Candlemas Conference - speakers Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich; Sr Elizabeth Ruth Obbard, Order of Discalced Carmelites BVM & Tony Robinson, Bishop of Wakefield, reflect on their preparations.
What are you doing to help prepare for the conference?
Bishop Graham: “Reading and reflecting on the words of Julian of Norwich and talking with others about her work. Although little is known about her life beyond her writings, I can see that Julian still has a presence in her city – the holy ground of the church cell she lived in, the Lady Julian bridge stretching over the river, and even a lecture theatre named after her at the University of East Anglia”.
Sr. Elizabeth: “As well as being the 650th anniversary of the Revelations, this year is the 150th anniversary of the birth of St Therese of Lisieux, who seems to incarnate Julian’s teachings in her own life. I am reflecting on what Julian learned during her near-death experience”.
Bishop Tony: "I confess to learning afresh about the wonderful writings of Julian of Norwich and reflecting on how the Single Consecrated Life offers a way for a growing number of people wanting to commit themselves to live more closely with Jesus today".
What do you think is the most important aspect of Julian’s message for today?
Bishop Graham: “Julian of Norwich speaks deeply about the biodiversity and climate crises we found ourselves in. Her visions show us that when creation suffers so does Jesus. Julian also shows us that the proper response to this suffering is not to turn away but to respond with love. By responding with love, we can work together to protect creation and limit the impacts of climate change”.
Sr Elizabeth: “One of the things that has struck me in both Therese and Julian is their complete non-violence. Also, the ability to see that spiritual growth has to follow natural human growth without forcing the personality into ‘perfection.’ A compassionate heart makes room for people just as they are”.
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