Wednesday, 17 February 2010

I longed to suffer with him...

This year's Lenten reading at Oscott reminds us East Anglian seminarians of home. The whole house this season are reading Mother Julian's Revelations of Divine Love.

We don't know much about Mother Julian of Norwich, except that Julian wasn't her real name, and she probably wasn't a mother, neither in the physical sense nor the monastic sense. She was an anchoress (a type of hermit), who lived near the Church of St Julian (hence her name) in Norwich, at the end of the 14th Century.

The only other thing we know about her is that her intimate love with God caused her great suffering, in which she rejoiced, because the Lord had revealed his love for her. She was famous among her contemporaries, and served as a spiritual director to many, including Margery Kempe (the famous chronicler). Later in life, she recorded these divine revelations in a book which may even have been the first book in English written by a woman. She remained 'undiscovered' until the 20th Century, and a devotion to this holy hermit quickly developed, serving, as she intended, to lead people to taste God's love.

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