Henri Nouwen

(A summer repeat from July 12, 2012)
One of the great inspirational/spiritual writers of all time was Henri Nouwen (1932-1996). Henri Nouwen was born in Holland. At an early age, he felt a call to the priesthood. He was ordained as a diocesan priest in 1957 and studied at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, KS. Henri went on to teach at Notre Dame, the Divinity School at Yale University and Harvard University. He died suddenly — and all too early — in 1996.

For several months in the 1970’s, Henri lived in a Trappist community at the Genesee Abbey in New York. In the early ’80’s, he lived in Peru among the desperately poor. After a time of contemplation, he left the seemingly bright world of academia — to go and work with mentally handicapped adults at L’Arche Daybreak in Toronto. It was at L’Arche that Henri felt his greatest fulfillment. He was a prolific writer and in 2003, a Christian Century survey rated his works number one among Catholic and mainline Christian clergy.

I was referred to Henri some years ago by my dear friend David. On his recommendation, I have read most of Henri’s works. Wow! Spiritual. Inspirational. Moving. And somewhat melancholy – knowing that Henri died at such a young age. Return of the Prodigal Son is one of his most famous – and probably my favorite. I was given a copy by my friend and priest – Fr. Bob. Return is worth a second read. . . . which I’m planning. . . . . If you have to pick one of Henri’s books to read — this is the one.

[Afterword – I read it a second time.  It is now on the shelf for a third]

Streetwise

On March 18, 2013, I had a post titled “Streetwise.”  I spoke of Manuel who sells Streetwise – a weekly publication in front of the Corner Bakery across from my building.  Manuel needs crutches to walk and he struggles mightily to sell his weekly journals.  Today, Streetwise has an article featuring Manuel.  And it mentioned my blog post about him.  I am really happy for Manuel and his moment of fame.  If you have a chance, stop by and see him.  Say “hello.”  Talk to him.  He’s a nice guy.  Maybe buy a copy of Streetwise.  Buy it from Manuel or from your local Streetwise vendor.  It’s two bucks.  I’m also pretty proud of Streetwise for giving people a chance to have a meaningful opportunity.  For dignity.  And for making a few dollars.        

In my original post, I quoted Henri Nouwen – the great religious writer.  His words from Out of Solitude bear repeating:  “The temptation is that we use our expertise to keep a safe distance from that which really matters and forget that, in the long run, cure without care is more harmful than helpful.”   Streetwise is on the right track — offering cure . . . . and the all-important care — and compassion.  We can all learn from this example.  And help make the world a better place.  Bravo.  Bravissimo.     

Henri Nouwen

One of the great inspirational/spiritual writers of all time was Henri Nouwen (1932-1996).  Henri Nouwen was born in Holland.  At an early age, he felt a call to the priesthood.  He was ordained as a diocesan priest in 1957.  He studied at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, KS.   And he went on to teach at Notre Dame and then the Divinity Schools at Yale University and Harvard University.  He died suddenly — and all too early — in 1996. 

For several months in the 1970’s, Henri lived in a Trappist community at the Genesee Abbey in New York.  In the early ’80’s, he lived in Peru among the desperately poor.  After a time of contemplation, he left the seemingly bright world of academia — to go and work with mentally handicapped adults at L’Arche Daybreak in Toronto.  It was at L’Arche that Henri felt his greatest fulfillment.  He was a prolific writer and in 2003, a Christian Century survey rated his works number one among Catholic and mainline Christian clergy. 

I was referred to Henri some years ago by my old friend David.  On his recommendation, I have read most of Henri’s works.  Wow!  Spiritual.  Inspirational.  Moving.  And somewhat melancholy – knowing that Henri died at such a young age.  Return of the Prodigal Son is one of his most famous – and probably my favorite.   I was given a copy by my friend and priest – Fr. Bob.   Return is worth a second read. . . . which I’m planning. . . . .  If you have to pick one of Henri’s books to read — this is the one.