The Secular and the Sacred in Medicine

I’ll be giving my first live in person talk next month in Portland, Oregon, at the Conference in Medicine and Religion. Their theme this year is serendipitously on Making Space for the Sacred in the Care of the Sick, so pretty pertinent as we begin to reflect on what the pandemic has done to the Care of the Sick.  It has me thinking a lot about the difference between the secular, from the idea of cycle, and the circular recurrence of the seasonal world, as opposed to the sacred which is about the special, never to be repeated time of a life.


CMR 2022.Flier


Verdant Medicine: Hildegard’s Resonant Apothecary

On Friday, April 30th from 2-4pm EDT, specialists in medieval music Alkemie present a livestream performance of Verdant Medicine: Hildegard’s Resonant Apothecary featuring works by composer, abbess, and apothecary Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) that focus on her healing use of plants.

This should be a fantastic event, zoom notwithstanding!

For tickets and more information, see

The musical performance will be immediately followed by a roundtable conversation with the musicians and with three noted scholars, Dr. Victoria Sweet (Rooted in the Earth, Rooted in the Sky: Hildegard of Bingen and Premodern Medicine), Dr. Alisha Rankin (Panaceia’s Daughters: Noblewomen as Healers in Early Modern Germany), and Dr. Minji Lee (“Woman’s Body In-Between: The Holy and Monstrous Womb in Medieval Medicine and Religion”) and moderated by Johns Hopkins historian of medicine Dr. Mary Fissell.

Created in conjunction with Johns Hopkins Program in Arts, Humanities, & Health and supported by the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies, this musical event will include hand-made “Intersensory Program Cards” that pair Hildegard’s music, texts, and associated images with materials that audiences can literally smell, taste, touch, and hear. The cards will be mailed to audience members who register by April 22nd.