The 8th of May is the feast day of Julian of Norwich, sometimes known as Mother Julian or Lady Julian. She was an English Mystic of the late fourteenth Century, living as an Anchoress (hermit) in Norwich. Her Shewings, or Revelations of Divine Love, a series of mystical visions of and conversations with Jesus, remain a source of profound wisdom and a gift to the church, present and future.
A sonnet from priest-poet Malcolm Guite: as usual, you can listen to it by clicking the title. Phrases from the poem resonate with what we know of Julian’s life and writings.
Icon of Julian with her cat by Br Robert Lentz OFM
Show me O anchoress, your anchor-hold
Deep in the love of God, and hold me fast.
Show me again in whose hands we are held,
Speak to me from your window in the past,
Tell me again the tale of Love’s compassion
For all of us who fall onto the mire,
How he is wounded with us, how his passion
Quickens the love that haunted our desire.
Show me again the wonder of at-one-ment
Of Christ-in-us distinct and yet the same,
Who makes, and loves, and keeps us in each moment,
And looks on us with pity not with blame.
Keep telling me, for all my faith may waver,
Love is his meaning, only love, forever.
2 thoughts on “JULIAN OF NORWICH”
I fell into the modern naming convention trap and prior to reading about this lady, assumed I was going to read about the opposite sex! Was it a medieval religious convention to use male saints’ names for women in religious orders? Are her original family names and baptismal names names known? An interesting person and one who appears to have been extraordinarily disciplined.
Hi Menhir, thanks for your comment. I gather that nobody knows Julian’s original name, and that she took her name from the church where she was a hermit, which was dedicated to St Julian. Some info here http://www.lordsandladies.org/julian-of-norwich.htm