Julian of Norwich vs. William Wilberforce

Happy Monday! We trust everyone survived a day without Lent Madness and is ready to get back into the voting fray. We kick off the week with what will sure to be a hotly contested battle between Julian of Norwich and William Wilberforce. 14th century Mystic vs. 18th century Reformer. Who will move on to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen? Well, that’s up to the global Lent Madness community.

Over the weekend, in the only Saturday matchup of Lent Madness 2016, Methodius defeated his brother Cyril. Lent Madness bracketologists will note that this was not the first brother vs. brother contest. In the first round of the 2014 Saintly Smackdown, eventual Golden Halo winner Charles Wesley dethroned his brother John. Thus there is indeed precedence for hagiographic fratricide.

As a reminder of how this whole process works, the Supreme Executive Committee, released the Ten Commandments of Lent Madness. We encourage everyone who thought pitting Cyril vs. Methodius was “unfair” to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest these rules of the Lenten road.

Finally, some have asked where they can go to see previous results from Lent Madness 2016. Fortunately, we have an amazing Bracket Czar, Adam Thomas, who updates the bracket every day. If you click the Bracket tab on the website, you’ll find an updated bracket along with clickable links to the battles that have already taken place. Scroll down on the same tab and you’ll encounter the 2016 Matchup Calendar, where you can find out the precise date your favorite saint will be entering the Lent Dome to do battle.

Julian of Norwich


We know very little about Julian of Norwich. Her name is derived from the place where she devoted herself to a life of solitary prayer, study, and writing—the Church of Saint Julian. Her works date her life to the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, during a period of rampant epidemics of the Black Plague.

In 1373, at around the age of thirty, Julian suffered from a severe illness during which she had visions of Jesus Christ. She wrote them down immediately, and the 11,000-word text is believed to be the earliest surviving book written by a woman in the English language.

Around 1393, Julian explored the meaning of the visions in a longer version of Revelations of Divine Love. The book was widely read and is still embraced by both Catholics and Protestants as offering important and profound mystical insight into the nature of God. Julian believed sin was a necessary step to knowing one’s self and accepting God’s love. She taught that we sin because we are naive. To learn we must fail, and to fail we must sin.

She worried over the fate of those who were not raised in the Christian faith and had never heard the gospel. But she came to believe that God does everything in love, and therefore, “that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well,” possibly making her an early believer in universal salvation.

Julian described Jesus as a mother who is wise, loving, and merciful. She believed the bond between mother and child was the closest earthly relationship one could have to the love of Jesus. She also used metaphors of conception, nursing, and labor in connection with Jesus’ love, but at other times called him our brother.

Collect for Julian of Norwich 
Lord God, in your compassion you granted to the Lady Julian many revelations of your nurturing and sustaining love: Move our hearts, like hers, to seek you above all things, for in giving us yourself you give us all; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

— Amber Belldene

William Wilberforce


William Wilberforce was born on August 24, 1759. Family bequests left him independently wealthy, which allowed him to pursue a life of his own choosing. An affluent, educated politician and Christian who lived out his beliefs, Wilberforce defined himself through his devotion to dismantling slavery throughout the British Empire.

During a trip to the European continent, his spiritual life began to blossom, thanks to Bible reading and a commitment of service to God. Wilberforce’s embrace of Christianity prompted his interest in governmental and human rights reform.

Elected to the House of Commons in 1780 (a seat he held for forty-five years), Wilberforce was someone who commanded an audience. He was introduced to the horrors of the slave trade in 1787 by a group of anti-slave activists. His epiphany was stunning, and his dedication to abolishing slavery was lifelong. A journal entry indicated, “God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the Slave Trade and the Reformation of Manners.”

His campaigns eventually led to the passage of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which abolished the slave trade in the British Empire but did not abolish slavery as a practice. Those who were already slaves remained so. Wilberforce was not deterred, and his efforts to completely abolish slavery throughout the empire continued. Poor health forced his resignation from Parliament in 1826, but he persisted in his crusade. Eventually, he was instrumental in the creation and passage of the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, which abolished slavery and emancipated all slaves in the British Empire.

Wilberforce died three days before Parliament passed the Slavery Abolition Act but was assured before his death that it would be ratified. Wilberforce died in London on July 29, 1833, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Collect for William Wilberforce
Let your continual mercy, O Lord, kindle in your Church the never-failing gift of love, that, following the example of your servant William Wilberforce, we may have grace to defend the poor, and maintain the cause of those who have no helper; for the sake of him who gave his life for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

— Neva Rae Fox

Julian of Norwich vs. William Wilberforce

  • Julian of Norwich (52%, 4,539 Votes)
  • William Wilberforce (48%, 4,180 Votes)

Total Voters: 8,719

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Julian of Norwich: Statue of Julian of Norwich by David
Holgate, west front, Norwich Cathedral. Image by
Poliphilo (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons


William Wilberforce: “William Wilberforce Rousseau”
by H. Rousseau – http://www.pro-medienmagazin.de/
fileadmin/pro_pdf/PRO_2012_05.pdf. Licensed under
Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://

310 Comments to "Julian of Norwich vs. William Wilberforce"

  1. Michael Gray's Gravatar Michael Gray
    February 15, 2016 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    Such a difficult choice. Exemplars of the contemplative vs. the active ways of faithfulness. Either would have gone far, were they not matched against one another. being snowed in and in a more contemplative mood this morning, I’ll cast my vote for Julian.

    • Beverly's Gravatar Beverly
      February 15, 2016 - 9:30 am | Permalink

      No contest Julian it is! Or so I thought on first seeing the pairing. I searched for info on William and learned that while in this country for 2 1/2 months he encouraged the clergy to take better care of their congregations and was concerned about the plight of both slaves and Native Americans. But the tipping point in my decision to vote for him is that he founded the first lending libraries – where, presumably, one can find Julian’s book!

      • February 15, 2016 - 12:51 pm | Permalink

        I disagree; this is a big contest. I voted for William; because I value doers over speakers. The doers are often forgotten because they don’t leave an autobiography behind and after many years the changes a doer effected become the status qua and their contribution is forgotten.

        • Dave's Gravatar Dave
          February 15, 2016 - 1:26 pm | Permalink

          Wil Ber Force be with you!

        • Nyc's Gravatar Nyc
          February 15, 2016 - 7:08 pm | Permalink


        • Ione's Gravatar Ione
          February 15, 2016 - 7:08 pm | Permalink

          Indeed there is no contest when a contemppative is matched against a doer. The vote has to go to Wilberforce!

        • Tim's Gravatar Tim
          February 15, 2016 - 11:03 pm | Permalink

          I agree 100% Mark. I pick doers over sayers every time. It’s the doing person, rather the thinking or reading or talking person who in the end will get the most done and be found the happiest person.

    • Donna's Gravatar Donna
      February 15, 2016 - 9:42 am | Permalink

      Julian gets my vote for time and place in history impact. Comparing “saints” 450 years apart lends new meaning to the term “cultural relativity”

      • TM's Gravatar TM
        February 15, 2016 - 6:13 pm | Permalink

        Yes, this was a really tough one. I was sorry to vote against Wilberforce. Both of these saints’ teachings seem so needed at this moment in history, too.

    • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
      February 15, 2016 - 11:27 am | Permalink

      This one was hard for me, being female (WomanPower) and Black (BlackPower). I was torn
      Julian served through her faith and courage and with the intelligence and grace of a great Lady.
      William was a, loaded, wealthy , entitled, politician.
      And it’s REALLY hard to think of ANY politician as a Saint.
      But he was an Abolitionist!
      Gotta LOVE a Brother who fights for the brothers.
      I voted for William!☺️

      • s's Gravatar s
        February 15, 2016 - 3:44 pm | Permalink

        do brothers really have to fight brothers ? come on

        • Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
          February 15, 2016 - 4:50 pm | Permalink

          Why, brothers have always fought brothers. Such a noble concept!

          Of course, it’s kind of bizarre having a spoiled rich guy from the 1899s beating up on a mystical woman of centuries before — Oh, I spoke too soon! Here come Saints Xena and Gabrielle to kick butt…

      • Slugger's Gravatar Slugger
        February 16, 2016 - 2:27 am | Permalink

        In fact, many of us have ancestors who were slaves and not black. Look up the origin of the word “slavery”. Let’s not ruin this with gender and/or racial politics. Please.

      February 15, 2016 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, two admirable examples, a difficult choice; but havin been fortunate enough to have visited St Julian’s of Norwich, I vote for her.

      • Kate Guistolise's Gravatar Kate Guistolise
        February 15, 2016 - 6:11 pm | Permalink

        Me too

        • Lea's Gravatar Lea
          February 15, 2016 - 8:34 pm | Permalink

          Me, three.

    • Chase's Gravatar Chase
      February 15, 2016 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

      I too voted for Julian because her message and words are so moving and important. Though it was a very difficult choice because William’s actions show just how important it is for Christians to be counter-cultural.

    • Ann Lane's Gravatar Ann Lane
      February 15, 2016 - 4:57 pm | Permalink

      William Wilberforce was an amazing man. Not only was he a fighter against slavery, but began the humane treatment of animals – helped found SPCA in Britain and advocated better treatment of the poor – he saw them as poor because of circumstances, not because God did not favor them, a radical idea at the time. Everyone should read Amazing Grace: the Life of William Wilberforce by Eric Metaxas. He was truly heroic, in the best sense. He must win!

  2. Jean's Gravatar Jean
    February 15, 2016 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    Wow! This is an even tougher pairing that Absolom Jones and Matthias! Ultimately I went with Lady Julian because I think her message that “all will be well” is something I need to keep repeating to myself and honestly I thought she was going to turn out to be the underdog (I don’t look at the results until after I vote.) I was completely off on that prediction.

    • Sharon Kilpatrick's Gravatar Sharon Kilpatrick
      February 15, 2016 - 8:37 am | Permalink

      the way it works on my computer, I can’t see the results until I vote, ut I can read the comments.

  3. Lincoel's Gravatar Lincoel
    February 15, 2016 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    As much I love the work done by William Wilberforce, I was so touched by the words of Julian of Norwich. As one of those people who have sinned and feel only now that I’m beginning to understand the love of God, I was so moved by her assurance. So, it’s a vote for Julian of Norwich. And yes, I’m going to look up her writings.

    • Chase's Gravatar Chase
      February 15, 2016 - 12:36 pm | Permalink

      I too will be voting for Julian. While William’s work is to be commended and followed by all Christians when they see injustice and to be counter-cultural, I feel that Julian’s message and words are equally important if not more so, for she teaches to not worry and take things as they came and that in the end God will take care.

    • Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
      February 15, 2016 - 4:52 pm | Permalink

      I had not realized that she had this marvelous view of sin and growth. A wise woman, for sure, and I have no doubt that Will would agree.

    • Shirley Clark's Gravatar Shirley Clark
      February 15, 2016 - 10:17 pm | Permalink

      You stated my feelings so well! I’ve admired wilberforce for years but lady Julian moved me.

  4. Oliver--eight years old's Gravatar Oliver--eight years old
    February 15, 2016 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    I voted Julian because she had an illness and visions and she wears a scarf on her head.

    • Heather's Gravatar Heather
      February 15, 2016 - 8:28 am | Permalink

      During Lent Madness that is a fantastic reason.

      • Patty's Gravatar Patty
        February 15, 2016 - 10:31 am | Permalink

        I agree, Heather. Once again, Oliver, thank you for sharing your wisdom.

        • A Jennifer's Gravatar A Jennifer
          February 15, 2016 - 4:39 pm | Permalink


    • Hugh Mitchell's Gravatar Hugh Mitchell
      February 15, 2016 - 11:21 am | Permalink

      Oliver; you’re back! Good to hear from you!

    • Randall's Gravatar Randall
      February 15, 2016 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Oliver. I agree with you, and I also am thankful that Saint Julian wrote down what she saw and felt in her visions.

  5. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    February 15, 2016 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    Opposing slavery gets my vote.

    • Ken Albrecht's Gravatar Ken Albrecht
      February 15, 2016 - 9:18 am | Permalink

      Me too. Wilburforce gave his all to end slavery and for that alone deserves the golden halo.

      • Heather's Gravatar Heather
        February 15, 2016 - 11:07 am | Permalink

        I agree- It seems that Julian was quite a remarkable figure, but while her message is beautiful, Wilburforce gave his life for a cause that is so relevant in today’s society, and for that reason I had to give him my vote as well.

        • KaBan's Gravatar KaBan
          February 15, 2016 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

          Wilberforce did a lot of good for society, but he died of poor health at the age of 74. Not quite the same as giving one’s life for a cause. He did spend his entire life focused on bettering the lives of beleaguered people. A good vote.

          • TLH's Gravatar TLH
            February 15, 2016 - 2:23 pm | Permalink

            Oh I don’t know…he could have stayed at home and rested and not stressed his health with political activities…but he didn’t do that.

    • Stephanie McDougal's Gravatar Stephanie McDougal
      February 15, 2016 - 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Working to abolish slavery got my vote. I have always admired William Wilburforce so was glad to be able to vote for him.

  6. Tready3's Gravatar Tready3
    February 15, 2016 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    Hmmm, good words versus good works; tricky, but I went for deeds.

  7. Harriet's Gravatar Harriet
    February 15, 2016 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    Very hard decision! But had to go with my all-time favorite, Julian.

    • February 15, 2016 - 11:36 am | Permalink

      She’s my all time favorite too. And she had a cat

    • Stephan's Gravatar Stephan
      February 15, 2016 - 1:30 pm | Permalink

      A bit on the mystical side. A woman who trusted God enough to rely on her faith as the ultimate resource and a cat too? There was a choice? I don’t think so. It’s. Julian all the way!

  8. Carol Gardner's Gravatar Carol Gardner
    February 15, 2016 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Faith without works is dead. My vote was for Wilberforce before I even read the bios.

    • Carolyn's Gravatar Carolyn
      February 15, 2016 - 10:05 am | Permalink

      Same here!

    • Strangely Warmed's Gravatar Strangely Warmed
      February 15, 2016 - 10:13 am | Permalink

      Are you a Walking Dead fan?

  9. Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
    February 15, 2016 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    I too found this Monday vote a tough one. But, I find myself often quoting Lady Julian’s “All will be well” statement, one which has comforted me and increased my faith.

    • elizabeth pennington's Gravatar elizabeth pennington
      February 15, 2016 - 8:43 am | Permalink


    • Peggynanpate's Gravatar Peggynanpate
      February 15, 2016 - 9:38 am | Permalink

      Yes indeed! This was a very tough choice….Air vs. Blood. I chose Julian because of the influence that her revelations has had on theological construction and consequent actions. Her action in writing opened the pathway to actions in liberation and sociological largess. Rambling on…

  10. Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
    February 15, 2016 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    With race issues and modern day slavery still so much with us, I today pray for a champion like Wilberforce to lead us. Therefore, to my great surprise, I voted for William Wilberforce. I am a long time follower of Julian.

    • Diana's Gravatar Diana
      February 15, 2016 - 10:50 am | Permalink

      As did I although it was a tough decision…but we certainly need a champion like Wiberforce in this day and age.

    • Patti's Gravatar Patti
      February 15, 2016 - 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Ellen, I had the same thoughts. While I love our Julian, the day so needs a Wilberforce. He got our vote today.

    • Allison's Gravatar Allison
      February 15, 2016 - 6:32 pm | Permalink

      Those were my thoughts, too, and I trust that though voting for Wilberforce because of his early leadership on race, Julian would understand and all shall be well.

  11. Susan C.'s Gravatar Susan C.
    February 15, 2016 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    Julian of Norwich talked the talk, but William Wilburforce walked the walk. We are called to serve with justice and love faithfully. He did that effectively. My vote goes to Wilburforce.

    • Josie A.'s Gravatar Josie A.
      February 15, 2016 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Well said! I totally agree; Wilberforce got my vote as well!

  12. Lorna Worley's Gravatar Lorna Worley
    February 15, 2016 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    We need both the word and the deed. Lady Julian has inspired people for hundreds of years, but I voted for the worldly salvation of those freed from slavery. Slavery is an institution that is in many ways more damaging to the soul of the slave holder than the slave. Freedom from slavery is freedom for both parties.

    • Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
      February 15, 2016 - 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Deeds are good, but only when driven by noble ideas. Without ideas, the deeds you get are — well, we got a great example of that in the mid-twentieth century.

      And slavery is still very much with us. We just have a new name. It is now WORKERS, and the folks in congress think that’s just fine. We need another company of Wiberforces to stamp out the current vermin who would gladly strip all workers of all rights.

  13. Susan Donaldson's Gravatar Susan Donaldson
    February 15, 2016 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    I expect each pairing to be a difficult choice. Each have merits that define their sainthood. Today, I voted for William Wilberforce because of his dedication to abolishing the inhuman treatment of slavery. Though in many ways slavery still exists today in the treatment of migrant workers and their children.

    • Elizabeth River's Gravatar Elizabeth River
      February 15, 2016 - 10:45 am | Permalink

      I, too, voted for William as his faith was carried out in his works against the abomination of slavery. But Susan, slavery and racial injustice are enormously rampant in American culture today way beyond the treatment of migrant workers and their children. It’s in the practice of incarcerating young Black men. We’ve been reading The New Jim Crow in our church and also Just Mercy–these are really opening my eyes to the “new” version of racial injustice in our times.

    • February 15, 2016 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

      There are more people enslaved today than at any other time in history, in raw numbers. it’s horrifying. http://www.freetheslaves.net/about-slavery/slavery-today/
      There is so much work to do.

  14. Heather's Gravatar Heather
    February 15, 2016 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    This is a real stumper unlike this year’s election. Each one representing an important piece of a healthy life-spirituality and good works. Today I’m inspired just a tad more by boots on the ground so my vote goes to Wilberforce however contemplation that keeps one’s boots pointed in the direction that serves God and builds His kingdom is just as important so I’m going to meditate on Julian of Norwich. How’s that for morning waffles!

    • Peggynanpate's Gravatar Peggynanpate
      February 15, 2016 - 9:40 am | Permalink

      well said…although I cast my vote for Julian.

  15. Mary Lou Creamer's Gravatar Mary Lou Creamer
    February 15, 2016 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Tough choice, for sure. As much as I love Lady Julian, my heart is with William Wilberforce. His tenacity in his continual fight for the poor and downtrodden has always been close to my heart. In many ways he sets the example and the bar for the fight we must continue today for those less fortunate.

  16. Grace's Gravatar Grace
    February 15, 2016 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Wilberforce. We need more politicians like him.

  17. Dan Mueller's Gravatar Dan Mueller
    February 15, 2016 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    This was a tough one for me. But I have often used Julian’s quote in my life to get me through tough times. So I have to go with Julian today.

  18. Nancy Day's Gravatar Nancy Day
    February 15, 2016 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    Dang! That was thought. I hated not voting for Julian. We need more mystics.

  19. Betsy's Gravatar Betsy
    February 15, 2016 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    Having frequently relied on “All will be well,” I have to support Julian of Norwich. Her feminine spirituality resonates for me.

    • February 15, 2016 - 11:38 am | Permalink

      She’s my all time favorite too. And she had a cat

      • February 15, 2016 - 2:53 pm | Permalink

        But I know some who has a cat named Wilberforce.

  20. Barbara Gay's Gravatar Barbara Gay
    February 15, 2016 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    This is the most cruel match-up ever. How to not vote for a man who did so much to end the evil of slavery. But Julian of Norwich’s calming phrase has gotten me through many a rocky place. I just had to go with her. Fie on the Supreme Executive Committee for putting us in such a tough spot.

  21. Just me's Gravatar Just me
    February 15, 2016 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    All will be well but without people like Wilberforce thousands of people caught up in human trafficking will have little hope

  22. Jennifer Rich's Gravatar Jennifer Rich
    February 15, 2016 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    Both are certainly saintly but I have to go with Julian. Not enough women saints recognized!

  23. Dan Mueller's Gravatar Dan Mueller
    February 15, 2016 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    This was a tough one for me. But I have often used Julian’s quote in my life to get me through tough times. So I have to go with Julian today.

    • Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
      February 15, 2016 - 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Her quote is a good one, but when I am having trouble with something my favorite is from Philippians Chapter 4, Verse13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

  24. Laura's Gravatar Laura
    February 15, 2016 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    She is the author of the earliest record of a woman in the English language, and we only know her by where she hung out!? All shall be well, and Julian gets my vote.

  25. AEC's Gravatar AEC
    February 15, 2016 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    I am both a mystic and a music-lover so I assumed this would be easy. But thinking about the horrors of slavery for those who lived them and the aftershocks that affect the lives and politics of all races in this country still today, I had to go with Wilberforce, who dedicated his life to eradicating that evil (although, alas, not its pernicious effects) and who, like Moses, after the arduous journey, never reached the Promised Land.

  26. Liz Parmalee's Gravatar Liz Parmalee
    February 15, 2016 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    This was a very difficult choice! Ultimately went for the one who had the biggest impact in his or her world–William Wilberforce. Loved Julian too though. Unlucky draw for them both!

  27. Kevin Johnson's Gravatar Kevin Johnson
    February 15, 2016 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    Forgive me Dame Julian. You know I have loved you these many, many years. But this one time I must go with your contender. After all, dedicating one’s life for the freedom of so many – William has my vote.

  28. February 15, 2016 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    Influenced by the message of Pope Francis in declaring this a “Jubilee Year of Mercy,” my vote is for William Wilberforce.

    • Marcia's Gravatar Marcia
      February 15, 2016 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

      I, too, am taking my cue from Pope Francis. I just read his book to begin my Lenten contemplation, and he calls for action — for showing mercy. I think Julian probably represents the Spiritual Acts of Mercy in some ways, but Wilberforce certainly manifests both Corporeal and Spiritual.

  29. Sharon Carveth's Gravatar Sharon Carveth
    February 15, 2016 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    This is difficult on so many levels. Like Julian of Norwich I am a mystic of sorts (too many distractions to imitate her in every way). Like William Wilberforce I too try to live my baptismal vows of respecting the dignity of every human being. In this political year, I could only hope those politicians who wear their Christianity on their sleeves would take a page from William Wilberforce’s life. A little humility and perseverance would go a long way to calming down the anger and move toward real results. It took William Wilberforce years to achieve his goal of abolishing the slave trade. That is inspiring to all those who would fight “city hall” in an attempt to make life better for those on the margins.

  30. Andrea's Gravatar Andrea
    February 15, 2016 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    Admitting my ignorance, I saw the two names and thought what a shoe in for Julian, a saintly hero for so many. I knew the name, William Wilberforce, but had no idea who he was. I find it fascinating that, even though I am reasonably well read, etc., that I should be so clueless about such a hero. I wonder why that is? I know that when I was in school eons ago, the study of history was generally centered around wars, generals, and leaders. Maybe this is an example of why that approach is so scewed. Billy Boy gets my vote

  31. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    February 15, 2016 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    Wilberforce, because he lived his faith in the world and fought slavery. I love Julian of Norwich though and I often use some of her words as part of contemplative prayer.

  32. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    February 15, 2016 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    I read both accounts quite carefully and was expecting to vote for Julian–her devotion to the mystery of suffering as a way to apprehend the Divine Nature, her sense that with God all things are possible spoke movingly to me. But as I read the collect William Wilberforce, it came over me that the slavery he fought so long and bravely to beat down (thinking of the Great Litany here) was a great historic victory, but slavery and human trafficking are still with us today, so the battle is ongoing. And while we are at it, we might acknowledge our need to be delivered from all kinds of slavery ourselves: our bondage to greed, to selfish passions, to our refusal to see brothers and sisters in those who don’t look like us.

    • Pam Payne's Gravatar Pam Payne
      February 15, 2016 - 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Well said, John. I too found it a tough choice, as Lady Julian is such an example of deep spiritual understanding. In the end, I had to go with Mr. Wilberforce, who should be an exemplar to all politicians on how to make government a true instrument of right and good.

  33. TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
    February 15, 2016 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    I’m voting for William. Much as I love Julian’s story, William’s work is not yet completed, and I hope if he wins this round it will raise awareness of the evils of human trafficking that still permeate the world.

  34. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    February 15, 2016 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    All I knew of Julian of Norwich was the “all is well” sentiment, which I think of often. But, for a woman in the fourteenth century to have written a book in English is remarkable; for it to still be widely read, even more so. I find the concept that it is necessary to sin to find one’s true self in God to be fascinating. Perhaps her “good works” was writing for the ages. Tough choice, but I’m going with Julian.

  35. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    February 15, 2016 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    Remember the sun never set in the British Empire during Wilberforce’s lifetime. Working his entire life to end slavery was GLOBAL!

  36. February 15, 2016 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    Well. An easy one for me. I have the privilege of going each year to Norwich and stay at the Community of All Hallows Guest House next door to Lady Julian’s shrine. I, like probably not a few of you, have worshipped in her cell and have walked along the River Wensum nearby. Her writing has been such an inspiration for me. [Plus, I’m a big Norwich City Canary fan-OTBC] How can I not vote for her?

    • Joanna Burt's Gravatar Joanna Burt
      February 15, 2016 - 10:26 am | Permalink

      This was NOT easy for me. I, too, have visited Lady Julian’s shrine in Norwich (my mother’s hometown,) walked along the river, bought tea towels, books, and postcards in the church’s shop, and so on. I love Lady Julian’s feminine metaphors for Jesus, want to believe that “All shall be well” and have a small collection of books/commentaries on her writing. She has formed a huge part of my personal spirituality. But for the whole human world and the dignity of every human being, I had to vote for William Wilberforce.

  37. Carol Miro's Gravatar Carol Miro
    February 15, 2016 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    Both are very powerful choices,but I had to chose Julian, since her words sustained me when my son died 6 hours old. My daughter’s middle name is Juliana.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 15, 2016 - 10:59 am | Permalink

      My heart hurts for you. Blessed be Julian for helping you get through such a nightmare. ❤️

  38. Cori Olson's Gravatar Cori Olson
    February 15, 2016 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    Wilberforce! Anti-slavery before it was cool!! Imagine how differently things could have gone in the US if someone had been able to convince slavers to release slaves through the force of reason and faith rather than a gun and a cannon. Go Wilberforce!!!

  39. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    February 15, 2016 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    Vote JULIAN!!!

  40. February 15, 2016 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Difficult choice; both were exemplery. I went for Julian as too few women were recognized and she was certainly ahead of her times.

  41. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    February 15, 2016 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    Gosh, another tough choice. I am a huge admirer of Wilberforce, and am aware that his work on the abolition of slavery needs champions today more than ever. However, there have been so few women speaking to us about faith down the centuries that Julian’s a voice to treasure. She was able to speak of Jesus as mother and draw on feminine language of conception, labour and nursing opening up new ways of relating to the Divine, so my vote goes to her today.

  42. Ivan Corbin's Gravatar Ivan Corbin
    February 15, 2016 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    For me it was Wilberforce without a second thought. Coming privilege and probably privilege that benefited from the horrible institution of slavery, he could have very easily continued to support that institution and done so in the name of Christ. But, he used his wealth and influence to help bring about and end to the trade and the institution in the UK. His work was so important that even John Wesley’s last letter was one written to Wilberforce encouraging him to keep up the fight!

    • Ivan Corbin's Gravatar Ivan Corbin
      February 15, 2016 - 8:58 am | Permalink

      Coming “from” privilege. Sorry, I got excited by my thoughts and they got ahead of my fingers!

  43. February 15, 2016 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    Yesterday the Absalom Jones Committee met at our church (St Philip’s, Laurel, MD) and agreed to continue awarding scholarships in his name, so I had to vote for Wilberforce. However, I was drawn to Julian of Norwich by her “all will be well” words. I like to believe these words meant that she was a universalist, which is very comforting in view of the fact that most of my long-gone relatives were not so-called “born again Christians.” (Neither am I.) Willing to leave big questions up to God.

  44. Carolyn Balliinger's Gravatar Carolyn Balliinger
    February 15, 2016 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    William Wilberforce. We desperately need a William Wilberforce today to combat present-day slavery, to champion the rights of the working poor, and to bring civility to the political process. A wealthy man who dedicated himself and his wealth to furtherance of the kingdom of God.

    • Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
      February 15, 2016 - 10:52 am | Permalink

      Agreed. As inspired and comforted as I am personally by the words of Julian, I just have to go with Wilberforce for his courageous and forward-thinking example of faith in action.

  45. Janice Pauc's Gravatar Janice Pauc
    February 15, 2016 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    Another difficult choice. Like the knowledge gained from these match ups.

  46. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    February 15, 2016 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    I came in a staunch Lady Julian fan, but I have to say either saint is halo-worthy today.

  47. Ernest's Gravatar Ernest
    February 15, 2016 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    While I think Julian was influential I have to go with William Wilberforce because he did so much to free men, women, and children from slavery. I also think that while salvation is “Universal” you have to accept it. You are not saved just because you live.

    • Ernest's Gravatar Ernest
      February 15, 2016 - 9:05 am | Permalink

      What I meant is that is Salvation is available for all.

  48. Relling Westfall's Gravatar Relling Westfall
    February 15, 2016 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    People often write about how the current events of our day influence their vote…..Surely in 206 in this country, we need an example of someone who worked for the enslaved, oppressed, and those who had no voice….”I Can’t Breathe” Wilberforce is a great Christian hero.

  49. Anne Margo's Gravatar Anne Margo
    February 15, 2016 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    Very tough choice today. Dame Julian’ s description of Christ as mother is so appealing, as well as “all shall be well”, and my beloved sister is named Juli. But William Wilberforce’ s work to abolish slavery in the British Empire is too compelling for me.

  50. Geri's Gravatar Geri
    February 15, 2016 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    After some internal wrestling, I voted for Wilberforce whose work in the field of the dignity of all is still being fought today.

  51. February 15, 2016 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    Ohhhhhh! Why did you pair up these two??? I may have to make up an alter ego just to vote for both!!!

  52. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    February 15, 2016 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    I’m happy to learn about William Wilberforce, but I’m going with Julian on this one. For one reason, being one of the earliest English-language woman writers is admirable. For another, I’ve been fascinated with the mystics of that era. However, the main reason is that I think she’ll have better kitsch in the Saintly Kitsch round. It IS Lent Madness after all.

  53. Julianne's Gravatar Julianne
    February 15, 2016 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    Julian, because (1) TS Eliot (“Little Gidding”), (2) my namesake, or close to it.

  54. Jerry Rankin's Gravatar Jerry Rankin
    February 15, 2016 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    Voted for Wilberforce. As a Christian and politician he stands in stark contrast, and as a shining example, to the current political debacle where faith is used as a cudgel and badge of hubris.

  55. Janet's Gravatar Janet
    February 15, 2016 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    I had to go with Julian. Several years ago I was the Lay Rector of a Cursillo weekend. For some reason I forget, I had chosen Julian to be our saint for the weekend. On the second day, we got word that three people most of us knew had died unexpectedly the night before. One of them had called me earlier that afternoon to wish me well. It was devastating for every one, and I wasn’t sure I could get it together. But then I kept hearing “All Will be Well” over and over and I knew she would help all of us in faith.

  56. February 15, 2016 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    The writings of Julian are what caused me to know my belovedness as a child of God. I knew it in my heard, but Julian moved the knowledge into my heart. She has saved me time and again from fear and despair. I couldn’t not vote for her.

  57. Martin 8 years old's Gravatar Martin 8 years old
    February 15, 2016 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    I’m voting for William Wilberforce for a comeback. He worked his whole life for de-slaving people.

    • Patty's Gravatar Patty
      February 15, 2016 - 10:34 am | Permalink

      Great idea!

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 15, 2016 - 11:00 am | Permalink

      Yay, Martin! Good to hear from you again, my friend!

  58. Ben's Gravatar Ben
    February 15, 2016 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    Having just completed Dame Julian’s Revelations of Divine Love, I must vote for her. The messages regarding God’s love, sin and salvation, and overall comfort are very thought provoking. To read the showings in entirety, for me, was very different than reading the bits and pieces, I have over the years.

  59. Katherine's Gravatar Katherine
    February 15, 2016 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    I thought I would vote for Wilberforce because he is such an incredible example. It was my daughter who introduced me to him, getting me to watch the movie “Amazing Grace.” However, in this season of Lent, I am reminded of how important it is to start with prayer. Not to take anything away from the actions of Wilberforce, as I believe they were rooted in prayer, but because I wanted to emphasize for myself the need for prayer and for God’s mercy. I so appreciate the message that Julian brought to so many.

    I would say I think it is unfair to say that Julian was not a “doer”. She did what she was called to do in sharing the message given to her. There are different gifts, but the same Lord…

  60. Mary Phinney's Gravatar Mary Phinney
    February 15, 2016 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    Wilberforce’s life story and passionate effort to end slavery is impressive, but Julian’s vision of a universal path to salvation resonates with me as do her words: all shall be well. Justification by faith and a vote for Julian.

  61. Karen Ashbrook's Gravatar Karen Ashbrook
    February 15, 2016 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    Before I read the bios I thought it would be a no brainer and I would vote for Julian of Norwich whose timeless message of hope and inspiration “all Will be Well” has been a guiding light in my light. BUT— working so hard against society to abolish slavery and succeeding., that was a powerful ministry and actually did pull my vote…

  62. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    February 15, 2016 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    I had to vote for Julian; she has had an important influence on my life. But this is one match-up where, if my choice does not advance, I will be quite happy to support the “opponent.” Both these saints are totally admirable.

  63. Victoria Stefani's Gravatar Victoria Stefani
    February 15, 2016 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    Most difficult Lent Madness choice ever, but I had to vote for Wilberforce, whose faith made such a concrete difference in the world and in so many individual lives.

  64. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    February 15, 2016 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    William Wilberforce is an admirable man, but Julian has long been in my spiritual “vocabulary.” I couldn’t not vote for her. She said, “Sin is behovely” (inevitable), but goodness will prevail. I find myself drawn to the mystics. So frequently in these match-ups we see a choice between the active and the contemplative life. Must one be Martha or Mary? Can one be both? Today I vote for Julian and if she won the halo I would be satisfied. But if she did not, I think she would remain serene.

  65. David Herrelko's Gravatar David Herrelko
    February 15, 2016 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    If Hillary and Bernie can toss a coin (six of them!) in Iowa, then so can I. Heads, it’s Julian. Tails, it’s William. Heads.

  66. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    February 15, 2016 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    I’m glad the voting is close on this one (and that Julian is winning)!

  67. SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
    February 15, 2016 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    I first met Julian in high school when I read Anya Seton’s “Katherine,” in which she is a very influential character. I met her again as an adult in choir when we sang William Matthias’s “As Truly as God Is our Father (so just as Truly Is He our Mother),” for which Julian’s writings provided the text. A 14th century Catholic feminist is an awe-inspiring witness, don’t you think?you can hear this haunting anthem at this link:
    And that is where I encountered her instructive and life-saving words, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
    She has pulled me out of an existential ditch over the years more times than I can count.

    While I am very grateful to William Wilberforce for his incredible ministry, I am personally indebted to the ministry of Julian.

    • Richard's Gravatar Richard
      February 15, 2016 - 6:53 pm | Permalink

      I was wondering if anyone else had read Anya Seton’s book. Yes, Julian of Norwich did play an important, though short, part.

  68. February 15, 2016 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    William Wilberforce’s legacy gave huge progress towards ending the slave trade and slavery, which impacted much of the Western Hemisphere. He may not have been the first to speak of the evils and horrors of human bondage but he made it his life’s work to help end it. That so many today view owning a fellow human being unconscionable today is a testament to Wilberforce and so many others’ efforts. Vote for William Wilberforce!

  69. johnieb's Gravatar johnieb
    February 15, 2016 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    I don’t know whether to praise Adam Thomas for his spiritual exercises in making such challenging juxtapositions or denounce him as a sadist. William Wilberforce.

    • February 15, 2016 - 9:35 am | Permalink

      To be clear, you only have the SEC to blame for the matchups. You’re welcome.

      • Mariana's Gravatar Mariana
        February 15, 2016 - 12:06 pm | Permalink

        And they are so much fun!

  70. Lisa Rose's Gravatar Lisa Rose
    February 15, 2016 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    I assumed that any mention of anti-slavery would be an automatic win, so I’m quite surprised by the stats. As a writer, I know that writing is “work” … and for the words of a woman in the 13th century to still be quoted today is pretty impressive work. I too believe that virtue isn’t virtue until it comes up against vice and that those who live the gospel w/o knowing the gospel are the true saints. So, I am casting my vote for my soul sister.

  71. February 15, 2016 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    I am voting for Julian because I believe that before we can act in the ways of mercy and remain steadfast in our witness, we must be deeply connected to G-d. Without that, our energy wanes and we tend to believe that we are accomplishing and succeeding because of will or righteousness — which tends to make us vulnerable to all sorts of self-referenced egotism.
    My reading about Wm. Wilberforce doesn’t suggest that he was such an egotist, at all. (So please don’t think I am saying that.) But the contemplative comes first, I think.
    Frankly, I also think we need to pay more attention to the women whose faith and lives get swallowed up in the stories of men.

    • Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
      February 15, 2016 - 12:50 pm | Permalink

      I agree. I can’t act in faith for justice and dignity without trusting in God’s love. The world’s troubles are so devastating and overwhelming, I don’t know how to begin to fight them without that grace.

    • February 15, 2016 - 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Andrea, I love what you have said. “…before… to egotism”. Please consider putting it up on a poster or as a thought for the day somewhere. Blessings to you.

  72. Steve P's Gravatar Steve P
    February 15, 2016 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    Who would I prefer to have go all the way to the golden halo? In today’s world, a wealthy man spending his life in service to those who are oppressed and exploited is a laudable role model. Wilberforce!

  73. Gary Barker's Gravatar Gary Barker
    February 15, 2016 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    I don’t think it is a good idea to separate out these two one from another as if Julian were only contemplative and Wilberforce were only active. Julian’s ministry freed all of us to a deeper vision and experience of God. She may have been an anchoress, walled into her church, but there was no holding her down from changing us and the world. Wilberforce may have been more obviously in the public realm, but he was able to do what he did and persist because of his prayer life and deep reading of the Scripture. To be a great saint, we must be rooted in God and reach out to the world. And these are both great saints. May I and we do likewise!

    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      February 15, 2016 - 10:04 am | Permalink


  74. Adrienne in Oklahoma's Gravatar Adrienne in Oklahoma
    February 15, 2016 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    Julian had a lot of good things to say. I’m just going to leave this right here: “He said not ‘Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be dis-eased’; but he said, ‘Thou shalt not be overcome.”
    ― Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love

  75. Wholly Yoga Heidi's Gravatar Wholly Yoga Heidi
    February 15, 2016 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    Eek! As soon as I voted for Julian I changed my mind and wished I had voted for wilberforce. In the pre-coffee morn contemplation won out; once awake I wish I had opted for the rarity–a moral politician.

  76. Joyce's Gravatar Joyce
    February 15, 2016 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    It’s a hard call. As much as I love the words of Julian, even quoted in Elliot’s “Little Gidding,” and I am impressed that she is the first known woman to write in The English language, I voted for Wilberforce. His determination brought about the Slavery Abolition Act, a whole generation before the Emancipation Proclamation. I just love those Brits.

  77. Seth Landesman's Gravatar Seth Landesman
    February 15, 2016 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    I am new to this whole Lent Madness thing, but after beginning a form of it with our youth group, it interested me. I am almost at a point that I may just flip a coin for this match up. Julian’s beliefs that “that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well,” are very similar to my personal religious values. William though is a very important figure in what interests me most, history! Abolition is my second most interesting historical topic to discuss, only behind the Holocaust. Very difficult decision, but believe I am going to go with Julian since I am focusing on religious reflection during Lent!

  78. Cricket in the Berkshires's Gravatar Cricket in the Berkshires
    February 15, 2016 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    For me, this comes down to family.
    I have a Norwich Terrier named Julian the Norwich.
    Her quiet message that “All will be well” has seen me through
    15 years of life’s ups and downs.

    Julian for the Golden Halo!!!

  79. Adrienne in Oklahoma's Gravatar Adrienne in Oklahoma
    February 15, 2016 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    Something that we might want to remember about Wilberforce, whose legacy and example I really admire, he was too much of a dignified gentlemen to initially allow women membership and participation in his Antislavery Society. He believed activist work and door to door education were not fitting for ladies according to scripture? He also thought the women too radical in calling for an immediate end to slavery. His early work took down the slave trade only. A man of his times, yes, but at least we can say he indirectly helped kick off the suffrage movement through his Boys Only Attitude. So…I’m voting for Julian.

  80. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    February 15, 2016 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    Pardon me but isn’t “All will be well” x 3 a bit of overkill?

    • Paul Rider's Gravatar Paul Rider
      February 15, 2016 - 10:03 am | Permalink

      Read her book.

    • Adrienne in Oklahoma's Gravatar Adrienne in Oklahoma
      February 15, 2016 - 10:04 am | Permalink

      Overkill…kinda like Holy Holy Holy? (Wink,wink.). Redundancy has it’s pros and cons. Xxx

    • Christie's Gravatar Christie
      February 15, 2016 - 10:09 am | Permalink


      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        February 15, 2016 - 10:16 am | Permalink

        For years I have wondered “why?” and just what does it mean. Still no answers.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 15, 2016 - 10:36 am | Permalink

      Only if you live in complete serenity and are never shaken by the chances and changes of this life. I myself need to be reminded over and over and over (3 times and more!).

  81. Jeaninejj's Gravatar Jeaninejj
    February 15, 2016 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    I have given away about 12 medals of Julian bearing her “all will be well” believe. Also our talented choir director, who is also a renowned composer, has written/had us sung several powerful pieces using Julian’s words. I support Julian!

  82. Nancy Oliver's Gravatar Nancy Oliver
    February 15, 2016 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    Wilberforce could have sat on his laurels and done nothing but indulge himself- but he chose to be an advocate for the people who had no voice. Julian is interesting, but a high fever that yields a vision, which she wrote down, is not serving God like Wilberforce’s tireless fight to free God’s people. I vote for Wilberforce!!!

  83. JWarden's Gravatar JWarden
    February 15, 2016 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    Balancing all of you who overthink these decisions. The decision is clear. Mr. Ed votes for the “Wilbur” Force. Of course. Come on.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 15, 2016 - 10:54 am | Permalink

      Good old Mister Ed! (We’re showing our age now, aren’t we? 😉

    • A Jennifer's Gravatar A Jennifer
      February 15, 2016 - 4:41 pm | Permalink


  84. Wramps's Gravatar Wramps
    February 15, 2016 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    This match up is a great reason why the SEC prohibits us from voting twice. I would have voted for both saints, and so will be happy with either outcome. My vote is for Julian for her early embrace of universal salvation. That is not to take anything away from Wilberforce–except a vote that would have gone to him.

  85. Kat's Gravatar Kat
    February 15, 2016 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    I must vote for Julian. Her “All shall be well” quote became my mantra during cancer treatment, and helps me get through any difficult day.

  86. Phil's Gravatar Phil
    February 15, 2016 - 10:00 am | Permalink

    If doing the right thing qualifies a statesman/politician for the Golden Halo/sainthood, that may be a low threshold for politicians. Julian is truly a saint. Out of poverty and sickness she became devoted to Christ with no expectations of grandeur. Her works and thinking have inspired thousands throughout the ages. Nearly 700 years later people’s spiritual practices and beliefs are shaped by Julian. While Lord Wilberforce did a mighty thing with his political connections and abilities and ended a terrible practice, I doubt 700 years after his life he will inspire those in the spiritual realm like Julian has done. For centuries. We are voting for the Golden Halo in the spiritual world and not for the Golden Achiever in the political or material world. Is there a single politician or material world leader heralded in the New Testamint? Or are the spiritually anointed like John the Baptist in the New Testament?

  87. Jen E. Ochsner's Gravatar Jen E. Ochsner
    February 15, 2016 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    Have had a tough 2 weeks……Julian’s words – all will be well – resonated loudly.

  88. Lee Greenawalt's Gravatar Lee Greenawalt
    February 15, 2016 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    Enlightened being introduced to Julian of Norwich. I voted for Wilberforce having been much influenced by his work. Interesting outcome in the constant tension of personal holiness and social action.

  89. Sudie's Gravatar Sudie
    February 15, 2016 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    Julian’s words “All will be well, all manner of thing shall be well” came to my mind repeatedly back in 1971 when, at the age of 24, I was diagnosed with a serious form of cancer and found myself in a dark and scary place–a wilderness of sorts. Several years later, when I was doing some reading on the mystics, I learned the source of those persistent words. Much as I admire William Wilberforce and wish more politicians could be like him, my vote must go to that unknown companion in my wilderness of fear, Dame Julian. Her words continue to strengthen and inspire…

  90. Don's Gravatar Don
    February 15, 2016 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    Wilberforce, easily.
    Dedicated his life ” in thought word and deed” to abolishing the scourge of ” legal” slavery. Resonates profoundly today.

  91. Victor of Sturbridge's Gravatar Victor of Sturbridge
    February 15, 2016 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    One pertinent thought in Julian that is not mentioned in the presentation is her statement, “As surely as God is our Father, so also is He our Mother.” Her meditation on this point says more to me than pronoun substitution such as the clumsy “God moves in a mysterious way, God’s wonders to perform; God plants God’s footsteps in the sea … .” Read it!

    I came to Julian during college days, through T.S. Eliot. It was a revelation (reference intended). Her work is one basis for my regular meditation and prayer, especially during Lent and Holy Week. I have made four pilgrimages to the site of her cell in Norwich. Granted that it is a modern reconstruction, it is on the very site, and I have an overwhelming sense of Eliot’s line, “You are here to kneel where prayer has been valid.” The spirituality is palpable to me. One can serve God by inspiring individuals, as one can serve God through social needs.

  92. betsy's Gravatar betsy
    February 15, 2016 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    See the movie “Amazing Grace” about William Wilberforce. You will have to vote for him. Read the book, even more forceful. Hard to get thought but worth it.

    • Edna Marie's Gravatar Edna Marie
      February 15, 2016 - 1:36 pm | Permalink

      I was going to suggest the same thing. The movie “Amazing Grace” is a wonderful look at Wilberforce, John Newton, and William Pitt and their efforts in legislating the slave trade. Also, Ioan Gruffudd is terrific in the role of Wilberforce!

    • Sandi's Gravatar Sandi
      February 15, 2016 - 5:00 pm | Permalink

      I’ve been to Norwich and prayed in Julian’s reconstructed shrine. I thought she would easily have my vote…but then..scenes from the movie “Amazing Grace” kept playing across my memory, especially the scene where William first saw the shackles that were worn by slaves. And I heard John Newton saying, “I am a great sinner – and Christ is a great Savior!” (Hollywood or not, a great line!). Then I saw in a vision Julian and she was saying, “All manner of things shall be well – even if you vote for William Wilburforce.”

  93. February 15, 2016 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    I love Julian! I love the Order of Julian of Norwich, too, and I reject attempts to pit contemplation and action against each other.
    But I’m voting for Wilberforce, today. I reflect on the fact that many Anglicans and Christians of the time used Scripture to defend the practice of slavery, and my vote for Blessed William Wilberforce is my way to name, nurture, and honor the holiness of those who read Scripture with the heart of prophets.

  94. betsy's Gravatar betsy
    February 15, 2016 - 10:14 am | Permalink

    William Wilberforce was amazing. Watch the movie “Amazing Grace” or, better still, read the book. Very difficult to get through but worth it.

  95. Andrea's Gravatar Andrea
    February 15, 2016 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    I can’t believe this is even close! Should be a slam dunk for Wilberforce due to his historic significance in ending the evil of slavery. Please vote for him, folks. I’ve got him in my Final Four!

  96. Kathy Schillreff's Gravatar Kathy Schillreff
    February 15, 2016 - 10:18 am | Permalink

    Not surprised this one is close. It was a hard choice. I voted for Julian – an early theologian who happened to be a woman. But we can’t minimize Wilberforce’s importance. The SEC made this really really hard today.

  97. February 15, 2016 - 10:23 am | Permalink

    A rich man who proved that sometime the camel does fit. Throwing off the yoke of his inheritance to fight for human rights, how can you not vote for William?

  98. Sarah's Gravatar Sarah
    February 15, 2016 - 10:24 am | Permalink

    Julian helped me through childbirth. That’s the only deciding factor.

  99. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    February 15, 2016 - 10:27 am | Permalink

    St. Julian and her calm, strong voice.

  100. Priscilla Promise's Gravatar Priscilla Promise
    February 15, 2016 - 10:27 am | Permalink

    While I appreciate the often quoted and comforting words of Julian, I rise to the challenge of Wilberforce! His work is carried on by many saints of today, and it is the call I hear to be an increasingly Crazy Christian!

  101. Carol Amadio's Gravatar Carol Amadio
    February 15, 2016 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    It would be helpful if people whose lives were similar could be paired in round 1. Social activists vs. social activists and contemplatives vs. contemplatives. I too would have wished to vote for both, but decided on William. I have been asking for his prayers for many years since the Episcopal Church celebrates his life on my birthday, July 30th.

  102. Antoinette's Gravatar Antoinette
    February 15, 2016 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    With a daughter named after Julian and an appreciation of mystics, I vote for Julian.

  103. Gregory Francis's Gravatar Gregory Francis
    February 15, 2016 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    Julian of Norwich, for I know myself too well, and all will be well.

  104. February 15, 2016 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    William had to stand against great opposition to move Great Britain forward with the end of the Slave Trade… I love Julian…..and wish they were not in opposition… however, William with the prophets voice has my vote.

  105. Mona's Gravatar Mona
    February 15, 2016 - 10:36 am | Permalink

    This was a toughie. I have a particular affinity for Julian being myself of a contemplative nature. I was expecting to vote for Julian even to the moment I pressed the vote button. However, the tawdry lure of social justice caused my mouse to shift ever so slightly and my vote was cast for Wilberforce.

  106. Carolyn D. Mack's Gravatar Carolyn D. Mack
    February 15, 2016 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    This match up is a reason I don’t fill out a bracket at the beginning. I fully expected to vote for Wilberforce, but after reading of Julian of Norwich I had to give her my vote. Thanks for giving us such inspirational stories.

  107. Mary Ann G.'s Gravatar Mary Ann G.
    February 15, 2016 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    This was a really really tough one. I was sure I was going to go for Julian of Norwich because of her belief in universal Salvation and motherly feelings. Then I read about William Wilberforce and his fight against slavery. We definitely could use him in today’s world. However as a mom I ended up picking Julian.

  108. Sandra Rode's Gravatar Sandra Rode
    February 15, 2016 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    As is true in so many matchups, these two pursued their faith in the realms and with the means available to them. I vote for Julian of Norwich, whose surviving work gives hope to the many whose efforts will not be visible through centuries following that they “did make a difference”–for all those who were illiterate or did not have the political permission to make sweeping systematic reforms occur. Her imagery also helps broaden our understanding of God and salvation.

  109. Cassandra's Gravatar Cassandra
    February 15, 2016 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    Faith, vision, life-long dedication and persistence, godly witness, and a truly global impact. Thank God for William Wilberforce. His life of humble Christian witness overwhelms me with gratitude.

  110. Kim Rossi's Gravatar Kim Rossi
    February 15, 2016 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    No one can take away from Julian the impact she has had, but a life of working towards the opposition to slavery gets my vote today.

  111. Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
    February 15, 2016 - 10:43 am | Permalink

    Julian influenced her community with her “window to the street” where commoners would come and get wisdom, prayer, etc. She hung out with notable saints of her day. All this influences me today and the added bonus is I get to read her book any time I want! Being of a more contemplative persuasion, my vote is for Julian. The influence she’s had over the centuries amazes me and with only 3 windows to work from – one into the church to receive communion, one for her helpers to come and go, and the window to the street.

  112. February 15, 2016 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    I vote for Wilforce because he saved so many people from slavery. This does not take away from Julian as she was a model for all people.

  113. aleathia (dolores) nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores) nicholson
    February 15, 2016 - 10:48 am | Permalink

    Wilberforce could have rested on his laurels and his inherited wealth. He chose to devote his life to the abolishment of slavery. There is (or was) a Wilberforce University founded to primarily serve Black Americans. I am more attuned to the active on behalf of others rather than the contemplative who are one-on-one with a Higher Being…one to/for the many vs one-to-one. Good Monday and good blogging.

  114. Cassandra's Gravatar Cassandra
    February 15, 2016 - 10:49 am | Permalink

    William Wilberforce is the subject of a beautiful movie, as others on this page have noted. Watch the trailer here:

    • Sally Duernberger's Gravatar Sally Duernberger
      February 15, 2016 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the info on the movie.

  115. Andrea Feist's Gravatar Andrea Feist
    February 15, 2016 - 10:49 am | Permalink

    In this election year, I am voting for the one used law and the tools of politics to rescue the oppressed. May Wiiliam Wilberforce be a model for our elected leaders today.

  116. Jen M's Gravatar Jen M
    February 15, 2016 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    It bothers me that when comparing two people who lived over 400 years apart and are of different sexes that we would give more merit to the wealthy politician than a woman who lived through a quite literally the time of the plague and was able to offer comfort to not only people of the time but for centuries later through her writings. You don’t think these are actions? A woman who could write, in a time when women were not even deemed worthy to educate, and that those writings would live on and still be found relevant and comforting over 600 years later…sorry no contest….my vote goes to Julian.

    • Pam Payne's Gravatar Pam Payne
      February 15, 2016 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

      It certainly is a difficult comparison, as each was a force in their own time and own place. Both were “doers” in their own ways, and both were called by their deeply spiritual connection with God. This is one of those brackets where I will be happy with either saint advancing.

  117. Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
    February 15, 2016 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    This should be the final pairing, not the first round.

  118. Carol Ingells's Gravatar Carol Ingells
    February 15, 2016 - 11:03 am | Permalink

    Two great choices, but I have to choose Julian. She has been a foundational teacher and friend of mine for much of my life. She humbly lived and wrote, never knowing what deep insights she gave humanity regarding God’s availability, nurture and love. I am ever grateful for her. But I think Wilberforce was a great man, too!

  119. Rose Mahan's Gravatar Rose Mahan
    February 15, 2016 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    I have not read ALL the comments, so if someone already said this, my apologies! There are indeed thinkers (or mystics) and doers. It was a tough choice as I have seen racism at work in my lifetime. But much as I admire Wilberforce, I had to vote for Julian about whom I actually knew very little. It is wonderful that she understood that God is love. If more people could grasp that, perhaps many evils, including racism and other hate crimes, would vanish. And if more people understood what she seems to imply — that God cares for all mankind, not just the Christian — even more hate might vanish Thinkers and mystics, especially if they wrote about it, as Julian did, are also doers.

  120. Curt VanAllen's Gravatar Curt VanAllen
    February 15, 2016 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    This was a difficult one for me. I voted for William Wilberforce because he was an early, effective leader in the fight for civil rights. A battle we are still fighting today.

  121. ChrisinNY's Gravatar ChrisinNY
    February 15, 2016 - 11:07 am | Permalink

    Freeing living, human beings across a nation. This is such a force for God’s love in the world. While I love Julian’s prayer (which has brought comfort to me), the “life of the mind” and mysticism that she represents is no match for saving even just one person from the loss of a true human existence represented by slavery.

  122. John G.'s Gravatar John G.
    February 15, 2016 - 11:07 am | Permalink

    I am already looking for Julian’s books online. This was a great match up, but I had to vote for Julian. I did not know about either of these saints until today, so thank you Lent Madness!

  123. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    February 15, 2016 - 11:08 am | Permalink

    I’m into mystics anyway, and the line “all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well” –her most famous line–is something only a mystic could say. Well, maybe not *only* a mystic, but it is a kind of mystical insight. (I think Eliot used the line in “Four quartets.”)

  124. Jenny C's Gravatar Jenny C
    February 15, 2016 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    I have been playing for 2 years, but this is the first time I was moved to comment. This one was SO hard. Had it been Wilberforce vs almost anyone else I would have voted for him, but Julian was so special. In the end, it came down to the fact that I use her quotation “and all shall be well…” ALL the time, so I felt like she has more of a place in my life. And since I am Jewish, that is saying something about a saint!

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 15, 2016 - 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Hi JennyC! I didn’t know Lent Madness was celebrated by Judeo-cousins as well. I’m so glad to know that.

  125. Kathleen James-Cavan's Gravatar Kathleen James-Cavan
    February 15, 2016 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    Both are trailblazers and both were speakers and doers of the Word. Julian got my vote because a woman writing spiritual matters in the fourteenth century had to be exceedingly bold. A man of privilege devoting himself to social justice is also laudable, but Julian had more obstacles to overcome.

  126. Bonnie's Gravatar Bonnie
    February 15, 2016 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    Action beats contemplation. This is a man who put his “money where is mouth” is. I vote for Wilberforce.

  127. Mrs. B.'s Gravatar Mrs. B.
    February 15, 2016 - 11:16 am | Permalink

    Read the book, visited the shrine. agree with Donna. Wilberforce addressed the problem of the Slave Trade many years before our own Civil War. Americans seem to believe that slavery was an American phenomenon but reading about Wilberforce’s work should get them to realize that slavery has been with us since anyone can remember. As it still is today, more’s the pity. Did Wilberforce discriminate by freeing only male slaves? No way.

  128. Pip Woodcock's Gravatar Pip Woodcock
    February 15, 2016 - 11:17 am | Permalink

    Mother Julian for me. While in England at Christmas I made a pilgrimage to her church behind a group of soccer supporters making their way to nearby Norwich Football Ground. Their shouts could be heard while I meditated, with a white cat, in the otherwise peaceful churchyard.

  129. Rose Mahan's Gravatar Rose Mahan
    February 15, 2016 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    I have not read ALL the comments, so if this has already been said, my apologies. I admire people of action and it was hard not to vote for Wilberforce. But I had to go with Julian. It is truly wonderful that she understood so long ago that God is love. Period. If more people today could grasp that, there would be far less racism and other forms of hate. And if more people could grasp the truth she apparently did — that God loves all people and not just Christians– even more hate might vanish. She was not “just ” a mystic because all writers are in a way, doers, Her words remain for anyone to be inspired.

  130. Bernadette Hartsough's Gravatar Bernadette Hartsough
    February 15, 2016 - 11:22 am | Permalink

    This was a tough vote. I am a proponent of civil rights but Julian’s revelations were about love. Love of all our brothers and sisters propels us to fight for civil rights. My vote goes to Julian.

  131. Elizabeth Siler's Gravatar Elizabeth Siler
    February 15, 2016 - 11:26 am | Permalink

    Very tough choice. I went with Wilburforce. Love Julian but went with the person who had the greatest impact on the largest number of people.

  132. Megan's Gravatar Megan
    February 15, 2016 - 11:26 am | Permalink

    I voted for Julian of Norwich. In my father’s last few months, as he was dying from a terminal brain tumor, he took great comfort in her writings and philosophy. She helped him to face death with dignity, looking to the world beyond.

  133. Irene Lawrence's Gravatar Irene Lawrence
    February 15, 2016 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    One reason I enjoy Lent Madness so much is that, while some people occasionally get intense about their choices, everyone remains civil and even generous. Have we found an exception to Godwin’s law?
    But my burning question for today is, What was the “Reformation of Manners” that Wilberforce thought was his other God-appointed task?

  134. February 15, 2016 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    For a woman like Julian to be a writer in the medieval period was unusual. For her to imagine Jesus as a mother, a woman, was extraordinary.

  135. Susan B's Gravatar Susan B
    February 15, 2016 - 11:28 am | Permalink

    Two people who would have each gotten my vote if paired with others from the early rounds, but up against each other it wasn’t a hard decision for me. We need a saint like Wilberforce before us in these days to encourage people whose faith opens their eyes to situations of injustice: To take action. To not give up. To work tirelessly. To be the faith and hands and voice and energy which help make the “all shall be well” of God’s love a physical reality for those who are oppressed.

  136. jane fenicle's Gravatar jane fenicle
    February 15, 2016 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    I see Wilberforce as an example of Julian’s “All shall be well”. She internalized the power of God to make “All things well” and God’s grace moved Wilberforce to be God’s agent to work to make “All things well”.

  137. Betsy's Gravatar Betsy
    February 15, 2016 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    Having just finished reading The Invention of Wings, my vote is for William Wilberforce.

  138. Betsy's Gravatar Betsy
    February 15, 2016 - 11:31 am | Permalink

    I have long been a fan of Dame Julian, and the modern contemplative movement owes her a debt of gratitude. But that said I voted for William–this was an excellent write up and I am impressed with the good he was able to do in the world. If Julian wins (and it is close!) I would not hesitate to vote for her under the right circumstances in a later round.

  139. Wendy P.'s Gravatar Wendy P.
    February 15, 2016 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    An almost impossible choice. However, I am not contemplative at all and am a firm believer in boots on the ground. My youth group’s t-shirts had a labyrinth on them but the larger image was a pair of walking shoes. Julian, I love you but my vote went to William Wilberforce.

  140. Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
    February 15, 2016 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    Wilberforce- for using his career as a politician to live out his Christian convictions in a way that effected positive, lasting change in the world.

  141. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    February 15, 2016 - 11:34 am | Permalink

    Another difficult decision, but I went with the mystic–this time.
    But I’m very glad it’s such a close race.

  142. Claire's Gravatar Claire
    February 15, 2016 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

    This seemed a difficult choice at first, but then I reasoned that I wanted to consider the work of each in the context of the time they lived. I voted for Julian because as a caregiver, I know the desperation that can come with sickness, and in Juliana time there were no medical remedies for the plagues that were taking so many lives. It can take great faith and courage to profess that all will be well in that context.

  143. lynn's Gravatar lynn
    February 15, 2016 - 12:02 pm | Permalink

    lean on “being” or writings from Julian of Norwich over the “doing” of WW, obviously for importance of prayer & contemplation….yes, doings of WW moved slave trade out of fashion but question the wealthy politicians “saintliness” when more of his story reveals his hand in colony in Sierra Leone with “slave” to “apprentice” treatment rather than return enslaved back to their homes/families with restitution.
    thank you for putting this matchup together…worthy of contemplation & study!

  144. Claire's Gravatar Claire
    February 15, 2016 - 12:02 pm | Permalink

    This seemed a difficult choice at first, but then I reasoned that I wanted to consider the work of each in the context of the time they lived. I voted for Julian because as a caregiver, I know the desperation that can come with sickness, and in Julian’s time there were no medical remedies for the plagues that were taking so many lives. It can take great faith and courage to profess that all will be well in that context.

  145. February 15, 2016 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I am a fan of both, but my girls and I were again in one accord today in selecting one of our heroes, WW, for whom we are profoundly grateful that he poured his energies into the former of his “two great objects” from the Almighty (“the suppression of the Slave Trade and the Reformation of Manners”). I wonder what he did about the latter? May God raise up more reformers like him to persevere in the fight for justice in our day!

  146. Sallie Hane's Gravatar Sallie Hane
    February 15, 2016 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Julia (age 10) hijacked my computer to vote for Wilberforce. She likes what he did, and in the proper “Madness” spirit, she wants to be able to say “May the Wilberforce be with you!”

    • February 15, 2016 - 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Go, Julia! (for voting — the SEC remains neutral, of course).

      • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
        February 15, 2016 - 5:05 pm | Permalink

        Of course!

  147. Marjorie Menaul's Gravatar Marjorie Menaul
    February 15, 2016 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

    In a time when politicians seldom lead because unpopular opinions would make them unelectable, it is SO important to hold up models of political leaders who devoted themselves to change that recognized the equal dignity and worth of all human beings. Julian’s value as a spiritual leader is unquestionable, but then, we have a number of saints whose spirituality is a model for us. How many politicians do we have? Wilberforce!

    • Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
      February 15, 2016 - 12:31 pm | Permalink

      I couldn’t think of a better reason to give Wilberforce the nod in this contest, hard though it may be not to reaffirm the blessedness of Julian. One just has to flash back to comments made in presidential primary debates and other inhumane opinions uttered by conservative politicians and would-be politicians over the last 18 months to know this is what the world needs right now.

  148. February 15, 2016 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

    No brainer. I was ordained a deacon on Julian’s feast…. she gets my vote.

  149. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    February 15, 2016 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

    As a CE director, I am impressed and delighted at the number of people who are
    sharing Lent Madness with their children. The parents of Oliver and Martin and unnamed daughters and unknown sons are Saints in my hagiography. We know they are saints right here and now. But please no smackdowns pitting them against each other.

    • Pam Payne's Gravatar Pam Payne
      February 15, 2016 - 1:47 pm | Permalink


  150. Brenda McH's Gravatar Brenda McH
    February 15, 2016 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I went with Mr. W. of whom I knew little and now know a little bit more. I do tend to go with the “doers”, and agree that writing is indeed work. But I like quantifiable results. I would like to know more about his 2nd great goal–Reformation of Manners.

  151. Mary Dew Lee's Gravatar Mary Dew Lee
    February 15, 2016 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I had to choose Julian. Her prayer “All Shall Be Well” has gotten me through many a rough moment. I even have a rubber stamp with this prayer on it!

  152. Cindy Coleman's Gravatar Cindy Coleman
    February 15, 2016 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

    No contest for me–JULIAN for the win! A saint I have admired for years.

    “All will be well and all will be well and every kind of thing shall be well.”

    A quote from Julian that any Christian can make their motto. And this from a women who had lived through 3 rounds of the plague.

  153. Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner's Gravatar Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner
    February 15, 2016 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Aren’t we blessed to have such wonderful exemplars of our faith! I love William Wilberforce for his dedication to the abolition of the slave trade. He’s a bright shining example of what one can do with great wealth when it’s funneled toward improving humanity’s lot. There’s no question that I would cast my vote for him…

    …except you pitted him against one of my favorite saints. Julian – a woman whose very name is lost to the ages, the earliest English language book written by a woman, one who embraced the all-encompassing love of God with her famous quote, “that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

    Julian of Norwich it is!

  154. Ann E's Gravatar Ann E
    February 15, 2016 - 12:26 pm | Permalink

    My vote went to Dame Julian. She was so comforting, so peaceful. And an author in a time when women didn’t write books – her writings show us we are cherished by God. I would have loved to meet her.

  155. Ray's Gravatar Ray
    February 15, 2016 - 12:28 pm | Permalink

    It was a difficult choice, but I chose Wilberforce. It is too bad that the United States did not follow the example of our English cousins.

  156. Phil's Gravatar Phil
    February 15, 2016 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

    When one votes for a politician. Know his record. The following was one oh his strict religious views:

    Wilberforce’s views of women and religion were also conservative: he disapproved of women anti-slavery activists such as Elizabeth Heyrick, who organised women’s abolitionist groups in the 1820s, protesting: “[F]or ladies to meet, to publish, to go from house to house stirring up petitions – these appear to me proceedings unsuited to the female character as delineated in Scripture.”

  157. Greg Masztal's Gravatar Greg Masztal
    February 15, 2016 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I love Julian’s writings, but William’s fight against slavery freed many from bondage, a more direct impact.

  158. Michael Merriman's Gravatar Michael Merriman
    February 15, 2016 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Love them both. One quibble. Julian was not an early believer in universal salvation. Origen, for one, beat her by about 1,000 years. And about Wilberforce, no mention of the Wesleys’ influence?

    • Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
      February 15, 2016 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

      John Wesley’s last letter was to Wilberforce. Love ’em both.

  159. Katrina Soto's Gravatar Katrina Soto
    February 15, 2016 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I wish it weren’t this match up. I love Dame Julian with all my heart. But the work Wilberforce did was so important. I appreciate Julian sharing her thoughts and visions with us, but I can’t value that over the world changing human rights work done by Wilberforce.

  160. Danielle Perkins's Gravatar Danielle Perkins
    February 15, 2016 - 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Did the writings of Julian of Norwich inspire William Wilberforce? Each of them, in their day, in their culture, did marvelous things. Today we need politicians who see their election as a call to serve the needs of the world instead of a doorway into power and riches. If it is impossible to remain on one’s goal if elected to national office, then we need more anchorites.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      February 15, 2016 - 2:27 pm | Permalink

      We do need many many things. We DO NOT need more anchorites. That’s as bad as slavery.

      • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
        February 15, 2016 - 4:05 pm | Permalink

        One is voluntary.

        • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
          February 15, 2016 - 4:15 pm | Permalink

          Julian was put there by her parents. Voluntary?

          • Paul Rider's Gravatar Paul Rider
            February 15, 2016 - 4:41 pm | Permalink

            Actually, she petitioned the bishop to become an anchorite. Sounds voluntary to me.

  161. Lera's Gravatar Lera
    February 15, 2016 - 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Two amazing saints showing us the importance of both contemplation and action–I’m glad there are really many, many halos for the saints of God.

  162. Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
    February 15, 2016 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

    References to writings and even a movie trailer–how we appreciate LM commentators. And we trust that the SEC knows how much we appreciate them too, despite some of our snarky comments about sibling match-ups.

  163. Eileen C. Fisher's Gravatar Eileen C. Fisher
    February 15, 2016 - 1:22 pm | Permalink

    My goal in life has been to be a servant or giver to others and I based my occupation upon this. I’ll go with the man whose mission in life was to give slaves their freedom. He remained steadfast in this quest until his death. This is a life truly fullfilled.

  164. TLH's Gravatar TLH
    February 15, 2016 - 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I grew up as a cradle Methodist. While Wilberforce wasn’t a Methodist in the way I was, he had some close associations with those who did have “Methodist” ties, or what was called “Methodist” back in that day. This, I believe, influenced him in his abolitionism.

    Wilberforce all the way for me.

    • Lynn's Gravatar Lynn
      February 15, 2016 - 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Thinking about “amazing Grace” … John Newton could have been the saint…a sinner saved, re-turned to God

  165. Janene Gorham's Gravatar Janene Gorham
    February 15, 2016 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

    As much as I love Julian and her commitment to Jesus, I had to vote for Wilberforce for his determination and work to abolish slavery. He experienced first hand the horrendous treatment of humans and made it his life work to stop this.
    God was with them both but I can empathize more with Wilberforce .
    He certainly already has his reward !

  166. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    February 15, 2016 - 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I am more of a doer & boots on the ground person than I am a contemplative. But I have been reading meditations by Richard Rohr for at least a year now and learning more about contemplation. I voted for Julian.

  167. BeachcomberT's Gravatar BeachcomberT
    February 15, 2016 - 1:53 pm | Permalink

    While Julian may have been an inspiration to theologians and clergy of her era, her writing didn’t reach the common man, and certainly not the slaves. Wilberforce defied his class and wealth to practice a type of radical Christianity that bore great fruit in the British Empire and eventually America.

    • February 15, 2016 - 2:27 pm | Permalink

      I beg to differ in that she was very accessible to the common person, even writing specifically to them in many places, referring to them as “evenchristens.”

    • Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
      February 15, 2016 - 4:40 pm | Permalink

      She did reach the common person. She had a window open to the street. All were welcome to come.

  168. February 15, 2016 - 1:55 pm | Permalink

    It was William Wilberforce for me. He certainly put his money where his mouth was, even in failing health. The effects of his actions were far reaching.

  169. David Shaw's Gravatar David Shaw
    February 15, 2016 - 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Team Wilberforce for sure!

  170. Dottie Hoopingarner's Gravatar Dottie Hoopingarner
    February 15, 2016 - 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Unfair! Unfair! I wish I could vote for both!

  171. February 15, 2016 - 2:10 pm | Permalink

    This was one of the toughest choices I’ve seen/faced in Lent Madness to date. Coming in I thought Julian in a heartbeat… but stepping back and looking at both their stories… differing aspects of the faith life… I found my decision much tougher. These are two genuine saints of the faith… and rather than lobby, I will leave my final choice and others to the tally and to God.

  172. February 15, 2016 - 2:10 pm | Permalink

    William Wilberforce is essential in Australian Anglican history. He advocated for a chaplin to be with the first fleet that came to the new colony with the convicts and he engaged Richard Johnstone – who went to the same school in Yorkshire – to be that chaplin. For us in the antipodes, we owe a great debt to the dedication of Wilberforce and his care of the souls in those convict ships and in the new colony.

  173. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    February 15, 2016 - 2:13 pm | Permalink

    There are many worthy “doers” in this world and Wilberforce was certainly one. But there are also those whose thoughtful words inspire us to all manner of “doing.” My doings are small things, but are inspired even or especially in frantic moments by Dame Julian’s sure and calming words: that we shall not be overcome; that God loves and cares for even the tiny hazelnut; that all shall be well and every manner of thing shall be well. In the worst of times, we can hear her words and press on in the name of our courteous Lord. As did Wilberforce and Sojourner Truth, and Absalom Jones. So for today, my vote goes to Julian. I have no idea how I’ll vote when Absalom and Sojourner meet…

  174. Michelle Jackson's Gravatar Michelle Jackson
    February 15, 2016 - 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Julian of Norwich, of course. And by the way, the full quote is “Sin is inevitable, but all shall be well.” Julian accepted that we are imperfect and that we are the ones who are filled with wrath; the wrath we see in God, is actually our own that we project onto him. But within each person who sins, there is a part that never consented to sin. And God will sort it all out. She was a realist and wrote ” God never said you shall not be tempest tossed, you shall not be sore distressed, but God DID say, you shall not be overcome”. Such an important distinction.

  175. Judith's Gravatar Judith
    February 15, 2016 - 2:19 pm | Permalink

    wealthy, but he understood that it’s wrong to own people; Jesus freed us from death; WW freed us from slavery–freed both the slaves and the “owners”. Hard choice, I agree; I agree that Julian’s life and work shouldn’t be dismissed as not “doing”. But Wilberforce. Who will free us from poverty and homelessness? free both those suffering from it, and us suffering from having enough and a roof when others do not.

  176. Richard Gatjens's Gravatar Richard Gatjens
    February 15, 2016 - 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I could argue both ways, but I’m voting for Julian because of the delicious hazelnut bread I made using Maria Noletti Ross’s recipe in the Saintly Scorecard. Both the bread and the quote were much appreciated by my coworkers. And she had a cat.

    • TLH's Gravatar TLH
      February 15, 2016 - 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Ah, but Wilberforce started the RSPCA… 😉

  177. Janet Nicholas's Gravatar Janet Nicholas
    February 15, 2016 - 2:40 pm | Permalink

    What a choice to have to make. I have always been interested in Julian – have been to Norwich. I have a cat named Wilberforce. I voted for Julian but will not be dismayed by whomever wins.

  178. David's Gravatar David
    February 15, 2016 - 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Wilberforce, because his work remains incomplete and is still the area where the Church needs to stand in solidarity.
    Still Julian speaks to the Church about spirit and nature in wonderful ways.

  179. February 15, 2016 - 2:57 pm | Permalink

    You DO make it difficult. But I am a doer more than a thinker, and I am grateful for all William did to begin change in hius world.

  180. Babette Haggenjos's Gravatar Babette Haggenjos
    February 15, 2016 - 2:59 pm | Permalink

    This was a tough decision, but Wilberforce ultimetely won me over. While it is wonderful that Julian taught us ways in which to deeper our spirituality and get closer to God, Wilberforce did the same but then took it to the next level and made the choice to be a bold and outspoken witness so that we all could freely get closer to God.

  181. Michelle C's Gravatar Michelle C
    February 15, 2016 - 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Words vs. deeds. A tough choice since both are equally important. In this case both Julian’s words and William’s deeds have had a lasting effect. Although as a huge reader words are extremely important to me, I had to go with deeds this time. After all, William fought most of his life, and eventually won, to abolish slavery in the British Empire. Let’s not forget that at that time, this encompassed a large portion of the world hence the phrase “the sun never sets on the British empire”.

  182. Carolyn Liebau's Gravatar Carolyn Liebau
    February 15, 2016 - 3:22 pm | Permalink

    All will be well. So get up and do something! Voted for William.

    • Michelle Jackson's Gravatar Michelle Jackson
      February 15, 2016 - 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Julian spent much time as an anchorite in prayer. Prayer is an action.

  183. Laureli Latimer's Gravatar Laureli Latimer
    February 15, 2016 - 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I have always liked Julian’s words and devotion to prayer yet I like the fact that Wilberforce put his money and faith to action. Both worked and served the people and conditions of their times. Yet I really like the actions of William Wilberforce. The trickle down effect through the centuries have proven both worth people of faith. I went with the strong actions that challenges our overall life like Christ did in his time.

  184. Sandy's Gravatar Sandy
    February 15, 2016 - 3:29 pm | Permalink

    I think it is hard to capture to contributions of the mystics, especially if one isn’t called to contemplative prayer. I love this insight from Julian, “Knowledge of God and knowledge of self are inseparable: we may never come to the knowing of one without the knowing of the other. “God is … nearer to us than our own soul”. Such insight in the 1400’s amazes me. My vote if for Julian.

  185. February 15, 2016 - 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Two worthy saints–both powerful in their vision for Christ and their level of personal sacrifice. A tough choice indeed, but that line about Julian’s writings being the oldest book written by a woman in the English language swayed me. I voted Julian, but will happy if Wilberforce wins the day as well.

  186. edward's Gravatar edward
    February 15, 2016 - 3:43 pm | Permalink

    willer shall win

  187. Yvonne's Gravatar Yvonne
    February 15, 2016 - 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Such a difficult decision! I so admire Wilberforce. Loved the movie of several years ago about his struggle, called “Amazing Grace.” Highly recommended!

    I have to say that Julian won me over with her words “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well,”… Who doesn’t need to hear that every day? Saintly words of solace if ever there were some.

    Julian it is, with all love and admiration to St. William.

  188. Jim Wheeler's Gravatar Jim Wheeler
    February 15, 2016 - 3:59 pm | Permalink

    I think whoever wins this match up could well go on to win the golden halo – either way, Julian or Wilberforce. I love and have been influenced by Julian’s beautiful writings for years, but how can I not acknowledge and vote for the man who through a 50 year struggle for justice helped end slavery and the horrific slave trade in the British Empire? How many more millions would have had to endure the middle passage if not for Wilberforce? My vote goes to William Wilberforce

  189. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    February 15, 2016 - 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I greatly admire Wilberforce, having seen both the movie and the Broadway musical “Amazing Grace” and having had that song as a favorite most of my life. But God has led me through many dark valleys as well as some shining ones; I have been called to be a musician and a healer, a pastor and a chaplain, and through it all to have a close mystical relationship with God in all manifestations. Lady Julian has been one of my staunchest companions along the way. She is not “just a mystic” either. Her hermitage was open to anyone passing by who needed her; she was a healer, a counselor, and a comforter, and led many people to a fuller, deeper walk with Christ. I am honored to vote for her.

    • Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
      February 15, 2016 - 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Well said and what I was trying for with the comments about the windows.

  190. Megan's Gravatar Megan
    February 15, 2016 - 4:21 pm | Permalink

    This first round of Lent Madness is my favorite, as each saint is presented. Generally I’ve never even heard of about half of them. I knew nothing of William Wilberforce before today, and I am grateful to learn of him. I still voted for Julian, because she speaks so clearly to me.

  191. Susu's Gravatar Susu
    February 15, 2016 - 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t Wilberforce ( I voted for him ) have something to do with the composing of “Amazing Grace?”… or is that just the way Hollywood told it?

  192. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    February 15, 2016 - 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Please indulge me in addressing some points raised in yesterday’s energetic conversation and the SEC’s introductory comments this morning. It’s a bit late in the day, but there have been many interruptions as I’ve been writing this off and on.

    1. Fairness: I’m with them 110% as to that issue, which seems to arise whether the match is balanced or unbalanced. In Lent Madness, fair is foul and foul is fair, and the contemptibly devious tactics of the SEC are proof enough of that.

    2. Motive: Their motives, on the other hand, are pure as the driven snow and may be condensed to one: to goad you, me, and ten thousand other ecclesiological ignoramuses to the point where we avidly follow and discuss the lives of obscure saints as if they were denizens of Downton Abbey, and willy-nilly keep the daily Lenten observance that in any other form has always escaped some of us.

    3. In the absence of fairness there is no impropriety in pitting brother and brother, even the Glagolitic Duo, against each other. It’s unnecessary to cite the Wesley fratricide as justification, of which the SEC has no need.

    4. The other thread in yesterday’s exchanges, however, was the possibility of entering the Glagos as a single contestant, to which the example of the cordial but not coessential Wesleys does not speak. The SEC has yet to address that point, but after all why should they? They’re supreme.

    Turning now to today’s contestants, than whom no more incongruous pair could be imagined:

    I initially favored Wilberforce, for the reasons generally given by his adherents and especially at time when white Americans like me may finally be grasping the enormity of slavery and our complicity in the hardly lesser evil that has followed it. I was puzzled, though, by his embrace of the “Reformation of Manners” and did a little searching on those words.

    The Reformation of Manners turns out to refer to a specific movement, of the eighteenth-century edition of which, according to Wikipedia, “Wilberforce was the instigator.” His laudable objective was to reduce the large number of hangings then prevalent. Unfortunately the means he chose was to criminalize all manner of small offenses so as to deter a chastened populace from “drifting into more serious crimes.” At his instance the King issued a proclamation which “prohibited gambling on the Lord’s Day, declared that all people should attend church, that all persons who drank in excess, blasphemed, swore, cursed, were lewd or profaned the Lord’s Day should be prosecuted, ordered that public gambling, disorderly houses. unlicensed places of entertainment, and publishers and vendors of loose and licentious books should be suppressed, and that the rules against commerce on Sunday should be enforced.” So the prisons swelled with petty offenders, anticipating the War on Drugs by two centuries.

    Sorry, Willy, I love the part you got right, but this disqualifies you.

    Lady Julian was my first love anyway and strongly influenced my early formation; it is a delight to renew our acquaintance and give her my vote. Someone has described her spirituality as “feminine,” but I’ve never thought of it that way; and to the extent it may be, it calls for an adjustment of masculinity to embrace it.

    Julian’s biographer is right in saying that she “possibly” believed in universal salvation, but that’s not because we don’t know enough about her: she believed in damnation but couldn’t believe it could be true, and was told by God to believe both at the same time and leave it to God to make all things well. For more, search on “Revelations of Divine Love”; her account of that conversation is in Chapter 39.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      February 15, 2016 - 5:08 pm | Permalink

      It latterly occurs to me that Wilberforce might be the inventor of the blue law. Now there’s a mixed legacy for you.

      • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
        February 15, 2016 - 5:58 pm | Permalink

        Davis Dassori, so pleased to meet you! You are adding an enjoyable and edifying element to our discussions. Thanks for further clarifying the Reformation of Manners issue. I agree that it is like our blue laws and the war on drugs–a lot of unintended consequences. I also read that the slavery issue was secondary for Wilberforce to the Reformation of Manners (this from a dissertation on the subject). So I’m not sure that votes for W solely on the basis of the abolition of the slave trade are true to his life’s work. Ah well.

    • Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
      February 15, 2016 - 8:15 pm | Permalink

      “Reformation of Manners” as described here reminds me not only of blue laws but the so-called “broken windows” theory of policing: if there is a crack down on minor offenses, larger crimes are less likely to happen. Don’t know if the data bears it out, but as one drawn to monastic and contemplative prayer and long enriched by Julian’s teachings, I had to vote for her in any case, much as I admire Wilberforce’s abolition work.

    • Heather D. Sanderson's Gravatar Heather D. Sanderson
      February 16, 2016 - 2:00 am | Permalink

      So basically, Wilberforce, while he fought to end slavery, helped enslave many. He gets the point,on the one hand, but then completely misses it on the other. Thank you for your research. It is enlightening.

  193. Jean Marie's Gravatar Jean Marie
    February 15, 2016 - 5:13 pm | Permalink

    This was such a tough choice, but I had to go with women power. Especially a woman who is believed to be the first woman author of a book.

  194. Joyce's Gravatar Joyce
    February 15, 2016 - 5:26 pm | Permalink

    I admire Julian as a woman in that time and her writing. However, it was Wilberforce for me because of his doing and persisting in when others would shut him down. His strong faith is encouraging and his ability to follow through inspires me.

  195. Linda B's Gravatar Linda B
    February 15, 2016 - 5:26 pm | Permalink

    I believe that the the life-long devotion of Wilburforce to seek the abolition of the slave trade and emancipation of all slaves in the Britsh Empire had to be inspired and re-affirmed by a fundamental belief that “all manner of thing shall be well!” No action is possible without a core idea first. The doing follows believing, never the other way around. Thank you Lady Julian for spreading the “seeds” of knowlege, faith and belief!

  196. February 15, 2016 - 5:57 pm | Permalink

    We need to rally the votes for William…..

  197. February 15, 2016 - 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Although Julian was a great woman and saint, I voted for William. For me he is an example of what living out the Gospel Life is about, being a living presence of the Message to bring liberation to God’s People. Remember the old hymn -“Right in the corner where you are” that is the stuff of Gospel Life!

  198. April S's Gravatar April S
    February 15, 2016 - 7:07 pm | Permalink

    While both are good choices, I went with William. It is good to see a person from wealth live in a manner opposite of the majority. To see that William was not satisfied with a minor victory/change. He continued to fight even when in ill health and no longer in office.

  199. Dutton Morehouse's Gravatar Dutton Morehouse
    February 15, 2016 - 7:41 pm | Permalink

    I did not know much about Wilberforce, and then I saw the wonderful film ” Amazing Grace.” I have since preached on his life at least twice. Have always admired Julian, but Wilberforce gets my vote hands down.

  200. Lori's Gravatar Lori
    February 15, 2016 - 7:43 pm | Permalink

    I had to vote for WW. While I really admire Julian, it’s easy to live a life of quiet contemplation and scholarship when you don’t have to leave your room or let the messy business of life (or Black Death) touch you. Wilberforce, in contrast, lived out the principles of Jesus. He was the change he wanted to see in the world and he worked hard to make his world fit the Gospel.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 15, 2016 - 9:17 pm | Permalink

      That’s funny, cause I think that a self-imposed life as an anchor ire would be exceedingly difficult indeed!!

      • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
        February 15, 2016 - 9:18 pm | Permalink

        Anchorite, that is!

  201. Brenda J's Gravatar Brenda J
    February 15, 2016 - 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Truth sees God, and wisdom contemplates God, and from these two comes a third, a holy and wonderful delight in God, who is love.
    Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love

    Julian gets my vote

  202. Pam's Gravatar Pam
    February 15, 2016 - 8:06 pm | Permalink

    I had to go with Julian because my great grandmother (times 7) visited her. That would be Marjorie Kempe. Any other time I would seriously consider Wilberforce.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 15, 2016 - 9:34 pm | Permalink

      You’re related to Marjorie Kempe?? That is so cool!

  203. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    February 15, 2016 - 8:37 pm | Permalink

    One of the toughest battles for the entire first round! Mystic vs. Mister Abolitionist…my vote goes to William for dedicating his life to not saying it will be well, but making it well.

    • Charles F.'s Gravatar Charles F.
      February 15, 2016 - 10:20 pm | Permalink

      You put it perfectly.

  204. Heather D. Sanderson's Gravatar Heather D. Sanderson
    February 15, 2016 - 9:15 pm | Permalink

    From my earliest recollections, as a babe growing up in the Episcopal Church, I was naturally a Universalist. My vote is for Julian, who understood that God’s love for his children has to be unconditional. I also appreciate profoundly her “All shall be well…” quote. No contest here.

  205. Suzanne's Gravatar Suzanne
    February 15, 2016 - 11:10 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, everyone, for such thoughtful comments! It was a tough call for me, but I voted for WW because I admired his courage in going against the prevailing culture to fight for what was right. Today’s matchup has me starting a reading (and viewing) list.

  206. February 15, 2016 - 11:26 pm | Permalink

    All will be well,
    and all will be well,
    and all manner of things will be well.

    Julian for me! Such an important medieval woman’s voice, who used feminine imagery for God.

  207. February 15, 2016 - 11:34 pm | Permalink

    All set to vote for mystical, lyrical Julian but pursuing research on Wilberforce’s work with the Clapham group, prison reform, literacy training through Sunday school, and the Reformation of Manners-all preceding his work torward total emancipation led me to cast my vote for Wilberforce (of whom it was said “the wonder is that a short period in the short life of one man is, well and wisely directed, sufficient to remedy the miseries of millions for the ages.”).

  208. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    February 16, 2016 - 2:17 am | Permalink

    Very tough choice. I think both are examples of faith in action. Julian’s prayer has got me through hard times, but I kept thinking about the movie “Amazing Grace” and voted for William Wilberforce who dedicated his life to ending slavery. Also for advocating for better treatment of the poor and founding the RSPCA . May the Wilberforce be with you(Thank you Julia) and all manner of thing be well!

  209. Bob Faser's Gravatar Bob Faser
    February 16, 2016 - 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I missed the vote. I intended to vote for Wilberforce because of his role in ending the slave trade, even as I realised that my theology (Anglo-Catholic-influenced liberal Methodism) was much closer to the proto-Universalism of Julian’s “all manner of things shall be well” than it was to Wilberforce’s evangelical Calvinism. It’s interesting that, for once, a saint whose contribution is in the area of spirituality and theological reflection has won out in Lent Madness over a more activist saint.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 16, 2016 - 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Haha! If only you had posted this and called Wilberforce a Calvinist early on! I wonder how the vote might have gone. Good point you made!

  210. February 17, 2016 - 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I find myself drawn to the “doers” as opposed to the “contemplators/mystics”, in light of the BCP prayer at the end of the Eucharist — “send us out to do the work you have given us to do”. And I take “work” in the active sense… So, in light of that, what “work” Wilberforce did, and thanks be to God

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