Feb 25th to Feb 29th: Welcome and Introductions

Reading: None

In your hands you have one of the greatest spiritual classics of our time, by one of the great spiritual masters of our time. – James Martin, S.J.

A warm welcome to each of you as we begin our Lenten journey together. It is with great joy and anticipation that I look forward to greeting old friends returning for another fruitful discussion and to meeting new friends joining us for the first time. As happens during Lent each year, a caring community of believers and seekers from across the globe will gather to read and reflect on the spiritual writing of Henri Nouwen and to share their wisdom, insights, and stories with each other.  Thank you for joining us as we “come apart and rest a while” (Mark 6:31) to read and discuss Henri’s most popular work, The Return of the Prodigal Son – A Story of Homecoming, as we prepare for Easter.

According to John Donahue, S.J., “No section of the New Testament has received as much attention and extravagant praise” as the parable of the prodigal son. Donahue cites J. E. Compton who called it the “greatest of all Jesus’ parables.” In The Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri Nouwen explores this timeless story by reflecting on a chance encounter with a poster of Rembrandt’s painting of the same name in the light of Nouwen’s own spiritual journey during troubled times. Through Henri’s words we come to see the parable and the painting with new eyes and a deeper understanding. I know that was certainly the case for me. I first encountered The Return of the Prodigal Son for sale after Mass at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd in Singapore at a time of great personal difficulty and distress. I read it on the flight home and it was was life-giving. When we discussed The Return in this space during Lent 2013 and Lent 2015, we were blessed by the many touching and insightful comments shared by a large group of active participants.

Let’s briefly describe how our online book discussion works. If you’ve joined us before, this will serve as a review.

Beginning on March 1st and each Sunday during Lent, a new entry or post will be added to the book discussion (the blog) home page.  By clicking on the Home link in the black bar under the photograph at the top of the blog you will know you are in the current week. You can then click on the bold title to open the post and any comments. The title of post will include the dates and topics for the week ahead. The post will present a brief moderator’s reflection and suggest some questions for discussion. Participants are encouraged to comment on the post by responding to the suggested questions, by sharing their own reflections, and by replying to the comments of others.

To read the comments or to leave a comment of your own,  scroll down to the bottom of the post.  If you don’t see any comments, click on the small link at the bottom that says
## Comments.  To leave a new comment, continue scrolling down and use the “Leave a Reply” box.  To reply to someone else’s comment, click the Reply link directly below their comment and complete the box.  After you submit a new comment or a reply, I as moderator or Will at the Nouwen Society 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 (follow link in the black bar above). If you have any questions about the blog, please don’t hesitate to ask either by submitting a comment or sending me an email at the address in my bio below.

As we begin our journey together, it’s always nice to learn a little bit about each of you. Over the next few days you are encouraged to introduce yourself. You may choose to share:

  • Your general geographic location
  • To whom or what you dedicate your days or energy, and why
  • How you came to “know/read” Henri Nouwen and whether or not you participated in a previous discussion.
  • What you hope to experience during this discussion

Welcome to each of you and I look forward to your introductions!

We begin The Return of the Prodigal Son – A Story of Homecoming this Sunday,
March 1st.  Join us to begin a spirit-filled and enriching Lenten journey.

In gratitude,
Ray

RAY GLENNON: Ray came to know and trust Henri’s written word in a special way in 2004 when he discovered The Return of the Prodigal Son for sale after Mass in Singapore. He began participating in Henri Nouwen Society book discussions in 2010 and has served as a moderator since 2014. He developed and led a six-week adult education course on “Henri Nouwen and A Spirituality of Living.” Ray volunteers in his parish Confirmation program and other ministries. He and his wife are candidates in the Secular Franciscan Order (OFS). You may contact Ray by email at ray.glennon@1972.usna.com and you can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/@RayGlennon.

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118 Responses to Feb 25th to Feb 29th: Welcome and Introductions

  1. Kevin Haurin says:

    Hi! My name is Kevin. I live near Cincinnati, OH. I have been reading the daily meditations for some time. Look forward to this shared experience with so many who have perceived life is just a short journey that provides us opportunity to prepare for our ultimate union with God.

  2. Ellen Jimerson says:

    I look forward to this discussion

  3. Peggy Guiler says:

    This is a journey I look forward to. I came to love Nouwen’s work when I studied to become a spiritual director. The simplicity of the words and the depth of the meaning touched places in my heart which needed healing and understanding I found in his work. He quickly became my favourite of the “modern mystics”. I live near Port Dover Ontario, Canada and work as a spiritual director/minister (among other things). Life is busy but I will find time for this study.

  4. Jo Ann Moore says:

    Hi! I’m a little late to the dance as I have been traveling and can never figure out what day it is. I am from St Louis, MO and am currently in CA for an extended period of time which is why I sought out this study. I will be away from my home congregation in St Louis and so wanted to be a part of a Lent study. This is my first online study of this kind, but not my first exposure to The Prodigal. I have read it multiple times throughout my life – always reading it multiple times through the eyes of the Father, and of the younger son and of the older brother. I am delighted there are so many first-time readers of the book. Looking forward to it!

  5. Suzanne McGeough says:

    Hello, I am Suzanne, from Sylvan Lake, Alberta CA.
    I am a retired Social Worker and a long time member of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada. I coordinate the Pastoral Care ministry in our parish and I am busy with family, especially grandchildren. I purchased this book 25 years ago. I love all of Henri’s work. He is so easy to relate to on a personable, intimate level, especially if one has introspection on how God works through our life, mostly our pain! So happy to be a part of this study. Thank you so much for the daily meditations, they are my favorite!

  6. Greetings all: I was afraid I missed introducing myself, but I see others have signed up today too. I live in Dorset, VT and was alerted to this discussion by Marianne Campbell who lives in a nearby town and is part of our Commonweal Local Community discussion group at our Catholic parish in Manchester, VT. My background is as a reporter (and more recently a copy editor). Have long been aware of Nouwen, but only now getting to one of his books. Looking forward to the discussions. Cheers, Sue

  7. Patrice Donnelly says:

    Hello. My name is Patrice Donnelly. I live in Maryland, between D.C. and Baltimore. I have participated in several Henri Nouwen lenten discussions, and I look forward to reading and discussing “The Return of the Prodigal Son” with you!

  8. Melissa says:

    Hello. I’m from northeast Georgia, USA. I’ve been a Catholic school elementary teacher since 1983 in 3 different states through the years. I was introduced to Henri Nouwen’s writings through the spiritual opportunities granted me as a teacher and then in my studies for a Master’s in Religious Education. That intense, 3 year journey was the beginning of my spiritual renewal. I’ve most recently picked up a few of his books to read and study in depth, The Prodigal Son, the one I chose for Lent 2020.

  9. Christopher Ciummei says:

    Hello there! My name is Christopher Ciummei, and I am a Catholic from Central PA, USA. I am currently employed as an independent historical consultant. I came to know Henri Nouwen’s work through a family member, and also through some religious I am acquainted with who are big fans of his work. I have read Following Jesus, am working on The Inner Voice of Love, and am now adding The Return of the Prodigal Son to that. I am hoping to gain a better understanding of myself through this reading and discussion, as several difficult life changes recently have left me with a particularly strong desire for Christ’s love, forgiveness, and direction this Lent and moving forward.

  10. Karin says:

    Hi

    My name is Karin. I live in County Durham, England. Until recently I was a General Practitioner but I’m currently on sick leave with depression and burnout. I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while. There’s a print of the painting of the wall at a retreat centre I go to and I’ve seen the original in St Petersburg.

    • Colleen Kerr says:

      Hi Karin, My name is Colleen and I am living in Ottawa, Canada. May your time out lead you to rest, renewal and self care. I would like to hear more detail of your experience while seeing Rembrandt’s original painting of The Prodigal Son in St. Petersburg. Thank you.

      • Karin says:

        I only saw the painting as part of a tour not like Henri but there is something about seeing the real thing rather than a poster that leaves an impression. I shared about this book in church on Sunday and several people came up to me afterwards and commented on seeing the picture on visits to St Petersburg ( which is a lot nearer us than you!) and the fact that it left a lasting impression.

  11. Amy Crawford says:

    Greetings Everyone,
    I’m Amy and I am from Akron, OH. My days are spent serving some amazing people through an organization called Young Life. We come alongside adolescents to introduce them to Christ and help them grow in faith. A few of my staff-mates have mentioned this work to me over the years. I am thrilled to finally be reading it during Lent 2020. I resonate with Henri’s writings and works. Looking forward to this discussion.

  12. Michelle Carattini says:

    Hi everyone,
    My name is Michelle and I am living in northeast Ohio. We moved here just about 2 years ago. I have always endeavored to study and pray and seek God’s will for my life and where and how to dedicate my time and energies. This has been a bit of a challenge here in NE Ohio to accomplish in a group setting. I pray the rosary every morning, live with a group on Instagram, which has been a blessing. I have been wanting a book study, especially with my Edmonton community/friends (where I lived before Ohio) and couldn’t quite figure it all out. Then this website and group was referred to me by one of my Edmonton friends.

    We’ve always had Henri on our bookshelf, but I’ve not read this book before. I am so looking forward to hear, learn and be part of this world wide group discussion. We have so much to share with each other and what a beautiful way to use the internet for God.

    I am so happy and thankful to be able to join this group for Lent. Thanks to Kathy!
    Peace and prayers for all.

  13. Nancy True says:

    Hi
    My Nane is Nancy True. I live in the Denver area of Colorado. I was a student of Henri’s when he taught at Harvard before leaving the Academy. I was a young student at Andover Newton Theological School, attending seminary to see if there was a place for me in the world. I’m an ordained UCC minister and have found a calling in Clinical Chaplaincy, until recently. I continue to work very part time while I attend Denver University for my Doctorate in Education. I’ve read the return of the prodical son for many years, have the poster and found the “site t sister” peaking out behind the column. I’ve been the silent sister for a very long time. Now, I wish to find my voice in a human world that is struggling so very painfully and offer my gifts and talents to heal, restore, and reconcile one another and creation. I look forward to reading Henri’s word again in this new adventure during Lent 2020.
    Nancy

  14. Kathy says:

    Hi everyone. My name is Kathy. I’m a former editor and communications person who lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Now retired, I teach English to refugees and immigrants. I love Henri Nouwen’s daily reflections and am looking forward to reading his book with all of you.

  15. Marton says:

    Hi everyone,
    My name is Marton and I’m writing from Budapest, Hungary, as well. My friend Mark just told me about this initiative. My background includes 7 years of preparation for the priesthood in the ranks of a religious order, which I didn’t finish, and quit before the perpetual professions. Currently I’m looking for a way to be in the world and work for the good of people at the same time.
    I haven’t read much of the spiritual father’s writings but the little contact I’ve had with them gives me the impression he has much to say on the emotional side of our relationship with God which I am in dire need of recently. So, here I am.

    • Hello Marton,
      I pray this finds you well. Thank you for sharing. I myself am a seminarian and can sort of relate with you. Please be assured of my prayers for God’s will to be done in your life, brother, and please pray for me. May the Lord give you peace.
      Peace,
      Philip

  16. Mark Müller says:

    Dear Spiritual Fellow-Travellers,
    my nickname is Mark. 🙂 It is great and a brand new opportunity for me to join such an online sharing-group, I have never been a part of this kind of experience.
    First of all I’d like to say thanks to the organisers. Secondly to Henri Nouwen for that that he wrote his spritual books.
    Now a little information about me: I live in Budapest (Hungary) and since this month have been working as a fundraiser and communicational collegaue for a catholic social center where we help homeless and deeply rejected people or those who are living in huge needs (mostly basic things like ‘no place to live’, ‘financial’, ‘mental’ or other special/generally complex problems). Our mission is to strive to love them as the heavenly Father loves each of us. Our job is based on our faith and professional vocation/specified professions.
    I met Henri J. M. Nouwen when a carmelite priest suggested me to read “The Prodigal Son” from him. It was a great inner journey for me and I started to buy all books of Henri which were translated into hungarian. Then some months ago I started to follow the ministry of the Henri Nouwen Society and to read, not regulary but relatively often, the daily newsletter.
    I am looking forward this onilne discussion, your insights and the inspiring moments given by God meanwhile. I wish for experiencing our heavenly Father’s living and unconditional love to me/to us.
    God bless us all and have a graceful and transformational journey home (!) to everyone!

  17. Jim says:

    I live in the Northwest and have spent my working life in as a clergy person, a mental health worker, and now administering affordable housing. I’ve been reading Nouwen for a number of years, but haven’t really let in permeate to my soul. I’m currently recovering from a very difficult situation that I created and has had a terrible impact on my family. I’m hoping the reading and participation in the group during this Lenten season will be integral in me finding peace and restoring what is broken. I long to return home.

  18. Louise says:

    Hello, everyone. My name is Sister Louise. I am a retired religious and live in our community convent\health care center, Camilla Hall, located in Malvern, PA. Having been an educator for many years, I enjoy reading whenever I can and especially enjoy attempting something new.
    This is my first time participating in a discussion of this type, so please, I ask your patience. When I saw the proposed title, I immediately knew that I needed to join this group. Although I have a deep appreciation for all of Henri’s morning meditations and his writings, I have never read The Return of the Prodigal Son – am looking forward to sharing insights from and with all of you. God bless us as we enter this holy journey to the Father’s deepest heart.

    • Hello Sister Louise! I pray this finds you well. I am a seminarian from St. Charles and we were just at Camilla Hall for our Annual Christmas Tour in December. It’s always a great honor and joy being with you. Please give Sister Regina Christine and Sister Regina Anita my regards and assurance of prayers. Looking forward to journeying through Lent with you, Sister! Please pray for me, and be assured of my prayers! God bless.
      Philip

    • Nancy True says:

      Hi Sister Louise,
      I lived in Malvern, PA when I was a child. I have happy memories. Thanks for joining the reading and discussion.
      Nancy True

  19. Meena says:

    Hello I’m Meena, I live in outer London, UK. I work for a health charity. This will be my second time in the discussions here, first was Advent past. I practice Centering prayer, journeying “into the inner sanctuary of my own being where God has chosen to dwell” (Prologue, p.18, Nouwen, Prodigal son…). Henri Nouwen’s words often shed light on my experiences through his books and daily meditations. I’ve not read this book of his though listened to tapes of his talks on the Return of the prodigal son more than 10 years ago. Being part of this community of people sharing and reading Henri Nouwen has already been so enriching. I anticipate more blessings to come in this Lent period – thank you Ray and all

  20. Mieneke says:

    hi, I’m Mieneke, a genuine dutchie, (living in Nijkerk) and a beloved daughter of my heavenly Father.
    This is what I knew since my childhood, but in tough times in my life Jesus challengend me to grow deeper in this mystery. And reading the books from Henri Nouwen was so helpful! the first book I read was ‘turn my mourning into dancing’.
    Every day I read the daily meditation, and every day it is a blessing for me.
    I’m married (almost 40 years) to my beloved husband, (grand-)mother, psychosocial therapist and spiritual counselor.
    I really looking forward to deepen my insights in the story of the prodigal son(daughter)

  21. Leslie says:

    Hello from Crossville, TN. I was introduced to Henri Nouwen while working at a local thrift store. A very nice gentleman was checking out, and I noticed a Thomas Merton title in the books he had chosen. I commented about my regard for Merton and he suggested Nouwen. I will be forever grateful.

  22. Miriam Walter says:

    Greetings
    I’m Miriam from Auckland. A full time caregiver since 25 years caring
    for my adult son( severe traumatic brain injury) and now also for my husband
    who has vascular dementia. An Indian Brahmin doctor now converted to
    Christianity introduced me to Henri Nouwen. I read his Daily Meditations
    watch the you tube videos or listen to the podcasts on the web site. When a
    Line strikes a chord in my soul I disconnect to meditate on it.
    I was delighted to read of the online discussion on The Return of the Prodigal Son.
    I have just got the book and am now. reading it.
    I so look forward to this .
    God bless us all.

  23. Marsha says:

    I’m Marsha from Chicago. I’m deeply connected to my faith journey. Enjoy reading Nouwen’s daily meditations. Have read other of Nouwen’s books but this was my first experience with The Prodigal Son. Was touched by Nouwen’s insights and connections to each of the figures in that parable. And look forward to exploring my own connections with those figures and how they may be reflected in my own life. This is my first participation in this kind of discussion.

  24. Jacky Lowe says:

    Hello everyone my name is Jacky and I am in South Florida for the spring. My work is as a missionary in Madagascar where I worked with the Anglican church helping the women and children. I completed my first discussion of Nouwen’s book, Following Jesus in Advent last year. It was a wonderful experience and a joy to read such varied comments. I love Nouwen’s books and read his daily blog.
    I look forward to the discussion on the Prodigal Son, which I have read but know I will enjoy even more with the discussion group.

  25. Deborah Hubenthal says:

    Can’t Wait. Read 2x by myself

  26. Debbie Vaughn says:

    I’m Debbie from Arkansas. I read this book in 2017, journaling and making notes about what the message was for me. I’ll be curious to see what the questions and observations from the group will be as well as how my perspective may have shifted in the nearly 3 years.

  27. Patricia Martin says:

    I am Pat, live in Illinois, have been married 51 years, and have 5 children and 10 grandchildren. I had not read this title of Nouwen’s before but participated in the recent Advent discussion. There I became interested in “The Return of the Prodigal Son” because of the references of several others to the book. My copy arrived a few days before Ash Wednesday and when the day came I began to read. Rather than post an introduction here I continued to read up to the first section, and I just now have finished reading the introductions from 71 discussion participants.

    I tend to read rather quickly through things, so judging by your backgrounds and experiences I expect to receive insights into “The Return” that I would otherwise miss.

  28. Mike K. says:

    I’m Mike from Oklahoma. Five years ago I retired from a regional university in the state where I had taught music and served as a dean, and am now teaching music and humanities at a christian university in central Oklahoma. My work brings fulfillment to my life because I love what I teach and who I teach. Seeing emerging adults develop their own worldview is for me a rewarding experience. I first encountered Henri Nouwen after my wife died and a friend gave me a copy of his book Turn My Mourning Into Dancing. This will be my first attempt to participate in an online book discussion group, but I am looking forward to devoting attention to this Lenten season through reading this book and learning from the insights of others in this community.

  29. Diane Frances says:

    Greetings from the snowy mountains of Colorado!
    This year I started reading Henri Nouwen’s daily meditations and that’s how I learned about this course. I have admired Henri as a spiritual teacher for many years. I love his honest yet gentle style. I read “ With Open Hands” while I was sitting at the bedside of my dying father a few years ago and I felt like Henri ushered the Holy Spirit into the room.
    I’m open to receiving whatever gifts this course may bring and look forward to sharing it with all of you.

  30. Joe says:

    Good evening,
    My name is Joe and I am from California. I am an educator, husband, brother and father who seems to constantly struggle with sin and relationships. The Prodigal Son is one of my favorite parables and Henri Nouwen is one of my favorite authors. Even though I have read the book before, I always wanted to reread it. What better time than lent to do so. I am looking forward to sharing with you all. Thanks for having me.

  31. Phil Smith says:

    Hello – my name is Phil and I live in Derbyshire in the U.K. I’ve taken part in these groups since 2013 which was when I first read The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen. It had then, and continues to have, a deep impact on my work with young people in education. More and more I am finding this, and other works of Henri Nouwen, something I share with adult friends, colleagues and even strangers as it becomes more apparent to me just how many of us need spiritual direction in our lives. This book is the one I’ve given away most in all my life – I’ve never been to worried when it isn’t returned as I know it will be doing a great deal of good in someone else’s hands and heart. Looking forward to sharing throughout Lent.

  32. Marilyn says:

    Greetings from Wisconsin. I have had the privilege of being inspired and challenged by the Henri Nouwen daily meditations and have read several of his books over the past several years. This is my first time participating in a Henri Nouwen book discussion. I really look forward to it.

  33. Maggie Beckjord says:

    Hi, I am Maggie Beckjord from Cincinnati, Ohio. I enjoy all aspects of Henri Nouwens writings. I use his meditations in my outreach called The Art of Becoming. I call him the prophet of Love. Many years ago a teenager asked what is Love. She said she knew everything not to do, but didn’t know what Love was. I found The Inner Voice and more and have the substance of words, thoughts and scripture through which to address this question. My heart knows being the Beloved and want others to know this as they journey with God and others. I gave my mother The Return of the Prodigal with a study guide when she returned to her faith after a 40 year hiatus. I look forward to the Lenten study.

  34. Louise Cantin says:

    Hi, my name is Louise and I’m from Montreal, Canada. About 13 years ago, as I was going through a period of turbulence in my professional and personal lives, I was introduced to The Inner Voice of Love, which touched my heart deeply. Henri’s words described so completely what I was going through and they filled me with renewed hope! Henri Nouwen has been and continues to be an important spiritual inspiration to me! I now minister as a Spiritual Companion and this is my first online discussion…as I read Le retour de l’enfant prodigue (I have the French version). Blessings to each of you.

  35. Christine says:

    Greetings from Arkansas. I retired here about 7 years ago and feel that, in many ways, I have found home. I enjoy getting out for walks along tree-lined trails as well as simply watching the variety of birds that come to my back patio each morning for their breakfast. Over time, I’ve been learning to recognize God’s hand in the beauty of nature – something I never gave much thought to when I was spending much of my time in a corporate office.

    I have partipated in quite a few of the studies here. I have found the comments of others helpful in deepening my understanding and appreciation of Henri’s writing.
    I took part in the 2015 discussion of Return of the Prodigal Son and just went back and reread some of the comments posted then. I am looking forward to revisiting this book and discovering new insights within the group.

  36. Sandy Buchanan Johnson says:

    I was introduced to Henri Nouwen by a Free Methodist pastor in California as I returned to the Lord after many years away — it was the mid-1980s, and he had me read “The Wounded Healer” which we then prayed through as I re-surrendered my life to Jesus. A pattern of inner healing has continued for the rest of my life. I moved to Upstate New York almost 18 years ago, and my husband passed unexpectedly almost 10 years ago. Nouwen has been my companion through my journey of grief, along with other authors, but his books I return to again and again. His insightful words touch me deeply and encourage spiritual growth.

    I confess that I read the ending pages where Nouwen describes the two sons, and laughed when I realized that both have, and still are, living in me! I look forward to opening my hands to God as the two personalities are redeemed in my life!

    Blessings to you all as we journey together!

  37. Lucinda says:

    The first book I read of Henri Nouwen’s was Life of the Beloved and it is so dog eared and written in from rereading it. I found it in the used book section of a retreat center near me in Iowa and I’m so glad I spent the $1.50 to purchase it! It was as if it was waiting for me to pick it up and take it home. I have never participated in an online discussion about any book nor have I done a lent study with a group, always doing something on my own so this is a new experience for me. I know that I need community to grow spiritually and so I’m looking forward to this online discussion on a book by a favorite author.

  38. Dana says:

    Hello from Dana in Colorado. My Spiritual Director introduced me to Henri Nouwen several years ago. This is the first book of his I read and my first discussion group. It is my #1 or #2 Nouwen book that I continually return to when I need to be grounded spiritually. Henri’s vulnerability speaks to my inner being. I look forward to reading the book with others and learning from other participants.

  39. Janice says:

    I was asked by a very dear friend to join her on this Lenten journey through reading and participating in this Book Discussion. I’m dedicating this journey to three special men who shared a lifelong friendship of laughter, caring and love for each other. Each of them while very unique shared a love of family, selflessness and humility and have set examples for many and have helped me to understand what truly matters during my lifetime. I hope through this work I have a deeper understanding of my faith and forgiveness especially forgiveness of myself.

    Looking forward to participating in this discussion.
    Janice

  40. Catherine says:

    Hi, my name is Catherine and I am from Western North Carolina. Henri Nouwen’s books and insight into how we are the beloved have helped me through many hard times. I am looking forward to reading through The Return of the Prodigal Son with an online group. I was introduced to this book through a lovely woman from England who served as priest to our Episcopal congregation for a time.

  41. Liz Forest says:

    I first met Henri in his book “Open Hands” while on Retreat. His wisdom is practical. In this large metropolis of New York city, I am blessed to live in one of the outer boroughs. No need to get 4 wheels out on the congested roads; two wheels will get us around.
    It’s been proven transport when my husband brought home a large watermelon and 18 lb box of raisins. I devote time to music ministry for my Parish choir. From my keyboard I lead online monastery group whose title is Ora et Labora(Benedictine favorite). I’m happy to join this Lenten pilgrimage with you. Having participated in these for several years, I’m sure we will be blessed.

  42. Katy-Anne says:

    I’m Katy-Anne, a committed Episcopalian on the Mississippi Gulf Coast with four children. I have not read a lot of Nouwen but using his quote “Being the Beloved expresses the core truth of our existence” as my main meditation for Lent. After experiencing a lot of trauma in life I’m trying to learn and live into the fact that I am beloved of God. My friend Tracey (the one a few comments down) told me about this study and invited me to join.

  43. Jody says:

    Hello all! My name is Jody and I live in Phoenix, Arizona. Most of my days are filled with the stories of others as I serve as a counselor. I was first introduced to Henri Nouwen almost ten years ago when I was an counseling intern and seeing my first clients. I picked up “Life of the Beloved” one day in between sessions and have been a fan ever since. During this season of Lent, hope to draw closer to God through our discussions and reading of the book. I look forward to being a part of this special community.

  44. Mike Brooks says:

    Thanks to my friend, Don, for making me aware of this opportunity. I’m a former educator, now in pastoral ministry, which is where I dedicate much of my time and energy. My wife, Darlene and I live in the Oklahoma City area. I can’t exactly recall when I was introduced to Henri’s writings, but they’ve been such encouraging blessings to me. I’ve utilized them in my work with college students, giving them as gifts to a number of young adults over the years. I’m looking forward to this new experience.

  45. Patricia Hesse says:

    I live and teach in a tiny, rural town in northeast Arkansas called “Weiner.” Participating in these Advent and Lenten discussions has blessed me in so many ways. I first read “The Return of the Prodigal Son” after reading it was Hillary Clinton’s favorite book. It is mine as well –I have read it many times, discovering something new with each reading. I have a large, framed print of Rembrandt’s painting in my dining room and am VERY excited it is the focus of this discussion.

  46. Connie Stoudt says:

    Thank you for having this study on The Return of the Prodigal Son, Ray. I have read most of Henri’s works and been in awe of how he can bring the scriptures so close to our hearts with better understanding and a closeness to God.

    I live in Ohio and appreciate the daily Blessings in e-mail also.

  47. Susan McNeely says:

    Hello, my name is Sue and I live in Dover, Pennsylvania. I work full time in the accounting profession and am looking forward to retiring in 3 years! I have 2 adult children and will be a first time grandma in less than 2 months! I was introduced to Henri Nouwen through an Advent devotional several years ago and just several months ago his book The Spirituality of Fundraising was recommended by our young seminary intern who is working to “save” our church’s Outdoor Ministry Camp and Retreat Center. After reading that, I was drawn to reading more about Henri’s life and work and found this website and have been reading his daily devotional since the first of the year. I have not read this book and have never done an online book study or forum. I am looking forward to this Lenten journey and am hoping to draw closer to God and find my lifelong purpose by searching my innermost thoughts and how God can use me. Thanks for this community!

  48. Greetings in Christ!

    My name is Susan and I live in North Carolina, USA. I retired from teaching preschoolers on the autism spectrum a year ago. I currently substitute in classes where the children have special needs and spend time with my grandchildren. I was introduced to Henri through friends in contemplative life workshops. This will be my first book. I have been reading the daily devotions since January. I teach adult Sunday School in the Methodist Church.

  49. Tim says:

    Greetings, my name is Tim and I live in Upstate New York. I am in recovery and I recently celebrated 7 years. I was familiar with this parable from my early childhood education in a Catholic school, however it was forgotten a long time ago.

    I was reunited with the parable during confession in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC. I was confessing my infidelity as I was about to begin my journey into a 12-step program, admitting to God, myself, and another person the exact nature of my wrongs. The priest wanted to make clear to me that God is merciful, forgives, and that I am beloved. Shortly afterward I read Henri’s book and have been following his daily emails ever since. My life has been transformed, essentially from this parable.

    I am looking forward to learning and sharing in this diverse community, and I am filled with gratefulness for Ray for moderating this forum.

    Tim

  50. Tanya says:

    Hello, I’m Tanya from Boston and work in healthcare. I first met Henri Nouwen in college reading “With Open Hands”. While studying in St. Petersburg the Rembrandt painting became sacred and beloved to me – a small replica sits above my desk at home. I begin this Lent far from home and seek to return to Christ through this beautiful parable.

  51. Heleen van Huyssteen says:

    Hi, my name is Heleen and I am from Pretoria, South Africa. I am involved in a Programme “Care for the Caregiver”. I read the Return of the Prodigal Son 12 years ago for the first time and have read it many times since. His vulnerabilty and honesty resonates with me. My hope is become closer to the Lord and walk in His presence. It is the first time that I join this group.

  52. Tracey says:

    Hello! My name is Tracey. I am an Episcopal priest, Third Order Franciscan, wife, mom, lupus patient… I was introduced to the work of Henri Nouwen about 25 years ago before I started seminary, when my bishop asked me to read Wounded Healer. Henri has since been a favorite spiritual writer. I have wanted to read “the prodical son” and literally stumbled into this group!

  53. Jackie says:

    Hi Everyone! My name is Jackie and I live in Portland, OR. I work for a para-church organization that works with college students and have been doing so for the past 14+ years. I started reading Henri Nouwen in 2005, when I was given the book, “In the Name of Jesus” to learn about servant leadership. I have been reading his work ever since. This is my first time participating in a discussion here, but I am excited to do so. I read “Return of the Prodigal Son” a while back and am looking forward to hearing other’s thoughts on the book.

  54. Irene says:

    Hi, I am Irene and I am from Singapore.

    I am new to the book discussion.

  55. Jeaneth says:

    Hi, I’m Jeaneth, I live in New York. I’m looking forward to the book discussion. It will be my first. I recently learned about Henri Nouwen while searching for sites that will help me deepen my faith and bring me closer to God. I am so happy for this opportunity to walk this path together. Thank you and may God bless you.

  56. Suzanne Legleiter says:

    Hello,

    My name is Suzanne and I live in Phoenix, AZ. I am a RN and work for a health Insurance company. I have been a nurse for 30 years. My sister Lynette, asked me to join her here as something we could do together this Lent Season.

  57. It’s so good to be surrounded by this sacred community during Lent. Henri Nouwen is my Patron saint! Reading his books, I experience him as a spiritual companion walking alongside inviting me to both be human and be like Jesus.

    I so look forward to reading the Return of the Prodigal Son. And listening to the layers of response from this rich community. It will be a breath of fresh air for my faith; breathing life into my practice as a psychotherapist and Spiritual Director now Novice Oblate.

    In Helen Went’s well said words, I too “want to deepen my belonging to God and the people around me.”

    Beverly
    Louisville, KY

  58. Bonnie Garcia says:

    Hi, my name is Bonnie and I live in Oregon. I have enjoyed many of Henri Nouwen’s books over the years and I look forward to sharing with all of you on this Lenten Journey as we contemplate this book. Is a year of transition for me as I retire later this year from full time work as a Church Business Administrator (20 years). Looking forward to allowing the Spirit to design and lead me down a new path of ministry.

  59. Chris Vogelsang says:

    Hi, I’m Chris and I live in Ormond Beach, FL. I was introduced to Henri by a friend who gave me a copy of the book LIFE OF THE BELOVED. I participated in several retreats about that book and took many trips to Church of the Saviour in Washington DC. I was involved in starting a Servant Leadership school in Cincinnati, OH and changed careers to chaplaincy in later life. In 2007 my husband and I “retired” and moved to FL to become back-up caregivers to our two grandchildren. Their parents are medical professionals and their schedules are irregular, so we are with the kids a lot. They are now 11 and 13 and lots of fun. I have had the Prodigal Son book for several years and look forward to reading it in community with others.

  60. Jeremy says:

    Hello fellow sojourners from Louisville Kentucky. It is quite the blessing for me to be able to connect with Nowenites all across the fruited plains in a discussion community about of the greatness of our Lord’s love for His beloved children. I was handed this book by a very special person who wanted to encourage me during a time of great difficulty, and to not lose heart of God’s personal love of me. The love of the Father in this great parable has melted my heart again and again, each time i read it. And i look so forward to meditating these next several weeks with this community as we turn our collective face to the Cross.

    Peace to each of you

  61. Lynette Legleiter says:

    Hi, My name is Lynette and I’m from Hutchinson, KS. I am a retired middle school band director since 2016, and I’m currently substitute teaching in the local districts around me.
    This book study was recommended to me by a close friend of mine who is very devout in her faith. I’m looking forward to beginning this journey with all of you.

  62. RoseAnn Hunt says:

    Hi, I am RoseAnn and I am from Maine, USA. I have just retired as a Primary Care Nurse Practitioner after 30 years in my practice. I am finding my way in the world slowly but surely. I was drawn to this group by the story of the Prodigal Son which has had a profound effect on my spiritual life and a visit to the Hermitage in St Petersburg last summer. The parable always had profound meaning to me of love and forgiveness. I had recently introduced to Henri Nouwen by his daily meditation, in his book “Adam” and was deeply moved by his journey. I have started a 90 day Commit to Sit Meditation and am on day 42. I embraced this in the New Year. I am hoping to achieve a closer relationship with God with these practices.I look forward to sharing this journey with all of you.

  63. Ray Glennon says:

    From Steve Croft
    Hi, I’m Steve, a retired police officer and former nurse from Oldham, near Manchester in NW UK. I spend mist of my time with our grandchildren, dogs, cats and chickens. I’m part of our local Methodist church and also part of a new inclusive and affirming church. This group was recommended to me from a contemplative group I’m in, looking forward to sharing.

  64. I’m Mke from New Jersey. I am looking forward to this lenten journey with Henri Nouwen book and reading the reflections and insights form the group

  65. Coralie says:

    Hello, I’m Coralie and I live in Sydney,Australia very close to the ocean.
    I am a retired teacher and after a very long search I now regard myself as a “Prodigal Daughter” as I return to the faith of my childhood.
    This is my first participation in Lent for a very long time.

    • Thea Maguire says:

      Hi, I’m from an ex teacher from Melbourne Australia and have a son studying in Sydney! I have left teaching as I was burnt out and had a breakdown. I am going through a process of healing and growing, seeking to know where God wants me to work for the remaining years of my working life. I discovered Henri Nouwen’s books some years ago and love them. I relate to his yearning for a deeper and closer relationship with God.

  66. Hello Brothers and Sisters,

    Greetings from Philadelphia!

    I am Philip Cheung, a seminarian pursuing the Catholic priesthood and studying for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. During one of my summer assignments I came across Fr. Nouwen’s “The Wounded Healer” in the parish library. I picked it up, started reading it but it did not captivate my interest. Later, I went back and came across “The Return of the Prodigal Son,” I started to read it, and then I knew this was the book for me. For it too was my story and is my story.

    This is my first Book Discussion on this platform and I am very much excited about it. My hope and prayer is that we will be able to share with one another lessons and experiences and to learn from one another what it means to be Christian, to help each other live out our calling, and to grow in relationship with one another by growing in relationship with the Father.

    You are all in my prayers as we begin this season of Lent today. May we grow in humility and allow the Father to work within us, and may we be receptive to the graces He so wishes to give to us.

    May the Lord give you peace!

  67. Mart says:

    Hi there, I’m Mart and I live in the area of the UK known as the West Midlands. I’m a Quaker but have been drawn to Catholic spirituality for a while now. Together with Thomas Merton, Henry Nouwen is an important spiritual teacher for me. I’ve not read ‘The Return of the Prodigal Son’ before and so am so looking forward to reading this alongside you all and hearing your insights.

  68. Cindy H. says:

    Hello on this Ash Wednesday to fellow travelers! I am so looking forward to this discussion of the Return of the Prodigal Son with its beautiful painting by Rembrandt on the cover. The painting makes me wonder about those three other people who are onlookers and makes me wonder what the book may say about them in addition to speaking about the father and son. I am a retired English and writing instructor who lives near Syracuse, NY. A highlight of my week is my Bible Study group at my church where I have made new friends this year while discussing Genesis, now Exodus, and soon Isaiah. I want to keep my heart open to God’s presence during Lent and deepen my relationship with him. I am confident that will happen as we travel through The Return and as I read Ray’s posts and the comments of the interesting people in the group.

    • Leslie says:

      I am also wondering about the figures. I have a strong sense that the blonde figure leaning against the column is the other son. I think it is the shocked look on his face.

      • Cindy H. says:

        You may be right, Leslie! He definitely looks more surprised than the other two figures. It will be very interesting to find out. I love the detail in the painting which shows that one of the shoes of the son has fallen off. I’m thinking about how to interpret that. Perhaps his rush to throw himself at his father’s feet? Perhaps a symbol of his vulnerability?

    • Michelle Carattini says:

      In reading about the painting and looking up the image, there’s a fourth person in painting in the top left hand corner (which cannot be seen in the book cover). It’s said to be a woman and most probably the prodigal’s mother.

      • Cindy H. says:

        Thanks, Michelle, for mentioning the woman at the top left. After reading your comment, I did a little exploration online. One site says there are two women in the painting: a woman in the middle background who may be a sister or mother of the prodigal, and, at the top left, the silhouette of a female servant. Different viewers may have different interpretations. I wonder if those standing in front of the original can see these women clearly; the one on the top left is impossible for me to see in the online reproductions. I’m glad to know she is there!

  69. Larry Bangs says:

    My name is Larry. Retired and living in Colorado near Denver. An associate rector at a parish I attended seven years ago introduced me to Nouwen’s writings. Been hooked ever since. Participate actively with my local parish in a variety of ways. Centering Prayer and Faith Formation keep me steady. I’m looking forward to going much deeper with Lent than I every have before. I’m confident that will happen with this book and discussion. Thank you for including me. Blessings to all

  70. Mike McManus says:

    Hello everyone! I am a retired Ophthalmologist, and had a private practice in Traverse City, Michigan for 30 years. and also did mission work in Jamaica for six years. When I retired I set up the Medical Ethics Department at our local Medical Center and obtained a Masters in Medical Ethics. I led the Medical Ethics Department for 12 years before retiring. I am an Episcopalian, married for forty years and have three children and spend my time reading, playing bridge (my father taught me almost 68 years ago) and I have been an avid player since. I belong to a group a Group of eight men (all in our Eighties) and we play weekly. I have been an avid biker(1800 miles per year) and a downhill skier. Some medical problems have intervened to stop these activities. I am a Benedictine Oblate and am a frequent visitor at a Benedictine Abbey near Kalamazoo, Michigan.

  71. Marianne Campbell says:

    My name is Marianne and I live in Southern Vermont. I retired six months ago from my life long vocation as a teacher of children with special needs. Henri Nouwen’s book “Return of the Prodigal Son”, was recommended to me a few years ago and I hold it’s message very dear. Rereading and sharing this book with others struck me as a wonderful way to enhance my Lenten preparations. Thank you, Ray, for offering this opportunity.

  72. Lyndsy says:

    Hello. I am in a season of transition as I have just moved from the midwest back to the Pacific Northwest- a homecoming of my own in many ways as I return to full time paid work with college students on a university campus and to the timezone where I grew up and family and dear friends live. I discovered Henri Nouwen nearly 20 years ago and love his authenticity in writing. I’ve read excerpts of this book, but looking forward to processing through it in community start to finish.

  73. Alison Blenkinsop says:

    I’m Alison, and live in Pagham, West Sussex, UK, in a wonderful bungalow near the church, beach and shops, a real gift from God 5 years ago. I’m a retired midwife, and live alone since my husband died 8 years ago. I’m a member of the Parish (Anglican) Church, and am preparing to host and lead a Lent group using this very book, starting next week. (It’s the Lent course published by Darton, Longman & Todd.) I first read the book many years ago, and every time I look at it I’m struck by Nouwen’s honesty and deep sharing. It challenges me to become more open and vulnerable myself, and let God love me without conditions.

  74. Dianne Gazzola says:

    Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault these are the words that I reflect on during the course of my day during Lent and repeatedly ask for God’s Mercy and forgiveness as I have on the Cross.

  75. Carolyn Green says:

    Greetings to all,
    I live in southern California. I am a retired elementary school teacher, who spends my time now volunteering with a local hospice, helping a friend who is ill and teaching basic skills to a disabled young adult. I was introduced to Henri Nowen’s writing a few years ago by my daughter who was reading Return of the Prodigal. I have read through the book and look forward to reading it again with this online group.

  76. Linda MacDonald says:

    Greetings friends! My first time to participate in this online book discussion. I have so loved this book of Nouwen’s for years. My name is Linda. I live in west Michigan about 10 miles west of Kalamazoo. I am a retired Presbyterian (PCUSA) pastor and have the good fortune of investing myself into gun violence prevention. I am grateful to come away for a time during Lent and ponder this great story of God’s faithfulness.

  77. Sister Ann McGrew says:

    My name is Sister Ann an Ursuline Sister of Mount Saint Joseph living in Kentucky. Classroom teaching is no longer within my stamina range, but I do teach on a regular basis with adult book discussions and bible studies with adults, and am assigned internal ministries with and for the sisters in our Mother House. I am looking forward to this discussion on one of my favorite books.

  78. Kim Amrine says:

    My name is Kim. I live near Seattle, Washington. I am a semi retired physical therapist (mostly retired). I currently dedicate 2 days per week to carrying for our 1 year old grandson with my husband. I meet people for “coffee”. In parentheses, because it usually ends up being very deep, vulnerable, and connecting conversations. I am currently in training to become a facilitator for Narrative Focused Trauma Care. I started reading Henri Nouwen’s works several years ago through an Emerging Journey class I took and was struck by his vulnerability. I hope to hear the varying ways in which people are impacted by the writing, and that my heart is engaged

  79. Colleen Kerr says:

    I received Henri Nouwen’s book The Return of the Prodigal Son as a gift from a dear friend Sr. Edward Mary (Presentations of B.V.M.), Newfoundland & Labrador at a very difficult time of transition in my life. This book holds the map to what is essential — forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness.

  80. Ray Glennon says:

    Wow! What a wonderful beginning to what promises to be a meaningful book discussion. Thanks to those who posted introductions first thing on Ash Wednesday morning. I’m looking forward to this journey with each of you and those that will be joining us throughout the discussion.
    Peace and all good.

    • Catalina says:

      Thank you Ray for leading us through this book reflection during our lenten journey .
      I come back again and this time I’m bringing my daughter with me to this study. Looking forward to affirming my bond with her and with the Lord!
      Catalina

  81. Tammy Lucier says:

    Hello Ray and my fellow Christians,
    I live in the quiet corner of Connecticut where there are a lot of horse farms, green pastures (at least during spring) and wonderful hiking trails. I love to spend time with my four loving, kind and comedic adult children! I also enjoy time spent with wonderful friends and family just getting together for dinner or a trip to the shore! I also enjoy gardening and our three furry family members!
    Two years ago, I was blessed with the gift of being introduced to Henry Nouwen at a Lenten Celebration and a discussion about Henry at the Holy Family Retreat and Conference Center. This will be my first time joining your Lenten discussion and I very much look forward to sharing this Lenten season with you all. The Return of the Prodigal Son was the first book I read by Henry and I look forward to reading this book again and experiencing all the wonderful epiphanies with you all.

  82. Diane says:

    I refer to Henri Nouwen as my “guru”. Henri was gifted to me by God at a very dark and tumultuous time in my life. He was a spiritual life-raft for me and through his honest, open, vulnerable, and totally relate-able words, I found my way home. I remember reading “Here and Now” (the first of many of his books that I now own) and feeling such relief that I was not alone in my journey.
    I have participated in book discussions here several times, but not lately. The Return of The Prodigal Son holds a special place in my heart…the subtitle being “A Story of Homecoming”. I have often thought of myself through the years as the “prodigal daughter” and, as I said, I believe Henri was a grace sent to me to bring me home.

    I currently live in farm-country Western New Jersey (we are the “Garden State” and yes, there is a lot of farmland in NJ!). When we moved here 4 years ago I retired early from my teaching career. I taught middle school life and environmental science and am a life-long “tree hugger”. I am married 40 years to my high school sweetheart, have 2 beautiful daughters, and live with chronic illness with (mostly) gratitude..because I know that through it God has a purpose for my highest good.

    So looking forward to traveling through the Lenten season with Henri…and all of you.
    ~Blessings ♥

  83. Grace Rostig says:

    Hi Ray and other participants.

    My name is Grace. I live in Montréal.

    I work with the elderly, write fiction, enjoy drawing, beading and knitting.

    These days I am, once again, recovering from doing too much.

    I am pretty sure a Theology prof introduced me to Henri.

    I have never participated in a discussiom before. I read the daily meditations.

    I DO NOT want advice in reply to any comments I might make.
    What I DO want is to share this time of Lent with Christians who, like me, feel a visceral need to live, ever more truly and deeply, every minute of the day, the presence of a loving and supporting, authentic God.
    I would also like to be able to share insights from spiritual traditions other than Christianity. While I have always identified as Christian, a recent, very painful and excruciatingly disappointing break with my church has led me to explore more extensively Buddhism, a religion I have always had a lot of interest in.

  84. Nancy Rich says:

    Hello, I am NancyRich from Edenton, NC and this is the first Lenten book discussion I have been part of. I was drawn to join when I saw the book you have chosen. It is my favorite of Henri Nouwen and my first introduction to reading many others of his works. I have shared from it before groups several times, using a large framed poster of the painting. I have lead a contemplative group, JourneyMates, for 12 years and have used the painting for a visual lectio divina. It has been inspirational to the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School and led the sculptor, Margaret Parker, to create her own life size interpretation of the story which stands on the Terrace!

  85. I live in Outer London, England. Being retired I have time to do creative activities such as singing in a community choir, being in a creative writing group and have recently joined a theatre workshop based on Theatre of the Oppressed. As well as this I am involved in prayer groups and am an intercessor and prayer minister for an annual Charismatic family conference in our area and a monthly gathering of prayer and praise. I have read several of Henri’s books, and loved ‘The Return of the Prodigal Son’ which I am now hoping to revisit in this group during Lent.

  86. Don Dunnington says:

    Hello Ray and others,
    Having enjoyed earlier discussions, I am looking forward to this Lenten Book Discussion related to The Return of the Prodigal Son. I am a retired educator living in Oklahoma City. Henri Nouwen’s writings have enriched my spiritual journey for many years. A few years back I enjoyed teaching this particular Nouwen work with a large group of adults in our church. After reading The Return of the Prodigal Son soon after it was published, my wife and I were privileged to visit the family of a former student, then living in St. Petersburg, and visited The Hermitage. It was wonderful to see the Rembrandt painting in person and to imagine Henri Nouwen’s experience there that was so influential in the development of the book. A large reproduction of the painting hangs in our living room as a reminder of the generous grace of God. Looking forward to the insights of all who participate in this Lenten season!

    • Cindy H. says:

      Hello Don,

      A few of us are discussing what is said to be a woman on the top left of the painting. She may be the prodigal’s mother or sister, or, according to one online site, the figure is the silhouette of a female servant. She is impossible to see in online reproductions or in the reproduction on the book’s cover. I’m wondering if you were able to see her when you stood in front of the original.

      Cindy H.

  87. Jenny Naughton says:

    Hello! I live in Southern California. I work in a hospital and my main ministry is with LGBT Catholics. I don’t recall how I was introduced to Henri Nouwen, but I have several of his books. I am open to what the Holy Spirit has in mind for me during this discussion. Thank you for this opportunity!

  88. Marcia K. MacKillop says:

    I am very happy to be a part of this book discussion, since this is my all time favorite book, given to me as a birthday present, while in Seminary. I have preached on this book and scripture multiple times, and the poster of Rembrandt’s “The Return to the Prodigal Son” is in my office, where I work as a licensed therapist. I have given a copy of this book to well over a dozen friend’s and family members.

  89. Winnie says:

    I wonder is this book easy to read? English is my second language I could only read a book which doesn’t use big or hard words? But I am seeking for something to renew my faith n trust in God. I just came out of a tough season. I have so many doubts about Gods goodness. What would u recommend? Any books might suit me in this season?

    • Ray Glennon says:

      Winnie,
      Thanks for joining us. I strongly suggest giving this book a try. One of the most important characteristics of Henri’s writing is his use of simple language to explain and describe complex things. I hope you find that to be the case for you.
      Ray

  90. Margaret Nichols says:

    Hi, I’m Margaret Nichols
    I live in Fulton, NY 25 miles north of Syracuse NY
    I dedicate my time and energy with my five adult children, ten grandchildren and great grandchildren, my church , and close friends
    Henri Nouwen has been a spiritual mentor for many years through his books, He speaks to my heart and soul.
    This book is my favorite. I’m looking forward to going on this journey with other Nouwen lovers . To grow more deeply in love with God

  91. Marie O'Neill says:

    Living in Ottawa. First time participant although have had the book in my possession for years. As I am in my 83rd year, and, I feel that at some point soon, I will have to make my way back to the Father’s house, carrying with me a lot of “stuff” collected on my travels. I take great comfort in the story of the Son’s reception and pray the same for me.

  92. Charles says:

    The Return of the Prodigal Son is one of the greatest parable in the New Testament as it shows the love of OUR FATHER towards the sinner.How blessed we are to have such a God of Mercy.THis parable gives me (US) HOPE in a broken world.
    Looking forward to join the group.
    God bless us all.

  93. Liliana Nealon says:

    I was first given a copy of El Retorno del Hijo Prodigo by my sister-in-law in Argentina. It was in Spanish, and although I was born in Argentina, I have lived in the USA all my life, so reading it was a bit difficult. I got through it and it immediately impacted me, so much so, that I bought a copy in English. That was about 20 years ago or so. I have since purchased and gifted copies to many friends, whose lives appeared to be changed by Nouwen’s teachings. Recently, not coincidentally, I began to read the book one more time. And then this. Praise God. I live in NYC, I am a mother, grandmother, retired executive, and active traveler. I read Nouwen every day in some way or another. I am thrilled to be part of this group.
    Liliana

  94. Elaine M says:

    I have been involved in the book discussions on this site at least since 2015 when I read THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON for the first time. I have always been impressed with Henri’s insights into Scripture and art and into the essence of human nature, his humility, and the power of transforming his own human suffering into his role as a wounded healer. As a volunteer for the St. Vincent de Paul Society, I aspire to use my own woundedness as an empathetic link to those I try to serve, but as I regularly stumble and bumble, I often turn to Henri for a kind of spiritual sustenance. I have also found such sustenance in the discussions in this forum, and so I really look forward to sharing this Lent with Henri and all of you. Thank you once again, Ray, for your leadership in these discussions.

  95. Daria Fitzgerald says:

    Blessed Ash Wednesday to all,
    I’m so happy to be a part of this community and dedicate this Lenten journey to the memory and gentle presence of Brian, a dear friend. Brian’s humility and grace throughout his life, and especially in the past year, was the best example of patterning Jesus’s journey on earth. This discussion will be my way of continuing Brian’s quiet legacy.
    Daria

  96. Paul Q says:

    Greetings from Staten Island, New York. I attended New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Jersey. My Academic Advisor had The Return of the Prodigal on his wall. As he would help plan my next semester, I would find myself staring at the picture. I found the book later…at at time when I was wondering “what did I say yes to?” (excuse the dangling preposition). I read the book cover to cover and welcome the opprotunity to do it again, in community.

  97. Debe says:

    I am excited to participate in this journey with Henri and all of you! I am coming from New Orleans or NOLA as we like to say. My desire is to simply open my heart and mind to the lessons coming to me from the book and from your experiences in growth.

  98. Beth Symanzik says:

    Hi, It’s February 26th and I am looking forward to this book study. I live in Michigan and spend my days caring for my family, volunteering at a local food bank, and enjoying time writing, reading, meditating and praying. I started reading Henri Nouwen while we were living overseas as missionaries from 2006 – 2018. This past almost two years I’ve found his devotionals timely and helpful as we all deal with the transitional stress of moving cross-culturally and readjusting to ‘regular’ life. The themes of homecoming, affirmation, and reconciliation play out in transitions. We’ve faced many challenges on and off the mission field. Henri’s words are encouragement and motivation. I rest in God’s guidance on this path to our eternal Home.

  99. Dennis says:

    I live in northern Indiana. Besides working I dedicate these days to learning, experiencing, and living a wholehearted life for Jesus. I was given “The Return of the Prodigal Son” by a dear friend. Which I have not read yet :-). I have never really read anything by Henri Nouwen before or participated in anything like this. My hope is to know and experience Jesus in a more deeper, intimate way this lenten season.

  100. Kathleen says:

    Thanks for the Introduction and Welcome Ray. I am from Auckland. I look forward to joining the group.

  101. Helen Went says:

    Hi! My name is Helen. I’m living in the UK, not far from London.
    Life has been turned upside down this past year as I find myself caring for my middle daughter, Rebecca, who has been diagnosed with ME at the age of 13. She’s been ill for a year and I am now focussed on helping her everyday to navigate her pain – physical and emotional. New and good things are happening despite this difficult time.

    Henri Nouwen has I think been one of my main heroes since my early
    Twenties. His writing reaches deep into my heart – I love the way he writes so honestly
    And his vulnerability is powerful.

    I’ve never been in a discussion like this before. My friend (who I hope is joining too!) showed me this website – I love it and get daily
    Meditations already.

    I want to deepen my belonging to God and the people around me.

  102. Melanie says:

    Hi I’m Melanie and I’m from Singapore. My days are spent as a writer, educator, mother and wife. I first read Henri Nouwen over 10 years ago while at a guided silent retreat and I found his books in the convent’s library. This is my first time participating in such a discussion. I hope to draw closer to God these next 40 days – it’s been a spiritually dry and exhausting season and I’ve been feeling quite lost with regards to my Christian faith of late.

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