Saturday, November 19, 2016

Julian of Norwich- Janina Ramirez~ Bene Est!

"All shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."

When I received this ARC I moved beyond a person who found comfort in Julian of Norwich's writings to a more enlightened understanding of her work and life. What remains unknown, was much of her early life, and even exactly what, and how, her work came to be preserved over centuries.

The Protestant Reformation in England did not destroy this or rather these writings. This potentially dangerous work or works survived. How did they get out of Julian's cell after her death? Were they removed to Carrow Abbey? There is silence on any knowledge of how this happened but it did happen.

English Benedictine nuns, one of whom was Gertrude More Great great Granddaughter of Thomas More, Catholic martyr fled to Cambrai France and formed a community. Gertrude was just 17 years old. and elsewhere I discovered she was joined by two cousins, and later her sister Bridget. Did someone from that family have Julian's manuscript or a copy secreted? 

It did exist in Cambrai, probably copied by hand, as in 1670 the first printed copy was published by the nuns chaplain Serenus de Crecy. It existed in the hardships they experienced in the French Revolution, when they were incarcerated with 16 Carmelite nuns who were guillotined. 

The English nuns were able to escape, wearing the habits of the dead sisters, and fled back to England. No original copies of Julian's writings made it out of France, sadly, but existed as copies. Three copies exist to this day, in 1877 a more modern audience got access.In 1901 Grace Warrack's sympathetic treatment in modern English became hugely popular.

What an enlightening and enjoyable short biography this was. 5 Stars 


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