Julian was born in England, shortly before the black plague ravished that country. She was an anchoress, a woman who lived in a one-room apartment attached to a church. On May 8, 1372 she began to have a series of sixteen religious experiences. She called these experiences “showings.” Beebe summarizes these experiences:

  1. Julian sees blood trickling from the crown of thorns on the crucifix and has experiences of the Trinity and of the blessed virgin.
  2. Julian sees the face on the crucifix change color.
  3. Julian sees God in an instant and understands that he is in all things.
  4. Julian sees blood flowing from the wounds on Christ’s body and then vanishing.
  5. God shows that Christ’s Passion defeats the devil.
  6. God thanks Julian for her suffering and shows her the bliss of heaven.
  7. God gives Julian alternating experiences of joy and sorrow.
  8. Julian sees Christ’s body drying as he suffers bodily death, and shares in the pain caused to all creatures. Her reason suggests to her that she should look up to heaven, but she chooses instead the dying Jesus as her heaven.
  9. Jesus affirms his pleasure in suffering for Julian’s sake, and shows her three heavens in his humanity.
  10. Jesus shows Julian his heart within his wounded side.
  11. Jesus allows Julian to see the blessed virgin.
  12. God reveals himself in glory.
  13. God affirms that, despite sin and and suffering, all shall be well.
  14. God tells Julian that prayers are inspired by him and please him.
  15. God promises Julian that he will be her reward for suffering.
  16. God shows Julian Jesus in her soul and grants her certainty that her showings comes from Jesus, thus confirming his existence and trust to her.
Foster reflects, “The mystical revelations in Julian’s book Showings revolve around the passion of Christ, and perhaps the key take-home value for me is that they remind me to approach the cross of Christ with all my heart.”