Reading: Foreward, by Sr. Sue Mosteller, C.S.J., Henri’s friend and
Literary Executrix, p. vii t0 xi.
The book recounts an “odyssey” of friendship; it required the stature
of a “Ulysses” to make the exhausting journey
and write five books along the way.
Sr. Sue Mosteller, from the Foreward
Welcome to the Henri Nouwen Society Lent book discussion of Sabbatical Journey – The Diary of His Final Year, written by Henri Nouwen while on sabbatical in the year preceding his untimely death on September 21, 1996. Our discussion of Henri’s diary of his final year is one of the ways the Society is celebrating Henri’s legacy during this 25th anniversary of Henri’s passing. As always, we look forward to greeting 0ld friends and welcoming new ones in our virtual community as we journey through the season together with Henri as our guide.
As Sr. Sue notes in the Foreward, Henri made his last entry on August 30, 1996 and he died before rereading or editing the journal. In preparing the book for publication, Sr. Sue’s goal was to be “faithful to his original text. I have not made many changes. The result is that the book lacks his completeness and finesse but it brims with his life and spirit.” We the readers are the beneficiaries of this approach. This Lent we will share the last year of Henri’s vibrant and exhausting life as he experienced it. We will see Henri with his many friends, in a close and mature relationship with his father after many years, in his solitude, as he is writing, and in personal prayer as well as his priestly Eucharistic ministry. I’m confident that you will grow in your understanding of Henri and be enriched by your participation.
Let’s briefly describe how our online book discussion works. If you’ve joined us before, this will serve as a review.
Beginning on February 21st, the First Sunday of Lent, and each Sunday through March 28th 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, click on the Home link in the black bar under the photograph at the top of the blog to navigate to the current week. 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 in black bar.
As we begin our journey together, it’s always nice 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
- Any thoughts and insights you gained from reading the Foreward
We begin our discussion of Sabbatical Journey – The Diary of His Final Year in earnest this Sunday, February 21st. In Sr. Sue’s words, “May the gift of Henri’s word and example shepherd us and lead us to find each other in friendship, welcome the questions arising from our search, share our joys and pains, and befriend death by trusting the One Who waits to catch and reunite us in everlasting joy.”
Meanwhile, welcome to each of you and I look forward to your introductions!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/@RayGlennon.