Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Blessed Julian of Norwich (c. 1342–1420)

Blessed Julian of Norwich (c. 1342–1420)

Feast day: May 8

Julian of Norwich was an anchoress (from the Greek word for recluse) who lived a life of solitude and contemplation. Julian stepped away from worldly activity to spend her days contemplating God. As part of her daily life, she lived only on prayer and the essentials of food and shelter. Julian lived in a cell attached to the Church of Saint Edmund and Saint Julian in Norwich and was visited by pilgrims from all over England. She was famous for her compassion and optimism.

She is said to have received sixteen visions on the Passion of Christ, the Trinity, and other mysteries of faith. These visions are described in her Book of Showings, also known as Revelations of Divine Love. Julian used images familiar to the people of her time to describe the tremendous love of God. Many of her descriptions were feminine, such as her image of God as a wise and nurturing mother who protects us from harm.

For Julian everything was about God’s love, which she believed was best expressed in the Passion of Jesus. Despite the fact that she lived during the horrible plague, which killed millions in Europe, one of her most famous prayers speaks of her complete faith and trust in God and ends with the comforting words, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” Her feast day is May 8. (From The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth: Third Edition [Saint Mary's Press]) 

(Image by Evelyn Simak, Wikimedia Commons)