Julian of Norwich

Julian of Norwich (ca. 8 November 1342 – ca. 1416) is regarded as one of the most important English mystics. She is venerated in the Anglican and Lutheran churches, but has never been canonized, or officially beatified, by the Catholic Church, probably because so little is known of her life aside from her writings, including the exact date of her death. It has been determined that she was born in 1342 in Norwich, Norfolk, England, and she was last known to be alive in 1416 when she was 73 years old. Her birth name is uncertain; the name “Julian” comes from the Church of St Julian in Norwich, where she was an anchoress. In the 11th century, the city in East Anglia was the largest in England after London. There is also scholarly debate as to whether Julian was a nun in a nearby convent, or even a laywoman.

At the age of 31, suffering from a severe illness and believing she was on her deathbed, Julian had a series of intense visions of Jesus Christ. They ended by the time she recovered from her illness on 13 May 1373. She was at home during her near death experience, and gives no mention of her personal life up until that point, so some scholars have suggested that Julian was unmarried or possibly a widow who lost her husband and children in the plague epidemics of the time. Julian wrote down a narration of the visions immediately following them, which is known as The Short Text. Twenty to thirty years later she wrote a theological exploration of the meaning of the visions, known as The Long Text. These visions are the source of her major work, called Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love (ca. 1393). This is believed to be the first book written in the English language by a woman.  Julian became well known throughout England as a spiritual authority: the English mystic (and author of the first known autobiography written in England) Margery Kempe, mentions going to Norwich to speak with her.

See some of Julian’s Notable Quotes (Wisdsom) below:

“What could make me love my fellow Christian betterthan to see that God loves us allas we were all one soul?”

“The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything.God is the ground, the substance,the teaching, the teacher,the purpose, and the reward for which every soul labors.”

“Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes away except God.”

“If there is anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe, I know nothing of it, for it was not shown to me. But this was shown: that in falling and rising again we are always kept in that same precious love.” 

Wikipedia contributors. “Julian of Norwich.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 11 Jan. 2012. Web. 19 Jan. 2012.

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