During two and a half years of cancer treatment, Claire Gilbert found a spiritual companion in Julian of Norwich. We speak to Claire about her experience of writing Julian’s fictional autobiography. She considers the tensions between Julian’s visions and Holy church, whilst reflecting on the possibilities that open up when we are transformed by both suffering and love.

Following the interview, Anna and Joy consider the themes of Julian’s life and how they apply to their experiences of faith and spirituality.

Interview starts at 18m 13s

Image used with permission


I, Julian: The Fictional Autobiography of Julian of Norwich

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


“My experience of the inner life is that it’s anything but boring…it’s a critically important gift that we should say ‘yes’ to. Because, of course, this is the opposite of materialism; this is understanding that your deepest satisfaction precisely doesn’t come from things.”

“You wouldn’t ever want pain for somebody. But we all do have pain or suffering of some kind in our lives. And to deliberately practice that reception of it – that’s a good thing to be able to do.”

“Porosity to me is a really important way of being in and with the world; to try to find a way of living in it without harming it. And Julian taught me that.”

“That’s how I feel we should be responding now is to let ourselves grow to meet what is coming. Let ourselves grow in company. Understand this is not an individual heroes thing. There’s no one hero who’s going to solve anything.”


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