Nov 23rd to Nov 26th: Welcome and Introductions

Reading: Prologue, p. 1 to 5

I wasn’t thinking of using the Rodleighs as illustrations for great spiritual
truths, but was simply trying to write a good story. —Henri Nouwen p. 5

Along the way, you may also catch some unexpected
insights. —Carolyn Whitney-Brown p. 5

A warm welcome to each of you as we gather at this “most wonderful time of the year” for another Henri Nouwen Society book discussion. As always, a beautiful community of people will gather for a fruitful discussion as we journey toward Christmas together. If you’ve joined us in the past, welcome back! If this is your first book discussion, we are so glad you are here!

This Advent we will read and discuss the recently published Flying, Falling, Catching: An Unlikely Story of Finding Freedom—a unique collaboration between a spiritual master, the late Henri Nouwen, and his friend and colleague Carolyn Whitney-Brown writing today. As Carolyn describes in the Prologue, during the last five years of his life, Henri Nouwen became close friends with a group of trapeze artists, The Flying Rodleighs. Through the Rodleighs, Henri discovered more about himself and gained significant new insights into how to live a spiritual life. Henri began writing about his experience with the trapeze troop, however, his book remained unfinished at his untimely death. In this book, Carolyn presents Henri’s unpublished trapeze writings framed by the true story of his rescue through a hotel window by paramedics during his first heart attack. With Carolyn as our guide (using Henri’s own words wherever possible to narrate the story), we will follow Henri on his deeply personal, often difficult, and ultimately fruitful and inspiring spiritual journey.

While our primary source will be the book itself, you might be interested in resources that Carolyn has posted on her author website (https://www.writersunion.ca/member/carolyn-whitney-brown) including book launch events, podcast interviews, and book reviews. We will refer to a few of these in the coming weeks.

I’m looking forward sharing a spirit-filled Advent season with this online community of seekers as we gather together to to discuss Flying, Falling, Catching by Henri Nouwen and Carolyn Whitney-Brown. Our discussion begins in earnest on Sunday, November 27th with the first reading assignment and suggested questions.

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 and read Henri Nouwen and whether or not you have participated in previous Henri Nouwen Society online discussions.
  • What you hope to gain from this experience.

Please scroll to the bottom of the page to post a comment introducing yourself and to share other thoughts as we embark on our Advent journey.

Shown below my signature is a brief personal introduction followed by the book discussion instructions for those joining us for the first time or interested in a review.

In gratitude,
Ray

Ray Glennon, Moderator: Ray and his wife Dawn live in Columbia, Maryland. He 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 at a difficult and transformative point in his life. He began participating in Henri Nouwen Society book discussions in 2010 and has served as a moderator since 2014. He has developed and led several adult education courses based on the life and work of Henri Nouwen. Ray and his wife are professed members of Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) and he volunteers in various ministries in his Catholic parish and at the Franciscan Shrine of St. Anthony. You may contact Ray by email at  ray.glennon@1972.usna.com and you can follow him on Twitter.

Henri Nouwen Society Online Book Discussion Instructions
Let’s briefly describe how our online book discussion works. If you’ve joined us before, this will serve as a review.

Beginning this Sunday, November 27th, and each Sunday throughout Advent, 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 Henri Nouwen Society so it may take a few hours before it actually appears on the blog page. If you have any questions or problems, please do not hesitate to contact me by email at ray.glennon@1972.usna.com.

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58 Responses to Nov 23rd to Nov 26th: Welcome and Introductions

  1. Peggy Ferguson says:

    Hi, joining a little late, but I have the book now. I was introduced to Henri through my Benedictine monastery in VA. I now live in NC and spend my time taking better care of myself, and growing my spirituality. Looking to get many interesting insights from Henri’s new book, Flying, Falling and Catching.

  2. Susan Cothren says:

    Hello,
    I live in Reno, NV, USA. Found Henri Nouwen years ago in Hands with St Paul’s reading group. I’m 69, single, retired teacher. He always gives me spiritual truth and discernment. Recently read the trapeze book and the synchronicity of this group intrigued me so I’ve joined. My childhood friend is Dutch now and Nouwen continues to be a connection. I’ve had mental health issues and walking is difficult. I read all the previous comments and hope to read the participants viewpoints. I liked the flying and catching ideas in Trapeze as well as his rescue in the air. Thank you for the discussion

  3. Pingback: Dec 4th to Dec 10th – 2nd Week of Advent: II. Falling (Part 2) & III. Teamwork | Join the Henri Nouwen Society's online community as we focus and reflect on the themes presented in Henri Nouwen's books…

  4. Sharon K. Hall says:

    Hello, I’m Sharon, my husband and I live in a suburb just outside of City of Detroit, MI. I have been participating in these reading book blogs for a few years now and am always strengthened by Henri Nouwen’s insights. My first book was The Wounded Healer in a Stephens Ministries training class. Looking forward to reading this latest book and also the sharing here and expecting again for it to be a transformative experience for me. I’m grateful to Ray and others and the internet that makes all this possible!!!!!

  5. Yvonne Riege says:

    Hi – I’m Yvonne. I’m looking forward to this opportunity as I haven’t been a part of an online book discussion like this before. However, I have a keen appreciation for Henri Nouwen’s writing and look forward to ways I might grow and share here.

  6. Pat Schmidt says:

    My name is Pat and I live in Oregon, USA. I joined the this book group two years ago and tried last year but life and work were just too crazy. My wife and I have made several good, intentional changes this year and I’m grateful this year to be able to devote a little more time to a discussion like this.

  7. Nike Guttridge says:

    I’m new to online bible discussions. I’m looking forward to participating in to this discussion. I live in Woodburn ,Oregon.

  8. Brett Lehman says:

    Hello from Minnesota. I read Henri Nouwen’s books (Out of Solitude, With Open Hands, and The Wounded Healer) more than 40 years ago as a teenager. These books and others of Heni Nouwen’s were very influential and formative for me. I’ve spent most of my life serving individuals with intellectual disabilities and mental health issues. This book discussion is a first for me. I’ve appreciated reading everyone’s introductions and am moved by the lives being lived. Reading Flying Falling Catching and being a part of this online discussion look to be a meaning way to honor Advent and perhaps what I need in current life.

  9. Susan says:

    Hello everyone, I am late to the introductions but my name is Susan and I live in Ohio. I am a part-time registered nurse with three adult children and two grandchildren. I first became acquainted with the writings of Henri Nouwen several years ago through an online Bible study and I read his book on The Return of the Prodigal Son. I have read and re-read that book. I love Henri’s writing because he is authentic, real, honest, and vulnerable, and so much of what he writes speaks to my heart and life as well, especially to grasp the reality of being God’s beloved child. I also listen to the podcast and especially enjoy when they feature talks that were given by Henri himself. I am looking forward to this discussion and hearing what Henri would have to say to us today through his experiences with the Flying Rodleighs.

    • Jackie Rutkowski says:

      I too read the Return of the Prodigal Son. I learned so much about the parable that I never considered before from Henri. Most people focus on the prodigal but for the first time I really focused on the elder brother and saw myself so much in him. It has taught me to always try and remeber that God loves a humble servant, which we see modelled by Jesus.

  10. Laurel Pattenden says:

    First time with this book group. Really looking forward to this. Small town in S.W. Ontario, Canada. Have read Henri Nouwen before. I like the suggestion about a dedication for the book read. How about those who suffer from isolation and lack of understanding because of mental health issues. Peace.

  11. Clazina Reitsma says:

    Hello, I am Ineke Reitsma. I live in Alberta , Canada. In the Rocky Mountains.
    I am a Dutch immigrant and live in Canada 28 years now.
    I did a few more book discussions and love all the books from Henri Nouwen.
    Looking forward to participate in the discussion of this interesting book.

  12. Mary Grenz Jalloh says:

    Hi, glad to be joining the online group for the 4th time. I live in the Hudson Valley area about 1.5 hours north of NYC. I’ve appreciated Nouwen’s writings for a few decades now. This is the more unusual of his works, so I look forward to the read and discussions.

    • Jackie Rutkowski says:

      Hi Mary,
      I am from the Hudson Valley as well. My husband and I just moved to eastern TN from Wappingers Falls NY. Talk about an interruption!!! Moving to the south after living in NY for 59 years. I have relied on God to catch me while here for over 2 years waiting for my husband to finalize the move. He is currently more of a visitor than permanent resident! I have learned alot in this time alone though. I love Henri’s perspective on life, very thought provoking.

      • Mary says:

        We moved here from NC, so reverse of your experience. Very different places. I wish you the best, and you know, Wappingers Falls will welcome you back if you change your mind!

  13. Margaret A Nichols says:

    Hello fellow Nouwen travelers. It is always a joy to find other people who love Henri’s writings. My name is Margaret. I live in a small rural town in Upstate New York. I was first introduced to Henri’s writing while I was working in Hospice. His pure love and honesty caught my heart immediately so my bookshelf is full of his writings. The Holy Spirit guides my everyday online devotions. A good start to my day.
    When I heard the interview Karen held with the author I immediately bought the book and couldn’t pay it down. It was Henri’s childlike wonder and joy touched my heart deeply. I look forward to what others felt about this amazing book. (Moderator note: Karen Pascal is the Executive Director of Henri Nouwen Society and host of HNS podcasts and book launch)

  14. Susan L Weimer says:

    Hello, everyone–My name is Susan. I grew up, raised my children, and still live in the Chicago suburbs. I read Henri Nouwen in my 30’s in the midst of meal prep, car-pooling and attending kids’ activities, while feeling like a contemplative at heart. That was a life-time ago. I lost my oldest child, my son, to suicide seven years ago, and I’m emerging from a deep, dark winter of the self. I am curious to discover what I am ready to hear now, from Henri, from others on their own paths, and maybe from me.

  15. Schouppe Magda says:

    Mijn naam is Magda en ik neem voor het eerst deel aan een online discussie over een voorgesteld boek. Ik lees gedurende verschillende jaren de dagelijks meditatietekst van de Henry Nouwen Society in mijn mailbox.
    Het eerste boek dat ik las was een tiental jaar geleden, de “Terugkeer van de verloren zoon”; daarna volgden nog verschillende boeken. Altijd was ik getroffen door de echte, doorleefde manier van beschrijven van de belangrijke levenslessen. Dit gekoppeld aan de heel fijnzinnig kunstgevoel.
    Ik ben op rust, doe vrijwilligerswerk, en woon in Gent, België.

    • Ray Glennon says:

      Moderator Translation using Microsoft Word Translate tool:

      My name is Magda and I am participating for the first time in an online discussion about a proposed book. For several years I read the daily meditation text of the Henry Nouwen Society in my mailbox. The first book I read was about ten years ago, the “Return of the Prodigal Son”; several more books followed. I was always struck by the real, lived-in way of describing the important life lessons. This is coupled with the very delicate art feeling. I am retired, volunteering, and live in Ghent, Belgium.

  16. Connie McMahon says:

    Hi, my name is Connie. I live north of Seattle, and I’ve been participating in these online discussions for a few years. I suspect that Henri’s fascination with ‘flying, falling, and catching’ has to do with the amount of trust it takes to ‘let go’ and I am looking forward to seeing where his thoughts on this take us. I hope to become better at letting go myself.

  17. Joan Carson says:

    Hi Everyone,
    I’m happy to join in .
    I am a big fan of Henri Nouwen and am happy to be joining in.
    I’m writing from Northville, Michigan.
    I’ve worn many hats throughout my earth journey.
    Currently I’m a two year widow learning a completely new way of life after 49 year marriage.
    I have a son in heaven as well as a son and his family nearby.
    I’m hungry to let go more and more to trust that Jesus will for sure be the catcher.

  18. Ana says:

    Hello everyone, my name is Ana from Central Florida. This is my son’s, David and my first book discussion. We came to know about Henry Nouwen with his book “The Beloved”, which is our favorite, right after David’s motorcycle accident where he suffered a TBI and had to move back home with us. We have read over 10 of his books and, enjoy his spirituality. Looking forward to the book discussion. God bless.

    • Ray Glennon says:

      Welcome Ana and David. We’re glad you’re with us for this discussion. You will find this is a warm and welcoming community. May our Heavenly Father send his healing Holy Spirit to David and may the Lord give you peace.

  19. Joanne says:

    Hello from Toronto, Canada. I am looking forward to this, my first Henri Nouwen online book discussion. I read Flying Falling Catching when it first came out, attended the online launch with Rodleigh and Carolyn in March and the April launch at Daybreak, Richmond Hill. I am looking forward to reading it again!

  20. Philip Greenwood says:

    My name is Philip and I live with my wife Jean in Worcester, England. In brief: I spend my days being available, or trying to be, for family and friends and others I may meet as I try to follow the path that Jesus shows me.
    I have valued Henri’s writing for two or three decades. The Return of the Prodigal Son has been significant for me through a retreat 9 years ago when a friend led a group of us through meditations on it.
    I look forward to being further inspired by Henri’s life and works and to gain further understanding of the life path that I am on.

  21. Faye Brekemans says:

    Hi everyone. My name is Faye Brekelmans and I live in southwestern Ontario only 15 minutes from Lake Erie. This is my first online book discussion but I have been familiar with the work of Henri Nouwen for many years in working as a faith community nurse. I retired this past March. I am looking forward to ready this book and our online discussion. I enjoy hiking, quilting, spending time with our grandchildren and volunteer two days a week providing grief and bereavement support in our community.

  22. Charlotte Edwards says:

    Hello to all. I am so glad to be here with you. Henri Nouwen has been such a part of my daily devotion and spiritual growth that it is difficult to pinpoint a time he came into my life. His works around spiritual formation and his own shared struggles captured me from the beginning. I am retired and enjoy even more now the opportunity to read and share with others what he has so long shared with us even after his death.

  23. Kaye says:

    Hello, My name is Kaye. I live in Harwich England. This is a first for me, but I have been blessed and grown so much with Henri’s wisdom over the years. I am keen to learn from other readers too as the books pages are turned.

  24. Hi All,
    I am Lennie from the Philippines. This is my first time to participate in a discussion group. I received a copy of the book, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World from my daughter and got interested in the author’s teachings. Though I have listened (Audiobook) to only one of his books, the place he mentioned L’Arche Community in Canada is familiar to me. Jean Vanier visited a facility which he established here and I met Jean Vanier there and in other meetings held to hear him speak.
    Those who introduced themselves are very experienced and I know that is not too late to learn, specially those on spiritual matters. By the way, I am 78. I hope to be accepted; I have not purchased the book, will try to get it today. God bless all.

  25. Karen Conaghan Race says:

    Greetings, my name is Karen. I’m 43 years old and live in the suburbs of Philadelphia with my husband and two children. I first read Henri Nouwen’s work in 2017. I think the first book I read was “Discernment.” I am looking forward to participating in this group and bringing this deeper level of intention to the advent season. This is my first Nouwen book group.

  26. Daria says:

    Hello from New England, where I live with my husband and nine year old puppy. I teach in the Department of Catholic Studies at a local university. This semester I took a leave of absence to spend time with two new grandchildren, both born in 2022. There’s been a lot of traveling (both daughters live in different parts of the midwest), and not much time for prayer and reflection, so my hope is that this discipline will ground me and allow me to hear God’s voice.
    I have been blessed to know people who knew Henri, and to be welcomed into L’Arche communities in Kansas City and St. Louis. The time I have spent with core members has been precious.
    Every spring, my students and I read and discuss “Adam.” I find that I take away something new every year. Who knows- perhaps this year we will try “Flying Falling and Catching!”
    I wish my fellow spiritual travelers a blessed Advent. I know I will learn from each of you.

  27. Hi, I am Beverly currently living in Louisville but looking to return back home to Boston in the New Year. I’m a psychotherapist and spiritual director with a part time practice in both of these disciplines. My first read by Henri Nouwen was The Wounded Healer in the early ’80s. Then going to seminary at Andover Newton, many of his books were common fare for courses. But it was when I was clergy at a church in Duxbury MA that I read over and again The Living Reminder to become a better pastor. Henri’s book changed the way I experienced God and gave me confidence reading chapters and following his prompts for pastoral ministry. Now, moving to Boston with less life to live than before, Flying, Falling and Catching seems an apt image for the transition. It caught my attention, because I both grieve feel gratitude processing this change going forward. I so need the Sacred to give me a solid onramp catching me; and a reading community with whom to reflect and share surrounding me. Thank you. I look forward to our discussion.

  28. Caroline Hill says:

    Greetings from the Okanagan Valley in beautiful British Columbia. The first book of Henri’s that I read was “Can You Drink this Cup”. Since then I have read many more of Henri’s books
    I have a passion for gardening and help many people with how to manage and grow plants, plus volunteering in a garden at a local longterm care facility It is now winter here and I am recovering from a knee replacement so have ample time to read and blog
    I have been in a Wednesday Morning Bible Study group for over 20 years with the same faithful prayer warriors. We are using this years Advent blog as part of our study

  29. Lia van Haren says:

    My name is Lia van Haren. I live in Sydney, Australia, but was born in the Netherlands, just before the outbreak of WWII. I am a member of an Australian founded Religious Congregation, the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, who follow the Rule of St Benedict. I first heard about Henri Nouwen in 1995 during a Retreat when a large print of Rembrandt’s painting and Henri’s book The Return of the Prodigal Son were given as a focus for reflection. Since then I have read many of Henri’s books and was inspired by each one.
    This is the first time for me to join an on-line book discussion and I am looking forward to it. I have read the book ‘Flying, Catching, Falling’ once already and enjoyed it immensely and I am sure I will profit from the sharing to take place over the next four weeks.

  30. John P says:

    Hello, my name is John P. from New Hampshire. Was given a copy of Return of the Prodigal Son 10+ years ago and have read many of Henri’s books.
    Have participated in several online book discussions, both Advent & Lent and always gain insight from reading Henri’s books and the sharing’s posted. Am retired almost 20 years from medical practice a good part of which was nursing home patients. Looking forward to this one. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  31. Janet Higgins says:

    Good Day everyone,

    My name is Janet and I live in New Brunswick Canada. I am a retired civil servant, married with two children and two grandchildren. For the past year or so I have been heavily involved in leading a renewal process at my church. It has been very challenging! I first encountered Henri Nouwen through the reading and discussion of his book the Return of the Prodigal Son. I then went on to read several other books by him, including Michael Higgins book about him entitled Genius Born of Anguish. This is my first on-line study with the Society, although I have been tempted many times in the past to participate. I look forward to this learning experience with all of you. I expect this study to uncover many questions, the reflection upon which will no doubt, enrich and deepen my faith journey.

  32. Donna says:

    My husband and I are in our late 70s and live in North Carolina. I first read Nouwen’s Return of the Prodigal when our children were going through difficult years. I’ve participated in one previous online book discussion and appreciated the written comments from this community. Need to be part of this particular book because I’m on our church’s prayer team and certainly need to grow in prayer!

  33. Cleo R Cyr says:

    Hello, my name is Cleo Cyr from New Brunswick in Atlantic Canada. This is my first online book study and I am truly looking forward to the discussion. I am a retired critical care nurse and manager. Following retirement I started a new journey, following God’s will, in Faith Community Nursing. It is rewarding, challenging, nurturing and a wonderful servant ministry. I am often reminded that “there, but by the grace of God, go I”. I first became away of Henri Nouwen’s books through a Christian Life Community group in 2012 and have found many hours and days of comfort in his written word.

  34. Seeker Bee says:

    Hello from the Central Coast of California. For years I avoided Henri Nouwen because a friend was cramming his thoughts down my throat. (Does anyone else avoid what is pushed on them?) About 20 years ago I was fortunate enough to be introduced to a book by a lay person called “The Wounded Healer/” As I was struggling with my faith during a depressive episode it was obviously the right time for me to “meet” Henri Nouwen. Since then his books and meditations have been so helpful as I question and struggle on my spiritual path, I am looking forward to reading and discussing this book with all of you. Thank you for sharing your journeys so far, Abundant Blessings as we journey together.

    • Seeker Bee says:

      P.S. My days are spent visiting with my husband in a long term care facility since he is unable to care for himself and unable to walk, but is still able to think well and talk. We enjoy discussing religion and various theologies. My other passion is being a Spiritual Director to those who seek to share their spiritual journeys. It is a great honor to walk with others on their path.

      It has been a pleasure to participate in other on-line book discussions primarily here and with Joan Chittister’s Monasteries of the Heart.

  35. Dawn Hill says:

    Hello! I’m Dawn Hill, a retired palliative care social worker. My husband, a retired Lutheran clergyperson. Married 51 years, we now live in Victoria, British Columbia after living in the Provinces of Manitoba, Alberta and B.C. during our working careers. I was diagnosed with cancer in June and am currently undergoing chemotherapy which seems to be working as my oncologists think I am going into remission. Thankfully, my energy has been good, so I can enjoy walking our miniature schnauzer with my husband, my passion for cooking & baking new recipes, reading voraciously, gardening, and visiting with our son, who lives nearby in Victoria, as well as, other relatives and friends in the area. I have read Henri Nouwen’s works extensively over the years, finding them thought provoking and inspiring. I have often used his concept of “trusting the catcher” in my professional and personal work. Recently, it has taken on “new” meaning for me as I navigate the transition from providing health care to receiving it from other health care professionals. My sister-in-law made me aware of this discussion opportunity and encouraged me to participate. (Thank you, Caroline!) I look forward to the new insights and growth that will come from this discussion experience!

  36. Joyce Boelsche says:

    I am Joyce Boelsche, a new participant in these book discussions. I became acquainted with Henri Nouwen during a health crises. I am always amazed at his depth of understanding of the human condition. I’m 72 years old, a retired band director, and live near Austin, Texas. I am looking forward to reading this book and to our discussions.

  37. Terri Telfer says:

    Hi…I’m Terri and I live in Central Iowa in a small town. In 2018, I started a program Prairie Fire which is a spiritual renewal and formation program. After 2 years I continued to become a spiritual director with the Sophia Center in Atchison Kansas. It’s there I learned about Henri. I’m a clinical social worker by trade who works primarily with women in recovery and families who have adopted children.
    This will be my first book study in this format. I’m looking forward to advent this year. Blessings…Terri

  38. Julie says:

    Hello everyone,
    My name is Julie. I live in Oklahoma. This is my first book discussion in any format! I don’t have a specific incident when I became aware of Henri Nouwen’s work. I am really enjoying this book so far. I look forward to being a part of this exploration and learning experience.

  39. Jackie Rutkowski says:

    Hi everyone, my name is Jackie. This is my first online book discussion. I am very excited! My husband and I just retired to beautiful eastern Tennessee. I still work in a pharmacy for a large Home Dialysis Company.

    I was first introduced to Henri through Brennan Manning as well. I am a recovering alcoholic and I was profoundly touched by Brennan’s story. Happy to say I am sober 13 years by God’s amazing grace.

    I have read and listened to many of Henri’s writings. One of my favorites is Adam Gods beloved. It is very close to home for me, as my younger brother was severely autistic and he was the joy of my life. I lost him unexpectedly in 2014 at the age of 46. Henri was able to express so many feelings I had for my brother Dan as I was one of his primary care givers.

    Anyway, that all for know. Happy to know you all.

    Jackie R.

  40. Tim Nelson says:

    Greetings to all in this (soon) Advent season! I am Tim–a college professor, husband, dad of a college student, and music enthusiast (I am quite good at playing vinyl and the radio) who lives near Nashville, TN. I have joined these discussions in the past but I think am more excited about this book than any I remember–I guess because it is an entirely new adventure. I was introduced to Henri’s works as a student living in a ministry house (of sorts) next to Earlham College. Nouwen was one of Clyde’s (recorded Friends minister who owned the house) favorite authors–he named a cat Henri!

  41. Sandy Richardson says:

    Hi everyone,
    I’m Sandy. I live in central Illinois, USA. I’m a homemaker and spend my time doing the typical homemaker things for my husband of nearly 47 years and our cat of 1 year, Nadia. Both our children are grown and have their own families.
    I’m a hobby photographer (love photographing snow crystals in the winter), I used to be a semi-professional calligrapher, and I have three cozy mystery books published – though I’m no longer writing. We’re members of the Church of the Nazarene. My hubby has a Doctor of Ministry degree in Spiritual Formation, was a full time pastor for 17 years and is now a volunteer associate pastor at our church.
    I have always admired many aspects of the spiritual/faith practices of the Catholic Church. I’ve been quite influenced by Brennan Manning’s writings and just recently have started reading Henri Nouwen’s works. I love and relate to both of them sharing their struggles in their journeys of faith as I have had many struggles in mine – and it’s good to learn that you’re not the only one.
    I’m looking forward to our discussion of this wonderful book!

  42. Barry Sullivan says:

    Good morning to everyone!

    I live in a suburb of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St Paul) Minnesota. My wife and I are retired but I still work part-time at a local college.

    I have been benefiting from the wisdom of Henri Nouwen since a professor of history at a nearby college told me about him many years ago. My oldest daughter also became a huge fan of Henri Nouwen’s books in the early 2000s.

    I have participated in previous discussion groups such as this one, all led by Ray, and have found the discussions most enlightening. I was intrigued by the new book we will be discussing. I read it as soon as got it and found it to be a book that was truly hard to put down. Carolyn Whitney-Brown’s approach makes this an exceptional look into Henri’s final days and his interest in the flying trapeze.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!
    Barry

  43. Rose Wertz says:

    Hi, I am Rose. I am a retired RN of 40+ years. I started reading some of Henri’s books a couple of years ago when I was going through a spiritual crisis. I am grateful for help these books gave me in getting closer to God. This is my 1st time doing this and am looking forward to learning more.

  44. Hugo Herfst says:

    Hello everyone. My name is Hugo Herfst and my wife and I live in San Jerónimo, Baja Verapaz in Guatemala. From 2015 to 2021 I taught at a Christian University near Toronto and was extremely blessed to read and introduce Henri to students in a course dealing with Spiritual Formation. We hosted a Nouwen event at the University and since then, I count the Society among my dearest friends. As a mentor to many students, I found Henri was often a voice they needed to hear. As one student put it: “He’s the back door to the Kingdom of God when it’s too hard to step over the threshold at the front door.” I currently serve as the Latin American Coordinator for the Nouwen Society and we’re looking for ways to promote Henri’s legacy among Spanish speakers. I’m also a Benedictine Oblate and work with the young adults of our local parish. This is my first book discussion. I look forward to learning from Henri and from you all.

  45. Foot Print says:

    Good Morning from Maine – I am 74 years old and go by the name Footprint. I am retired from computer IT but working 48 to 60 hours a week for two town rescues as an EMT. I was ordained 3 years ago as an Interfaith Chaplain from ChIME of Maine. I am working as a chaplain for two rescues, three fire departments and an on call chaplain for two hospitals in southern Maine.

    One of my required readings for ChIME was a book called the “Wounded Healer”. I avoided reading this book mostly because I am not a fan of reading. Ok, so I read parts of it. I now have 15 of Henri’s books.

    Code 3 – Lets Roll !

  46. Carla says:

    My name is Carla. I’m a new kid on the block where these online discussions/reflections are concerned. I live in Winnipeg.
    I am a photographer by trade, taking pictures of cityscapes and street corners.
    In the mornings, as I read various writings alongside my Bible reading, if I am inspired I paint what stands out for me. Often, as I paint, my understanding grows and scripture unfolds.
    I’ve been reading Henri Nouwen’s writing for a few years now, first introduced by my brother’s appreciation of it.
    I hope to be surprised by something in this Advent study. I hope my faith deepens and grows.

  47. Phil Smith says:

    Hello all – my name is Phil and I live in Derbyshire in the UK. I’m now retired, but my parish priest is finding plenty for me to do as a catechist in our parish. My wife still works so I’m chief dog-walker and occasionally get round to some housework! Looking forward, again, to the discussion in this group, though I’m not always a big contributor.

  48. Eddie Dunn says:

    Hi, everyone, my name is Eddie and I live just outside of Detroit with my wife, Scottie. This is my third time to do these Advent reflections, and I need this one as never before. Scottie has dementia and the progression of this awful disease has upended the life of routine I had before by its unpredictability and stressful demands of me. My commitment to her is unchanging and I know we will one day both have to choose an assisted living facility. I retired as a manager of an adult probation office but before that I was a minister in the Church of Christ, spending most of my 11 years in that profession in Helsinki, Finland, an experience there that changed both my theology and my life. I now worship in a Detroit Catholic multiracial parish with a strong emphasis and outreach in matters of peace and justice. I am an 85 year old biker who averaged 1,000 miles a year on my road bike until I took a bad fall in August and am now off of the bike until at least spring, feeling my age as never before. I am blessed to once again be on this Advent journey with you!

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