Claire Gilbert is a theologian, writer, and founding director of Westminster Abbey Institute. When she discovered that she had Myeloma – terminal cancer in the blood – she began her way by writing letters to a circle of trusted friends. The journey drew her home to nature, to her body, and to her long love for the mystic, Julian of Norwich. The letters are now published in the book Miles to Go Before I Sleep.

After the interview, Nomad hosts Tim Nash and David Blower chat about how Claire’s experiences might inform their own faith journeys.

Interview starts at 16m 15s

Image used with permission.


Miles To Go Before I Sleep: Letters on Hope, Death and Learning to Live


“The thing I always come back to – and why I think I do call myself ‘Christian,’ although with some tentativeness – is the love.”

“Contemplative prayer – really from the age of ten when I was taught to meditate – has always been very, very important. And that has stayed. But it changed; the nature of it changed. So, I became much less somebody who sought, if you like, to transcend the body and go to some ‘spiritual’ place other than my body, and the contemplation became very much more almost physically interior.”

“You have to go through the pain to find the joy. You can’t avoid the pain. You can’t avoid the suffering.”

“This understanding that I have had to learn about putting my body first is the understanding we all have to learn about putting the Earth first.”


Some of the book links on this page are affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase, we will earn a small commission. The commission is paid by the retailer at no cost to you and will be used to maintain the website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Anne-Marie Nov 11, 2021

    I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. The wonder of it is that I did not intend to listen to it. I was listening to another podcast and after it finished, it skipped to your podcast and this session. I became interested and even more so, when I heard Claire say she meditated using ‘Ma-ra-na-tha’, as I also use that word as well. It is the practice recommended by World Community for Christian Meditation. What she said, made so much sense to me. I particularly liked the fact that she chose to love her body and how she talked about loving the earth, which is also in so much pain. I’m coming to the conclusion that meditation is about joining in with the cry of the earth. Thank-you.

  2. Tony Rettino Dec 17, 2021

    What a heart warming interview. I’m no expert but it sure looks like Claire is a fine example of a modern mystic. Her seeking God and the union she experienced and shared moved me profoundly, so much hope in God’s redemptive presence. Claire’s spirit fanned the flame of consolation in me, Thank you. May God continue to pour blessing in your life and witness.

    Tony Rettino d..p.

Nomad Podcast Ltd
Company Number 14503502
17 Chancery Close
Ripley, DE5 3UT