G. K. Chesterton once suggested that “each generation seeks its saint by instinct; and [she] is not what the people want, but rather what the people need.” Julian of Norwich seems such a saint, for our times. An “anchoress” living at the turn of the 15th century, in a simple cell adjoining the small parish church of St. Julian’s in Norwich, England, she received sixteen “showings”—or “revelations of divine love”—in midlife, devoting the remainder of her life to interpreting them. Her musings produced a book of Showings that is as startling and comforting, and as profound as it is accessible.
In this retreat we will explore selected passages from Julian’s “book,” discerning how she thinks through complex theological issues in terms of our lived experiences. Our approach will be dialogical, modeling Julian’s way of proceeding by raising questions–ostensibly, those she heard her neighbors and visitors raising–in order to understand the paradoxical nature of divine (and human) love. Our aim is to make sense of her profoundly Pauline notion of inclusion–that “nothing” can separate us from God’s love in Christ (cf. Rom. 8.38-39), and that “everything” finds its safekeeping in God.
Everyone is welcome to attend this retreat. If you are attending for personal enrichment, we invite you to participate fully in the program, including the book reflections and integration paper following the course which are required for those seeking credit toward the Certificate in Spiritual Formation.