Nov 28th to Dec 1st: Introductions

I hope and pray that you who read these meditations will discover
many connections with your own spiritual journey…”

Henri Nouwen
Here and Now, Preface

Reading:  Preface

A warm welcome to each of you at this very special time of year. As always, a beautiful community of people will gather together—old friends returning for another fruitful discussion and new friends joining us for the first time.  We’re glad you’ve decided to journey through Advent with us. We’ll have a wonderful opportunity to learn, connect and grow during this time.

This Advent we’re reading and discussing Henri’s Here and Now, Living in the Spirit. In the Preface Henri says he, “didn’t try to write a new book, but to meditate on life as I am trying to live it.”  Nouwen archivist and editor Gabrielle Earnshaw writes, “Here and Now is Henri Nouwen’s statement of faith. It covers almost everything he ever thought and experienced about the Christian spiritual life.”

Henri’s meditations may be more relevant now than when they were first published in 1994. Today our society is busier, noisier, more competitive, and less personal than it was then, making it more urgent that we choose to slow down, to reflect, and to find the peace that only the Lord can give by living in the present and in the spirit. This Advent, with Henri as our guide, we will seek to do just that.

But before we get started, let’s briefly describe how the discussion works. If you’ve joined us before, this will serve as review:

Each Sunday you will discover a new “post,” indicated by the bold title, on the blog’s Home page.  Click on the title to enter the post.  There you will find the week’s readings and some questions for discussion.  To leave a comment scroll down to the bottom of the page where you will find the “leave a reply” box.  It works best if you always add any new comment to the newest post, even if you are referring to an earlier post. That way, everyone will see your comment. After you submit a comment, either Ray 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. If you have any questions about the blog,  please feel free to ask.  To ask a question you can submit a comment or send Ray an email at the address in his 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 invited to introduce yourself. You may choose to share:

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

I’m very much look forward to hearing from each of you!

Our discussion starts in earnest this Sunday, December 2nd!

In gratitude,


RAY GLENNON: Ray volunteers in his parish Confirmation program and other ministries. He and his wife are members of a Catholic charismatic community and they are in formation for the Secular Franciscan Order (OFS).  Ray came to know and trust Henri’s written word in a special way in 2004 when he found The Return of the Prodigal Son for sale after Mass at the cathedral in Singapore at an important point in his life.  You may contact Ray at   You can follow him on Twitter at

69 Replies to “Nov 28th to Dec 1st: Introductions”

  1. Greetings, My name is Roger. Henri Nouwen has been an inspiration for me during the last 5 – 10 years. His insights leading to God’s revelation have been significant in my experience. I’ve never joined a study like this. I hope to find a way for further inspiration with the ability of group and individual observations. I realize I’m starting this a little late but hope to catch up! On we go…

  2. Hi all! Like many of you, this is my first online book discussion and I am very excited to embark on this adventure. I’m currently located near San Francisco, California. I came to know Henri Nouwen through Fr. Jim Martin.

    I was raised Catholic and went away from the church during my college years. I came back to the Church after I graduated form university and have been attending church and studying for the past 5-6 years. It wasn’t until the last nine or so months when I started meditating and increasing my spiritual reading that I found a personal connection with God. I look forward to talking with others who are on their spiritual journey as well!

  3. I am so happy that I found this exercise. My husband and I were looking for some kind of Advent group. I just have to find the book , now, in one of many places it could be!!!!

  4. Greetings! Thank you for making room for one more! Has anyone experienced “red holiday” fatigue yet? The meaning and story of the holiday in many places has been lost somewhat, so it might as well be called the red holiday, or pick green if you like. But wait. Something important may actually be happening in spite of the red holiday. In fact, I feel like a bottomless pit of shopping desire! I keep it all modest, actually, but I love to shop this time of year. Shopping is after all, giving, expressing care and concern, personal expression, and joy. Crafting is also fun this time of year, for the same reasons. Paper snowflakes, knitted scarves and the like. It is partly a reaction to hearing endless upbeat Christmas songs in stores, bright lights on the houses, and just lots of fun. I teach math in middle school, and I also teach a 5th grade religious ed class and participate in music ministry with people of all ages, and in these activities, as well as with my husband and family in Maryland, I can talk (and sing) about preparing for Christ during Advent. In fact, I would like more opportunities to talk about the true meaning of Christmas to counterbalance all the fun I am having with the red holiday! So here’s to red holiday noise and chaos as a pathway to Christ after all, and to joining the Advent book group! I look forward to our discussions.

  5. This is my first experience with the Henri Nouwen online studies. I am excited to be a part of this longing for a deepening awareness of God’s Love during Advent. I began reading the daily meditations and want to explore some of Henri’s works. I am a retired public librarian and have read and been aware of some of Henri’s works yet have not ventured to join a study group.

  6. “One day I simply sat down and began to write down thoughts and feelings that emerged from my mind and heart.” From the Preface. I’m struck by the coherence of Henri’s core. I’m intruiged by his ability to go to his core and to name what is there. Reviewers say this is his ‘manifest’ – his proclamation of faith. I’m keen to get started, to discover this ‘core’ to his thinking. Happy Advent. Margaret

  7. Hello, My name is Anne and this is my first attempt at an online blog! I am retired, live just south of Boston and not too computer savvy but hope I can work it out. I receive a number of emails from various Catholic sources and Henri Nouwen has been quoted often. Each time my thoughts are heightened by his statements and when I saw this program I wanted to join. Thank you for the opportunity to learn and share.

  8. I am looking forward to this Advent study. This will be the third or fourth online study I have participated in and I have enjoyed them and have had a deepening of my faith. My husband and I live in western Colorado. He is almost into the third year of a cancer journey so living in the here and now has been a theme I have been exploring for some months now. Nouwen’s insights are always provoking for me so I am hoping to learn more and be able to apply living in the here and now in my life.

  9. Happy Advent to all! I’m delighted to be participating in a study with Nouwen’a work and to have an avenue for keeping my heart on the Lord during this season. I was first impacted by Henri Nouwen’s work in grad school and then reading The Wounded Healer. I’m a Christian counselor in Austin, TX. I look forward through this process to also connecting with all of you across the world!!

  10. Greetings,
    This is my first online book study although I have taken some online classes. I have read excerpts of Nouwen’s writings. I was looking for something to participate in for Advent and found this book study. I look forward to exploring Here and Now with all of you.

  11. This is my first online study. Grateful to have found it and also for finding the book available at our local public library.
    Have read Henri’s book Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith about Spiritual Direction. I am a Spiritual Director in Northwest Arkansas and also work as an interpreter Spanish /Εnglish. Also, time dedicated to my husband our children and our dog.
    My Advent focus will be on being grateful.
    Preface for me was clear, inspiring and enticing as far as wanting to continue reading more of the book.

  12. Hi, I am Tina. I am from Virginia. This is my first book discussion here. Henri Nouwen was mentioned in a church group I belong to. I was looking him up online and came across this discussion. I have not read anything by Nouwen before, so I am excited to participate in this for my first book.

  13. Hi, I’m Nancy from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I believe I first became aware of Henri Nouwen from a friend about 20+ years ago. I have one of his devotions book and really enjoy his writing. I know very little about him. I have never participated in an online book club, but have taken many college courses online, in which discussions are a big part of the grade :). Tomorrow my husband and I are lighting the first Advent candle. The theme for tomorrow is HOPE. Part of what I will say is, “We rejoice in the coming of Christ, The Light in the darkness, the promise of hope and the heart’s true home.” So when I read this in the Preface, it spoke to me with regard to some of the words I will speak tomorrow morning: “…Traveling toward the Light…keep our eyes fixed on the One who is calling us home.” (Henri Nouwen). I’m looking forward to learning more about Advent and its celebration since I did not grow up in a home that celebrated Christmas. Shalom to you all!

  14. Good morning. Like many of you this is my first online book study. I am excited to share the experience of reading Henri’s inspirational writing with seekers of the Light from so many parts of the world. I live in Long Island, New York. I was introduced to Henri’s work by my pastor. I read Life of the Beloved and was moved so deeply that I lead a book study on this book at my church I still return often to read parts of this book. Since then I read his work regularly and enjoy the daily email devotions. I look forward to slowing down during Advent and listening to the still quit voice Of God as we read and share about Here and Now

  15. This will be my first time participating in a Nouwen book discussion. I am communicating from southern California, one hour east from LA to be exact. During the week I work for my county’s Preschool Services Department enrolling children and families into our Head Start Program. On the weekend I volunteer at my parish as a RCIA facilitator for children. With the time I have left I am also part of a Young Adult group dedicated to guide back those who have strayed away and begin a conversation with those looking for answers.

    The Wounded Healer was my introduction to Nouwen – about 4 years ago. Since then I’ve admired his work and have been trying to read as much as I can. His work speaks to my heart like no other. The idea of choosing to slow down, reflect, and find peace that only the Lord can give by living in the present and in the holy spirit is why I’m here. I believe I’ve have gotten lost in the business of the world and during this Advent season would like to take the opportunity to reconnect and refocus. I’ve never read Here and Now but I am looking forward to starting this journey.

  16. I am thankful for the opportunity to participate in this Advent Henri Nouwen discussion group, as I have enjoyed previous seasonal book reviews. It is good to see familiar names from the past sessions and I look forward to the new ones who will be participating. May the Lord bless us with a joyous and hopeful Advent.
    Thanks to Ray for accepting the call to facilitate our group again.
    Peace and Joy,

  17. Good Morning. My name is Caroline and I live in the Okanagan Valley in Britis Colum.
    This is my first online book clubs do I am looking forward to it. I have read many of Henri’s books my first one being “Can You Drink This Cup” I have also been reading Henri’s online devotions for a few years now and greatly appreciate his writings.
    I have been retired from a paid job as an RN as well as an Office Manager for over 15 years. However I spend numerous hours volunteering with other Master Gardeners plus Looking after Grandchildren

  18. Hello, looking forward to a great discussion, here in the Northeast US. I was introduced to Nouwen’s work through a women’s retreat and have since enjoyed many of his titles. I find his writings multi layered so I look forward to connecting with multiple points of view from around the world through this group. I am fixated on the words “we are travelling together toward the Light” in the Preface. Its a great visual as our days are shortening in day light and we grow in Advent anticipation.

  19. I am from Indiana and work in the area of clergy care and also ministerial education. I think my first exposure to Nouwen was an audio book version of Making All Things New, while on a long drive. It spoke to my soul and I have been a fan ever since and continue to recommend his books to clergy and students. This is my first discussion experience. I am looking forward to whatever God brings during out time together.

  20. Hi, I am Andrea from Scotland, UK. I have just returned from the USA where I have been studying Theology and Transformational Leadership, in Rochester, New York. This is where I first encountered Henri’s work, and it touches my heart deeply and intimately. I look forward to this journey of Advent with you all . . .

  21. Hello my name is Deanna
    This is my 1st online book group. God bless you all & I look forward to enjoying deep thought & conversation during this Christmas Season Merry Christmas

  22. Hello everyone, I am in New Zealand. I have read Henri Nouwen for many years and am looking forward to the discipline of this book group over Advent. I am a new Hospital Chaplain and am enjoying experiencing the interplay of knowing myself and the importance of ‘being’ with my being able to ‘be’ with others. The preface motivated me to write freely in my journal – the thoughts and feeling that emerged from my mind and heart. If this is the only gift I receive from this book and discussion that will be enough, however I anticipate there will more more gifts over the coming weeks.
    Blessings to you all, Rosie

  23. Welcome to each of you and thanks for joining us. What a wonderful group we have gathering from across North America (New York to San Francisco; Western Canada to Florida) and around the globe (UK to Malaysia to Indonesia to Australia).

    My wife and I live in Columbia, Maryland, just west of Interstate 95 between Baltimore and Washington, DC. In my day job I am a contractor helping the Federal Aviation Administration to acquire their future communications services. Earlier this year I went to part-time status and I’m enjoying transition. I’ve been participating in these discussions since 2009 or 2010 and I have served as co-moderator since 2014.

    It’s great to see familiar names of returning participants and I’m really excited that we have so many first-timers. One of the things I find the most rewarding about the Henri Nouwen Society online book discussions is the community that develops as participants engage and support each other in the “conversation” prompted by Henri’s thoughts in the book and our individual life experiences. I’m confident we will experience that again during our time together this Advent.

    Once again, welcome. Our discussion starts in earnest on Sunday, December 2nd. We will be reading and discussing Here and Now, Chapters I through IV.

    May the Lord give you peace. (St. Francis of Assisi’s greeting to those he met.)

  24. Hi I am from Jakarta, Indonesia. I am pastoring young people in one of Evangelical Church here in Indonesia. Nouwen has been with me in my spiritual journey, and I love to continue this unknown journey with his writing. As young people who leads youth group, sometimes I quote Nouwen in my teaching, some of them now is one of Nouwen’s readers. They say thanks to me because I introduce Nouwen to them, and they are blessed and see nouwen’s words encouraging them in their spiritual journey as young people in this Postmodern World.
    I will read this Now and Here book with my Fiancee, and we will wait what God will do through this reading in this Advent season..

  25. I read the book from the Alexandria/Falls Church area of Virginia. I have always found Henri Nouwen to echo many of my thoughts and feelings. I find his theological writings and thoughts speak to my heart in special way. I am not a poet or one who reads it. I have trouble reading a lot of other theological readings and finding them meaningful, but Henri Nouwen does. I value the daily meditations and excerpts as well as these periodic gatherings. I spend my days as a chaplain to about 500 residents of a retirement community and the 400 or so staff. I love what I do and feel blessed that so many people allow me to be with them and be recipients of their stories. I hope to have a blessed Advent that is deeply meaningful rather than immersed in the busyness that our world invites us to be.

  26. I got to know about Henri Nouwen by my retreat leader. This is the first book and online circle I join. I dedicate my days to teaching the youngest schoolchildren, preparing a PhD study on literacy learning for children having severe speech and physical impairment, and caring for my own child with severe cerebral palsy. We live in Sweden and feel necessity and hope for a community without ableism.

  27. “Here and Now: Living in the Spirit” feels like an inviting title to me because the theme of our Christmas card last year was “Be here now. Be somewhere else later.” Both my husband and I are retired and savouring this time of our life and marriage. We live in a small community in western Canada surrounded by mountains, trees and water. I’ve participated in other Henri Nouwen book discussions and am excited to see how many people from all over the world have joined this one. My desire is to follow Henri’s lead and journal thoughts that emerge from my heart and mind, and to share some of them with this group.

  28. I am almost finished reading Here and Now. I had the thought to see if there was a Henri Nouwen website and found this! Just in the nick of time to join in. I have never been in an on-line discussion. I live in Nampa, Idaho. Looking forward to going through a slower reading of the book and learning even more!

  29. I’m looking forward to participating in this group for Advent. I currently live in Orlando, FL near my 3 children and their families. Since moving here 5 years ago, my spiritual journey has led me to serve in a number of ministries: lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, catechist for confirmation prep, parish council, stewardship committee, men’s bible study and refugee tutor with Catholic Charities. I read Return of the Prodigal Son about 20 years ago and for the past 10 years have faithfully read the daily reflections in Bread for the Journey. When traveling I read them in a daily email. I love Henri’s humility and authenticity. We all are on a spiritual journey, experience different things, and share different insights. I look forward to sharing this Advent journey with all of you and learning as I go.

  30. I live on Whidbey Island in Washington State. In my retirement, I’m a Stephen Minister and Leader, a facilitator for a weekly women’s Bible study and a coordinator for a yearly women’s retreat. One of the greatest joys and blessings in my life are my ten grandchildren. I’ve read a few of Henri’s books and I’m looking forward to a renewing Advent journey through this online book discussion.

  31. This is my first on line book study, but have been reading Henri for years and am looking forward to truly preparing my heart for the coming of Jesus during this advent season. Henri always helps bring me back to my heart for Jesus. His writing is soothing, comforting, humble, but at the same time convicting, thought provoking, diving deeper into life, loving, with the Spirit guiding, with the life of Christ as our example and with God sovereign over all. I want to live present and giving this Christmas.

  32. I am a physical therapist and Mom from Northern California. Have read at least 10 Nouwen books and participated in several online discussions. I look forward to hearing others reflections on Here and Now!

  33. Hi Everyone,
    This is my third time joining in with the book club and I am so happy to have the opportunity to re- read Here and Now again. It is my all time favorite book from Henri and I am excited to explore and share discussions about it with this group.
    My faith community is so integral to me and helps me be the wife, mother, teacher and person that I am called to be. Henri’s books have been very influential for me since discovering his work in a church library 7 years ago. I have come to very much look forward to the advent and lent study here!
    I live on Vancouver Island and love mornings, so I will be here with my coffee (and cream) and the fire on reading along with you!

  34. My name is Terry, and I live in Winston Salem, NC. This is the first time I’ve participated in an online book study. Looking forward to slowing down the busy pace of life for a few weeks and meditating on the beauty and wonder of the Advent season.

  35. This will be my first online book discussion. I was introduced to Henri’s writings just last year when we attended “Love Henri” hosted by Redeemer University in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada. My daughter and I jointly purchased ‘You are the Beloved’ as a daily devotional. She spent the past year enjoying snippets from a variety of Henri’s works compiled in this volume and recently relinquished it to me on completion. I began at the beginning of this month and quickly became hungry for more. While searching the web I stumbled upon this opportunity and am excited to be embarking upon my first full book by Henri. Enjoying it along with all of you will be an added bonus. Quoting Henri’s final sentence of the preface “I trust that these connections will make you aware that we are traveling together toward the Light, always encouraging each other to keep our eyes fixed on the One who is calling us home.”

  36. I believe this is probably my sixth Henri Nouwen book discussion. I am thrilled to see some familiar names in this introductory section, and I look forward to learning more about and from new participants throughout our Advent journey together. What a wealth of experiences all of you have! After many decades of teaching, I have turned my energies to nonprofit work, mostly creating and facilitating social justice workshops and service projects for youth and serving as a volunteer in a St. Vincent de Paul Society conference. Having been blessed with a wonderful husband, children, grandchildren, and extended family, I am making a concerted effort to focus on each of them individually and to appreciate every experience we share. I have long been inspired by Henri’s gentleness, brilliance, and reverence for the human dignity of all people. Reading his words helps to ground me and keep me humble.

  37. Hi everyone,

    I am a hopsice nurse from New Zealand. I am looking forward to the book club discussion. Wishing everyone a blessed Advent journey.

  38. I was first introduced to Henri Nouwen a number of years ago by a pastor friend, and later had the opportunity to study several of Nouwen’s works with a precious group of women. This is my first time to this online discussion group; I’m looking forward to learning from each of you.

  39. Hello. My name is Jonathan and this is my first online book group. I am from Pacific Grove, California.
    I consider Henri Nouwen as on of my spiritual fathers and guides. I would like to be able to slow down more and able to develop the spiritual practices of community, reading, and interior prayer. I attend church at what was called Mayflower and now is Wellspring Church.
    I have enjoyed reading Henri Nouwen’s books. My first was Way of the Heart and also read Life of the Beloved, The Return of the Prodigal Son, Making All Things New, The Inner Voice of Love, In the Name of Jesus, Clowning in Rome, Out of Solitude, and his Journals. I have always enjoyed Henri Nouwen writes from his heart, from his struggles and what he understands about life. He writes from somewhere personal for him and yet I also feel he helps the reader understand his or her own thoughts, struggles, and life. When I read his writings, I feel he speaks to me through my own thoughts, feelings, struggles and life in ways I might not have noticed on my own or spoken in my own words. I often read and reread.

  40. Greetings, All!
    This is Helen, missionary in Africa for 42 yrs., but presently in Orlando due to Hubby’s health issues. I first read Fr. Nouwen while taking my spiritual direction courses a few years ago. His Life of the Beloved powerfully helped me in learning to love & accept myself. This is my first time in a “book club”. I’m looking forward to being part of your lives through sharing how the Holy Spirit is speaking to us from this reading.

  41. Hi, I am Matt from Manteo, NC. This is my first online book discussion and am excited to be part of this group. I have enjoyed the daily Nouwen meditations and have always enjoyed reading Nouwen. I look forward to this time together each week as we

  42. Hi! I’ve never been part of an online book discussion group before so I’m really excited to be here. It seems as if Christmas has become one great blur so I’m looking forward to purposefully slowing down and not missing Immanuel in all the craziness.

    I don’t remember how I was introduced to Henri Nouwen but I believe that The Return of the Prodial Son was the first of his books that I read.

    I live in south Texas with my husband and our family. Many moons ago I taught elementary school but for the past few years, I have been teaching English to refugees. I’m so glad to be here with my brothers and sisters “traveling together toward the Light, always encouraging each other to keep our eyes fixed on the One who is calling us home.”

    1. This is my first time with a book discussion on line. I live in a suburb of St Louis Mo with my husband, Michael. We are both retired. I thought that this would be something we could do together even if it wasn’t at the same time of day.

      Many years ago a friend gave me ‘Can you drink this cup’. And have come to admire & be inspired by Henri’s wisdom.

      Looking forward to this Advent

  43. I have participated in two Henri Nouwen online studies but that was several years ago. I have been reading Henri Nouwen’s books for many years and always find deep consolation as well as challenge. I’m involved in the Rites of Christian Initiation (RCIA)in my catholic parish and every year we share Henri Nouwen’s perspective on the Prodigal Son – such a powerful way to experience that parable. We also encourage everyone to read Henri Nouwen’s books. I live in Canada, not far from Toronto and have been many times to L’Arche Daybreak where Henri spent his last several years in community. I’m looking forward to this journey as I also want to focus more on Advent and not get lost in the season’s rush. What a privilege it will be to journey with such an amazing group of people! Blessings to all!

  44. Hi! I’m Bettye from northeast Pennsylvania. I haven’t done an on line book study before. The Noreen book I remember starting with is The Return of the Prodigal Son. For the past few years I have been transitioning, and still haven’t quite found my way yet. I retired, have suffered health problems that have seriously cut down on my mobility, and have had many losses both big and small. I am hoping this book will help me as I try to find what new space God wants me to occupy.

  45. I live a few hours east of San Francisco, California, on a horse ranch near Stockton. My days this year have been a blur of work (mostly spreadsheets) and people (mostly volunteer work). This year I was also introduced to In The Name of Jesus, and God has been teaching me about the art of living “with”, like he did. “God with us.”
    My husband and dog would say I read more than I should but less than I would like.
    I suppose I probably stumbled upon Henri Nouwen in college – either as class trading, or as the inspiration for another author. The Inner Voice of Love is one of my “buy a stack to give away” classics, but I’ve never read Here and Now. I’ve also never done one of these discussions. As to why or what I hope to gain – I don’t want to miss Christmas. The anticipation gets lost in the bluster of schedule and work and need. But I refuse to let it stay there.

  46. Hello! I am looking forward to this discussion. I can’t remember exactly how I first became hooked on Henri Nouwen but I think I must have just encountered one of his books, With Open Hands, while browsing at B&N. Later I wound up discovering others and loved them. Here and Now is my favorite, though. It gave me some spiritual guidance during a challenging time in my life. Outside of my interest in Henri Nouwen, I am a high school English teacher and a Catholic, living in the Philadelphia suburbs. I enjoy being involved at my parish through leading a Young Adult Scripture study group. I’m fascinated by spirituality and contemplation…I know how much I need it in my own life and how much I have to learn. 🙂

  47. Hi I am from Malaysia, born and raise in the land of Borneo, Sabah. Now am living and working in the city Kuala Lumpur. This is my first time joining online study. I am a full time church worker, in the community arm helping the poor and needy. I realize that my work haa taken alot of my time and deep inside of me I know I need to slow down in order to hear God. I attended a few guided silent retreats for past few years and that is how I got to know about Henri Nouwen. I bought a few of his books but haven’t start reading it. The only book I read was his daily mediation. I hope from this study group I get to understand about Christian spiritual living. Also what is ahead for 2019.

  48. Hello all from Oxfordshire, UK. This is my first reading group so I will be interested to see how it works on line. I first encountered Henri Nouwen’s ‘Reaching Out’ as a student nearly 40 years ago, and have appreciated his other writings since. I hope the intention of sharing this journey will be a mutual encouragement for us all to pause, pray and reflect at this busy time of year…

  49. This is a new experience for me: both on-line posting and reading a Henri Nouwen book.
    I am grateful to a dear friend, who has introduced me to this new adventure. My desire to be much more in-tune this Advent Season, has drawn me to this book and forum.
    I live on beautiful Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. I am a wife, mother and grandmother. But best of all I am a child of God, who loves me unconditionally.

  50. I am a retired Arkansas teacher who returned to the classroom, missing my interaction with young people. I discovered Nouwen’s writings after reading years ago that “The Return of the Prodigal Son” was one of Hillary Clinton’s favorite books. Since then, I have reread that book countless times and given it to many people. I have been in a book club since 2000 and love discovering the many insights that different perspectives provide. I am the church organist at Zion Lutheran Church and love music. My favorite time of day is early in the morning with my journal Bible. I read a chapter in both the Old and New Testament and turn what I’ve read into written prayers in the adjacent journal section. I am anxious to learn what others see in “Here and Now.”

  51. Hello. My name is Margaret. I live in Western Canada. My heart and soul have been given to indigenous people who are homeless, to discovering one another, to reconnecting to family, nature, spirituality and community. Each week these past 13 years, at the end of the meal, we have read a short paragraph written by Henri. “He always hits the nail on the head” we feel. The newly emerging indigenous leadership – Board and community leaders – are inviting me to take a step back from and out of leadership. I am certain that Henri’s book, processing, and sharing is going to aid the process of grieving and letting go. On another front, the bookstore is certain ‘tomorrow’ the book will arrive. I’ll better situated to comment on the Preface then. Till we meet again, blessings and thanks and thanks again for this opportunity.

  52. I’m looking forward to this year’s Advent discussion. I live in Derbyshire in the Midlands of the UK. I’ve taken part in a number of the book discussions over the last few years. However, in my previous job I didn’t always get the time to do them justice, mostly catching up on the reading, managing to read some contributions and occasionally making a contribution. Since last Easter I’ve had a major upheaval in my life, leaving my job as a school principal (a real wrench and very complicated). I am now in a pastoral role in another school and have my life back … seems I’m embodying some of the “downward mobility” Henri Nouwen mentions in some of his work; I have to say it feels a very positive place to be. The discussion on The Road to Daybreak over Lent was a real support to me in the days when it became apparent I would be leaving my role as principal. I am now looking forward to Here and Now: Living in the Spirit so I can take these “mosaic” pieces, which Henri refers to in the preface, and rediscovering/ refocus my spiritual journey.

  53. Hello. I am a retired hospital Chaplain, now living in the mountains of California in a small town called Truckee. I am serving as the worship coordinator for our little church and love my work. This is my first book group. I first discovered Henri Nouwen at a women’s spiritual retreat in The Life of the Beloved. And I’ve enjoyed and grown because of reading, reflecting and being changed by so many of his other writings. I am hoping for new perspectives, challenges, insights. I hope to bring encouragement, support and challenge where appropriate. Advent is a busy time for us in church leasership, so I am also looking forward to the rest and renewal that such a group may bring.

  54. Hello! I am a retired English instructor who lives in upstate New York, where it snows all the time, including right now! I am a parishioner at a local Catholic Church and have begun working with a Spiritual Director. This will be my first time in a discussion group. I am so looking forward to hearing the thoughts and insights of others as we move through the book. Previously, I have read The Genesee Diary, The Wounded Healer, and The Prodigal Son. Nouwen has a wonderful way of connecting to his audience and sharing profound insights that touch the heart. I hope to experience more of these insights that bring me closer to God. It will be wonderful to be part of this group since I usually read all by myself.

  55. I am looking forward to experiencing the Advent season with this group! A friend introduced me to Henri Nouwen’s writings. Although I have never participated in any previous book discussions, his book “In The Name of Jesus” really resonated with me as a former Minister of Children and a current Special Education Teacher. Henri Nouwen has a unique way of reaching the mind and heart of the reader. So, I come to this discussion with an open mind and heart ready to experience insight and blessings from him and from each of you!!

  56. Returning for perhaps the fifth time to be nourished by Henri Nouwen wisdom. Our home(my husband and I)is in the city called the “Big Apple”. What’s big here and now are the piles of yellow leaves covering our front yard, and more coming down with gusty winds. My retired from education time is spent with music as in church choir and community chorus. Online I share my spiritual walk with members of “The Monastery of the Heart” ministry sponsored by the Benedictines. For renewal time, I am blessed to be near the Passionist Monastery/Retreat house where I spend “Hermit Days” and retreats. In between household tasks, I like to walk in the nearby cemetery where nature speaks to me of our Creator. Those who reside there are quiet.
    Surely we will be blessed by our discussion, enriched with more wisdom to share with others.

  57. Hello. I, too, am a first-timer. A recently retired psychologist/occupational therapist, I’ve relocated from my life-long home in southern California to the Delaware shore as I continue to care for my wife who has dementia. I have recently begun reading Hernri’s Spiritual Discipline, that speaks strongly to my spiritual experience. Away from my church in CA, and not yet finding a church home here on the east coast, I look forward to this experience as a vehicle of connection.

  58. This is my first experience with an on-line book study. I am a new Pastor for two congregations in Alamogordo, New Mexico. I am seeking to stay grounded spiritually as deal with a new role in a new community. I have been here 2 months and things are going well, but I’m already sensing a pull away from the deeper sources of strength and perspective that comes from my faith as I deal with peoples insecurities over change and day to day problems. I am excited to participate in this. It’s one of many new things in my life.

  59. My first time in any on-line books discussion. Recently retired, and a “fan” of Henri Nouwen for more than 20 years. Can’t remember which book was first, or why, but I have appreciated his writing. Looking forward to discussions with people who share that interest.

  60. I am joining this discussion group for the first time — My favorite spiritual reading over my lifetime— I am 71 years old and a cradle Catholic— is Here and Now. I have read and reread Henri Nouwen’s books. The section on Our Children has brought me to tears and provided much comfort as a parent. I live in upstate New York and attend weekly Mass. January through April we reside in Vero Beach, FL. My husband and I have been married for 50 years and have 5 grandchildren. I look forward to reading the comments of participants.

  61. Gooday, I’m Kay from the beautiful Sunshine Coast of Queensland in Australia. I am really looking forward to this Advent Study of Henri’s book. Advent is my favourite time of the year. I always have my Christmas presents and organising finished before Advent so I can concentrate on my studies (I usually undertake 2 or 3 and a project)so I am quite busy with breakup parties as well. I came across Henri’s books when I began studying Spiritual Direction which I got a tap on my shoulder one day when I was listening to talk at a Retreat “This is for you” I heard. I looked around expecting to see someone, but knowing full well it was God. I finished 1 year and then had a stroke and wasn’t able to complete that course. No doubt another one will pop up. They always do, don’t they. I’ve read several other of Henri’s books, Wounded Healer, and Home Tonight, and Return of Prodigal Son, and I just seem to connect with his way of writing. We seem to have the same ideas on life. I have lived with depression for many years, and in Brisbane near where I live, we have a Nouwen Network with a Coffee Gatherings Groups (in about 6 different locations around the city) Just great ways to gather for people with anxiety or depression or mental problems to be safe and share their story.

  62. A returning reader, I’m looking for greater joy and spiritual consolation and connectedness. It’s been a year of losses and much change. I feel as though I have been shedding so much and am discovering yet another new me.
    Warm regards to all. Thank you for sharing the journey.

  63. I am looking forward to this discussion. I have just read the preface of the book and I already feel invited to join Henri, “Here and Now,” in considering my own spiritual journey.
    I have participated in previous book discussions here, the most memorable being “Life of the Beloved.” This was the first of Henri Nouwen’s books that I read and I return to it from time to time for insight and refreshment.
    I am retired from the corporate world and enjoy the slower, relaxed pace of life retirement has brought. I lived most of my life in California, but moved to the Southern U.S. about 5 years ago to be nearer family.
    Though I was raised in the Catholic Church and schools, I am no longer active in the Church. I appreciate this space for some shared spiritual focus as Christmas approaches.

  64. This is my fourth Henri Nouwen study online. I was first introduced to him by a women’s study group that I was in. We did many of Henri’s books on weekend retreats together! I live in a small city outside of Winston-Salem, NC (Advance,NC) and am a retired middle school teacher currently working part time mentoring new teachers! I look forward to this advent study as I prepare my heart for this holy and blessed season. I feel a strong connection to Henri through his written words – from the Preface where he says, “we are traveling together, together toward the Light, always encouraging each other to keep our eyes fixed on the One who is calling us home.” I, too try to meditate on life as I am trying to live it.

  65. I’m a returnee, and as always, look forward to reading Nouwen within this online community. A mosaic is a meaningful image for me as I think about my own life and as I think about the significance of each of us taking part…”but together, and seen from a distance, they” (each stone, each individual) “show something new….” I reside in central IL with my husband in a small town, a member of church community I grew up in….. watching for “something new” from God..grateful for this opportunity to span the distance of time and place.

  66. I am excited to begin the advent study with Henri Nouven. I was introduced to him via a pastor from Centreville now two churches removed. Currently I live in Rochester MI and dedicate my time to my husband, adult children, grands and cat. For over 10 years I have belonged to a book club at my church titled Seekers. We challenge our beliefs, spirituality and love of God and our fellow earthlings. I really can’t contain my excitement to start this journey.

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