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Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich

by Julian of Norwich

Translated by Grace Warrack

Reviewed by Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D. Profiles in Catholicism

This story is about a profound and radical thinker, Julian of Norwich. She understands the divine redeeming of mankind from sin as a manifestation of Christ as mother of all humanity, whom Jesus will bring through salvation to new birth and new life. Julian comes to see the importance that there should be sin in this world, et the joy of humanity’s redemption far outweighs the harm in mankind’s fall.  At some point in her life Julian became an anchoress in Norwich. An anchoress was a female recluse who lived permanently confined in a small cell usually built against the wall of a church.  The intending anchoress would have undergone some probationary testing before receiving approval to be enclosed, and assurance would also be required about sufficient arrangements for her continuing material support. Upon enclosure she would have taken solemn vows of obedience and chastity.  The life of an anchoress was regarded as the loving death of one who was as if dead to the world. The anchoress lived in a cramped and comfortless confinement that had no ornament except a crucifix, and wholly dependent on others for all her needs of sustenance and sanitation.  The anchoress’s cell has a window into the Church. She may receive Communion 15 times a year. The anchoress’s day is occupied with the recitation of a round of prayers which begin with her waking moments and only cease with prayers said just before going to sleep. She would get up about 3:30 and pray for 5 hours. The Anchoress was expected to keep silent as much as possible.

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