4. Julian of Norwich and Spiritual Depth: Spiritual Experience and Relational Intimacy

Environmental Spirituality and Wellbeing - Integrating Social and Therapeutic Theory and Practice - Jeff Leonardi

Robert Fruehwirth [+-]
Rector, North Carolina
The Rev. Robert Fruehwirth MA has journeyed with Julian for 35 years, first as a monk in an Anglican Religious Order, The Order of Julian of Norwich, then in his training and work as a Person-Centered Counselor and his ministry as Priest Director at the Julian Shrine in Norwich, UK. He now serves as the rector of an Episcopal parish in North Carolina, in the United States.

Description

Of the world’s mystics, Julian of Norwich is one of the most relational. Her entire spiritual experience, related in narrative detail in her Revelations of Divine Love, is one of relational intimacy — a security of connection and sharing of self, back and forth with the divine Other. Not only does Julian share with us the to-and-fro of this relationship the giving and receiving, but she offers an understanding of how it leads to healing and maturation — our birth into a life of intimacy with self, others, and God. In this chapter, I will trace the progression of Julian’s developing relationship with God as well as draw evidence from Julian’s Revelations of Divine Love for the personal development outcomes from this relationship. This will allow me to describe the kind of spiritual and personal maturity that Julian expects to flow from spiritual experience. I will show how Julian understands spiritual experience and maturation leading to a restoration of union between our everyday experiential selves with a depth of self that, Julian insists, is ‘knit’ lovingly to God from the moment of our creation. They key is surrender, and surrender in the context of intimacy and trust.

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Citation

Fruehwirth, Robert. 4. Julian of Norwich and Spiritual Depth: Spiritual Experience and Relational Intimacy. Environmental Spirituality and Wellbeing - Integrating Social and Therapeutic Theory and Practice. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Jun 2025. ISBN 9781800505841. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=45134. Date accessed: 21 Jul 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.45134. Jun 2025

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