Monday, July 08, 2013

St. Julian (Jeannie Katzenmiller)

Lord willing, I am in Moscow on my way to Vietnam. Tonight's entry is penned by one of my all-time favorite students, and one of the kindest people I know, the awesome Jeannie Katzenmiller! Please keep me in your prayers!

Long ago there lived a woman. She was an anchoress in the little church in Norwich, England. This means she made the decision to dedicate her life to contemplating God and helping others. She was walled into a cell in the tower of Julian at the church; so we call her Julian because we don't know what her name actually was. As an anchoress, Julian stayed in her small room, praying, participating in Mass through a tiny window that looked into the church, and helping people through a window that looked out into the world. The way Julian helped others was by listening. People would come up to her window and seek her guidance and advice. During this time Europe was hit by the Black Plague, the poor in this area of England were being severely oppressed, living conditions were terrible, and Protestants were being killed. You can imagine that many people sought out Julian to receive encouragement. She is known for her constant response to life's troubles. She would say, "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well again, I know." Julian believed these words with her whole heart. You can read more about her faith in her book, Revelations of Divine Love (which is also believed to be the first book published in the English language that was written by a woman.) 

As a Waldorf teacher for three years I moved up with my class each year (first through third grades). Part of the second grade curriculum is saint stories. Julian, who is now St. Julian, was one of my and my class' favorite saints. We learned a beautiful song about her and continued singing and talking about her and her famous words, "all will be well," long after we were finished with her as a part of our academics. 

In third grade the curriculum revolved around Old Testament stories. My teaching mentor stated that the goal of third grade and the Old Testament stories is to give the children an unshakable faith in the Divine. By the middle of third grade my class and I had adopted the ritual of saying, "All will be well," when we shook hands goodbye each day. And after hearing those words over and over they began to see that it was true in the stories they heard each day...Adam and Eve being cast out of Eden, Abraham leaving his home not knowing where he was going, Joseph being sold by his brothers, the Israelites being enslaved in Egypt, Hannah desperately wanting a child, the exile into Babylon. The children started to recognize and apply to their lives that God does indeed work everything out for us and all will be well - even when sometimes we can't possibly envision how He will bring it about. 

May we all believe that all will be well and apply it to our lives - studying about the way God has worked throughout history, recognizing it in our lives, and helping others believe it too.  

Romans 8:28 

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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