Julian of Norwich

All shall be well and all shall be well
and all manner of things
shall be well.”


She was born in England in about 1342 and was  under the direction of Benedictine monks in Norwich, England, an anchoress and recluse in a small room attached to the church.  She never left until her death in about 1423.



A mystic, visionary, and writer, she was illiterate and dictated Revelations of Divine Love, which contains sixteen revelations she received while in an ecstatic trance, to a scribe.

She belongs to a great flowering of medieval English mysticism but unlike the Rhineland mystics, Julian and the other English mystics did not live in a religious community and she lived a hermit’s life.

Revelations of Divine Love is frequently cited as the first English-language book published by a woman. An online version of the text is here.



She saw God as a Mother and Father—perhaps the first Catholic writer to express this idea—and believed that God feels no wrath toward mankind but will one day make “all things well.”

She wrote the following on prayer:

Pray inwardly, even if you do not enjoy it. It does good, though you feel nothing. Yes, even though you think you are doing nothing.

Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance. It is laying hold of His willingness. This is our Lord’s will, … that our prayer and our trust be, alike, large. For if we do not trust as much as we pray, we fail in full worship to our Lord in our prayer; and also we hinder and hurt ourselves.

The reason is that we do not know truly that our Lord is the ground from which our prayer springeth; nor do we know that it is given us by his grace and his love.

Julian is quoted by T.S. Eliot in the Four Quartets:

Whatever we inherit from the fortunate
We have taken from the defeated
What they had to leave us—a symbol:
A symbol perfected in death.
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
By the purification of the motive
In the ground of our beseeching

True Worship

Julian of Norwich

Be a gardener.
Dig a ditch,
toil and sweat,
and turn the earth upside down
and seek the deepness
and water the plants in time.
Continue this labour and make sweet floods to run
and noble and abundant fruits to spring.

Take this food and drink and carry it to God as your true worship.



This brief video gives some insight into the life of an anchoress in the UK in  medieval times.


Many thanks to blue eyed ennis for this posting!