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A statue of Julian of Norwich is seen on the facade of the Anglican Norwich Cathedral, England (CNS/Cindy Wooden)

Although she died centuries ago, the English mystic Julian of Norwich continues to remind people of the importance of “faith in God’s loving providence and holiness of life expressed in generous service to our brothers and sisters in need”, Pope Francis has said in a message . Source: NCR Online.

Faith and service, he said, “are timeless truths underpinning not only the life of Christian discipleship but the very fabric of a just and fraternal society”.

Francis’ message about the ongoing relevance of the medieval mystic was read on Sunday at the Anglican cathedral in Norwich, England, during an ecumenical service marking the 650th anniversary of the “shewings” or visions and revelations Julian received in Norwich over several days and nights in May 1373.

Noting how Julian of Norwich’s life and writings are “increasingly being acknowledged and celebrated,” Francis said that “her maternal influence, humble anonymity and profound theological insights stand as timely reminders” of the importance of faith in God and assisting one another.

The mystic’s real name is not known; she is called Julian because she lived in a cell at the Church of St Julian, praying and receiving visitors who asked for help.

Francis praised her “generosity in welcoming those who sought spiritual counsel and encouragement,” saying, “this willingness to sacrifice self-convenience for the sake of others is especially needed in responding to the endemic problems of isolation and loneliness felt by so many in the more materially affluent nations of the world”.

“It is my hope that through a greater appreciation of the life of Mother Julian, Christians today will be encouraged to follow ever more faithfully and joyfully the example of Jesus, the one who came ‘not to be served but to serve’,” the Pope wrote.


Pope praises Julian of Norwich as example of faith and service (By Cindy Wooden, CNS via NCR Online)