Two Weeks of Worthy Women: Julian of Norwich

It might not even be her real name: Julian. It was the name of the church in which her “studio apartment” was attached. Most all of you readers know the woman. She’s not yet an official Catholic saint, but revered among Anglicans and Lutherans.

She was launched into new popularity in the 80’s. Lots of non-Catholics and even some non-believers latched on to the 14th century anchoress. Her connection with nature, her freedom of thought–it was like a romance with an attractive and mysterious woman. Good. Hopefully it’s not just a fandom. I wouldn’t want to see her trivialized in that respect.

julian of norwichThe only thing we know about her is from her writings. We can make assumptions–she lived during a time when Europeans were dying by the thousands. Had she lost family, husband, children?

She lived with a great optimism during a very dark and dangerous time. She preached mercy. She did not think wrath was a divine attribute. People expressed wrath. God showed mercy.

Some people today are a bit nervous with God as “mother.” Some write off Julian’s description as such. I think God is big enough to handle it. After all, the creation and blessing of both sexes is of God, and a creation in the image of God.

Was she a universalist? Who knows? Who cares, really. Her poetic musings are accessible in print, online, and such. They are there to be read. In today’s age of rancor, disillusionment, a lack of courtesy, they are worth reading.

Celebrate this worthy woman’s feast day next May 13th. Y’all know what that day is, right?

Most of all, recall that …

All shall be well.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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