Monday, 02 March 2015 00:00

14th Century Author—Good News for Today

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Marie Venner – Denver Chapter

A review of Julian’s Gospel: Illuminating the Life & Revelations of Julian of Norwich,
by Veronica Mary Rolf, published by Orbis*, 2013.

Veronica Mary Rolf is a most interesting writer. A recent podcast with America magazine reveals she spent much of her life in the professional theatre, as a playwright and actress. She also trained and directed professional actors around the world. Now, Rolf teaches Christian meditation and the history of Christian mysticism. She brings her dramatic sensibility and vivid descriptions of Julian’s context and time to Julian’s Gospel in a unique approach to the favorite spiritual guide of Thomas Merton, Richard Rohr, and many others.  


In the first third of her nearly 600-page book, Rolf paints many aspects of Julian’s life and times. She describes Norwich, Julian’s likely ancestry, her childhood and education, in addition to details of marriage, childbirth, church and community life at the time, and likely aspects of Julian’s life and profession. Interestingly, Julian’s choice to become an anchorite may have helped ensure her safety and her ability to write, share her experience, and counsel others.

Rolf then moves to a discussion of each of Julian’s sixteen Revelations of Divine Love, in 86 chapters. Rolf’s translation of the original Middle English is highly readable, and she includes similar or supporting insights from other Catholic figures across the ages. Julian’s gospel is good news for today, a complement to Pope Francis’s teaching this past year. She bears witness to the persistent joy and longing of God, who loves us like a mother.

*Mention that you are a Maryknoll Affiliate to receive the 40% discount Orbis offers Affiliates on all our book purchases.



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