Julian of Norwich


Beyond the Seven Storey Mountain: Noteworthy Biographies & Autobiographies of Mystics


A regular reader of this blog wrote to me and asked if I could recommend a good biography on Hildegard of Bingen. As I thought about what book to recommend, several noteworthy biographies — and autobiographies — of the renowned Christian mystics came to mind. So I figured to write an entire blog post about it, and here we are. Hildegard of Bingen Since the reader asked about Hildegard of Bingen...

Julian of Norwich, Francis of Assisi, and Centering Prayer: Three Mystical Books for Children


Yesterday I received an advance copy of a wonderful book coming out this fall, that tells a simple children’s story about grief and loss, while using the wisdom of Julian of Norwich to underscore the message that “all shall be well.” All Will Be Well: Learning to Trust God’s Love by Lacy Finn Borgo, illustrated by Rebecca Evans, will be published in October, so you can get...

The Wrath of God and Wishful Thinking (or, Julian of Norwich and Biblical Images of God)


Recently a reader of this blog wrote the following to me: I am just starting out on this journey and feel drawn to the mystical/contemplative side of Christianity.   To this end, I am using your book “Answering the Contemplative Call” and also “Growing into God” by John Mabry as my guides.   I do not have a spiritual director as yet but am trying to find one near where I live in the UK.    In the...

Why Julian of Norwich Matters to Me


I first “met” Julian of Norwich through reading Evelyn Underhill’s magisterial book Mysticism: The Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness. Underhill’s book changed my life, for a number of reasons: it gave me a language and a context for making sense of my spiritual experience, it helped me to see that there is a place for an intellectually honest, interfaith...

Online Retreat: Praying with Julian of Norwich (May 14-15, 2021)


Julian of Norwich was a 14th century mystic and author who, even in her own lifetime, was renowned as a visionary and spiritual director. She was the first woman to write a book in the English language, and her reflections on the Motherhood of God continue to inspire us today. This virtual retreat will weave together Julian’s joyful, optimistic spirituality with contemplative prayer...

A Julian of Norwich Meditation


Here’s a meditation I developed a few months ago for a retreat I led for an Episcopal Church. It’s based on Julian of Norwich’s vision of the hazelnut. Before you listen to the meditation, take a moment to find a small object (like a hazelnut, a shell, or a rock) that you can hold in your hand while you meditate. It doesn’t have to be a natural object — a ring or a key...

Contemplative Wisdom from Evelyn Underhill, Martin Laird and Julian of Norwich


Contemplative Outreach Atlanta has just finished their first online 5-Day Retreat. Historically this retreat took place each year at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit; I’ve been a participant on the retreat, and it’s been a wonderful experience. This year, with the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the retreat was moved to a Zoom format. The organizer of the retreat, Maggie...

Wisdom During Difficult Times from Evelyn Underhill and Julian of Norwich


Today I led a day of reflection for the Mary Brewster Committee of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Ridgfield, CT. This committee is tasked with creating a retreat each year for the purpose of supporting women’s spirituality in their community. When they approached me about the retreat we decided on the theme “Wisdom During Difficult Times” to acknowledge what a...

Julian of Norwich, Universal Salvation, and “All Shall Be Well”


A long-time reader of this blog emailed me recently with the following question about Julian of Norwich: Lately I’ve been re-reading the Showings of Julian of Norwich and am struck by the number of times Julian implies that all will be saved.  While one can infer from her revelations that she is indeed a universalist, she never comes right out and says so.  I’m interested in hearing...

A Theology of Love: Why Julian of Norwich Matters


Nota bene: I’ve been asked to write a short reflection on why Julian of Norwich matters to me. Here it is. I first “met” Julian of Norwich through reading Evelyn Underhill’s magisterial book Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness. Underhill’s book changed my life, for a number of reasons: it gave me a language and a context for...

Books For Understanding the Wisdom and Theology of Julian of Norwich


It’s no secret to anyone who reads this blog that I consider Julian of Norwich to be one of, if not simply the, greatest of western Christian mystics. I’m not alone in this assessment. Consider what Thomas Merton once wrote, in one of his legendary Cold War Letters: Julian is without doubt one of the most wonderful of all Christian voices. She gets greater and greater in my eyes as I...

Praying with the English Mystics


Dear friends, I have now experienced what it is like to direct a spiritual retreat online. And while it is certainly not the same thing as a retreat in person (especially at a monastery, surrounded by the atmosphere of prayer and the timeless cadences of monastic chant), it is still a way for us to pause, take a deep breath, and attend to our souls — especially in this time of pandemic and social...



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