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Julian's Cell: The Earthy Story of Julian of…

Julian's Cell: The Earthy Story of Julian of Norwich

by Ralph Milton

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Two or three years ago I had never heard of an anchorite or an anchoress. Then I read Katherine by Anya Seton in which our heroine visits Julian of Norwich. Then earlier this year I read The Illuminator by Brenda Rickman Vantrease and in that novel Julian of Norwich has a pretty important secondary role. I became fascinated with the concept of an anchorage, the idea that a woman would "entomb" herself in a small cell attached to a church and dedicate herself to a solitary life of prayer, meditation, and counseling. Julian of Norwich was the first woman to write a book in the English language, criticized by the established church, yet loved and revered by the people of Norwich. I ordered Julian's Cell, fully expecting it to be rather dry and possibly boring. I was surprised at how readable this story was. The author plainly admits, up front, that the book is fiction, in that nearly nothing is known about Julian's life prior to becoming an anchoress; but Dr. Milton incorporates her writings in such a way as to make it all believable, and entertaining, yet exceedingly thought-provoking. Julian believed totally in a loving God, compared God's love to a mother's love for her children. She even refered to a "Mother God", as well as the accepted God as a Father. She believed the Bible should be available to the common people, and that all people have the right to pray directly to God. These concepts were threatening to the established church, to its male priests and bishops. I was awed by Julian's widsom and courage. I'm so glad I read this book. ( )
  lindymc | Dec 20, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 189683650X, Paperback)

Julian's Cell is a unique work of historical fiction, an attempt to imagine Julian of Norwichs life as it could have been. This is the earthy story of Katherine, daughter of a stern and bitter mother. Married at age 16 to Walter, she loses both her children and her husband during the great plagues. She has visions of the passion of Christ and becomes an anchorite she is buried alive in a cell attached to St. Julian's church to lead a life devoted to prayer and spiritual counsel. Today she is known as Mother Julian, or Julian of Norwich, the first woman to write in the English language, and one of the greatest Christian theologians and mystics of all time.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:29 -0400)

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