And All Manner of Things Shall Be Well

May 13th is the Feast Day of Julian of Norwich: 14th century mystic, theologian, anchoress, and author of the first English language book known to have been written by a woman.

An anchoress was a hermit of a sort, confined to an enclosure: often merely a cell, or at most a tiny cottage with a tiny solitary enclosed garden. By the Middle Ages, a Rule of Life had been developed for the anchoress (there were anchorites, but it was primarily a practice of women), and the cell was typically attached to a parish church. The structure would include a tiny window for hearing the Mass and receiving communion, as well as another window to communicate with an assistant and speak with members the community who may visit for advice and prayers.

AnchoressThe Enclosure of an Anchoress

Julian’s visions of Christ were received during a near-death experience and are collected in her Revelations of Divine Love. Her most widely-known quote is probably  “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” By itself, the quote is nice enough. Reading it in context, however, we see a greater meaning unfold:

“In my folly, before this time I often wondered why, by the great foreseeing wisdom of God, the onset of sin was not prevented: for then, I thought, all should have been well. This impulse [of thought] was much to be avoided, but nevertheless I mourned and sorrowed because of it, without reason and discretion.

“But Jesus, who in this vision informed me of all that is needed by me, answered with these words and said: ‘It was necessary that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’

“These words were said most tenderly, showing no manner of blame to me nor to any who shall be saved.”

Julian of Norwich, 2016Julian of Norwich, after the David Holgate sculpture. From the 2016 series.


Sources:
Holloway, Julia Bolton. “Julian of Norwich: Her Showing of Love and Its Contexts.The Umilta Website. Web. 11 May 2017.
Norwich, Julian De. The Revelations of Divine Love. Trans. James Walsh. London: Burns and Oates, 1961.
Citing this page:
Solomon, Alana. “And All Manner of Things Shall Be Well.” Ortolana Studio & Press. Ortolana Studio & Press, 13 May. 2017.

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