Mother Julian of Norwich was an anchoress in the 14th century.

She withdrew from society to live a solitary life of prayer and contemplation in a cell attached to St Julian’s Church.

When about 30 years old, she reported seeing 16 mystical visions and wrote them down in a book called Revelations of Divine Love.

Living in turbulent times, arising from the suffering inflicted by war, famine, plague and unemployment, her writings touched on the themes of agony and grief, but managed to present these miseries within a vision of a better life.

Julian urged her fellow believers to look beyond their own sufferings and to cope by paying attention to their neighbours and extending compassion to everyone else in need.

She emphasised the enduring nature of our primary relationship with God by noting that anyone who loves his creatures into being certainly intends to care for them and provide for their needs, whatever they may be.

We can seek this same peace and security today by discovering the sense of affirmation and acceptance in the knowledge that God loves us, too, and desires to share a life of close relationship with us.

Julian’s meditations do not pretend to take away the pain of today’s world, but they can inspire us to rise up in the midst of the struggle and fix our eyes on God.

They promote the virtues of self-acceptance and neighbourly love and show how these qualities help us discover the face of God.

Frances Stride

Licensed Lay Minister (Reader), Hawkshead Benefice