In 1373, when she was 30 years old, Julian had visionary experiences during a serious illness. These visions became the subject of her writings. These visions set the course for the rest of her life which was dramatically, irrevocably changed. She wrote Showings or Revelations of Divine Love.
Her real name is not known. She gained the title Julian of Norwich because she lived in a small cell next to the parish church of St. Julian in Norwich.
Her writing recounts and explains the mental events which began on May 8, 1373. There are sixteen events described as unmediated experience of God, causing her to work for the rest of her life, to understand them and explain them. Some are "bodily sight," others "words formed in my understanding," and finally others are "by spiritual sight" which she "neither can nor may show you . . . as openly or as fully as I would like to."
She is best known for these words of reassurance: "But all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."
It is clear that Julian records experiences of God but she also understood attack as well. She records her first attempt to communicate her experiences which she first took for "delusions,"until finally the church took her seriously. She also records her encounter with a "Fiend" which causes her to seek such refuge in the memory of the showings: her divine encounters.
Julian of Norwich fascinates me, her dedication, her passion, the experiential orientation of her faith and particularly this: her theology of true rest, something which I have often been cross with myself for failing to adequately describe. True rest is found in our worship of God. But Julian of Norwich pus it so neatly, I will leave you with her synopsis: