Befriending Life: Encounters with Henri Nouwen

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9780385502023: Befriending Life: Encounters with Henri Nouwen

A beautiful collection of reminiscences celebrating the life and works of the bestselling author of The Wounded Healer, The Return of the Prodigal Son, and The Inner Voice of Love.

Henri Nouwen (1932-96) was a Catholic priest who taught at several theological institutions and universities in his home country of the Netherlands and in the United States. He spent the final years of his life teaching and ministering at the L'Arche Daybreak Community in Toronto, Canada. His writings have touched millions of readers around the world, and since his death, recognition of their enduring value has continued to grow. Oprah Winfrey, one of Nouwen's many admirers, ran an extensive excerpt from The Return of the Prodigal Son in her magazine, O, with Hillary Clinton contributing an introduction revealing the profound effect Nouwen had on her own life.

Nouwen's influence was not limited to the printed page. His one-on-one encounters as a lecturer, teacher, and spiritual guide, and as a leader at the L'Arche Daybreak Community, a home for people with mental and physical disabilities, enriched the lives of a wide variety of people. Now, Befriending Life brings together thoughtful, heartfelt remembrances of Nouwen by those who knew him best, from members of the L'Arche community to such prominent figures as Joseph Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago and Hillary Clinton. Their personal reflections on his life both on and off the page magnificently capture his spirit, compassion, and wisdom. With a wealth of quotations from Nouwen throughout, Befriending Life, like Nouwen's own great books, will inspire readers in all walks of life.

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Review:

Of the many contemporary writers specializing in Christian spirituality, none has forged as strong a link between his writing and his personal relationships as Henri Nouwen. In works such as Adam, Nouwen described the revelatory power of friendship in his life. Now, in Befriending Life: Encounters with Henri Nouwen, those who knew the Catholic priest speak of the revelations they received by knowing him. The book includes remembrances from every phase of Nouwen's extraordinary career, from his young adulthood in Holland to his academic career at Yale and Harvard divinity schools, to his political activism for peace and his work with the mentally and physically disabled at the L'Arche Daybreak Community in Toronto. In her foreword to Befriending Life, Sue Mosteller, the literary executor of Nouwen's estate, attempts to summarize the many reflections in this volume by observing "[Nouwen] pushes us to recognize how special and precious our little lives are." Mosteller's observation, with its startling use of the word "little," perfectly captures one of the great pleasure of reading Nouwen, and of reading this book written in his honor. We are humbled without being reduced, and find comfort in loving our limitations, as God loves them. --Michael Joseph Gross

From the Back Cover:

"Acknowledged as one of the world's great spiritual writers, the renowned Catholic theologian left behind a wealth of insights that have brought encouragement and ministered to thousands."
--Christianity Today

"For all who read his books, Henri Nouwen was prophet and monastic, saint and mystic. In his compassionate identification with the many outcasts labeled 'disabled,' we may gain insight into discerning what's truly vital for us all."
--Atlanta Journal & Constitution

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Henri J. M. Nouwen
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