Welcome to the Hildegard Collective! My name is Cecilia Leskowicz and I’m the co-founder and creative director of the Collective, and I’m so excited to welcome you to our website & our blog.
Here on the blog, you’ll find weekly reflections about a variety of topics, written by our team and by guest writers. For our very first blog post, I wanted to share more about why my co-founder, Tara McDermott, and I felt called to found The Hildegard Collective.
We know from Catholic teaching that there are three branches of the Church. There is the Church Triumphant: all those in Heaven, who have won the race and fought the good fight. There is the Church Suffering: all those in Purgatory, who have secure hope of eternal union with God but must be purged from any remaining consequences of their sins that they did not purge on earth. And there is the Church Militant: those of us on earth still running the race, still fighting the good fight.
There is a war on beauty, truth, and goodness that has been raging since Adam and Eve introduced sin into the world. In current Western culture, truth has been tossed aside. Nobody cares for truth very much; relativism is and has been in vogue. With relativism, the world joins in Pontius Pilate’s question to Jesus: “What is truth?” Goodness, too, is scorned more and more. A culture that celebrates immoral actions and upholds increasingly out-of-touch celebrities as role models and beacons of light cannot simultaneously praise goodness.
But beauty still has the potential to reach an otherwise tone-deaf-to-God culture. Beauty can still touch the hearts of others. Who hasn’t had their heart touched in some mysterious way by a piece of music, poetry, or art? How many of us are struck by the goodness of God when we encounter a beautiful setting in nature? Or grasp a sense of the grandeur of God when entering a beautiful cathedral? Beauty is a primary way by which the human heart so often encounters God.
Those of us who have gone through music history courses know the role the Catholic Church played in setting the foundation for Western music as we know it today. For many centuries, the Catholic Church was the strongest supporter of the arts. Yet tragically, this support has dwindled over time in many ways.
We are the Church Militant; but the Church cannot continue to naturally support the development of music or fight this attack on beauty effectively when her musicians are scattered and weakened.
This is where The Hildegard Collective comes in.
Both Tara and I are musicians ourselves. I earned two degrees in flute performance, and now I’m a freelance teacher, performer, and composer. Tara’s earned a degree in vocal performance and a degree in musicology, and now she’s a freelance teacher and performer herself. We get it. We get the environment. We get the unique challenges Catholic musicians so often face. We understand the late night rehearsals and weird schedules that don’t always allow for joining bible studies, or the feelings of “I really want to contribute to this conversation, but I will get mocked and shut down for having differing views” that may arise while chatting with colleagues.
We see the need for a space for Catholic musicians to come together, continue faith formation, and be equipped to ignite the world on fire for Christ through their gift. Chances are, if you’re here reading this right now, you probably see this need, too.
We’re here. We’re listening. And we’re ready to serve you.
If you have a question, comment, or suggestion for us, please send us an email either through the contact form on this website, or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We pray every day for those who come across The Hildegard Collective. Know of our prayers for you!
Co-founder and Creative Director