Koinonia Farm’s vision statement is “love through service to others, joy through generous hospitality, peace through reconciliation.” All of our guest rooms are named after people who have come before us and embodied these ideas. These peacemakers are from all over the world and from all different periods of history. This “great cloud of witnesses” and their stories encourage us to keep pursuing love, joy, and peace in our life and work.
Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) was an English mystic whose visions are still remembered today. Not much is known about her life as an anchoress in England. She survived an outbreak of the plague. She was a Benedictine anchoress- one who lives in isolation in a life devoted to God through prayer and other spiritual acts. When she was 30 years old, she experienced a near fatal illness. While on her deathbed, she received visions from God. After receiving the visions, she recovered from her illness. She wrote her visions down in a work entitled Revelations of Divine Love. She later also wrote out theological explanations of her visions in a much longer text. These written works are among the oldest written works by women in the English language.
“And in this he showed me a little thing, the quantity of a hazel nut, lying in the palm of my hand, as it seemed…. I looked upon it with the eye of my understanding, and thought, ‘What may this be?’ And it was answered generally thus, ‘It is all that is made.’ I marveled how it might last, for I thought it might suddenly have fallen to nothing for littleness. And I was answered in my understanding: It lasts and ever shall, for God loves it. And so have all things their beginning by the love of God.”
Julian’s visions hold important truths about God that continue to speak to the Church today. She wrote about an all-loving God who was full of mercy and compassion. In one of her visions, she saw a hazelnut being held in the palm of God’s hand. When Julian asked what it was, the reply was, “All that is made.” She realized how small the whole of creation was in relation to God and yet how compassionately God held everything together. She also wrote about the maternal qualities of Jesus Christ and God, even though this was not a popular belief during her time.
“The mother’s service is nearest, readiest, and surest. It is nearest because it is more natural; readiest because it is most loving; and surest because it is truest. No one ever might or could perform this office fully, except only Jesus. We know that all our mothers bear us for pain and for death. Oh, what is that? But our true Mother Jesus, he alone bears us for joy and for endless life. So he carries us with him in love and travail.“
Her best-known phrase came directly from God in her visions. God told Julian, “all shall be well, and shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” This phrase continues to be used in church liturgy throughout the world.
“I often wondered why, through the great prescient wisdom of God, the beginning of sin was not prevented. For then it seemed to be that would have been well. I mourned and I sorrowed on this account, unreasonably, lacking discretion. But Jesus answered me with these words and said: “Sin is necessary, but all will be well, and all will be well, and every kind of thing will be well.”