In a time when Christian women mystics are at last being discovered, Julian of Norwich still stands out as one of the most essential--and one of the most approachable. An anchoress who lived in solitude in Norwich, England, in the late 14th century, Julian's book consists of the 16 "showings" or revelations from God. Most famous is her vision of the universe as she gazes into the smallness of a hazelnut, but the book is rich throughout with beauty. Her style is simple and homely in its images, not unlike the later St. Teresa of Avila. "God almighty is our loving Father," she writes, "and God all wisdom is our loving Mother." She affirms, "our substance is in God, and ... God is in our sensuality." For Julian God is the foundation of all that is, and the foundation of God is love. As she concludes, "What, do you wish to know your Lord's meaning in this thing? Know it well, love was his meaning. Who reveals it to you? Love. What did he reveal to you? Love. Why does he reveal it to you? For love."
The editors, Edmund Colledge, O.S.A., and James Walsh, S.J., worked for 13 years on this beautiful edition. Including a detailed analysis of the text in the introduction, the book also contains an insightful preface from Jean Leclercq, who explores the relevance of Julian's work for today. All of this, however, is in service to these astonishing visions, given to a woman whose single desire was to surrender all to God. --Doug Thorpe