Profiles in Holiness: Julian of Norwich

Julian of Norwich, 1343 -1416

Julian’s “Revelations of a Divine Love” is the oldest surviving English manuscript written by a woman. Dame Julian of Norwich, like many church women, is nameless. She is referred to by the church (St. Julian in Norwich) where she was an anchoress and mystic for much of her life. She was often consulted by other mystics, religious leaders, and even royalty.

Like Christ, she suffered greatly. It is believed that she lost her entire family in the plague, became very ill, was given last rites, and received instruction from Christ through a series of “shewings.” Fundamental to her teachings were that the God she saw was pure love and that the love was more akin to motherly love than the traditional paternal role model we are taught.

Dame Julian has given me guidance for years through just one of her teachings: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” It is written on my heart and in my mind. It is written in my life. Dame Julian is recognized as a “minor saint” in the Anglican tradition on May 8.

Nancy Kuhn

Spirituality The Episcopal Church

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The Rev. Joani Peacock, Editor for Emmanuel Voices: A Parish Blog

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