Julian of Norwich

c.1342-after 1413. English mystic. About her very little is known, except that she was an anchoress who lived in a cell built to the wall of the Norman Church of St. Julian in Norwich. Her only testament is Revelations of Divine Love. A series of sixteen revelations, or shewings, which took place on 8 May 1373, gave rise to this work, and that record is then extended with the fruit of her meditation thereon for the next twenty years. Her life was total solitude but for occasional counseling, and her thinking was without other influences except for possible knowledge of The Cloud of Unknowing and the writings of Walter Hilton.* The Revelations contain no formal theological system nor any elaboration because of the ineffable nature of mystical experience, though great theological questions are wrestled with more simply. God's love is defined often in terms of pain: the sufferings of Christ and what believers must be willing to suffer for Him, which must be understood before joy can be had. Julian makes a distinction between accidental element-sickness, and shewings, which are only props to help the soul advance to God-and essential ones-prayer and contemplation, which establish the true union between God and man.

R.H. Thouless, The Lady Julian (1924); P. Molinari, Julian of Norwich: The Teaching of a Fourteenth Century English Mystic (1958); G. Warrack (ed.), Revelations of Divine Love (1958).