Nov 25th to Nov 28th: Welcome and Introductions

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Speak from that place in you heart where you are most yourself. Speak
directly, simply, lovingly, gently, and without apologies. . . .
Trust your heart.
Fred Bratman to Henri Nouwen

A warm welcome to each of you as we gather to share our Advent journey in this year unlike any other. We look forward to greeting 0ld friends and welcoming new ones in our virtual community where we will discover and reflect on Henri Nouwen’s core spiritual insight that, like Jesus, we are God’s beloved children. As we will learn, accepting ourselves as God’s beloved is not easy, but it is life-changing.

In his most popular book The Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri introduces his core insight: “During my time here at Daybreak, I have been led to an inner place. . . where God has chosen to dwell. It is the place where I am held safe in the embrace of an all-loving Father who calls me by name and says, ‘You are my beloved son, on you my favor rests.'” Those of you that participated in our Lent and summer book discussions earlier this year have some appreciation for the deep spiritual and emotional struggles that led Henri to this insight over a period of years.

In Life of the Beloved – Spiritual Living in a Secular World Henri explores and expands on our belovedness in response an appeal from his friend Fred Bratman (see quote above) to present spirituality in a way that speaks to men and women in a secularized society. Henri wrote from the heart and his life’s experiences in the form of a lengthy personal letter to Fred. This Advent we have the chance to “listen in” to the words of a spiritual master talking to a friend.

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

Beginning on November 29th, the First Sunday of Advent, and each Sunday through December 20th, a new entry or post will be added to the book discussion (the blog) home page. The post will identify the reading for the week, present a brief moderator’s reflection, and suggest some questions for discussion. Participants are invited and 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 throughout the week.

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. After you submit a new comment or a reply, it needs to be “approved” either by me or Will at the Nouwen Society so it may take a few hours before it actually appears on the blog page.

You should always post your comment in the current week. If you are unsure, navigate to the current week by clicking on the Home link in the black bar under the photograph at the top of the blog. Then click on the bold title to open the post and any comments. Finally, the instructions on how to submit and reply to comments are also included with the Reading Schedule found by at following the the link black bar.

As we begin our journey together, we’d like to know something about our companions. 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 our discussion of Life of the Beloved – Spiritual Living in a Secular World in earnest this Sunday, November 29th.  Join us to begin a spirit-filled and enriching Advent 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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161 Responses to Nov 25th to Nov 28th: Welcome and Introductions

  1. Karen Horton says:

    This was an insight I had as I read p. 33 in our reading for the first week.

    Self-rejection seems like a perfectly strategized scheme for the enemy to pull us away from God because it is in that still place within our innermost self that we hear and receive God’s voice speaking to us as Beloved. If we reject who we are, we will not want to be alone with ourself in that sacred innermost sanctuary where God dwells. It has been by spending time with God in solitude, that I am learning how to receive this blessing more and more fully.

  2. Robert Baldwin says:

    I am Robbie Baldwin, from Birmingham, Alabama, USA, and
    live ready the daily messages. I retired from my medical practice in 1999 for
    Medical reasons, and became a lay Speaker for the United Methodist Church, participated
    In Kairos prison ministry, amd wrote a
    book ,’Life and Seath Marrers: Seeking the Truth about Capital
    punishment, New South Books. I am
    currently the caregiver for my wife, who has Alzheimer’s, and
    live a quiet, reflective life quarantined at home.

  3. Hello. My name is Lee’ah and I am from Southeastern, Michigan. I first encountered a Henri Nouwen book while in engaging a bible study called “The Journey” with my church. I am excited to participate in the Advent Study and to read more from Henri Nouwen.

  4. Kimberly says:

    Greetings from Oakdale, CA!

    I am pleased to be part of this study and to connect during a time of such disconnect with the world.

  5. Christopher Ciummei says:

    Hello, my name is Christopher M. Ciummei, M.Ed., and I am a historian, teacher, and writer from Pennsylvania. I do this work to help preserve history as a discipline for future generations. I came across Nouwen through my mother’s interest in him, and have now read several of his books. I have participated in one or two Lenten and/or Advent discussions on here, and have truly enjoyed them. I hope to gain a deeper understanding of this difficult and transitional time in my life through this Advent reading and discussion. Thanks for having me!

  6. Jerry Holt says:

    Hello,

    If you are reading this, then you are a fan of Henri’s writing as well as I am. I love the daily meditations I receive and have enjoyed reading a few of his books. I look forward to this endeavor, and reading other people’s thoughts.

  7. Meg Holt says:

    Hello fellow participants. I look forward to sharing this Advent journey with you all and am once again reminded of the connective tissue that is fed by our faith. So often I find my faith reinforced when I think of people I know and don’t know, both near and far who are reading, pondering and praying the same words from Scripture and sources such as Henri Nouwen.
    I was first introduced to Henri Nouwen when I went through Episcopal Confirmation classes, to be affirmed. I was raised and confirmed a Catholic, but have been an Episcopalian for about 14 years. I find myself looking forward to my Henri Nouwen devotionals each day and share them often with family and friends.

  8. Julie says:

    Hello

    I am a retiree living in rural Illinois. I am just getting introduced to Henri Nouwen’s works and am anxious to learn with all of you.

  9. Helen says:

    Hello,
    I have been a fan of Henri Nouwen for many years. So many of his works have strongly influenced my spiritual journey and taken me through dark times. With Open Hands, The Inner Voice of Love, Turn My Mourning into Dancing, Bread for the Journey, and You Are the Beloved are among my favorites. I have followed discussion groups in the past and have the pleasure of being in the same parish in Maryland with Ray Glennon, the discussion leader.
    I look forward to reading Life of the Beloved and sharing the comments of others, especially during these tumultuous times.

  10. JerryLyn Luckie says:

    Hi there,

    I am a big Henri Nouwen fan and have really enjoyed the richness of Advent and Lenten studies around his books.

    Looking forward to being part of this reading/discussion during this season of not-yet, waiting!

    Peace! Jerry Lyn (Raleigh, NC)

  11. Ynes says:

    Good morning everyone!

    I live in Clearwater, FL . I dedicate my energies 8:00 – 5:00 pm to work (telework). In the afternoon I love to go for a walk or biking. When not at work , I dedicate my energies and life to GOD. How I would love to be a Saint the task that God want us to consider.

    I discovered Henry N. in the web looking for spirituality authors, then come that a friend priest introduce Henry’s book and I fall in love with him.

    I’ve never read “Life of the Beloved”, so I hope to learn, grow spirituality , get new friends while reading the book and participating in this community.

  12. Ina says:

    Hello to all of you from NY!
    I hope this doesn’t find you too late.
    I’ve been spending most of my time at home since the pandemic started, so I’m looking forward to joining and connecting with you through this online book study. It is my first time joining one. I’ve read and loved Nouwen’s The Return of the Prodigal Son, and usually start my morning with devotional from You are Beloved. I’ve owned Life of the Beloved for months but have not read it just yet. Looking forward to be reading and processing the book with you.

  13. Mary Roth says:

    Have many of Nouwen’s books. Love them all and so identify with his struggles. So looking forward to reading and sharing with fellow followers

  14. JoAnn Whitley says:

    Hi, I am JoAnn from a small town in northeast Massachusetts. I am retired, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a care giver etc. I was introduced to Henri and Life of the Beloved by a friend and I have read it through once. I am excited to reread it and dig around a bit this time.
    If someone asked me two months ago if I was His beloved…I would have said no. How can I be the beloved of Christ? Saved yes, beloved? not so sure. But I read now that it is a journey, just like our sanctification and I look forward to pursuing that journey with all of you.

  15. Suellen Nelson says:

    I only see two people from New York. I am retired and live near the hudson river in Beacon, NY. I love Henri’s writing. Delighted to see so many people joining.
    Suellen

  16. Sue Henry says:

    Hello from Fishers IN. I am retired from the week force but I am and have been a Stephen ministry Leader for over 20 years. This is my passion…caring for others. I became acquainted with Henri Nouwen through Stephen Ministry. His books speak to my soul. I am wanting to be walking as close to the Lord as possible and look forward to reading and discussing with you all. He is our HOPE!

  17. Hello all,
    I am from a community outside of Chicago. This is my first online book club and it seems so right for this time of possibilities. Henry Nouwen was introduced to me by a dear friend who is also participating in this journey. Every morning I read the meditations and feel they are speaking directly to my heart. The intersection between my work and as artist and educator, and the deep dive into spiritual, soulful introspection is making a profound difference in life. It is not getting easier, but recognition of becoming awake is present. I am grateful to be here now.

  18. S.Roselit Madappallil says:

    I am looking forward for this book discussion during Advent. I love Henry Nouwen books. I am a retired nurse lives in Jacksonville FL.

  19. Chris Walton says:

    Hello everyone. My name is Chris and I’m joining in from Vancouver, Canada.

    I am a special education coordinator supporting exceptional students in grades K-7. While I find meaning and value in my work it is not my life’s passion. My passion is for prayer, contemplation, connection and creation (both large and small ‘c’ creation).

    My first experience with Henri’s work was in, ‘The Inner Voice of Love’ which led me into, ‘The Return of the Prodigal Son’, and ‘The Selfless Way of Christ’. I was struck by the honesty and gentleness that shone through in his writing.

    For me, it is this quality to Henri’s writing (and of his life story) that most resonates with me. His desire to experience an authentic encounter with the love of Christ on a daily basis and his longing to share this love with others through acts of kindness and attention inspires me as a model for my own life and faith.

    This is my first time in a Nouwen book study; I’m looking forward to journeying through Advent with this community.

  20. Justine says:

    Hello, I’m Justine from Saskatchewan, Canada. This is my first book discussion! I was first introduced to Henri Nouwen’s writings by my mother. I’ve recently added a number of Nouwen’s books to my personal library (including the Life of the Beloved). I find his writings simple to read but extremely profound and relatable – oftentimes it feels like he is speaking directly to me. An introvert by nature, I may not comment much, but I’m excited to connect through shared reading with fellow believers around the world.

  21. Juliette Vail says:

    Hi All, I live in Bozeman MT and have been reading and listening to Henri since my life was changed by the Holy Spirit when I was 18. His book Out of Solitude spoke to me as I was working in Grand Teton National Park and spent much time in beautiful Creation enjoying God and feeling beloved. Since then I have found much solace from Henri’s books and realism on my journey. I have many of his books on Audible and call it my runs with Henri when I am out for a jog. Currently I am working on my MS in Theology in Chaplaincy with a hybrid to a Doctorate in Clinical Pastoral Psychotherapy. I am interested in healthcare chaplaincy and working with trauma as a counselor. Happy to be here to celebrate this time of year with so many around the world. Community is such a gift right now!

  22. Grant Rickard says:

    Good morning all,
    My name is Grant and I live in San Diego CA. I look forward to these groups. All of you inspire me and I look forward to hearing what God is teaching me and all of us this advent season

  23. Roger Snyder says:

    Hello! I’m Roger Snyder. Henri Nouwen’s writings are insightful and comforting. I’m pleased to be able to join this group as part of our journey together!

  24. Good morning everyone. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in Kansas City, Missouri. I work with individuals and couples who are suffering with mental health concerns and relational difficulties. In my work, I encounter many stories of trauma and I witness trauma’s on impact the human soul. Henry’s work has been a key part of my own healing as I have addressed my own stories. I keep one of his books on my bedside table always. The word “beloved” has become a centering prayer/mantra as I grow in the discipline of mindfulness practices. I am thankful for the opportunity to deepen my faith in this community through the Advent season. Blessings!

  25. David V says:

    Hello all. I am semi-retired and live in Orlando, FL. I’ve read a few of Henri’s books and have read the daily reflections I Bread for the Journey for the last 10 years. I love his deep and yet relatable spirituality. I look forward to participating with you all in the study of a new book I haven’t read.

  26. Liliana says:

    Better late than never! I am joining from Connecticut. I hail from Argentina, but have lived in the USA most of my life. I am a great lover of everything Nouwen, having read The Return of The Prodigal Son, first in Spanish and then multiple times in English. My seventh grandson was just born on Thanksgiving Day, and I don’t know when I am going to get to meet him. But all is well. Tomorrow is my 73rd birthday. I am currently in the final edit of my first novel, Death Flight. All the best to all, and may we all bask in the glory of the season.

  27. Melinda Meshad says:

    Hi, I am Melinda. I live in Los Angeles and am a psychotherapist in private practice. My under-grad degree is in Religious Studies and it has been years since I read Henri Nouwen. I am fascinated with areas such as neurological science, psychology, and spirituality… the intersections that enlighten who we are and what drives us. I look forward to taking the time to focus on this book and how it will encourage me in my own journey.

  28. Patti says:

    Hello All! I’m joining this discussion from Collierville, TN. I work in parish life in Religious Education. I first became familiar with Henri’s work year’s ago through reading The Return of the Prodigal Son. I am touched by his spirituality and compassion. Advent is my favorite time of year. I struggle a bit with some aspects of working in parish life. This advent season I’m praying for an openness to God’s call and an honest, humble response on my part. I am looking forward to sharing this advent journey with all of you as we read and discuss Life of the Beloved!!

  29. Maureen Yahrmatter says:

    Hi Everyone, I am new to this kind of book study, but not new to Henri. I discovered him many years ago on the sale shelf of a Christian bookstore in Detroit. The book was the “Genesee Diary”. It immediately became a favorite of mine; I learned the “Jesus” prayer in it, and I helped Henri carry the rocks for the building project at the abbey and then my own projects for all these years.

    I am a snowbird in Florida presently. Otherwise I live in beautiful northern Michigan.
    I look forward to a deepening spiritual awareness this Advent.

  30. Sharon says:

    I am from Southern California and grateful for the Henri Nouwen book discussions. This is the very first book I read of Henri’s so it is dear to my heart. It opened a whole new perspective for me and one that I knew as a young child growing up in a wonderful Catholic parish. I needed a reminder much later at a difficult time of life. It brought so much healing to my mind and soul. So I look forward to sharing the beautiful truths of this book that Henri so eloquently and genuinely shares.

    Peace to all.

  31. Brian O'Shea says:

    Hello. I am joining the discussion from metro Atlanta in Georgia. I know a little about Henri Nouwen from quotes and articles and have followed meditation emails from the Nouwen Society. I am Catholic and take part in a Centering Prayer Group based on writings of Thomas Keating and Cynthia Bourgeault. I hope to learn more about Henri Nouwen and to also prepare for Advent.

  32. Margaret Todd says:

    Greetings, my friends! I hail from Huntsville, AL. I first was introduced to Henri Nouwen many years ago while volunteering at a camp for developmentally disabled adults. In the past few years, his writings have been my morning devotional. I have focused this year on embracing God’s absolute, unconditional love for me…my belovedness. So, this study is the perfect way to end the year.

  33. Pat F says:

    Hi, I am Pat from just south of Denver CO. Being in this book study will be new to me, as many have said. I have many of Henri’s books and look forward to reading Life of The Beloved with all of you. May we all be enriched this Advent Season.

  34. Cindy says:

    I currently work in Adult Faith Formation in our parish. However, I am taking some time off to help my grandchildren who are doing distance learning as their school has been closed during this challenging time. I have followed Henri’s daily meditations for a number of years and enjoy the podcasts now and then. I look forward to this online book discussion as part of my Advent journey. Looking forward to growing in my faith with other seekers.

  35. Rasik K Bhula says:

    Greetings everyone looking forward to sharing this journey with you all. I am living in, Wellington New Zealand. Over the years have i read many of Henri’s books ,listened and watched his talks etc…what has been of greatest impact are the words “you are the beloved”.
    A message our Heavenly Parent beseeches,begs us all to receive and implant in all we connect to .Lotsa luv and bleesings to all om the journey.

  36. Michele says:

    Blessings everyone! I live in Wisconsin. I am working as a hospice chaplain. I read With Open Hands some years past, and felt like I met a kindred spirit in Henri. I am looking forward to sharing this Advent journey with you all.

  37. Jacky Lowe says:

    Hi everyone
    Thank you for all your amazing introductions. My name is Jacky and I live in S. Florida though I was born in England. I am a retired teacher and I have been reading Nouwen for many years a friend introduced me to his books. After retirement in 2017 I prepare to become a missionary in Madagascar working with the women and children in the Anglican church. I came home for a break in January 2020 and am still here because of Pandemic and also I was diagnosed with breast cancer so it has been a difficult year. Also my niece committed suicide in February and I have not been able to visit my younger brother in England. I began the lent book discussion but did not participate.
    I am looking forward to this discussion and want to learn more about being God’s Beloved. I have already read the book but am excited to hear your comments. I know that God provides us always with strength and courage but sometimes I do not understand all that takes place in one’s life.

  38. Harry P. says:

    I live in Fort Worth, Texas, and I am a Theatre professor at Texas Christian University. I have read meditations by Nouwen for years, but I was inspired to explore the online Nouwen Society, daily email meditations, and this advent book study by Nouwen’s friendship with Fred Rogers. I became aware of their friendship when I read I’M PROUD OF YOU, by Tim Madigan, a local Fort Worth writer who became close to Fred during the last few years of Fred’s life. Nouwen and his work are frequent topics of conversation between Fred and Tim in that book (which I recommend), and that led me to explore more of Nouwen.

    So, while I’ve participated in lots of book studies at church for many years, this will be my first time doing a book study online, and the first full book by Nouwen I have ever read. Looking forward to it.

  39. Sandra Dimitri says:

    Hello Ray and Everyone!
    It’s a pleasure to be here, I am joining from Cairo, Egypt for the second time on online book discussions with Henri Nouwen society. Very grateful for all those who organize these platforms.
    I am a women health practitioner and I came to know Henri Nouwen while reading ‘The inner voice of love’, I can’t describe how this book has impacted my life. I still go back to it whenever I need to find meaning in any situation.
    I belong to the Coptic Orthodox church of Egypt, we like to call Advent season ‘The Lent of Miracles’ as we meditate on the miraculous conception of Jesus Christ, we make ourselves ready to witness something miraculous come to life too. I am praying for you all to receive God’s word during our read. Blessings

  40. Mary Anne B says:

    I am living in Sudbury, Ont. Canada. I have been looking for something to participate in for awhile and I am excited to participate in this discussion

  41. Michelle M says:

    Hello my name is Michelle Mosier, I live in Oak Park, Il. I was introduced to Henry Nouwen through my mom who is an avid reader of his works. In my lifes journey I too have found his reading realistic and vulnerable. I look forward to reading and hearing what others have to say about Henry’s readings.

  42. Tim Nelson says:

    Greetings, friends!

    I live near Nashville, TN and teach at a university. I first encountered Henri’s writings as an undergrad student frequenting and then living in a special place called Ichthys House (it defies category) in Richmond, IN. The Wounded Healer was one of the common readings given to each resident and Henri was one of the authors that Clyde (a recorded Friends minister who owned and shared the house with the world) cherished most. I look forward to our discussion.

  43. Cindy Avenell says:

    Hello from Colorado near Boulder. I have had the book, “Life of the Beloved” on my shelf for awhile, but am motivated to read it this Advent season. I read “Return of the Prodigal” several years ago, and I have enjoyed the daily devotions from Henri Nouwen Society for years.

  44. Mort says:

    Looking forward to the Advent Journey ahead with everyone. I so much appreciate the community, connection, and commitment in a group like this. I was introduced to Henri Nouwen as a part of my spiritual direction training over ten years ago and continue to learn from his wisdom, love, and spirituality. Living in a northwest suburb of the Twin Cities in Minnesota I am a lifelong learner, teacher, educator, and seeker who is now retired but is still on the journey of awakening and transformation.

  45. Carolyn Humphreys says:

    Hello, I am Carolyn from Halifax, Nova Scotia. I don’t recall where I first heard of or read Henri’ s name and work, but his words have become a daily source of reflection and connection to the Divine for me. I have done one previous book discussion here and appreciated the questions and reflections that Ray provided and others’ contributions.

  46. Debora Bailey says:

    Good Morning from the northeast corner of Alabama, specifically Huntsville, Al.
    I had thought to be an invisible participant and not identify myself as is my introverted nature, but after reading about other participants I felt encouraged. I’ve been sharing in Henri Nouwen’s daily devotions, saw the Advent Book Discussion and was nudged to participate with the desire to use Life of the Beloved as my morning study during Advent. I have read Nouwens books before devouring Reaching Out more than once, along with Making All Things New. I am eager to explore this book through community with you all.

  47. Virginia A says:

    Hello Everyone! I look forward to re-reading Life of the Beloved. This book was given to us by our former Pastor in 2003. He introduced us to this wise author and since then we have read several of his books. This advent will be a difficult one for me as my husband passed away a couple weeks ago. We always shared Advent devotions together with a special book or group. I live in Ft. Collins, CO and am looking forward to joining and reading along with others this Advent season.

    • JoAnn Whitley says:

      I am so sorry for your loss Virginia. May you feel his presence with you as you study more about your Belovedness this season. JoAnn

  48. Mark L Johnston says:

    Hello All, I am a plant biochemist/molecular biologist located in Columbia, MO.

    Looking to reconnect the heart and mind to know and feel the love of God. For me that place of “Feeling God’s Love” can be elusive living in this world.

    Looking forward to this Advent time spent here with you and God reconnecting.

  49. L.A. says:

    Howdy I’m L.A.
    I run a cattle ranch in Texas.
    In the 1980s the pastor of my church gave me Henri’s book REACHING OUT and I was hooked. I own most of his books. The words he writes from his heart speak to my heart. Looking forward to your words. Thank you and blessings

  50. Anne Murphy says:

    Hi from Deep River , Ontario. I start my day with Henri’s Daily Meditations; usually reading too quickly. I’m hoping that joining this book discussion will help me to slow down a little bit and focus on the spirituality of the Advent season.

  51. John P. says:

    Hi all! I am John from New Hampshire. I have joined this online group for Advent and Lent for several years now. For me, it is an opportunity to spiritual growth. I am grateful for your companionship in that journey. Your dedication inspires me. I am a retired physician and try to spend my time encouraging family, friends and those whom I come in contact with. I recently read this, a quote from Helen Keller to Mark Twain: “So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good.” Though we may never meet in person, I am grateful for your friendship. Life IS good because of folks like you. Thank you Ray for your ongoing guidance.

  52. Pat Schmidt says:

    Greetings from Oregon. I’ve never been a part of this discussion but I am looking forward to this experience. Every year it feels like I am searching for some way to ground myself and focus during this season. I have read bits and pieces from Henri Nouwen, but don’t think I have ever read an entire book of his.

  53. Chuck Little says:

    Greetings Everyone,
    I live in Joshua Tree, CA. I spend these days homebound because of the Pandemic being with my wife, walking in the desert, and reading. I came to know/read Henri Nouwen’s “The Wounded Healer, while finishing an M.Div. degree in Interfaith Chaplaincy. Now at 68 years young, I am looking forward to a second act as a Hospice Chaplain after wonderful career as a Civil Engineer. I look forward to sharing with others during this Advent season the wisdom and insight that Henry Nouwen brings to us.

  54. myrna panganiban says:

    Hello! This is Myrna P from the Bay Area in CA. This is my first book by Henri Nouwen. My friend, B. Kueppers highly recommended that I read it and participate in the discussions. With it, I’m looking forward to a deeper spirituality this Advent season.

  55. Sharon L says:

    Peace be with all 🙂
    I’m Sharon from Singapore.
    Taking on this book study as part of my Advent reflection for the first time so looking forward to the fruitful encounters our Lord will bless us with on this pilgrimage with everyone in this Nouwen community.
    Cheers!

  56. Wylie Hunt says:

    Greetings to all from Stony Brook, NY, a small village on the north shore of Long Island about 60 miles east of NYC. I am a life-long Episcopalian, and have been an active layperson in my parish over the years. Since the pandemic, I have struggled to find new ways to connect with a faith community, and have been blessed to be part of online retreats, worship services and now a book study! I have read the Henri Nouwen meditations for many years, and have been nourished and strengthened by his humility, his vulnerability, and his faith. I am looking forward to this study in Advent as a way to draw closer to the “center,” the inner place where God dwells. I’m blessed to read all of your comments and thoughts.

  57. Trena Finnegan says:

    Hello Everyone! My name is Trena and I live in Markham, Ontario. I am delighted to be part of this online book club and it is my first time. I live close to the L’Arche Daybreak Community in Richmond Hill where Henri was Pastor. Henri offered an Advent Retreat at St. Mary Immaculate parish in Richmond Hill in the early 90s. That was my first introduction to Henri. I was at a retreat at the Sisters of St. Joseph in Morrow Park in 1996 and spent a lot of the weekend in the Library where apparently Henri would go from L’Arche to write and enjoy some quiet time. And it was that weekend that news reached us that Henri had died suddenly while abroad. About a month ago I was blessed to be able to visit his grave in St. John’s Anglican Cemetery. I sat on the bench and reflected on the daily reflection from the Henri Nouwen Society and said the Rosary. I felt a real closeness and connection to Henri’s life and ministry. And I continue to feel this close connection to many of the places where he lived and now rests. My spiritual life has been greatly enriched by his writings and I look forward to reading this book in depth. Thank you for this graced opportunity!

  58. Elizabeth says:

    Greetings from the coast of New England [Massachusetts]! From Fall 1991 to January 2020, I have worked as an office administrator for 2 Episcopal churches and 1 Anglican church, retiring just before the pandemic as office administrator to the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of New England. Not sure just when I was introduced to Henri Nouwen’s writings, but it has been during my 50+ years as an ever-growing Christian. Advent Blessings,
    Elizabeth, His Sheep

  59. Kelly Foyle says:

    Chicago, IL
    I first came across Henri Nouwen when a priest recommended “Return of the Prodigal Son.” I look forward to a meaningful, ritual reading experience this Advent. Thank you for this opportunity.

  60. Mary Grace C says:

    Hi , My name is Mary Grace C from San Antonio,TX . As a retired USAF officer, I dedicate my time and attention to Daily Bible reading and quiet prayer so that I will know how and be strengthened to care for my mentally ill husband Jim. I served as Eucharistic minister visiting the sick at our local hospital and rehab facilities, but that was before COVID. I have been a fan of this author for over 20 yrs and he was a great inspiration to me when my daddy died of cancer in 2006. This Advent 2020 will be my first book club discussion with you. I do not have any specific expectation of outcome – other than anticipation of joy and wonder -for what God may share with us as we meet/share/discuss with Jesus in our journey together.

  61. Wanda says:

    Good Afternoon Everyone~ Wanda in Stafford, Virginia. I gratefully participated in a two year Spiritual Direction class where I was introduced to Henri Nouwen 3 years ago and have been reading his books & getting the wonderful daily email meditations. My first time joining this Book Club and look forward to taking the time of spiritual nourishment, (which is very difficult at this time of the year) and opening my heart to what the true meaning of Christmas truly is & how I can be a reflection of the “face” of Christ to others. Blessing to all as we journey together this Advent season.

  62. Marylee Balota says:

    Hi, Everyone! My name is MaryLee from St. Louis, MO. I started reading Nouwen’s daily meditations last year and am hooked! Looking forward to this Advent book read and sharing with all of you.

  63. Shari says:

    Hello,
    I’m in Tennesse, USA. I look out at the Smokey Mountains from my home.
    I’ve read a bit of Nowen’s writing and have participated in a small group dedicated to resting The Prodigal So …..life enhancing!
    I’ve not participated with this group before but look forward to a wonderful Advent adventure.

  64. Amanda Taylor says:

    Hello, my name is Amanda and I live in a small village on the Suffolk coast in England. This is the first time I have joined a book group on line and I am looking forward to seeing how it unfolds. Amidst the sadness and loss that this year has bought for us all in different ways, an unanticipated blessing has been how it has enabled us to join people ‘in church’ all over the world. It has been a rich experience but/and reading Henri Nouwen reminds me that the 10 or so, mostly elderly, people who make up the congregation in our small rural church are equally beloved. So here I am, already feeling like I want to say thank you…

  65. A says:

    Hi Ray and everyone! Im A, im from the Philippines. Havent noticed many Asians here yet but Im glad to have found this Advent Book didcussion. Im in a process of discernment with my career, really wanted to work in an org that helps vulnerable children. I found about Henri when I volunteered in the UK, our team leader showed the video of his homilies, my favorite one is THE BELOVED. So I read it, and kept on reading his other works.

    So i pray that this discussion will enable me to re read, refocus and review my own life as the beloved… and have the courage to be shared for the world.

    • Mary Grace C says:

      I join you A in your prayer — that this discussion will enable us to re read, refocus and review our own life as the beloved… and have the courage to be shared for the world. For our God desires a personal relationship with me, and I don’t want my religion to get stale or tarnished. May The Holy Spirit bless this book club as we seek discernment and strength to go out to love God’s family.

  66. Elaine M says:

    Hello again to Ray and to the many Nouwen readers whom I have met before in these book discussions. I look forward to reconnecting. I am also excited to see so many readers who are new to Henri’s work and/or to these book discussions. After more than five years of experience with these discussions, most recently with Ray as our inspiring facilitator, I can attest to the insights, wisdom, collegial spirit, and heartfelt sharing that can be found here every time. In a year in which family illnesses have been complicated by trying to navigate the health system–and even running necessary errands–in a time of pandemic, I feel blessed to be able to settle into this Henri Nouwen oasis for a short time each day.

    • Ray Glennon says:

      Thank you Elaine for your very kind words. As the facilitator, I can attest that it is work of the Holy Spirit among the community that gathers for these discussions that makes this the holy and special time that it is. It’s an honor and privilege to walk with all of you once again this Advent.

      May the Lord give you peace. (What St. Francis would say to those he met.)
      Ray

  67. Jane Marie says:

    St. Paul MN
    I began reading Henri Nouwen’s Daily Meditations a few months ago. His gentle profound insights have helped me see God’s love in a whole new way. I look forward to the discussions during Advent.

  68. Sharon K. Hall says:

    Hello, my husband and I live in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. I was introduced to Henri Nouwen’s book, The Wounded Healer, many years ago through a Stephens Ministry training program. Being a wounded person myself, truly benefitted from being exposed to Henri Nouwen’s insights and wisdom. I spend my days studying to learn more about adapting and sewing for disabled and elderly women and want to encourage others to also realize that they are beloved children of God. Studying this current Advent selection is particularly relevant to me because most of my family and many of my friends do not find anything useful for them in the institutional Church and that makes me sad. Hope this study and book selection offers some insight and help for me in my relationships with them. I have participated in quite a few Henri Nouwen book studies before and always get a lot from them and am looking forward to this one too..

  69. Cary Upshaw says:

    Hello everyone,
    This is my first book club. Look forward to reading this as part of a discussion group. I have read a couple of his books and his spiritual insights are inspiring. I live in rural Virginia and this is my last year teaching preschool special education.

    • Shari says:

      Hi Carrie,
      I spent my career in Early Childhood Education.
      You will benefit from spiritual grounding as you work with families!
      Mr. Rogers is another source of spiritual sustenance for you!

      • Ray Glennon says:

        Shari and Cary,
        I’m not sure if you are aware that Henri Nouwen and Fred Rogers were friends. In fact, Mr. Rogers spoke at Henri’s funeral in 1996.
        Ray

        • mary Grace C says:

          really? This is so meaningful to me! Everyday after grade school, my parents allowed me to spend 30 minutes on TV with Mr Rogers…sometimes I also watched Gilligans island — somehow I felt like a silly Gilligan trying to please the captain (God) as we try to survive in a strange place while awaiting rescue (eternal life in heaven).

          • Ray Glennon says:

            You might be interested in this. . .

            A letter from Henri to Fred Rogers appears in Love Henri – Letters on the Spiritual Life (p. 209). Editor Gabrielle Earnshaw notes that Fred and Henri became friends in 1984 and shared letters over the remaining 12 years of Henri’s life. In this letter Henri is responding to a letter from Fred where he was hurt by some criticism he received. After Henri acknowledges how much criticism hurts him too, here is his closing: “Let us pray for each other, that we remain faithful and not become bitter and that we continue to return to the center where we can find the joy and peace that is not of this world.” (Note: For Henri, the “center” is the heart where the Spirit of God dwells.)

            Ray

  70. Mary says:

    I’m joining you from the UK.

    I came to know Henri Nouwen when training for ordination and his words help to point me towards Jesus.

  71. SHIRLEY SARGEANT says:

    Hello all, I am from Brisbane, Australia. I’ve received the Daily Meditations for several years now, and have found them very helpful to my growth as one who knows herself God’s beloved child. This is the first time I’ve participated in a book discussion online, and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve borrowed many Nouwen quotes in the weekly meditations/listening prayers I prepare for two churches, they are so enriching and practical. Thank you for providing this wonderful opportunity!

  72. Janet Crow says:

    Hi all!

    I live in Frederick, MD and I work as a crisis/trauma therapist. I had a 25 year accounting career when I realized I wasn’t getting joy from my work or making a real difference in people’s lives. I went back to school for my MA in clinical counseling at a seminary outside of Philadelphia, which is where I first encountered Nouwen.

    I’ve done book clubs in person but never in this manner and I’m excited to learn from all of you and see how we are transformed through this group.

    I hope for a deeper relationship with Jesus and deeper security in His love for me thru this study.

    • Janet,

      I was so glad to see that you joined us and named your work as a trauma therapist. I too am a trauma informed therapist (who went to seminary) specializing in abuse and weaving spiritual practice with evidence based research. I look forward to your comments.

      Beverly

  73. Susan Bauer says:

    Hello! I am a resident of Burlington, NC. I moved to a Continuing Care Retirement Community here, as an independent living resident, 8 months ago. My late husband, a Lutheran pastor, and I have appreciated Henri Nouwen for many years. When we were missionaries in Africa, teaching at a seminary, we led small group discussions of “The Return of the Prodigal Son” to our students.

    This is my first time as a participant in one of these groups, and I am very much looking forward to participating, during this time of staying at home during Advent.

    Blessings to you all.

  74. Patricia Hesse says:

    Participating in this book discussion has been such a meaningful part of Advent and Lent. “The Return of the Prodigal Son” is my all-time favorite book. I first read it after reading that it was Hillary Clinton’s favorite book. I found Henri’s insight raw, tender, revealing.

    I am a teacher in a small rural school in northeast Arkansas. I hoped to participate in the summer book discussion, but spent most of the summer preparing for remote learning –creating digital, interactive notebooks for my gifted students in grades 2-6, reconfiguring my classroom, and in district planning meetings. We knew what was coming. I am more than ready for immersion in another Nouwen book and for learning from each of you.

    Viktor Frankl said, “An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.” It is amazing to discover that even in this abnormal situation, what seems impossible can become almost normal to children. I learn from them daily.

  75. Simon Warren says:

    Hi everyone!

    I’m a retired IT professional. I’m also part of the leadership team of a church in my home city of Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England. Leading, family, friends and cycling occupy most of my time.

    I haven’t read much Henri Nouwen – only The Return Of The Prodigal Son. This book deeply affected me.

    I’m looking forward to reading Life of the Beloved together.My prayer is that it will lead me into a deeper relationship with God. During Advent I always have a strong sense of him breaking into our broken world in a decisive and impacting way. So I come to this with faith that he will continue to do so.

  76. Bob Brown says:

    Happy USA Thanksgiving and greetings from the lower Upper Peninsula of Michigan, specifically Harbor Springs. I am Bob Brown, retired Presbyterian clergy, and am most pleased to join in with all of you for this special Advent sharing. Having benefited from previous Nouwen studies, I look forward to learning more and being spiritually inspired in these challenging times. One of his points has stuck out to me and would appreciate further clarification: Regardless of our religious tradition, we are “beloved by God”. Can we move beyond religious border walls? Bob Brown

  77. Patricia says:

    Hi everyone,
    So excited to be part of this virtual book group and to read my first Henri Nouwen book. I live in NJ and am currently on a work hiatus (I am a nurse practitioner) to care for my young daughter due to covid. I thought this would be a good way to get into the spirit of Christmas and stay connected to others despite what a crazy year this has been.

  78. Caroline Hill says:

    Good Morning. I live in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia Canada. I’m so excited to be back in another of these Henri blogs. Each one has had a very deepening faith experience for me. I spend many hours volunteering in gardens both flower and vegetable ones teaching people about gardening and developing a relationship with them of encouragement as they struggle with life’s challenges

  79. Hi everyone! I have never participated in a world wide book study before but what a great idea! This book is one of my all time favourites and like one of the comments previously, I too high lighted half of it!

    I am in Airdrie Alberta (right out of Calgary) to be closer to our beloved Grandchildren. I am a Clinical Nurse Specialist with a passion for life, family, friends and our beautiful outdoors.

    Although I have read this book before, I look forward to preparing my heart for the birth of my Saviour alongside all of you. I have full faith that new discoveries and insights will abound for all.

  80. I encountered Henri Nouwen in 1998 in Boston when a professor- friend-gave me a copy of “The Living Reminder.” Having been a psychotherpist for 10 years, then becoming newly ordained, Henri’s words were life giving guiding me into meaningful ministry.

    Now a psychotherapist again since 2011, I integrate science with spiritual practices toward wholeness and healing. Here, Henri has continued as a powerful mentor who was also a priest and psychologist weaving these two soul cares together as a healing balm.

    Henri’s books alongside this study since 2016, has called me deeper to find my heart’s true home. Now a psychotherapist and a Spiritual Director awaiting final orders as an Oblate at St. Meinrad Archabbey, I live and have a private practice in Louisville KY.

  81. Heidi Summers says:

    I live about 100 miles east of Seattle on a 55 mile long lake called Chelan. I spend most of my days behind a computer as a therapist (online these days) and in academic ministry at a graduate institution. I became acquainted with Henri Nouwen material in my MDiv. I hold the official title: wife, mother, grandmother (the latter is my favorite season of life). I look forward to gleaning from each of you over the next 4 weeks. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Priscilla says:

      Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Heidi! I also love my granddaughters. They have my heart. I wish you good tidings as we venture on this quest for a more intimate relationship with our Lord.

  82. Irene Yang says:

    Hello friends,

    I live in Decatur, GA. Most all my days are consumed with work and family. Work is that I am a nurse researcher. Family include my husband who is a pastor, three beautiful daughters, parents and parents-in-law in Toronto, Canada, and siblings all over the world. I can’t remember how I first discovered Henri Nouwen, but I know that over the years his work has called me back to Christ over and over again. I am so looking forward to reading this book with you all!

  83. Melanie Marshall says:

    Hello everyone,
    I am a long time reader of Henri Nouwen, and found this opportunity through Instagram, of all things. Thank you for bringing us together to have a most meaningful Advent season. I am a teacher in Texas.

  84. Fran says:

    I live in Tyler, TX, having moved here in 2002. I grew up in the Midwest, and while living in Independence, Missouri as an adult, I came to know Henri Nouwen’s writings. I was in a 12-step recovery program, and I read “Wounded Healer.” That book was so meaningful to my life at that time. I have sought out Noiwen’s books over the years, and have led small group studies on some of them. I look forward to this Advent sharing.

  85. Nancy J Flowers says:

    Hi All, Happy Thanks giving. I am a grateful recovery addict in 12 step recovery in Tyler, Texas, USA. . Found Life of the Beloved several years ago. Looking forward to being with you all on the Advent study. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!!

  86. Deb Gustafson says:

    Greetings all! I am Deb Gustafson and live in North Carolina. I am a retired middle school teacher and currently work part time mentoring new teachers! A friend of mine from church introduced me to Henri Nouwen many years ago! I have read many of his books and participated in many of the Advent and Lenten book discussions. I cherish this book and am looking forward to reading it again with all of you.

    • Priscilla says:

      Hello Deb! I am also in NC, eastern, just south of the VA line and a couple of hours drive from the Outer Banks. If I may ask, in what part of the state are you?

  87. Marija says:

    Hi I am from Malta and I was recently introduced to Henri Nouwen by my spiritual director. I look forward to re-reading this book and see your insights.

  88. Natalie Thompson says:

    Hi everyone! I live in Grass Valley, California and desire to go deeper in my relationship with Jesus through this study. This is the first Nouwen book I’ve read. I’m already loving it and expecting amazing things for all of us. Happy Advent! I look forward to spending time with you all.

  89. Sheryl Jordan says:

    Hi all, I’m Sheryl from northern New Jersey USA. I have been reading the daily meditations on this website for a while but have yet to dive into a Nouwen book. I am mother to two young girls, an architect working from home and trying hard to balance everything and find solace and grow in patience in this time. The patience part isn’t going so well lately!

  90. Terri says:

    Hello everyone-
    Joining you from Rochester, MN. I learned of Henri Noewen last year through a book club on art and “Return of the Prodigal Son” leading me to the daily meditation website and “Life of the Beloved”. I am dedicating this study to my Dad who passed away on September 15th. This week I shared my plans to refocus/reclaim my life (rather than retirement!) from medicine with a purpose “to commit the rest of my life to seek and listen to God’s word and to see and create beauty in the world”. This Advent study is a perfect first step along that path. I look forward to listening and learning.

  91. Laura says:

    I’m from near Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I’ve read this book once before and am looking forward to sharing together with a group.

  92. Jacqueline Sarullo says:

    Hello Everyone! I am looking forward to sharing this, my first Advent journey, with my friend, Sue and all of you. I hope to delve deeper into Henri Nouwen’s simple but profound truths as I face a new chapter in my life (preparing for eventual retirement). Thank you for this opportunity to give Advent and Christmas even more meaning.

  93. Regina says:

    Hello from Greenway, Ontario, a very small Southwestern community.
    Several years ago I started taking Spiritual Direction, as I felt The call calling To be closer, to Jesus. My spiritual director introduced me to Henri and I continue to still be “in awe” of his works; I mediate as often as I can on the daily meditations and journal as well. They keep me very centred; as I continue to recover from a car accident.

    I have never really done anything like this online so I apologize in advance for any mistakes; but I will d9 my best. I look forward to this advent discussion as I have always wanted to “ dig deep” into my own personal meaning(s) of Christmas.
    I am a person who was born Roman Catholic and enjoy my faith emensley!

  94. Melissa M. says:

    I am from NW Georgia, near Chattanooga, TN. I teach English as a Second Language in a small, mostly rural school district.
    I don’t know a great deal about Henri Nouwen except that he is quoted by several writers I like and respect. This will be the first of his books for me, although I have a few on my Amazon wish list!
    I look forward to learning more about him.

  95. Ty Sharron says:

    Hey everyone! I’m Ty from Windsor, Ontario Canada!

    I’m in ministry as a worship pastor at an evangelical church here. I’m also a husband, new father to a beautiful little 10-month old girl, and a musician.

    I believe God brought me to Henri Nouwen in a crisis moment of my life…I went to a retreat run by a man who became my spiritual director, and we were doing a Visio Divina exercise. What picture did I end up finding and studying in the back corner of the church basement? Rembrandt’s “The Return of the Prodigal Son.” My SD told me about the Nouwen book; I had heard his name before, so I bought it. It was gonna fall into my stack of “books I need to read, but may never get to,” but I was intrigued by the premise and that it was apparently published the year I was born.

    I read it insanely fast and highlighted at least half of it. Then I subscribed to the daily emails and find them so helpful and encouraging.

    I’ve never done a book discussion or club of any kind, but have really wanted to, so when I saw this opportunity to prioritize reading another Nouwen and getting to discuss it with others, I was super stoked. I hope to learn lots from the book and from you fine folks as we journey through this together!

  96. Pat says:

    I want to thank my friend, Jean, for introducing me to Henri Nouwen, the Nouwen Society, and this book discussion. I’ve just recently discovered the Daily Meditations and find that’s a great way to begin each day. I’m looking forward to experiencing a meaningful Advent with reading my first Nouwen book and this discussion group. My home is in Massachusetts.

  97. Lee Ann Perin says:

    Hello Friends,
    I am in central Ohio. I am a newcomer to Henri’s teachings, and was led here after signing up for the daily devotional. They have fed me now for several months, so I felt moved to participate in this Advent study and discussion. I hope to experience something greater, the hope that is the Christ child.
    Happy Thanksgiving and Many Blessings,
    Lee Ann

  98. Deanie Rudzik says:

    Hi, I am located in Independence Mo, just next to Kansas City…home if the Chiefs!! I first learned of Henri through friends. I have not taken part in a discussion such as this before. I yearn for a personal experience of Jesus and Spirit. I am looking forward to learning and sharing with you all.

  99. Michele M. Connor says:

    Good evening, all! I am Michele and I live in Maryland. I dedicate much of my time in volunteer ministry at my church; I lead the online chat host team for our live streamed Masses, so very busy these days! I also spend time reading and playing with my very spoiled dogs. I read “Life of the Beloved” earlier this year and SO wanted to talk to someone about it! I am looking forward to this discussion and diving deeper into this beautiful book.

  100. Rick Strong says:

    Hi everyone
    This the first time for me to be in a book study here. I am looking to hearing all of your thoughts on this book.

  101. Sue Meyer says:

    Happy Eve of Thanksgiving! I am happy to be joining in from Michigan. My mother has read Henri Nouwen over the years, so I was familiar with his name. I invited her to join, and she already has! Here I am to share this Advent journey with you and some members of my Circle of Faith. We will meet on Zoom to discuss our thoughts as well as here on the blog page.

  102. Sharon Mosier says:

    I am Sharon Mosier wife, mother, and retired teacher of 46 years. This is my first time in an online discussion. I encountered Henri Nouwen’s books many years ago and have always benefited from his wisdom. Looking forward to the insights of others as we journey through Advent with this beautiful thought provoking book as the platform. Blessings!

  103. Cindy says:

    My name is Cindy. I live Taft, the Central Valley of California. I am a preschool teacher and a lay minister in the Methodist Church.I have been reading the daily devotionals. And thought it was time to read the book. I usually do an Advent devotional so this will be different for me.

  104. Katy says:

    I’ll be joining this, my first Henri Nouwen online book discussion, from South Central Indiana where, in retirement, I seek to remember my belovedness and to act like one who is beloved. Can be challenging! I have been reading Henri Nouwen’s books for years, beginning long ago with his “With Open Hands” (a title I never seen any references to anymore). It was only in the last year that I read “Prodigal Son.”

    I’m looking forward to shared insights but also acknowledging that I can get bogged down and even intimidated by lots of online chat. I’m hoping that by introducing myself here I am actually committing to do the reading and make good use of Life of the Beloved to kick-start the Advent season and help me be mindful of it as a time of preparation, transformation, openness, and “readying” myself for Christmas and for the new start that 2021 offers.

  105. Susan says:

    I want to thank my friend, Jackie for inviting me to join in this special Advent journey. This will be my first experience with author Henri Nouwen. I am looking forward to the discussions and insights.

  106. Michael Butler says:

    Hello everyone. I live in NE Los Angeles – Burbank to be specific. I’ve read about six Nouwen books (including our selection for Advent). I’m looking forward to re-reading it and learning from all of you. I hope we all find Community, Purpose, and Joy in this Advent season.

  107. Frank Pavlak says:

    Hi to all.

    I live in Thornton Colorado, a suburb of Denver. I have read a lot of Henri’s books but it has been years since I read the Life of the Beloved. So, I look forward to this book discussion.

    Blessings,
    Everyone have a Happy Thanksgiving

  108. Bev B. says:

    Hi everyone,
    This is the first time I’ve joined this online book discussion. I’ve thought of it before but was always too “busy”. I live in Northern British Columbia in Canada and we are currently in “staying home and staying safe” mode. I actually had signed up for an Advent Reflection group that my husband and I have gone to for several years at a parish in our town but gatherings are restricted now so that was cancelled.
    I read this book before but look forward to rereading it and listening to your insights. I LOVE Henri Nouwen–his daily reflections speak to my heart. Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to be a part of this!

  109. Travis Copus says:

    Hi everyone! My name is Travis. I was born in the US but currently live in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with my wife and twin 3 year olds. I’m a teacher at an international school. I spend my days pouring my life into my family, my students, and the community of teachers that surround us.

    Last year, I met with 2 other teachers in fumbling attempt to focus more deeply and consistently on our spiritual lives. We chose to read through the devotional that is comprised of segments of Henry Nouwen’s writings. I had known about him for years but this was the first time I’d REALLY read him. I found some of the readings extremely powerful and thought provoking.

    A couple months ago, I came to know that there was a Henry Nouwen Society and followed them on Instagram–and subsequently discovered this Advent reading group. The last couple of years, I’ve focused more on the Advent season and less on the actual day of Christmas and I am praying this group will help fuel my spiritual focus and thoughts. I think interacting with an international community over this book will be very powerful. I also want a reason to sit and write out my thoughts as a spiritual practice this Advent.

  110. Kathy Bilskie says:

    This my first experience with such a discussion. I look forward to it.
    I am in southern Indiana.

  111. Russ Weil says:

    Greetings from St. Louis, Missouri!
    I am a retired accountant and have done volunteer hospital pastoral care work for the past 7 years…until being furloughed in March due to the pandemic. I’ve read at least a dozen of Henri Nouwen’s books and have been spiritually moved by each one of them. I look forward to our discussions in this much-needed advent season of hope.

  112. Katie says:

    Hello! I’m in Central Illinois, working at a large health system here in “Patient Experience”. This work calls upon my servant leadership and humility, especially now during this pandemic, to bring a touch of God’s love to the patients and families with whom I interact. I’m a wife and a military mother. I learned of this book several years back, near the time my sister died (I’m the youngest of 10). The content aided me in processing my grief, and I pray this discussion will break open my deeper understanding of God’s infinite love.

  113. Phil Smith says:

    Hello all – I’m from Derbyshire in the Midlands of the UK. My life is dedicated more and more to the people around me in whom I see holiness and divinity. Many years of reading Nouwen has led me to this place. I may not comment, but I find the contributions enlightening and uplifting. Looking forward to Advent

  114. Anna Marie Mason says:

    Looking forward to re-reading Life of the Beloved and learning online from this group’s insights. Thanksgiving blessings to all.

  115. Catalina says:

    Greetings,
    My name is Catalina . I live in NWArkansas.
    Looking forward to this Advent’s study. Have invited my daughter and my husband to join in and hope it will bring us together in the love of God in a closer way.
    I work part time as a spiritual director and seek always to encounter the Divine in a more profound way.
    Happy to be a part this virtual community .

  116. Alberto J Negron says:

    1) My name is Al Negron and I am located in North Texas – Lewisville.
    2) I am a full-time worker @ a financial services company, I care for my wife who is disabled, I have been a part-time pastor twice, I am a recovering addict, and I am waiting for what the Lord has for me in this new location (moved from Cali in 2019).
    3) I read Life of the Beloved on my own in connection with my “spiritual awakening” as a result of the 12 Step Program, and tried to share it with a group of men that I met with, but unfortunately, they were not as enthusiastic about it as I. However, I currently am going through it with one friend, and we are loving it and the way we see God work in our lives through it.
    4) I just hope to deepen my relationship with God, increase my spiritual and emotional maturity, and learn how to wait.

    • Nancy J Flowers says:

      Hi Alberto, thanks for your honesty. I’m in Tyler, Texas and also gratefully recovering in 12 step recovery. Have a blessed day!!

  117. Nancy says:

    Hi everyone! I live in the upstate area of South Carolina and have been reading Henri Nouwen’s books for many years. I read Life of the Beloved a couple of years ago and look forward to re-reading it in a group setting and hearing your comments and insights.

  118. Michelle Carattini says:

    hi everyone!
    Happy Thanksgiving!!
    I am Michelle and am currently in Youngstown Ohio but soon in 2021 to be in Arlington Virginia.
    I participated in one previous study of The Prodigal Son, I enjoyed it so much. The insights are fantastic and it’s such a blessing to connect to all of you around the world.
    I am thankful for this new opportunity.

  119. Kathleen says:

    Hello! I’m Kathleen from Los Angeles County in Southern California. It was on my heart to re-read Life of the Beloved, and then I found this group! Excited to read and share.

    • Kathleen,

      Welcome to this amazing group that has really been formative for me over the past years. I always look forward to our discussions and grow deeper as a result of listening and learning with people here.

      As an aside, my twin daughters were born in Lake Arrowhead CA and one now lives with her husband in Pasadena. I could use some of your sun these dark days in KY.

  120. Olivia D. says:

    Hi, I’m Olivia D. from Baton Rouge and I am looking forward to this Advent book discussion. I dedicate this journey to my family and friends and those who are suffering emotionally and physically during this time. This is my first discussion on one of Nouwen’s books; however, I did attend a workshop on his book, “Return of the Prodigal Son.” I hope to not only gain a better understanding of this book, but also to be refreshed spiritually during this Advent season.

  121. Elvira Beracochea says:

    Greetings from Fairfax, Virginia, USA. I am a public health physician and dedicate my energy to improve the quality of health care services in developing nations. I believe in justice for all and the right to quality health care for all. My Mom gave me Life of the Beloved several years ago. She has dementia and does not remember that. I would like to read it again and let her go as she gets close to be with the Beloved herself. I am having trouble losing her bit by bit.

    • Priscilla says:

      Hello Elvira! First of all, thank you for serving people in developing nations with your medical expertise. I trust God to show your heart the countless number of people whose lives have been touched, and maybe even saved, by your skilled hands and loving heart.

      I am sorry to hear about your struggles in letting go of your Mom. It must be incredibly painful to live through. May God bless you with his peace.

  122. Charmaine Agius Ferrante says:

    My name is Charmaine Agius Ferrante and I am originally from Malta but living and working in Newcastle upon Tyne. I am very much looking forward to engaging with Nouwen’s book ‘Life of the Beloved’during this Advent journey within this community.

  123. Jenn W. says:

    Hello, from Denver, CO! Looking forward to working through this book with you all this advent season.

  124. Aimee Mury says:

    Good morning from the Boston area. I have read various online devotions of Henri Nouwen and always love his focus on authenticity and ordinary life and people, sometimes raw hard things to consider. I attend Highrock Church online this year and looking forward to having this focus during Advent during this unique year/season for all of us like no other.

  125. Priscilla says:

    Good day to all. My name is Priscilla Sissem, and I live in northeastern North Carolina, USA, about 12 miles south of the Virginia state line, and about a 2 hour drive from the Outer Banks. I am a retired Sociology professor, and a person who has been on my quest toward God’s love for many years. God’s love can be elusive, and I trust that I will find more of God through this Advent book study of Life of the Beloved. May you all be seekers of God’s heart, as he promises that all who seek will find.

  126. Liz says:

    Hello dear ones! I’m Liz. I live in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and work as a fundraiser and communicator in Toronto.

    I met Henri many years ago while working at an inner city mission in Toronto. Several times Henri came to share his thoughts with us at our staff retreat. I was struck by the simplicity and depth of his message. The first Henri book I read was The Wounded Healer.

    In my “spare” time I am involved in music ministry at my church in several different capacities. As well, I am blessed to serve as a Stephen Minister, a Christian lay caring ministry that is much in demand in these times. I am also chipping away at my Masters of Theological Studies at the University of Toronto.

    This is my first online book discussion!

    Peace to you all.
    Liz

  127. Judy Heller says:

    Hello to all. I live in upstate NY and winter in Florida. I have been reading Henri Nouwen’s books for many years . They have inspired me in times of great loss and personal challenges. Prior to the Pandemic, I met with a spiritual advisor in my parish who has offered readings and insights to enrich my faith. I have become somewhat disenchanted with the institutional church but have hope that Pope Francis will encourage inclusion and comfort to humanity in a dangerous world. I am always anxious to share spirituality with others.

  128. Greta says:

    Hello Everyone,

    I live in the foothills of Colorado and was introduced to Henri Nouwen by a member of a Small Group that I was leading at the time. I have read every book that has been a part of the Advent and Lenten Series since 2013.

    I retired after a career in technology, and returned to school to finish my Bachelor’s degree and am in my final term at Regis University in Denver. During this year I have been re-reading many of Henri’s books and also participate in another Spiritual Transformation book club. I am asking God to help me find my “unique vocation” in the coming year.

    I look forward to re-reading the Life of the Beloved and spending time with this discussion group.

    Peace & Grace

  129. Judi Mallett says:

    Good morning everyone. I live in Ottawa, Ontario and look forward to discussing my favourite book by Henri Nouwen. I was rereading this book several years ago and suddenly a light went on inside me with the realization that I am Beloved by God. This was life changing, as many of you know. This knowledge comes with rights and responsibilities. I am retired from full time hospital work but still work casual in Hospice palliative care.

  130. Dennis Cahill says:

    I am joining from Cleveland, OH. I first became acquainted with Henri Nouwen’s writing while I was incarcerated at Ashland Federal Correctional Institution, fell in love with his insights, and have read much.

  131. Birgit Oberhofer says:

    Hi, my name is Birgit. I live in Texas, but I am currently in Germany to assist my sister who has been battling with cancer for the past 6 years. I live in a community and I accompany students and young people through campus ministry and Spiritual Direction. Mainly – I am trying my best to follow Jesus wherever he leads me and to love the people he puts in my way as best as I can. I came across Henri Nouwen’s book on the Prodigal Son through the Abiding Together podcast last Lent and I have read several other books since. This is my first book study. I am hoping to do it together with my sister and we have purchased the book in German. 🙂 Looking forward to it.

  132. Elaine C. says:

    Hello from Andover Minnesota. I actively participate in the ministries of our church including two book study groups. One is relatively new and is focused on learning more about racism and how we can interrupt it; the other is a long-standing spiritual formation group. I became acquainted with Henri Nouwen by reading and discussing his book, The Prodigal Son, in the latter group. This is my first time participating in this type of discussion and I am seeking to grow in my faith.

  133. Selina says:

    This is my first experience with a blog and/or online group discussion so I’m in new territory. Several years ago I was sent a link to sign up for Henri’s daily meditations. Something spoke to me about reading this book and participating so I followed that tug. I live in Massachusetts, born and raised in Texas. I appreciate Henri’s accessibility and simplicity to his insights/wisdom. I’m working on self-emptying, kenosis, and living by God’s will, seeing Him in all, forgiveness and living with a Christ-centered purpose and mindfulness centered in gratitude. To do this, I realize I need the support and continual renewing of the mind. That’s what brought me here. I look forward to being a part of this community in faith and love.

  134. Spencer Edelbaum says:

    Good Morning
    My name is Spencer Edelbaum, husband of Sue Seel who is also taking this course. My wife and I live on the Northern Shore of Long Island in a quaint community . We are very blessed to know God the way we do while sharing a life of great joy & deep spirituality. My wife had been diagnosed with a severe cancer in 2016 that rocked our world. Although this has & continues to be an enormously painful journey, God’s strength and prodigious love have kept us hopeful, grounded and constantly seeking.
    We are grateful for another opportunity to lean into God’s word while enriching our spiritual journey and those with whom we come in contact .
    Blessings to all,

  135. Bob says:

    I am Bob. I am a Michigan snowbird currently in Ocala, FL. I have been reading a Nouwen for many years, enjoying his simplicity and honesty in ways to approach God and life. I am looking for guidance and new insights during this time of Covid and seemingly never ending anger. Blessings to all

  136. Sue Seel says:

    Good morning and blessed Thanksgiving week to all. My best friend, Wylie, who will also be in the study , recommended it. My husband, Spencer, and I will be joining and look so forward to it. Four years ago I was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer so my energy and focus have changed a bit according to my treatment challenges. Overall I have a wonderful quality of life and hope to continue one day at a time with gratitude, mindfulness and purpose. I am a Lifecoach and although my ‘work’ is minimal at this point and my engagement with others is more limited, my purpose continues -simply to love and encourage others without judgement and to share the light of Christ with each person I meet. I read Nouwen’s meditations daily and love listening to the podcasts. Nouwen’s expressions of suffering and hope throughout his books have brought new meaning to my current walk with God.

  137. Michael D says:

    Blessings Beloveds from Louisville, Kentucky, USA

  138. Nancy A Walter says:

    I live in Northwest Indiana, about 40 minutes from downtown Chicago. I am retired from paid work and spend my time in antiracist and climate activism, while performing acts of service such as delivering meals to elders and working with the local food bank.

    I was introduced to Nouwen not long before his death. Life of the Beloved is the first of his writings I read, but certainly not the last. I loaned my copy to our pastor for a while in the last six months as he asked me for some books he could share with a member experiencing a reawakening.

    In these days of pandemic and political turmoil, I crave the sense of expectation and the hope which Advent brings.

  139. Thomas DiMattia says:

    Wichita, Ks.
    I dedicate my energy and entire life to Jesus the Christ, and I pray I see him in every person’s face, especially those I like the least.

    I remember liking him when he wrote back in the 80’s. . .but I ESPECIALLY liked the way he died, nothing particularly dramatic, but faithful and hopeful till the end.

    Hopefully I will experience a solidifying of faith in the Infinite Love of God for me, for us all.

    • Marigina Bruno says:

      Hi everyone! I’m a graphic designer from Ecuador and I currently work for a Catholic online project.

      I read The Return of the Prodigal Son during quarantine and now I’m in a Nouwen rabbit hole I just finished Life of the Beloved a few days ago so this is a God-sent opportunity.

      I wish all of you a happy Advent!

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