like as a woman? Did you know she outlived the average medieval woman by nearly 40 years? Why does she urge us to “recount the marvels” of our spiritual pilgrimage? A spiritual direction simulation with a faithful friend of soul and God is presented. Time is allowed for reflection, discussion, and questions. We close with Hildegard’s prayer for us.


The webinar series will run 4 consecutive Thursdays: June 9, 16, 23, 30, 2022  1 PM Seattle/Los Angeles, 3 PM Chicago, 4 PM New York, 9 PM London; Tuesdays June 10, 17, 24, July 1: 4 AM Hong Kong, 6 AM Melbourne, Australia.

Find your own local time here.

But if that timing doesn’t work, you can enjoy the webinar any time you like.

Each session is recorded so you can watch at your convenience.

“I hold you with joy in my heart, being confident in God that through God’s grace, you will be made God’s dear friend.”

~Hildegard of Bingen


Sue Garthwaite

is a spiritual director, spiritual writer, and retreat leader. She has a PhD in medical physiology, an MA in spirituality, and a certificate in spiritual direction. Formerly, she was a researcher and team leader working on cardiovascular medicines. She has thousands of hours of experience as a spiritual director and has published her spiritual writing in Presence and in Spiritual Life. She is author of “Rebooting Hildegard of Bingen,” an Op Ed published by the Washington Post, and the book, Saint Hildegard: Ancient Insights for Modern Seekers. You can find Sue online at, on Twitter @SusanGarthwait2, and

Judy Borchers

is a former Benedictine Sister of Chicago, chemistry teacher, campus minister, and for 21 years the Executive Director of the Patrick and Anna Cudahy Fund, a WI family foundation. She holds the MS in Chemistry from Purdue and an MPS from Loyola University, Chicago. Judy is a spiritual director who trained at the Institute for Spiritual Leadership in Chicago. Since retirement, she serves as a Stephen Minister, helping those facing life’s difficulties receive support through one-to-one, caring relationships.

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