UCAN Spirituality Catholic Church News

Julian of Norwich


We know very little about Julian of Norwich. We do not even know whether her name was actually Julian. We know that she lived in the late Middle Ages. In her early 60s she shut herself up in a room built into the walls of what is now known as St Julian’s Church in Conisford in Norwich, and never left it again.

Julian’s writings suggest that when she was about 30, while suffering from a severe illness, she had a series of intense visions of Jesus Christ. She wrote down an account 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. This is believed to be the first book written in the English language by a woman.

The Revelations of Divine Love provides a record of the sixteen revelations Julian received from God.  They clearly show that she was a mystic, and the book became popular across Europe as a source of spiritual wisdom. One of her famous reports is of God’s words to her that:

All shall be well

and all shall be well

and all manner of things shall be well.

She is venerated in the Anglican and Lutheran churches, but has never been officially canonized or 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.