Feb 14th to 17th – Introductions

Lord, show me where you want me to go, and I will follow you.”
Henri Nouwen
Road to Daybreak

Reading:  Prologue

A very warm welcome to each you!  We’re really glad you are here.

We have felt a particular energy and excitement from you all, leading up to this Lenten discussion of Henri Nouwen’s Road to Daybreak.  To be honest we are particularly energized about it as well.  Before us is the story of how God, responding to Henri’s prayer, led him to a very specific place and vocation.  Henri, despite many fears and questions, responded in obedience.  And the journey bore much fruit.  We’re all here because some part of us also wants to take the next step of obedience in the journey God is leading us on.  That’s very exciting!

But before we get too far into it, if you are joining us for the first time, you probably want to know how this all works.  If you’ve joined us before, you’ll know the format:

Each Sunday you will discover a new “post,” indicated by the bold title, on the blog’s Home page.  Click on the title to enter the post.  There you will find the week’s readings and some questions for discussion.  To leave a comment scroll down to the bottom of the page where you will find the “leave a reply” box.  It works best if you always add any new comment to the newest post, even if you are referring to an earlier post. That way, everyone will see your comment. After you submit a comment, either Will, Ray or Brynn need to “approve” it, so it may take a few hours before it actually appears on the blog page.  The instructions on how to submit and reply to comments are also included at the bottom of the reading schedule.  If you have any questions about how the blog works, please feel free to ask.  You can submit a comment in order to ask a question.

To get started, we always like to learn a little bit about each of you.  Over the next few days we invite you to take a few minutes to introduce yourself.  You may choose to share:

a) Your general geographic location
b) To whom or what you dedicate your days or energy, and why
c) How you came to “know/read” Henri Nouwen and whether or not you participated in a previous discussion.
d) Insights, thoughts or questions that arose as you read the Prologue.
e) What you hope to experience during this discussion

We very much look forward to hearing from each of you!

Be sure to check back here on the Home page on Sunday February 18th!

In gratitude,

Brynn and Ray

RAY GLENNON: Ray volunteers in his parish Confirmation program and other ministries. He and his wife are members of a Catholic charismatic community. Ray came to know and trust Henri’s written word in a special way in 2004 when he found The Return of the Prodigal Son for sale after Mass at the cathedral in Singapore at an important point in his life.  If you have any questions for Ray, please contact him at ray.glennon@1972.usna.com and you can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/@RayGlennon.

BRYNN LAWRENCE: Brynn has been helping to preserve Henri’s Legacy over the last several years, mainly through her role as project coordinator of the Nouwen Archive Letter Project (2009-2015), and also by co-facilitating many of our online book discussions.  She is the founder of Abundant Life Coaching, but has taken a break from that since her son was born.  Currently, Brynn is also involved with L’Arche International.

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94 Responses to Feb 14th to 17th – Introductions

  1. Steve Scherdin says:

    I am a public school teacher and part-time associate youth minister in Louisville, KY. I’ve enjoyed Henri’s books for years, and participated in a retreat many years ago based on _The Return of the Prodigal Son_. I’ve joked for decades about trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up (still do), and _The Road to Daybreak_ just seemed to resonate. I have really enjoyed the book and have had a hard time putting it down. I look forward to traveling this journey with all of you.

    • Brynn Lawrence says:

      Hi Steve,

      Make sure you come over to the newest post to join the discussion! Click on “Home” in the bar above and the newest post will show up at the top.

      Glad to have you with us,


  2. Jo says:

    I finally located Henri’s book for the discussion and am looking forward to
    participating. Right now I’m reading another book of his which has me
    deepening my knowledge and thoughts on life.

    Onward….from Ontario, Canada

  3. melanie norcutt says:

    Hello from Vancouver Island.
    I read the daily emails from the Henri Nouwen Society and participated in the advent discussions this past December for the first time. I am very much looking forward to sharing this time with you!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I live in the Mid-Atlantic area and attend an Anglican church (Anglican Church in North America). Jesus’ command to “follow me” struck me deeply a couple of weeks ago and I was jolted today to read the prologue sentence (page 5) by Henri, “What binds them together in their wide variety is the spiritual struggle to say ‘yes’ to Jesus’ invitation ‘Come and follow me.’ It is a screaming and kicking ‘yes’ that fills these pages.”

  5. Patrice Cerwonka says:

    Hi, my name is Patrice. I know Ray and Dawn from our parish here in Columbia MD. I’m a wife and Mother of two wonderful girls, 21 and 26. I’m a Volunteer Coordinator for a Non-profit that provides transportation for seniors. I’m a leader of a women’s faith sharing group at the parish.
    With some recent events I know the Holy Spirit is nudging me to get out of my comfort zone so I’m discerning my path.
    I am so looking forward to this study.

  6. Peg says:

    Hello to all,
    I am a retired English teacher, having toaught in a middle school in Pittsburgh, PA for 30 years. I am a Pennsylvania girl, born in Bloomsburg, PA and grew up in Carlisle, PA. Six years ago my husband and I relocated to Sneads Ferry, NC. We are on the mainland across the Intercoastal Waterway from Topsail Island, 17 miles south of Jacksonville, NC and 30 miles north of Wilmington, NC. I read Henri in the 1960’s. Now I follow his daily meditations from “Bread for the Journey.” I was unchurched and a cynic until the 1980’s, when I had a Leap of Faith. Now I am all for God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit. Wishing you all the Fruits of the Holy Spirit for this Lenten season. Love, joy, peace, forbearance, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, kindness, and self-control. I am big of the Holy Spirit.

    • David Brown says:

      Welcome Peg, I lived in Dillsburg, Pa. pastoring two UCC churches (Franklin and Barrens)75 to 78. Graduated from Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg 77.. I was in Carlisle many times and had members who lived and worked their.Nouwen is always worth our reading and study time. I have all his books and have done research into his life. I’m not Pope but to me he was a true Saint of honesty and openness.Peace,David

  7. Lyn says:

    I live in central Florida in an area called The Villages. I first began to read Henri’s books several years ago when our pastor quoted him in a church service. I am drawn to Henry’s statements on love, joy and pain. My prayer is to have stupor walk with Jesus during this Lenten season and going forward.

  8. Rita says:

    Hello, I live in a small town in Central Illinois with my husband of 40 years and two of my adult daughters. My days are spend doing the bookkeeping for my husband’s law practice, the books for a painting organization I am a part of, caring for my aging mother and a few other things. Life is full and rewarding. I can’t remember exactly how I started reading Henri Nouwen’s books but have done so for many years. My spiritual life has become unfocused, maybe due to the busy schedule, so I hope the discussion will bring me some clarity. The thing that stood out for me in the prologue Henri’s gentleness with himself when it became clear his place was not in Latin America. Oh, I am a Protestant and member of an Evangelical church but I describe myself as Contemplative.

  9. Martha Donnadieu says:

    Hello, my name is Martha and I have participated before in advent and lent readings. I´m from Guadalajara, Mexico. The Road to Daybreak is one of my favorite books of Henri Nouwen. In the spanish edition the book is called Camino a Casa (Our way home).
    Last weekend I was in San Diego and enjoyed attending the event Revolution of the Heart. It was a beautiful experience where I learned about Henri Nouwen and his imitation of Christ in themes of peace, unity, hospitality and community. I´m thankful for the oportunity of participating in this group hoping that this lent project will help us grow in faith, interior life and love.

  10. Carol Culley says:

    Hello, Everyone

    I am recent retiree who moved with my husband of 32+ years to Saint Johns, FL (suburb of Jacksonville) last May. Much of the past several years was devoted to helping my Mom and my husband’s Mom through the last years of their lives. My employment background includes hospital social work, elder law paralegal, and advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities. I became familiar with Henri through my uncle who was a Jesuit priest. I read this book sometime ago and look forward to sharing this experience with you all.

  11. Lynn R says:

    I have worked in Healthcare for the past 40 years in Rutherfordton, NC and hope to retire next year so I have more time to devote to the pursuit in the growth of my spirituality. I was ignorant of Henri until one of the parishes in our diocese hosted a conference of the society this past summer. I sought out his books available in our library, and was able to read the “Return of the Prodigal Son” and it was wow, I really connect to what he was saying and. especially how he shares himself so intimately, laid bare in his writing. I attended the conference this past summer and met many others who follow Henri’s path. I am so thankful and feel blessed that the society and Brynn and Ray are making this book discussion available in a virtual way. Time is a precious commodity and this makes it easier for a worldwide community to participate and share in a discussion that helps continue Henri’s legacy.

  12. Mary Hodgkinson says:

    I am British and live on the island of Malta in Southern Europe. I am semi retired after a full working life in international education and teach English part time. My days are open writing a dissertation to complete an MA and walking my dogs. I was first introduced to Henri Nouwen by one of my sisters and read the daily meditation. This is the first time I have taken part in a Lenten discussion and I am looking forward to it. I am seeking refreshment of faith and commitment to Jesus.

  13. Ray Glennon says:

    From Victoria Hatfield
    a) Your general geographic location (Mid West – Missouri)
    b) To whom or what you dedicate your days or energy, and why (I dedicate my days and energy to opening my heart to the life that God seeks for me. I do this so I can be a better disciple and servant.)
    c) How you came to “know/read” Henri Nouwen and whether or not you participated in a previous discussion. (From Fr. James Martin suggestion. I have not participated before.)
    d) Insights, thoughts or questions that arose as you read the Prologue. (I’m waiting for my book to arrive!)
    e) What you hope to experience during this discussion (A community of like minded seekers on this journey.)

  14. Ray Glennon says:

    Welcome to all those joining us in the last 48 hours. Just a reminder that your comments may not appear immediately when you submit them. Several comments that were written this morning were just posted online as I was away from my computer and unable to moderate them for the past few hours.

    Our discussion of the first five sections begins tomorrow with a new post. We look forward to an enriching and spirit-filled conversation.


  15. Kevin says:


    I am an Engineer currently in Cincinnati Ohio who has made it a priority in my journey in this life to do all I can to understand why I believe what I believe. I am a seeker of the wisdom of God and humanity. To this end God had provided me many personal opportunities for learning. You get what you ask and pray for. This has led me to many discussions with many faith seekers such as me. I am open to all faiths because what all humanity shares is a thirst for God. I am a cradle Catholic who left the faith for many years after the turmoil of Vatican II and has returned because I perceive Catholicism with all its challenges is the closest to what Jesus’s vision of a church composed of humanity. I have meditated on Henri’s daily thoughts as shared by the website. I look forward to sharing this Lenten experience with all of you.

  16. Todd says:

    My name is Todd and I am a husband, father, son, teacher, and Catholic Christian. I first discovered HN through this book, The Road to Daybreak, over 10 years ago. It is a favorite and I am pleased that is the selection for this Lent. Thanks once again Ray and Brynn for your guidance with this discussion forum.

  17. Laura says:

    I’m Laura and am living in Tampa. Florida with my husband of 37 years. We have 5 grown children, all of whom are seeking Christ in various ways.

    At Christmas time, our son ,who has struggles in his belief for God, talked to us all about a small group he and his wife attended. He asked us where we find our identify? We all preceded to do that. Then his lovely wife brought me to the place she is resting in: We are beloved. A simple but the most profound concept that I am relishing in more and more .
    I come from a very conservative non denominational background and find myself drawn to many outside that realm and for how they view their Father.
    This led to my receiving the daily emails and like several, this is my first Book Club ever!
    I received my book yesterday, and just read the prologue. I’m looking forward to good conversations following the readings. Thank you for doing this.
    ( hoping I am entering this into the correct space!)

  18. Sharon says:


    I am from southern California and I am grateful and looking forward to this book discussion for the Lenten season. I have participated in other Henri Nouwen book discussions before and read and reread Henri’s books. I spend my time painting and substitute teaching often with special needs children. And grateful having learned about Jean Vanier because of Henri’s books. I teach Sunday school at my church. I cherish my weekly time at mass. I have three children, one in high school, one in college and one married. I appreciate the daily meditations and I look forward to this book to learn and be mindful to how God will speak to me through the pages of Henri’s journal. I am intrigued by the questioned Henri asks in the prologue “How does one follow Jesus unreservedly?” and his admission to the pains and struggles in answering that question. Peace to all who are gathering in this discussion.

  19. Maureen M. says:

    Hello Brynn and Ray. Thank you for making this Lenten book discussion available; this is my first. I am from a small town in Northern New Jersey and I spend most of my days in the main office of a regional high school. With the sudden loss of my teenage son in 2014, my spiritual path took a sharp and unexpected turn. Reality as I had known it changed and I was thrust into a quest for truth, understanding and peace. Along the way, I encountered Henri Nouwen through his books, The Wounded Healer and The Return of the Prodigal Son.

    In the prologue of Daybreak, Nouwen writes that what binds the various people and events of the book together is “their spiritual struggle to say “yes” to Jesus’ invitation “Come and follow me.” It is a screaming and kicking “yes” that fills these pages. It is a “yes” emerging from the recognition of my own brokenness and need for radical healing.” Later in the Prodigal Son he writes, “I am beginning now to see how radically the character of my spiritual journey will change when I no longer think of God as hiding out and making it as difficult as possible for me to find him, but, instead, as the one who is looking for me while I am doing the hiding.” These words touch me deeply as I try to hear what God is saying to me. Through this discussion, I look forward to the insight of those in this book discussion and to see how God helps us on our journey to ‘return home’.

  20. Jan Greene says:

    Hello, I am Jan living with my husband of nearly 50 years on Cape Cod. I am still working part time as a therapist at a large clinic offering services in counseling and recovery. I am learning all the time! I am a lay Eucharist Minister at our local Episcopal Church where I also lead a monthly Women’s Group. It seems easy to become absorbed in everything but faith and some disciplined spiritual practice. I have enjoyed past groups here and welcome another chance to get on the road with Henri and both of you great group facilitators, along with so many participants!

  21. Maureen says:

    I am a retired woman who is here for the adventure of it. I have received Henri’s daily devotionals for a few years, but have never done anything like this.There are already signs that I’m in the right place because the prayer “Lord, show me where you want me to go, and I will follow you” sums up my desire.

  22. Don Dunnington says:

    I live in Oklahoma City and am in my first full year of retirement after 44 years of ministry in the Church of the Nazarene, serving as a pastor, college chaplain, administrator and professor. I began reading Nouwen many years ago and have used his work in my teaching and recommend his writing to others. I have participated in earlier book discussions and value the insights and experiences of others who have benefited by reading and reflecting on Nouwen’s honest and authentic reflections on Christian faith and life.

    • Courtney Duke says:


      It’s nice to hear a fellow Oklahoman is in this group! And a Nazarene at that! We have a few things in common and I look forward to hearing your insights through this discussion. My papa, Bill Duke, is also a retired Nazarene pastor in the city. I wonder if you know each other?

      Thank you for sharing!

  23. Ray Glennon says:

    It’s a joy to see this wonderful community coming together for our Lenten journey. Welcome back to David, Elaine, Marianne, Marge, Susan, and others who have been here before and a greetings to those joining us for the first time. We have participants from across North America and as far away as New Zealand and Malawi. It is your presence and sharing that makes these book discussions so fruitful each time we gather. My spiritual journey since 2009 or 2010 has been deeply enriched by these discussions led by Brynn and it has been a blessing to co-facilitate with her in recent years.

    I reside with my wife Dawn in Columbia, Maryland (between Baltimore and Washington, near I-95) and in my day job I am a program manager for government contractor that assists the Federal Aviation Administration to acquire and manage its communications. Like several of you, I am at a time of career transition. I commented on my work situation during the Advent discussion and it is fortuitous that The Road to Daybreak was selected for our Lent discussion. Based on reading the first few pages of this book, I am certain that Henri’s reflections and your comments will both challenge me and prove fruitful as I enter into the next phase of my life.

    Thanks to each of you for joining us–both those who have introduced yourselves and those traveling with us silently. Know you are all welcome and important to our community.

    As St. Francis said to those he met on his journey, May the Lord give you peace.

  24. Joshua Bates says:


    My name is Josh and I am a high school teacher at an alternative ed. school in Corona, CA (about 1 hour east of Disneyland). I have a lovely wife of 18 years (Irma) and three great kids (Ian, Bella, and Coleman).

    I was introduced to Nouwen years ago, but scanning through my Mother’s spiritual section of her library. His “heart” voice in his devotional work has been influential in my faith journey (off and on) ever since.

    My faith walk has been varied… Born Catholic, explored Evangelical and Charismatic Christianity, and now coming “home” to Sacramental Christianity in the Lutheran church.

    I look forward to hearing from many of you, and gleaning what God has to teach me, through this Lenten journey.

    God Bless, and have an excellent weekend!

  25. Marianne says:

    I live in Western Canada where I am a clinical nurse educator. My husband and I have a recently empty nest and that transition is going well. My time is been between work, doing a small amount of caregiving for my elderly mother and spending time on self-care to keep chronic illnesses that bay. I am a breast cancer survivor of three years which makes me happy. The first Henri now and book I read was in college. We read “reaching out“ and from that day forward I loved any writings from Henri.

    I have participated in many ad vent and length of discussions. I am very happy to join this group of people seeking what it means to follow Jesus at this time in the places where we reside. My background is Mennonite but I married a Lutheran man so we have attended an Evangelical lutheran church all our married life of 30 years . I will be looking forward to reading all your posts.

  26. Pat M. says:

    This book discussion is likely part of our Lenten disciplines; it is mine. Historically, at the beginning I have strived to “do Lent” perfectly, intending to come out a better self at the end. Last night as I read this in PERFECTLY YOURSELF by Matthew Kelly I reevaluated.

    “It is essential for health of mind, body, and spirit that we recognize that what we often consider to be our imperfections are actually part of our perfection.”

  27. Cheryl Dalton says:

    My name is Cheryl Dalton. This is my first online study. I teach nursing 3 days a week in a small community college in Southwest Missouri. My students are nontraditional, some are overcoming many obstacles to pull out of generational poverty. I have been a nurse for forty years and I aspired to retire to do some summer mission trips but God had other plans. My husband is retired. His mom has dementia and can no longer care for herself so we are now her caregivers. I read Henri Nouwen book ‘The wounded Healer’ and Beloved’. I receive daily email devotions and am working through his amazing book ‘Hope for the Caregiver’. His words center me, helping me to walk the caregiving journey with joy (some days) and hope. The prologue for ‘The Road to Daybreak’ spoke to my heart as he writes about the ‘enormous contrast between his busy academic life and the utterly quiet still day in Trosly’ . Dementia brings us into a diffferent world, quiet and small. Thank you for this study!

  28. Elaine M says:

    One of the things I have loved most about the Henri Nouwen book discussions is that Ray and Brynn call us first to get to know one another on a personal level: our place on the map, our place in this world, and our common attraction to the values which Henri espouses. They–and all of you–immediately set a more intimate and reassuring tone that is different from more typical online book discussions. This is only fitting given that Henri himself said, “Friendship has always belonged to the core of my spiritual journey.” And so I pray for a fruitful journey with you this Lent.

  29. Alice Vanderkooy says:

    Hello, my name is Alice and I live in Toronto, Canada. I have recently retired after 40 years of teaching in a Christian School (French and Guidance Counsellor) and am looking at new ways to contribute meaningfully in my community. Henri Nouwen’s writings have greatly influenced my understanding of God and how God connects to us as humans. The Road to Daybreak was particularly helpful to me during a period of searching and vulnerability. I look forward to re-reading it and to being enriched by the accompanying discussions that happen here.

  30. Harry Ford says:

    Hi everyone!
    I am a Professed Secular Franciscan in the same fraternity as Ray! I live outside of Frederick, MD on a small farm near Woodsboro. I first met Henri Nouwen a long time ago through the book “The Wounded Healer” and have read other along the way. I’m looking forward to my kindle to finish downloading the book, not sure what’s going on there.
    Over my life, I done many different things, engineer, youth minister, organic farming, and other stuff. Now, I’m really enjoying watching the grandchildren grow!

    • Dale Edmunds says:

      Hi Henry
      I am also a Secular Franciscan in Maryland and have been attending the meeting at the St. Anthony Shrine in Ellicott City. Are we possibly in the same Fraternity?
      Peace and all good
      Dale Edmunds

  31. Amber says:

    I’m in Portland, Oregon (somebody needs to represent the west coast of the US). I’ve been reading Henri’s daily emails for a few years and like his down to earth ways of saying things in his heart. Reading today, in this book, I was pleased to learn that even he, Henri, did not always know what direction to go. He knew waiting to find out was exactly what he needed to do. Perhaps being quiet allows us to hear?

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Amber. What you asked, “Perhaps being quiet allows us to hear?” I needed to read that. My life is in a place of very much being in the now but also listening and looking to see where Jesus may be leading me.

  32. Courtney Duke says:

    Hello all, I am so happy to be a part of this group and discussion!

    My name is Courtney and I live in good ole Oklahoma City, OK. Right now, my time is mostly dedicated to earning my degree online through Southern New Hampshire University in Graphic Design and Media Arts. I also work as a bakery manager, and spend most of my free time with friends and my community group from OKC First Church of the Nazarene!

    The first Henri Nouwen book that I read was In The Name of Jesus and it was given to me my senior year of high school from my youth pastor. I have since read it countless times, and enjoyed many other Nouwen books. Each one is filled with such wisdom that seems to reach straight into the soul. This, however, is my first discussion group!

    One thing that stuck out to me in the Prologue was the conclusion in which Nouwen writes, “I pray that those who will read this journal will be encouraged in their own spiritual journey and discover that same hope in their own hearts.” Hope. That’s my word this year. It’s the word on my Giving Key. It’s the word that I desperately long to hold deep in my heart. I’ve dealt with a lot and I’m struggling to know who this God that I call Father really is, and through all of it, I pray for glimpses of hope. So, for me, I hope to experience rich discussion about the book in addition to a safe and vulnerable place for searching for hope and direction and the mysterious God that we (try to) follow.

    Looking forward to this Lenten season with you all.

  33. Barry Reszel says:

    Hello Everyone, and thanks for coordinating this group, Brynn and Ray.

    I hail from one of Chicago’s north suburbs, Libertyville, IL. For many years, I have been a full-time at-home dad to my two children because my wife and I decided we wanted a parent home to raise the kids…and she liked the corporate world more than I did. Now that they’re 23 and 21, I’m using my journalism education and professional experience as a freelance writer/editor. I also run a website dedicated to musical theatre in and around Chicago…because it brings me joy…though I admit I’d like it to turn into a small business from its current status as an expensive hobby.

    I recently learned about Henri Nouwen via a random Facebook post. That brought me to subscribe to the daily mediation and use a quote in one of my reviews (link here if you’re interested: https://www.chicagolandmusicaltheatre.com/marriott-theatres-resplendent-ragtime-sonorously-delivers-a-master-class-in-historical-sociology-and-a-plea-for-compassion/). I’ve not participated in a previous discussion.

    As I read the Prologue, I was taken by the notion of life’s individual journeys and halted a bit by the concept of what I might call “the reluctant yes” to God’s call. I wonder how/when Henri (and perhaps any of us) ascertains the courage/knowledge/faith to discern what God’s call is and make it to acceptance–gladly or reluctantly.

    I’ve not “done Lent” for a number of years for my own personal reasons. So if I have a hope, it’s that this reading and discussion might work on me and enhance my own spiritual journey at this somewhat transitional time in my life.

  34. Brenda says:

    Hi, I’m Brenda from Memphis, Tennessee. I’m a corporate paralegal. I also write occasionally at my blog and a few other websites. I “met” Henri Nouwen eight years ago when my best friend gave me a copy of Life of the Beloved. Since then, he’s become one of my favorite faith writers and thinkers, and encouraged me greatly. I’ve never participated in a group reading, but it sounded like a low-key, fruitful Lenten option for me this year! I look forward to gaining different insights into this book through the variety of perspectives.

  35. Julie says:

    I’m Julie from Memphis Tn. I’ve enjoyed reading Henri the past few years and I’m looking forward to delving into this book and discussion. A friend surprised me with the idea to join this study and I received the book last night. Just finished reading the Prologue. “Lord, show me where you want me to go, and I will follow you.” This I will continue to reflect on in the coming days. I am at a point in my life where I am contemplating and considering a change. So this has been my prayer and will continue to be. I am searching for a new and different “home” and I am open and willing to let God lead me there. Blessings to All!

  36. Kent Faver says:

    “Lord, show me where you want me to go and I will follow You.” That statement brings out a lot of emotion in me – mainly fear. This is my second Lenten journey with this group – looking forward to it again. I am enjoying this book – Henri so often nails my emotion and outlook as I am experiencing it. God bless

  37. Renee Latimer says:

    Hello, my name is Renee Latimer. I’m a psychiatric nurse and am currently serving as a volunteer nurse educator in Malawi for a year with the Peace Corps. My husband is with me and we left our friends, jobs and 2 grown daughters in Hawaii. This year is a bit of a sabbatical and a time for us to serve and have an adventure before the next chapter of semi-retirement. The book we are reading already nailed it for me with this sentence “It became quite clear to me that idealism, good intentions, and a desire to serve the poor do not make up a vocation”.
    I found Henri Nouwen shortly after I became Catholic 6-ish years ago. His simple, straightforward message really appealed to me – no big words, no obtuse theology. I love his concept of Caring not Curing even though I find it nearly impossible to follow this guidance.
    This bookclub is my Lenten experience this year. Thank you to the leaders and participants.

  38. Marsha says:

    Hello. I’m Marsha from Monrovia, CA and a returning participant in these discussions. Unfortunately, I often start with enthusiasm, then trail off in participation. A friend has suggested we read the book together and meet regularly to share – that has great appeal.
    My role at work is changing – for which I am most grateful. I think this book, at this time, will be a way for me to hear God’s direction!

  39. Mary Smither says:

    My name is Mary and I live on Amelia Island in Fernandina Beach, Florida. My husband and I retired in June and just downsized to this paradise in December. I have been a Methodist my entire 60 years of life, but I fell in love with Henri Nouwen’s writings in 2012. I love his humanness and his spiritually as he follows JESUS’ teachings which is the universal language of humility and love for all. I have read almost all of his books at least once and ironically had picked this one up to read again in November, but it got lost in our move! I was very excited to see it on the Lenten read and am glad to get back to it. I am also reading his specific devotional book on Lenten and Easter as I have enjoyed for several years. I am looking forward to this discussion. Thanks for facilitating it for us!

  40. David Brown says:

    Hi Dale,
    I too have found my Journey entering the Catholic church in retirement. Nouwen has been a part of my life through his books for years. You mentioned the Secular Franciscans have been a part of your journey. they have one of those in my church also. I would like to know more about them if you have any insights. Peace in our discussion and your Journey.
    David Brown

    • Ray Glennon says:

      Thanks Dale and David for joining us and your sharing.
      It is interesting to me that there are a number of Secular Franciscans that have introduced themselves. In fact, my wife and I have spent the past 6 months visiting the Secular Franciscan fraternity here in Ellicott City, Maryland and the Shrine of St. Anthony. We have been discerning whether one or both of us are called to become Secular Franciscans and we will begin formation activities next week.
      In the spirit of St. Francis, may the Lord give you peace during this Lenten journey. I look forward to sharing it with you.

      • David Brown says:

        Ray, Since retiring, retiring from the Clergy realm, and converting in 15 to Catholcism I have felt restless .Nouwen studies always seem to bring new thoughts and possibilities.Thanks for sharing about your interest in Secular Franciscans. I hope to hear more if God leads in that direction.

  41. Larry Dunn says:

    I am Larry Dunn from Johnstown, PA. I am the pastor of a mid-sized United Methodist Church here. I have been receiving devotional moments from the Henri Nouwen Society for years and enjoy the opportunity to open them up in my email each morning to help get me started for the day. I got into Henri when taking seminary classes and found his books offering me a different perspective which I appreciated. I look forward to this blog and seeing how God works through the discussion.

  42. Kathy says:

    Hi everyone,

    My name is Kathy and I live in New Zealand. we are currently experiencing our hottest summer on record. I am a hospice nurse and have been for over twenty years.

    Henri has written much that is helpful around grieving and dying.
    I found the prologue touched my experience as at present I am beginning a five month intensive research project that I would never have thought that I would be asked to undertake. His openness to what God is asking, despite fears and anxiety is inspring.

    Lenten blessings to you all.

  43. Pat M says:

    I am competitive by nature despite outward appearances, and so I agonize how to express myself online. However, reflecting on Henri’s reference to “the noncompetitive life” and to wasting some time enables me to end the hesitation and join the group at the very start. Although I’ve been retired almost ten years I still have felt as though I am striving and have been feeling a growing desire of late to just withdraw. I think actually what I have been wanting to do is to “waste some time.” So I’m looking forward to being led to Daybreak.

    I want to add that I feel privileged to call our Henri Nouwen “Henri.” Isn’t it lovely to have him as a friend to all of us who know him only through his writing.

  44. Patrice Donnelly says:

    I live in Maryland with my husband and our dog Rex. I am currently a catechist in religious ed, and I am also involved in music ministry. I am changing careers, too, from research to teaching. I first became acquainted with the work of H. Nouwen several years ago, through a recommendation from a friend to try Bread for the Journey. I have since also signed up for daily meditations sent to my inbox from the website. I am looking forward to the blog posts and readinge Road to Daybreak with everyone here. The pic is actually accidental. I tried to delete it thinking it was a little too raucous, but after a few unsuccessful tries, and help from the website, I decided later to keep it. It’s like an unintended pun. I hope we can all feel this free and focused as we pursue our roads to daybreak! :>)

    • Patrice Donnelly says:

      The dog/driver is the Holy Spirit and we, the passengers. It’s an awkward fit for cat lovers, but no slight is intended. The biggest factor isn’t really the figure, it is the fun that the driver shows. What kind of passenger will we be on this journey?

  45. Michael Butler says:

    Hi everyone. My name is Michael. I live in Burbank, just north of Los Angeles. I’m married (18 years) with two teenage daughters. I converted to Catholicism in 1999 through the RCIA program. I heard about Nouwen in a Catholic weekly newspaper in columns by Ron Rolheiser. Eventually, I picked up a copy of Life of the Beloved. It really affected me deeply so I read more books. I started getting the daily emails about 4 years ago and incorporating them into my prayer and meditation. This is my first time participating in an online book discussion. For Lent, I usually give up something and add something else. This Lent, I am giving up profanity and taking up this online discussion and spiritual network.

  46. Susan DeLong says:

    My husband and I live in a small community in western Canada and thrive on the natural beauty around us. Like Bonnie, I’m a retired college instructor, likely the same college. And also like, Bonnie, With Open Hands is the first Henri Nouwen book that I read, over 25 years ago. I now have a shelf of Henri’s books, but I didn’t have The Road to Daybreak. I borrowed it from a library years ago and have always meant to buy a copy as I reread Henri’s book regularly. This on-line discussion group was all the prompting I needed to do just that.
    Although my husband and I have been retired for a number of years, we have recently moved into a new phase of life after my very elderly mother died in November. We have now had time to enter into some volunteer work that we wanted to start in the fall. I was struck by Henri’s story about Jan Risse stopping by to give him Jean Vanier’s greetings. Like Henri, I am inclined to say, “What can I do for you?” in my new volunteer situation, when what is really important is to be together and to pray together. And that is my starting point for this Lenten book discussion: I just want to be with each of you and to join in prayer together.

  47. Mary Terrell Miller says:

    My name is Mary Miller. I live in Winston Salem, NC. I am 77 years old, a life time Catholic. A Mental Health, Intellectual Developmental Disabilty and Substance Use Disorder advocate and a Secular Franciscan. I look forward to sharing this time with all of you.

  48. Linda Smith says:

    Hi everyone, I’m Linda Smith from Tallahassee FL. I have been reading Henri N books for a few years now. I was raised Baptist however, in my heart am Catholic. I work as a family therapist which I consider my ministry. I am happy to be sharing this journey with each of you and am looking forward to this sacred time of reading and reflecting on where is God leading me.

  49. Cindy says:

    Hi, everyone!
    I live in northern FL and teach kindergarten. My first Lenten Study with this organization was Henri’s Return of the Prodigal Son. It was wonderful. I am hopeful this book will speak to me – and all of us – during this time of Lent.

  50. Kevin Pitts says:

    Greetings, everyone!
    My name’s Kevin. I’m 24 years old, and I live in MD. I recently moved back home after leaving a Catholic, lay ministry position at a college in NC. Now I’m working as a barista because I like coffee, it’s good to work, and I need a paycheck. I’ll admit: while I do value the barista position, I have experienced discouragement about by my situation; the transition from ministry to an open (unfulfilled) job search has sometimes made me feel small and insignificant. Can I, soft-spoken and unassuming, convince an employer that I’ll contribute to their enterprise? Will I do so with, or in spite of, the Theology degree and ministry experience I have to my name? What do I even want to do?
    When I felt small and insignificant as a minister, Henri’s words in “In the Name of Jesus” comforted me; I still felt small but small and loved, accompanied. I came to trust him as a spiritual guide.
    I’m very excited to witness the spiritual diversity of all gathered here. I hope that we can support each other. I especially hope that I can remain attentive to those whose stories and comments may most affect mine (I fear there are so many to read!), but I trust the Holy Spirit to bless our experience.
    Jan Risse’s surprise visit and simple motivation (to extend a greeting) and Henri’s overview of his spiritual journey all struck me, especially his day-to-day attention to the response God was making to his prayer for direction. I want to be as pure as Jan (She might have said: Without pretense, and maybe for a reason you don’t understand, I am here and satisfied) and as patiently attentive as Henri to the designs of our Father in our own lives.
    Know of my prayers for all of us.

  51. Liz Forest says:

    I live in the Big Apple or otherwise known as New York City. Now retired from teaching, I relish my “sacred space” in the morning. I find the websites “Creighton Online Ministries” and “Sacred Space” are good ways to hear, reflect and pray the daily Gospel. My aim is to connect with the One who leads me along to receive life-giving waters. I pray as I open the curtains, “Be a light unto my path and a lamp for my feet.” I participate in the Benedictine “Monastery of the Heart” website sponsored by the Benedictines of Erie, PA. May the Holy Spirit who urged Henri onward in his spiritual journey enter into our hearts and into every little space of our lives. Thanks for this group and those who lead us.

  52. Linda C. says:

    Hello, this is Linda C. I live in Southern Indiana close to the Kentucky border. I first started reading Henri Nouwen in 1997. I have participated in these discussions in the past. I love these discussions because I am able to read new books and share my reflections with others on the same journey. I spend most of my free time visiting female inmates in jail and prison. I know I am visiting Jesus during these encounters. Peace and prayers as we enter the season of Lent together on this Ash Wednesday.

  53. Jeffrey Dean says:

    Greetings from Nawlins. I have had a similar path to Henri’s. Mission trips have always been difficult for me. I do well with urban missions, though. I have worked with the mentally and physically disabled as a social worker. I would like to start a mental hospital ministry, but am timid due to the fact that I might fail or succeed wildly.

    Brother Jeffrey Dean
    p.s. I got the book on Google Play with a $5 discount on any book.

    • Marge says:

      Your last comment makes me smile….timid due to the fact that you may fail or succeed wildly….I think it’s the “wildly” for me…either way, seems out of one’s control…and who knows where following God’s lead will take me! Thank you!

  54. Derrick Fallon says:

    Good afternoon,
    I am Derrick Fallon and I live with my wife Pam in New Canaan, Ct. I am a Lutheran pastor and first read Henri Nouwen when I attended seminary. This past year I attended a presentation about Henri at St. Aloysius Catholic Church here in town and was blessed to learn more about his life and ministry. Later, I attended the Henri Nouwen-Thomas Merton Conference at Yale Divinity School and began reading more of his work as I reflected on my ministry. I look forward to this Lenten book study and discussion and to learning more about this remarkable soul.

  55. Bob Hopkins says:

    I am a pediatrician at Tulane in New Orleans. This is my first on-line discussion group and I am very excited about it. I love to read Henri Nouwen’s works–they have enriched my spiritual journey. I worship at Rayne Memorial UMC on beautiful St. Charles Avenue.

  56. Ann Magoch Scafe says:

    At my age I wonder where God is leading me.

  57. Don Serreyn says:

    I live in the cool (cold) state of Minnesota. I am retired and still discerning what/who I want to be when I grow up. I became acquainted with Henri during an exhibition of paintings and other art based on The Return of the Prodigal Son. Like Henri, I have had some false but, nonetheless, rewarding starts in ministry. I just have not yet found that long-term path, and am looking forward to my first time experience with an on-line discussion group.

  58. Laura says:

    I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother working as a student services coordinator in Clemson, South Carolina. A few weeks ago, I came across Henri Nouwen in a devotion and subscribed to the daily meditations. I am always seeking to serve others—-but I need help to do this with God’s leading, rather than because of my desire to make things right in this flawed world. I am looking forward to this book discussion to help me in this.

  59. Abby R says:

    Hello. My name is Abby and I live in central Massachusetts. After 20 years as an executive assistant in high tech I changed careers and am now a docent in Concord, MA. I came to know Henri ten years ago when I found a recording of a workshop Henri led based on The Prodigal Son and was able to listen to Henri share his stories and faith in his own voice. I was touched by his deep faith, humor and gentleness. I am drawn to Henri’s message that it is in our brokenness that we turn to Christ. I am looking forward to sharing with others who have been touched by Henri’s beautiful words.

  60. Rosa Elena says:

    Hello everyone. I live in nyc; I consecrated my life to God in 2001 and I remain in the world as a full time city employee. I have been serving God as a lector for over 10 years. I came to read Henri Nouwen by my best friend and from the recent book she gave me for Christmas, “Spiritual Direction” is how I discovered this website. I subscribed to receive the Daily Meditation. As I read the prologue, I, too, felt the excitement. I look forward to growing spiritually and heal. God bless.

  61. Fred Lang says:

    My name is Fred Lang.
    I live in Webster Groves MO.
    Been reading and following Henri Nouwen since the 70’s. I have participated in several book studies using Henri Nouwen’s books.
    I look forward to participating in this study.
    God has had my wife and I on an interesting journey at this season of life.

  62. Patty Olstad says:

    Hi, I am Patty Olstad. I am currently in Nashville, TN. This is my first online book discussion and I look forward to the new sharing experience. I have a Norwegian name but am actually a Chinese native from Hong Kong. I came over as a young adult and have been in US for about 35 years. I was baptized in Hong Kong in HK Baptist Church in my youth and have attended different Chinese church communities (mainly Baptists or Evangelical) in various cities in the United States.

    Life takes many twists and turns. I am now divorced, an empty nester and semi-retired after I was let go from the corporate world. There was a tremendous sense of void in the transition. My family is thousands of miles away and across the ocean. What am I going to do in the next 20 years? Where do I belong?

    Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I left the Chinese churches and went to an Episcopal church in the neighborhood instead. From there, I came across a quote of Henri and was broken down to tears. I started reading “The Return of the Prodigal Son”, then “The Wounded Warrior”, “The Inner Voice of Love” and now “The Road to Daybreak”. His words grab my heart as he bared his soul to God.

    Being a Chinese, this is a completely new experience for me. I look forward to the sharing and the insights from all those who love God.

    • Rosa Elena says:

      Hi Patty, nice to meet you. I am Catholic, and I, too, read “The Return of the Prodigal Son”, and “The Inner Voice of Love.” He just touches everyone who reads him. I agree with you, his words grab at my heart too; it is humbling to read his books. I have also read “Compassion,” “Here and Now,” “Life of the Beloved,” and a few others. I am currently reading “Spiritual Direction” and I am following everything as he says in the book and posting it on my blog. I wish I could have a Spiritual Director like him. I need to buy his all his other books! God bless.

    • Jeffrey Dean says:

      Enjoyed my time in Hong Kong, 1999.

  63. Dale Edmunds says:

    My name is Dale Edmunds and I am a parishioner at St. John the Evangelist in Hydes Maryland. Right after I became a Catholic in 1997 at the age if 50 if found that I have actually been on a spiritual quest as far back as I could remember. As a part of this continuing journey I was professed as a Secular Franciscan in 1997 so the path continues. Recently I realized that my prayer life has gotten very dry and I was just going through the motions. After a retreat this past weekend I made a private vow to do what I could to continue moving forward and this reading opportunity could not have come at a better place.

  64. Rev. C. Kay Fuino says:

    I’m C. Kay Fuino and I serve a United Methodist Church as Associate Pastor in Duluth, GA. I lead studies in a variety of areas to help my congregation understand the scriptures and expand their spiritual lives. I first encountered Nouwen by reading The Return of the Prodigal Son. I have taught the book twice and used it as a sermon series. My own spiritual life is nourished by reading and teaching. This is the first time I’ve taken the time for me to participate in this type of discussion and I’m looking forward to it.
    As I read the prologue I am reminded that sometimes we think we are called to a ministry that is certainly wonderful and worthwhile but not the place God intends for us to serve. It takes a great deal of discernment to back up and realize God gives us gifts for exactly where we are to serve.
    As I approach a time for change in my own ministry I’m hoping to find some direction during this Lenten for what is next for me.

  65. Bonnie Anderson says:

    Good Morning,

    I am a retired college instructor from Canada. I have three daughters and nine grandchildren and I spend my days trying to keep up with all of them. My daughter first introduced me to Henri Nouwen when she gave me the book “With Open Hands”. She had just spent her summer months working in part with L’Arche. I had read quotes from HN prior to that but when I got the book and started learning more about this remarkable writer and his life, I got hooked. My book “Road to Daybreak” has not arrived yet but I will follow the discussion and pray it comes soon.

    I hope I come “With Open Hands” and heart, something which I often have a hard time doing. Opening myself up to others.

    With hope.

  66. David Brown says:

    Hi, My name is David B. I am retired UCC/UMC/Catholic pastor/now lay person who served for 40 years in Pa. Vt. and South Carlina were I have lived since 88.I was ordained in UCC in 77 in Pa, but served in a variety of denominations as mentioned.I have always had a hunger for a deeper walk with Christ especially in Worship and prayer. Over 20 yrs ago I met a Roman Cat. Priest who became my best friend. I became Catholic in heart and am now active in retirement at my local Catholic church. The Eucharist is the center of my sense of Christ presence. Nouwen has also been a part of my journey for over 20yrs. through his books. One feels like they know and love him like family through his manner of being so open to his readers. I have a picture of him in my bookcase. People think he is a family member and He is for me and so many in our hearts. Since I am now retired since 15, and no longer an active Clergy person now what? It causes me a lot of anxiety . Nouwen says in the Prologue,”Lord, show me where you want me to go and I will follow You.” This is what I have decided to do in Lent and in our book study. Peace to everyone in our Journey.

  67. Gretchen says:

    I am Gretchen. I discovered the online books of Henri Nouwen’s when I did “Return of the Prodigal Son” many years back. It transformed my relationship with Christ! Henri remains my most beloved person and author of heart ministries for Christ and I await in excited anticipation for this particularly poignant Lenten book choice given I am at a similar crossroads in my life as I was when I stumbled across the last time. God has certainly placed me right where I need to be to listen, learn and trust through this community. It is a pleasure and treat to be amongst you all! Peace and joy be yours in abundance!

  68. Kendall Taylor says:

    My name is Kendall Taylor. I am a retired United Methodist pastor, living in Central Florida. I have enjoyed reading Henri Nouwen’s books for for many years. I’ve never participated in a blog like this but I’m looking forward

  69. Gretchen Saari says:

    I am a retired elementary school counselor. Since retirement I have volunteered in a number of settings, but right now my main setting is the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
    I also have what I call my mission. I struggle with my mission and pray about it daily. My middle son died an accidental death this past July when he relapsed from a heroin addiction. I had read of what is called the Stress, Strain, Coping, Support model for affected others. When I tried to find it in the US, I heard from one of the researchers in Britain. He invited me to advocate for it, to look for a foot-hold in the US. I am looking for direction as to what I am asked by God to do.
    I have loved Henri since I read The Return of the Prodigal Son in 2015. In my grief journey, the meditations have been a voice I rely on daily to comfort, center and inspire me every morning. In the prologue, I was struck that Henri wrote in the night, that he struggled for direction, and that he realized he was led to receive as well as to give.
    I am excited to join others who love Henri. I tell my friends about him often – and my two closest spiritual friends, love him also.

    • Ray Glennon says:

      Welcome Gretchen. We’re glad that you are joining us for this Lenten journey. Thank you for sharing your grief over the tragic death of your son last summer. May the Lord give you peace in this very difficult time. And may the welcoming community that gathers here to journey with Henri be a source of strength and encouragement for you as you pursue your mission.
      With heartfelt blessings,

    • Rosa Elena says:

      Hi Gretchen, I am sorry to hear about the loss of your son. May God continue to give you strength. I, too, fell in love with Henri after reading “The Return of the Prodigal Son” a few years ago. I feel he is still leading inspiring us from heaven. God bless.

  70. Penny Warne says:

    My name is Penny Warne. I live in San José, CA and am a Pastoral Associate at Holy Spirit Parish. I first read Henri when I was searching for a purpose in life. We have begun a new process at the parish to help the community Grow in their friendship with Jesus and I have had the privilege of sharing a 6 week series on “Making all things new.”It has been a wonderful journey and I am anxious to pray with Henri in this new book. Thanks for the opportunity

  71. father Mike says:

    Hi I am Father Mike Van Cleve and serve as a parochial vicar and chaplain here in Houston Texas. I like Henri Nouwen and want to be part of this Lenten experience

  72. Deb Gustafson says:

    I am Deb Gustafson and currently reside in Advance, North Carolina. I have participated in previous Advent and Lent studies and love Henri’s works! I first read his works in a Bible study group of women! We took one of his books and devoured it while on a spiritual weekend retreat!! We read & studied many of his books over the years, that I can’t remember what the first one was! I am a retired middle school teacher and am currently mentoring new teachers. It is a blessing to give back to my profession! I look forward to this Lenten study.

  73. Elaine M says:

    I am a long-time teacher of English and social justice courses, soon to retire in order to spend more time on my youth and advocacy projects for the St. Vincent DePaul Society. I was introduced to the work of Henri Nouwen several years ago when I was the community service coordinator for a school and some of my students volunteered at the L’Arche community in that city. Since then I have subscribed to the daily reflection from the Henri Nouwen website and participated in many of the very fruitful and inspiring book discussions.

    As someone who has some experience in teaching advanced courses in rather elite schools (though no place like Harvard or Yale), I understand a bit of both Henri’s pull toward an intellectual environment and his dissatisfaction with a culture that defines success and self-worth in secular terms. I also understand his search for more meaningful work among the poor of South America and the pain of discovering this was not exactly the right fit for him. I find his gravitation toward a “home” among people with tremendous physical and intellectual challenges to be stunning. I admire his openness to Christ’s signal to “come follow me” to this new home and mission and his humility in acknowledging his own “brokenness and need for radical healing.” And what a radical change it was! I am both drawn to and frightened by the word “radical,” meaning originally a change from the “roots” up. Lent is certainly about such a change, but am I up for a challenge that could change me from my very foundation? Fortunately, I know that the “home” I have found among the participants of these Henri book discussions will be, as Henri has said, “bread for the journey.”

  74. Marge says:

    I wonder as I read Henri’s writing, “In the midst of all my doubts and uncertainties, the voices of Jan Risse, Jean Vanderbilt, and L’Arche gained in strength.”…..led me to ask myself, “what voices are gaining strength in my life right now, or perhaps during these days of Lent via this reading and discussion, what voices will I hear?

    Already I connect with “A stranger had walked into my house and without asking me for anything, was showing me my own home.” So not only listening, but watching, praying….Thank you.

    • Abby R says:

      In the prologue Henri so honestly and unashamedly states that he “had to face the fact that he wasn’t capable of doing the work for a missioner in a Spanish-speaking country, that I needed more emotional support than my fellow missioners could offer, that the hard struggle for justice often left me discouraged and dispirited …” (page 3). Already I feel comforted by his words. Too often we try to “force” things that do not feel right and the result is always pain – it may start as emotional turmoil but over time it can actually become physical pain. I love that Henri was able to admit to himself that things were not working for him in Bolivia and realize that it was an unhealthy situation. Bless that wonderful man for both his honesty and his ability to write about it in such a way that offers insight and comfort to so many others. I live about 40 minutes west of Cambridge, MA. In addition to Harvard University there are many other prestigious universities within an hour drive from me. I appreciate how Henri describes Cambridge as “a world of academic intensity, institutional rivalry, intellectual competition, and ever mounting excitement”. Such stimulation can be overwhelming and exhausting for a sensitive souls. Though I must confess how sorry I was to learn that Henri was living not too far from me for a period of time. It would be many years later, however, that I was blessed with “meeting” him through an audio book I just happened to find at the library one day … Thank you, God, for Henri. I look forward to traveling through Lent with him and with all of you.

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