Julian of Norwich is most well-remembered for being a fourteenth-century anchoress—meaning she voluntarily sealed herself in a church closet and dedicated her life to prayer and contemplation, with no one to keep her company but her cat. Talk about social distancing.
She’s also probably the first woman ever to write a book in English. You’ve likely heard or prayed her most famous prayer: “All shall be well, all shall be well, all manner of things shall be well.”
Profound words from someone whose childhood and adolescence was shaped by a pandemic. The Black Death hit Norwich when Julian was just six or seven years old. Plagues continued to ravage northern England into her teenage years.
She became very sick herself… after recovering she wrote some of the most eloquent words in history about the love of a God who suffers with us.
Julian waited without hope. There were no vaccines in the fourteenth century. No therapeutic drugs. No masks. No hand sanitizer.
She asked not for resurrection, but to know Christ more deeply. She asked to know him more—not in his joys, but in his grief.
So we should follow the wisdom of Julian.
This means prayer, yes.
It might also mean cuddling with our pets.
Most importantly, it means drawing near to Jesus in his suffering.