Roch vs. Julian of Norwich

There's still one vote to go and a full twenty-four hours before full onset Lent Madness Withdrawal (LMW) sets in! So make this one count as Roch faces Julian of Norwich. Will this battle go to the dogs? Or will all manner of things be well?

To get to this round, Roch defeated Gertrude while Julian snuck past William Wilberforce. The winner will face Albert Schweitzer in the Elate Eight. While yesterday, Sojourner (Nothing but the) Truth slammed the door shut on Frances Joseph Gaudet 67% to 33%.

After a full week of Saintly Sixteen action, we have just two more slots up for grabs in the Elate Eight. Today's battle will decide one of them and on Monday the last matchup of this round will see Dietrich Bonhoeffer take on Barnabas. The field is narrowing as the chase for the coveted Golden Halo continues.


47173411On the day that Roch/Rocco/Roque snuck by Gertrude for the win, our house was infected with a modern plague: the flu. As we lay weeping and gnashing our own teeth and shamelessly wanting our mommy (this is the 40-year-old talking), our dog got out and was attacked by another animal. In the midst of the plague, my dog needed surgery for five puncture wounds and as I write, he lays at my feet, recovering. He is a good dog.

For a saint that I did not know well going into Lent Madness, Roch seems to be having a rather profound impact on my house in big ways. I cannot help but reflect on the irony of lifting Roch up in the blogging world as plagues and an injured dog infiltrate my world. Such is life. However, this post is not about me, it is about the quirks and quotes of St. Roch.

As I read the MANY comments following Roch vs. Gertrude, several made me laugh--it seems as though a number of readers were deeply appreciative of Roch's well-formed thigh and dashing pose. Alas, while Roch may look like he is attempting a Calvin Klein bid, in truth the artists of the times display his shapely thigh to show the plague scars. Being unashamed to show the ravages of his disease was an expression of being intimate with the suffering of Christ. Enduring disease and infirmity were seen as a path to martyrdom. The people saw a seemingly healthy individual, albeit scared, as a promise for curing of their own illnesses and disease. Here was proof of God's healing grace in the world.

Lest you think invoking Roch will only ward off illness and disease, his name has also been invoked to ward off vampire attacks.

So, the next time you have the flu or other illness, or the zombie apocalypse is imminent, you can pray to St. Roch, weep and gnash your teeth, and your suffering will show your solidarity with Christ's agony on the cross. You see, we are all saints...

— Anna Fitch Courie

Julian of Norwich

tumblr_mnm62qcjT91r94vvxo1_500As an anchoress in medieval England, Julian of Norwich got to do something most of us only dream of—she went to her own funeral!

The occasion of her being sealed into her cell would have been marked with a momentous liturgy, including a vigil, mass, chanting, and a procession to the anchorage, concluding with a funeral service where Julian would have received the last rites, both symbolic of her death to the world, and pragmatic, since a priest would not be permitted to enter the cell later.

The only thing that prevented her complete isolation from the world were three windows in her cell. One, called the Squint, opened into the church so she could receive communion and follow the services. The second allowed her attendant to deliver food and empty the chamber pot. The third window provided visitors a way to talk to Julian, and if I had been alive then, I certainly would have wanted to!

Julian held a surprising and profound view of sin, especially for her time. On the one hand, she considered self-awareness of our sinful nature to be excruciating: “And to me was shown no harder hell than sin. For a kind soul has no hell but sin.” And yet, she considered sin as an expedient to understanding God’s love. “We need to fall, and we need to be aware of it; for if we did not fall, we should not know how weak and wretched we are of ourselves, nor should we know our Maker's marvelous love so fully.”

Though they pain us, our sins in no way damage God’s love for us, which is ever near: “For as the body is clad in the cloth, and the flesh in the skin, and the bones in the flesh, and the heart in the whole, so are we, soul and body, clad in the Goodness of God, and enclosed.”

In one of her visions, she described seeing a tiny thing in God’s hand, the size of a hazelnut, and understood it was the whole of God’s creation. It seemed so fragile to her that she asked how it could survive. She was told that everything that exists has its being through the love of God.

Perhaps because of this optimistic vision she received, Julian’s end-time view was radically different than most of the church in her day—not one of doom and destruction, but of mystical hope: "It appears to me that there is a deed that the Holy Trinity shall do on the last day…and how it shall be done is unknown to all creatures under Christ…This is the great deed ordained by our Lord God from eternity, treasured up and hidden in his blessed breast…and by this deed he shall make all things well.”

— Amber Belldene

Roch vs. Julian of Norwich

  • Julian of Norwich (79%, 4,879 Votes)
  • Roch (21%, 1,267 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,146

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Roch: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Italian (Venice, Italy 1696 - 1770 Madrid, Spain) Julian of Norwich.
Julian: by Marchela Dimitrova


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151 comments on “Roch vs. Julian of Norwich”

  1. Julian. Because she saw that we are all God’s small brown nuts. The Incarnation is both beautiful and funny. And Lent is a great season.

    1. As much as I admire Roch and his suffering, I think Julian of Norwich has my vote. We may look to Roch in times of pestilence, but I like the idea of martyrdom. My winter has been spent suffering from one thing or another and being an RC, we go for marytyrs. If only I had the good deeds plus my winter martyrdom I would be a shoo in for a heavenly reward. Alas I will just wallow in self pity and hope in the Resurrection this Easter.

      1. Peg S., I agree with your choice of Maggie Smith to play the Lady Julian. If not Maggie, perhaps Meryl Streep?

        1. Meryl is also a good choice. But Maggie has eyes "like a candle set in the windows of a house bidding the wanderer to come in out of the storm," as an old blessing says. Perfect for Julian.

    2. Heave I mentioned that for the first time EVER, I hate Friday?
      I suffer through what seems like an interminable weekend, sorrow, loneliness from my LentMadness.

      I voted for St. Roch❤️

      1. Jon Foreman wrote a song, "The Patron Saint of Rock and Roll." It begins, "Nah, there ain't no patron saint of rock and roll." Lol (Gotta love Google!)

        1. I agree, maybe St. Roch would be a good candidate for a patron saint of rock and roll. (Or should I say Roch 'n' Roll?) Perhaps the Standing Committee on Music and Liturgy could do something about this? Keep on Roch-ing!!

  2. Gee, I must be up early if there's only one comment so far. I am practicing for Daylight Savings Time. Losing that hour of sleep is always so difficult. Oh, and I voted for Julian also so, so far, she has a landslide.

  3. I am sure Roch would rejoice in the victory of his sister, humbly unnamed though we call her Lady Julian. As he showed his contemporaries God's love by being willing to show his scars, she opened a window of hope in that transforming, all-sustaining love by her writings that remains open today. She saw us as the little nuts we are--love St Celia's comment. I hope she wins the Golden Halo, and pray that we all find our perfect place and perfect means to do those good works prepared for us to walk in!

  4. I voted for Julian because she lived in the town where my mother was born and grew up--Norwich. Also, I appreciate her seeing "sin" as a way or the way to know God's love.

  5. Julian because after reading about her my first reaction was that I would have liked to meet her.

  6. Maybe Julian had a psychological problem to want to be sealed in a cell? That's very selfish.

    1. Yes, Julian was sealed in a cell, but she had that window, through which she ministered to the world.

  7. Julian because it seems like we could all use a little more mystical hope.

    1. I'm with you on this one! We could certainly use a sense that all shall be well ... even if the debaters behaved last night, I, a confessed political junky, find myself quite unsure, but grateful that Julian assures us otherwise.

      1. In John Steakley's vampire novels, there's a part of Dallas in which the head vampire lives. It's a beautiful, very affluent area, probably because, according to Anne Rice if I remember correctly, vampires have a long time to let their investments grow. I used to enjoy driving through vampire country on my way to work. Nevertheless, Julian got my vote because of her positive outlook overall.

  8. Despite her unusual way of life, I love her positive outlook! It's Julian for my vote

  9. Roch all the way. He wss a saint out in the world, which I value more than one who chose to withdraw from the world. Also I love dogs and appreciate suffering. Great posts about both saints.

    1. Totally agree! Although I am more of a "cat person", I appreciate that if you are loved by a dog, you are special.

      1. I'm with you, Sue and Wramps. I know I'm backing a loser, again, but that's the way it goes!

    2. I went with Roch because he's the patron saint of dogs. My dog has been quite ill and needs all the help she can get. Hopefully, St. Roch will help.

  10. Voting for Julian today for her insight and commitment and because today, being walled up in a church sounds rather attractive.

      1. I am a bigtime Julian fan but the Roch write-up really turned my head. As it happens, a veterinary emergency (feline) intervened yesterday to confiscate my attention and the day so I missed LM completely. Anne, I feel your pain...solidarity in suffering! Please add one utterly ineffective belated virtual vote to Roch's tally. (Cat ok now but she's lost a tooth - canine, as it happens -- and has apparently learned nothing about the wisdom of dancing on a second floor railing.)
        Meanwhile, for dog lovers and shepherds of all sorts:

    1. I'd have loved Roch's writeup better if it had been competently proofread. As it is, I hope the dog is healing well while LYING at its mistress' feet and Roch was more scarred than scared. But then I've loved Julian for decades.

      1. Lucia, we share a name and the tendency to edit everything! My excuse is that I worked as an editor for 8 years before entering seminary. As a result, I proofread everything. Julian has been one of my good friends in faith for many years, as well. She gets my vote! All shall be well...

    2. Great writeup!
      Hope all is household now healthy.
      Better to be out in the world then locked in a cell.

  11. Julian has my vote today. She left so many writings that have inspired people for a long time, thus having quite some influence out in the world. Next time she comes up may be a harder decision.

  12. I thought briefly of voting for St. Roch, he of the shapely thigh, but in the end had to go with St. Julian, if only for the tasty hazelnut bread I made in her honor. Also, I would have loved to talk to her myself. The life of an anchorite interests me. Onward, Julian!

  13. I am slightly ashamed that I didn't even read today's info. I saw Julian and clicked. I love everything about her. Rocco is amazing, but he ain't no Julian.

    1. Yes! I think Julian's big lead is only because in Rocco's real world worn state people don't recognize him yet for who he is. Once they do, I think he'll make a miraculous COMEBACK! Let's set aside our inner mystic appreciation of Julian's writings and vote for the saint whose life would clearly make a better movie!!

  14. Thanks to both bloggers for their excellent write-ups today. I appreciate especially the attention to historical context which can help take us out of our own often narrow contemporary worldviews and enter into the life and thought of other times and places. Really well done!

    I think I will cast an appreciative vote for Roch today; my dog has completely recovered from "old dog vestibular syndrome" that had him staggering around and falling down a couple of weeks ago. I voted for Roch last time, hoping that healing could also go from man to dog, and I certainly owe him one. Thanks, Roch!

    Also because Julian clearly doesn't need my vote this round, which means I'll get to vote for her again a couple more times. Julian for the Halo!

  15. Although I have long been a fan of Julian, today my vote was for Roch in honor of all the dogs I've known over the years who have been my Faithful Friends and eyes Into the Heart of God.

  16. Although my heart says Julian, I love the personal touch Anna Fitch Courie gave in her writing about Roch. Thank you, Celebrity Bloggers!

      1. Hold on now, I think we have some theological confusion here! Vampires and zombies are not the same thing. Roch is protecting us from the blood suckers, but is he in charge of the rotting folk as well?

          1. Yes, that is good to know. If I recall correctly, the zombie apocalypse on "The Walking Dead" started from a flu/virus. Roch on!

  17. I had to vote for St Roch! I am at the doctor's office being pumped full antibiotics intravenously as I am reading this blog. St Roch is now my Saint to pray to for healing grace! Perfect timing.

    1. St. Roch, pray for us and keep us well.
      St. Roch, pray for us and keep us well.

  18. Long before its source, I knew the lines "All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well" from T.S. Eliot's "Little Gidding." What beautiful words taken from Julian's "and by this deed he shall makes all things well." Julian's end-time view 0f mystical hope is what got my vote.

  19. Kudos to both celebrity blogger's today! They truly understand quirks and quotes. But Julian gets my vote--so reassuring to have hope for the end times and assertions of one's goodness and worthiness of God's love, even with that sin thing going on.

  20. Love Julian's quote beginning, "We need to fall, and we need to be aware of it..." in order to "know our Maker's marvelous love... "

  21. Even though I have a wretched cold and am currently traveling close to vampire country, and I should therefore vote for Roch as a means of protection, I'm going with Julian because of her optimistic visions and her belief in the power of positive thinking.