J is for Julian of Norwich

What no Joan of Arc? I could have written the J-Blog for Joan of Arc, but everyone knows her-or at least they should.

Julian of Norwich was known as a mystic and recluse

Famous for: revelations, published as Showings and Revelations of Divine Love; hers was the first book written by a woman to be published in England

When she was thirty years old, Julian of Norwich became seriously ill. So sick that the sacrament of extreme unction was performed. She recovered, and while regaining her health, she experienced visions.

She became an anchoress. She, and a servant, was walled into an enclosure where she “died” to life, complete with a church service recognizing her soul’s burial.

Her enclosure did not mean complete isolation. The enclosure was attached to a church, the Norwich Church of St. Julian. It is from this church that she took the name that we know her by. She was recognized for her holiness and wisdom, and many sought her counsel, including another English mystic of the time, Margery Kempe.

Her records of her visions were published and widely distributed. The focus of her writings was the goodness of God. Among the unusual ideas was (as came in her visions as a revelation from God) the dual nature of God and Jesus as both father and mother.

Her writings were not challenged by the authorities, though her ideas verge on universalism and she writes of both Jesus and God as “mother.”

The last date at which Julian is mentioned as alive is in 1416. We don’t know her actual death date or the circumstances of her death.


• Between God and the soul there is no between.

• The fullness of Joy is to behold God in everything


Uppity Women of Medieval Times by Vicki Leon


2 responses to “J is for Julian of Norwich”

  1. Are you doing all historical women as your theme? That’s terrific!! Love it, and Julian.

    Happy A to Z blogging.

    1. Yes, I’ve done historical women (except A) as my theme. I originally was just going to do history, but then I thought there are enough amazing historical women to just do them. Guys (no offense) have 98% of there info in the history books already.


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