June 29th to July 5th: Gathering Together and Introductions

ReadingForward by Ron Hansen, Acknowledgements, and Outside Back Cover

July 5th Update…  The post for July 6th to July 12th: Prologue and Introduction is now available.  The comments section for this post is now closed.  Please go to the post for the week of July 6th  and submit any new comments there.    Ray Glennon

A heartfelt welcome as we gather together for our summer book discussion of Can You Drink the Cup?, one of Henri Nouwen’s most popular books. I’m glad that you will be joining us on this journey as we follow Henri’s lead and seek to find our own answer to this (not so) simple and lifelong question that Jesus poses to his friends.  The complete Summer 2014 Reading Schedule is available by following the link in the image above.

Welcome back to those who have participated in previous discussions.  You already know how rich and rewarding the exchange of ideas within our online community can be. For those joining for the first time, rest assured your appreciation of this book will be deepened by the comments and insights shared among this special group. And we will all be blessed by gathering together for this journey.

Here is how our discussion will proceed.  Each Sunday a new “post” will be added to the blog’s homepage that will include a title shown in bold, a reminder of the reading being discussed that week, and several questions that may help to get our discussion started.  You can then add your comments to the post for the current week and reply to the comments posted by others.  You may choose to respond to one or more of the questions, to share your reflections on the reading, or to comment more broadly from your life’s experience.  Please note that when comments are submitted they are held for moderation so it may be a few hours before you see your comment posted.   If you have any questions about how to use the blog, please feel free to contact me at ray.glennon@1972.usna.com or Maureen at admin@henrinouwen.org.

This week we will gather and begin to form our community.  You are invited to introduce yourself and to look ahead by considering the preliminary readings.
In your introduction you may choose to share:
a)      Your general geographic location
b)      To whom or what you dedicate your days and energy, and why
c)      How you learned about this book discussion (e.g., noticed in the Daily Meditation email, Henri Nouwen Society website, email from Nouwen Society, social media, referral from a friend)
d)     How the work and legacy of Henri Nouwen has influenced your life; you might include the name of your favorite book by Henri and briefly explain why it is meaningful to you
e)      Whether or not you’ve participated in previous book discussions, or if you are joining us for the first time
Please feel free to include your thoughts and reflections  on this weeks’ reading as well.

I look forward to hearing from each of you as we share this wonderful book together.

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133 Responses to June 29th to July 5th: Gathering Together and Introductions

  1. Anna says:

    Hi, I’m a little late posting. I have read a lot of Nouwen’s books but not this one as yet.
    I am new to online book discussions. Finding this discussion group is such a blessing at this time. I am struggling with “drinking the cup”. I informally met both Henri Nouwen and Jean Vanier at an event in Toronto several years ago (more like 25 to 30).

    I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. My energy is directed toward finding paid work and preparing to move in a year or so.

    My first Nouwen book was “The Wounded Healer” which I read in the mid 80s. The title itself speaks volumes. I have always felt that an overly professional distance often protects the healer in the guise of protecting the wounded person seeking healing. It can also then can make the healer less effective. I do not advocate the opposite. Boundaries are important in life. It is the extreme distancing that is ineffective.

    • Ray Glennon says:

      Anna…Welcome and we are glad that you are with us. One of the benefits of an online book discussion is that we can all be blessed by the participation of people from around the world, yet at their convenience. It also affords the chance to reflect before responding, something that can be a challenge in an in-person discussion… Peace and all good… Ray

  2. Bernadette says:

    I am from New England. I receive the daily meditation and noticed the book discussion. I have read, “The Return of the Prodigal Son” and loved it. It taught me that the parable isn’t just a lesson for the younger son. I have been in each of the roles at different times in my life. It was eye-opening for me.
    I like the idea of reading another of his books and having a place to discuss it. This is the first time that I am joining your book discussion. I have participated in other book discussions at my local library.
    I am active in my Church and try to live my faith everyday. I belong to a Bible study group where we have many great discussions.
    Thank you for the opportunity to be part of this book discussion. .

  3. Viviana says:

    My name is Viviana, and I live in Argentina, the country Pope Francis was born. This will be my winter reading.
    Everyday I wake up with Henri Nouwen´s daily meditation.
    I´ve never before participated in an online meditation.
    I was first introduced to Henri Nouwen when my Parish Priest Alejandro lend me The
    Wounded Healer. I also read The return of the Prodigal Son and The Inner Voice of Love after which I suscribed to the daily Meditation.
    I hope I can keep up with you.
    Thanks for sharing

  4. Barbara Blessing says:

    Hello, I am from Western NY and have never done an online book discussion or any other online discussion. So….this is new to me and I am not sure yet how I feel about it. I am a retired homemaker who has raised two daughters. But….I love Nouwen! Have read him since his article in the National Catholic Reporter on intimacy; I believe in the late 60s? Maybe ’68? I get all your emails and that is how I found out about this discussion.

    In the time period of 1974-78 when my husband was teaching at Mercyhurst College (now University), I took a course on prayer using Nouwen’s book With Open Hands and I have been a student and reader of his work ever since. I have read most all of his books and some more than once.

    My two favorites are With Open Hands and the Genesee Diary, especially since I live not to far away from the Abbey of the Genesee and have been there several times to pray with the monks on a given Sunday. So….that book is close to my heart. And…because I began with With Open Hands, that is also near and dear to me.

    My life is quite simple and reflective, just doing my everyday chores, errands, etc.
    My husband is a semi-retired research scientist who goes in to work every day and enjoys what he is doing. So….I lead a more or less contemplative , quiet existence.
    I do read a lot and use the computer, but am not on facebook or twitter. Not really interested in those sites. I do have an I phone and I love to google and find out things. I am very curious about a lot of things, especially what is happening in the world.
    Not sure how much I will discuss, but I will enjoy your reflective questions, reading his book again and seeing other folks comments.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I love that you have used Heni’s work is different ways You have been blessed with oppourtuties to use his work in such a way. I have a book club and also have given many people Henri’s work but no one is so blessed as I am by his work. I wish I could meet with others to discuss in a deeper way. God bless you.

  5. Sallie Barnes says:

    I am so excited to be a part of this study. I am a teacher of autistic children and I am wondering if I drink the cup or try to avoid the pain. Thank you for having this study to allow me to explore my own life.

  6. Greta says:

    This is my 3rd Henri Nouwen on-line study. I was introduced to his books 3 years ago. My first book was Show Me the Way, daily Lenten devotionals. I have used it every year since then during Lent.

  7. Leonard Dyer says:

    Like Judy of AZ, I can say “The challenge for me is on p.33: “…we must hold our cup and fully claim who we are and what we are called to live.” Without the Grace of God, we can never really hold our cups. I rely partly on Henri’s writings to bring me closer to the love of God. I am from the Vancouver BC area, and am an ordained but ‘retired’ deacon of the Anglican Church of Canada. Although I have read Henri’s work for many years, I treasure his tenderness and trusting expression of faith in God. I enjoyed his “Prodigal Son” especially as he described the journey of Jesus into our lives, returning us to the Father.
    I appreciate how Henri is thoroughly intellectual but at the same time trusting and thoughtful. I look forward to this study.

  8. Ray Glennon says:

    From Rae Owens
    I am a member of L’Arche Comox Valley. Just returned from meetings at L’Arche Daybreak where I spent a week at The Cedars, where Henri lived and celebrated in the chapel. So excited to come across this book sharing for the next few weeks. An opportunity to continue to ponder my own ‘cup of life’ at this time.

  9. Ray Glennon says:

    From Bill Relph
    As I get deeper into this book the title becomes very personal. Have I been able to “Drink the Cup”? I’m beginning to see my five years as a Hospice volunteer, offering two hours per week of relief to caregivers as merely standing by viewing their “Cup of Sorrow”; being careful to separate myself from them emotionally. No, by Henri’s standard I DID NOT share the cup. Wow . . . what a powerful book!

    • Tom Demshuk says:

      It is said that Misery loves company…. and that when life gives you a lemon you make lemonade but it goes a whole lot better if you add a little vodka – we forget Jesus made water into wine at Cana after they had run out – maybe we are that wine that vodka to others who have run out of options in life, have run dry and need to lift their cup of life full of your kindness and love – intoxicating ? isn.t it. Try it you’ll like it and so will they…This is what you find in Henri’s cup!!!!!

  10. Judy in AZ says:

    Greetings to all gathered here,

    This is my second Nouwen discussion, for which I give thanks to God. I am inspired by the seekers who have come together as we all rise to the occasion of the individual crosses we are asked to bear. And by the writing of Henri Nouwen, who drank so deeply from the cup of sorrow and made his life a gift to all.

    The challenge for me is on p.33: “…we must hold our cup and fully claim who we are and what we are called to live.”

    May I see in every circumstance Christ Jesus’ loving face and await with trust and patience the unfolding of His grace.

    Thank you all for your beautiful sharing as we begin this journey together,


  11. Maniam Sinnasamy says:

    Hi everyone,

    Greetings from Penang, Malaysia!

    The first time I read about Henri Nouwen was from a chapter “The Passion of Christ: Jesus, the one handed over” in a book by Stephen Shoemaker entitled “GodStories.” This idea that God redeems us not only in our action but also in our passion – in what is done to us, fascinated me. I have now read a number of his books and one that I keep coming back to is “Living the Life of the Beloved” which has had a significant influence in the way I live my life. This awesome affirmation that I am God’s Beloved, as a starting point in my Christian life and not as a result of my performance, was not only refreshing but liberating.

    I have also enjoyed Henri’s discourse on the spirituality of disability which has had an effect in the way I work as a Social Worker with people with disabilities. My current focus is in making public transportation more accessible to all.

    I learn’t about this book discussion from the Daily Meditation email I receive and I am joining for the very first time. I am looking forward to this book discussion which I know will be a blessing to all.


    • Tom Demshuk says:

      They may not walk they may not dance they may not sing or speak or even see or hear but I have found they will take you where you least expected … and that my friend is the joy of God and his will for you and them.

  12. Anne says:

    Greetings from the Midwest. Henri Nouwen’s book “Adam: God’s Beloved” is a treasured book for me. I read it several times when on a six-year journey of caregiving for both my parents, each of whom had significant dementia and other medical difficulties. Henri Nouwen grew spiritually through his care of Adam; I grew spiritually through my care of my parents. I receive the Daily Meditation emails and learned about this book discussion through that e-list.

    I work as a consultant with non-profit organizations. I devote time, also, as an active member of my church community, as a volunteer at a local botanical garden, and as a family member with my husband, two young adult sons, and extended family. This is my first participation in an on-line book discussion. My thanks for this opportunity for personal reflection and discussion with others.

  13. Janis says:

    So grateful to be able to participate in this online book discussion! Henri Nouwen’s work has spoken deeply into my heart since I first read Reaching Out many years ago. My husband and I retired two years ago and since that time we’ve begun traveling about eight months out of the year in a 25′ travel trailer . . . it makes for a varied and interesting way to meet new people, and of course I have a lot more time to read, but I miss having a group to discuss what I’ve read and how it applies to our lives! Looking forward to the discussions.

  14. Liz Forest says:

    Hello Seekers,
    I have been inspired by several of Henri’s books(Open Hands, Here and Now and CYDTC?) and thank the one who introduced me to him on a Retreat some years ago.
    My present life is one of retired educator but active in Community Chorus as well as Parish Choir. Living in the city that never sleeps (NY Big Apple) makes me grateful for the cross-cultural threads woven in the urban environment. I learned about this particular Book Discussion from another who blogs with me on Benedictine Monastery of the Heart cyber community. Look forward to sharing,

  15. Sister Susanna Margaret says:

    Hello everyone- my first introduction to Henri was through his book, Discernment, as I explored my call to religious life. With Open Hands was required reading during my postulancy and I recall my formation master commenting that my reflection was one of the deepest, most honest writings out of the many texts we were required to read and reflect upon. My most recent gift is Our Greatest Gift, a meditation on Dying and Caring as I expand my ministry of healing to the chronically ill, the dying , and more recently to persons with dementia. In my “other life” I live in the Northeast as a teacher for middle school age students with social-emotional and mental health disorders. I receive the daily meditation email and often use it as a brief reflection for the Centering Prayer group I facilitate each week. Life is very busy as a first year novice and I am looking forward to reading and sharing with everyone. p. 13 ” Lifting the cup is an invitation to affirm and celebrate life together”…
    Many blessings…..Sister Susanna Margaret

    • Tom Demshuk says:

      One day while feeding and caring for Donald who is quadriplegic I asked him (what king Solomon was asked by God) “Don if you could ask God for anything what would it be?” (note in my mind I already answered it – to be able to walk and do all the things everyone else can do ) Instead he said: “I would ask God to give me the strength to fulfill all that he wanted me to do yet” ……I continue to learn from the ones who have the least who have learned how to live in complete surrender who move past their fears toward what’s more important. Ministry is a two way street

  16. nancy T says:

    Hello from Northwest Montana,
    Henri Nowen’s daily mediations and these on line book discussions sustain and nurture me on this sometimes lonely spiritual path. I so appreciate being connected to fellow seekers and I thank you all for joining on this journey.
    I am a 70 year old first time grandmother of a 4 month old boy. I am blessed to mind him two days a week. Each time I am with him I experience the nearness of God. When mothering my 4 young sons I was unconscious of His presence in the busyness and demands of parenting . God was not my focus or center during those days.
    My intent is to contribute whenever possible. Please know I am reading along with you. Your insights are very important for me.
    Pace e Bene,

  17. Ray Glennon says:

    Henri begins the Acknowledgements by stating, “This little book was written during the first few months of my sabbatical year, a year that the l’Arche Daybreak community gave me for my writing. I am deeply grateful… for their encouragement and support during this time away from home.” (emphasis mine)

    This statement touched me with Henri’s simple recognition that he had found a true home at Daybreak. And it occurred to me that this was perhaps the first time I had seen Henri acknowledge this so clearly and profoundly. While home is certainly a key theme for Henri throughout his writing (e.g., Return of the Prodigal Son), here Henri finally and matter-of-factly (and in the depths of his being) knows that he has a home. I went back and looked at the acknowledgements in the 15 other Nouwen books I have at home. In every case he thanks his friends and colleagues. In many cases he thanks those that created the “space” where he could write or grow and develop. But it was only in Here and Now, written in 1994 well after he moved to Daybreak, that he says “…for always offering me a safe home away from home.”

    What does it mean to be at home? Perhaps Henri would respond it is the place where you know, in your inmost being that you are the Beloved and where you will not be alone as you consider the question, “Can You Drink the Cup?” And as Dorothy said to Glinda, “There is no place like home.” I am blessed that I have found such a home with my wife Dawn and it is a joy to extend that “home” to this sharing community.

    • Tom Demshuk says:

      People need people who are loved and can love who being with them is like coming home……I believe here I have found a home with you all.

    • Herb Hansen says:

      I am reminded of Frost’s The Hired Man to whom Home is where they have to take you in, implying a begrudged offering. In our case, on the other hand, Henri assures us that we don’t have to feel a sense of obligation, our invitation to our true
      home is a free gift to us by the grace of God!

      • Tom Demshuk says:

        Yes a gift a free gift with no strings attached given by Our Loving Father and any gift that is given is given for a reason – one day you will know why it is good to be you.
        It is said that – only Nixon could go to China – only a hobbit could carry the ring – AND ONLY YOU CAN….

    • lois says:

      I used to define “home” in a more intangible way, as that precious place created by family/friends where one feels and knows the comfort of unconditional love and acceptance, where one is wanted… a home in the beloved’s heart which cannot be taken away, which one must never leave… where one belongs.

      I think this definition is yet valid. I have sought to provide such a home for several dear ones in my life… both in my heart, and in my physical home. And I continue to.

      However, when circumstances prevented me from offering a physical home to loved ones, and when forced to helplessly watch loved ones experience the pain of not having a physical home which provides this space “where you know, in your inmost being that you are the Beloved and where you will not be alone”… I am now realizing the importance and the value of the physical, the tangible, the material place called home. One needs more than a mental and emotional and spiritual space. Even if a home is provided in the heart of another, we are still physical beings who need a physical space of our own, where we can hang our hat, relax, find refuge, rest, comfort… a home where we belong and that we can share with others. Some of the very first mediations that I read by Henri Nouwen spoke of the beauty and intimacy of eating together at the table that was lovingly prepared.

      Thank you for pointing out this little, yet not insignificant, statement in the introduction!

  18. Caryn B. says:

    I am so looking forward to revisiting this book…I am a hospice chaplain in the Chicagoland area – noticed the invitation in the daily meditation, and jumped at the chance. I am joining discussion for the first time and my current favorite Nouwen is “Life of the Beloved” it has helped me to reform how I see myself in light of God’s beloved gaze on his child…

    Look forward to the next few weeks with you all!

  19. Tom Demshuk says:

    This is my 1st time at this …
    I taught in the special ed field for over 30 years – mostly with those that no one knew what to do with, the most severe of multiple handicaps…Reading this book and Adam brought many wonderful memories with my students. They were loved and are lovable and believe me they were patient as I grew to learn that in my early years.
    I have 4 grown children scattered all over. Now I have been a caregiver of a quadriplegic business man for 10 years. He has taught me much. It is a true ministry

  20. Mary says:

    I am from Florida and this is my first blog discussion of a Henri Nouwen book. I was introduced to his writings four years ago and have read about 20 of his books, many, many times. One of my favorites, other than this one, is The Return of the Prodigal Son. It brought to light to me the journey that I am on and that there have been times in my life that I have been the self-centered and jealous older brother, thinking I was right in proving myself worthy and good to everyone; times when I tried to control my life until I was broken and begged for forgiveness. But, most importantly it taught me to strive to be the father-nonjudgmental and accepting with unconditional love.
    I am excited to discuss this book with a community of other seekers and can share in the joy and thoughts it brings.

  21. Ray Glennon says:

    Thanks to each of you for introducing yourself. A wonderful community from across the globe is gathering together for this discussion. Based on what many of you shared, our group thus far lives in seven different countries (Australia, Canada, Egypt, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, and USA). Five Canadian provinces and 24 states in the U.S. are represented. The large cities that you mentioned include Cairo, Detroit, Los Angeles, Montreal, Toronto, and Washington, DC.

    Here are my answers to the questions this week. I live in Columbia, Maryland (just west of I-95 between Washington, DC and Baltimore) and my daily occupation is for a scientific, engineering, and strategy company that provides technical services to the U.S. government. What really interests and inspires me is active involvement and volunteer service for my parish community and the Catholic charismatic community to which my wife and I belong. Of the Henri Nouwen books I have read, the three that are the most meaningful to me are Return of the Prodigal Son, Life of the Beloved, and In the Name of Jesus.

    I’m really looking forward to getting into the heart of this discussion and learning from Henri and this wonderful community.

    May the Lord be with us and may he use Henri and this community to open our hearts and minds as we consider the question, “Can You Drink the Cup?”

    • Tom Demshuk says:

      I am not surprise that so many find – like you -that their favorite book is the Prodigal…may I ask Why this is so? and How in the context of the Cup that we are about to encounter we may find that missing piece concerning our own earthly father that we have kept hidden. My question is did you ever raise the cup with our dad and if you have was it a cup of sorrow or and joy. and if so was your cup ever filled with your fathers blessing? If not then my hope is in this reading Henri will point out how this fatherly cup can be …..

  22. Gina Oliva says:

    Good morning all,
    I am thrilled to be joining again (after the Lenten 2014 discussion) and ordered my book as soon as I received the email notice about this.
    I received my first Nouwen book “Making All things New” from Fr. Mike Depcik of the DeSales Order in Michigan. Fr. Mike is one of the large handful of Deaf priests and I am also Deaf. At the time (June 2007) I had just lost my husband of 15 years to a sudden heart attack and had gone to this location in Michigan for both work and a personal retreat. This very old battered copy of Making All Things New was in the lovely library and Fr. Mike said “take it.” So I did and it has become even more worn from my numerous readings. So uplifting. – and led to my ongoing love and gratitude for Henri and all he gave to the world.
    I am in the Washington DC area. I am “not-so-retired” and spend my energy serving on a board related to deaf children and writing – I have two published books. I also enjoy many sports, spending time with loved ones, including my church family. I was raised in the Catholic Church and now attend one of those “new-fangled” non-denominational churches, which has a large number of Deaf members. It’s truly a wonderful church family.

    • MAGGIE says:

      Thanks Gina, I have a deaf friend, so looked Fr. up on Google, how awesome! I’m going to send on to her.
      I am looking forward to being in this book discussion with you; may you be have a good 4th.

  23. Bill Relph says:

    I am a long time Nouwen fan. I have read many of his books; when I read Sabbatical Journey I felt as if I knew him personally. I often feel that Henri and his wisdom are close by.

    I live in Loveland, Colorado and am a follower of the local Contemplative Outreach group. God is good . . .

  24. Liz says:

    I am from Indiana and have been reading Henri’s books for at least 10 plus years. I have over 40 of his books lining my bookshelf. I am looking forward to rereading CAN YOU DRINK the CUP?

  25. Cathy Kerr says:

    Episcopal priest, late bloomer in new call, I have appreciated so many things that Henri Nouwen has written, before, during, and after seminary. I have been on the mailing list for a long time. I’m excited to participate in this discussion and to delve into this book, although my experience with past online reflection has been that I join with enthusiasm and soon fall away – so keep a good thought for me as I resolve to do this!

  26. Sharon K. Hall says:

    Hello, everyone,
    I live in an inner ring suburb of Detroit. The first time I read Henri Nouwen’s books was in a Stephens Ministries training. I visited weekly for 3+ years an elderly woman who was on a ventilator and with a feeding tube. Since then I have continued visiting people in nursing homes/assisted livings. It’s amazing how so many people don’t get many visitors. What I appreciate especially about Henri’s writings is how he is able to describe, write about and help people to see the theological importance of “downward mobility”. Especially, in this current culture where so much emphasis is put on achieving and being productive and acquiring and so forth. When I read Henri Nouwen’s words, following the teachings of Jesus, it is like drinking the living water and helps me to feel more calm in all this chaos in our society and also helps me to “see” from a more hopeful (and I believe truthful) perspective on the value of human life. Looking forward to reading the book and reading the sharing on this blog.

    • Tom Demshuk says:

      I live and care for a quadriplegic businessman in Farmington Hills and you are very insightful of the needs of the those who find themselves trapped in homes and bodies that don’t work very well….forgotten lost in the everyday business\\ they too need their cup raised but who will help them? Glad that you do! Keep drinking in Henri’s words and you will find that drinking alone should never be an option.

  27. Kathy Cooney says:

    Twenty years ago, I was introduced to Henri’s books while working in youth ministry. I think his book Making All Things New helped me to understand my relationship with Christ in a simple but profound new way. After reading several of his books, I was privileged to have the opportunity to spend the afternoon with him! A group of us from the youth ministry went to see him at L’Arche in Canada. I remember most being moved by his humility. Here was a famous author, brilliant man, but yet willing to be present with our little group and even took the time to address us individually.
    Since that time my life has filled with family and responsibilities(married 10 years and I have a 7 yo daughter). I find it much harder to find quiet moments to be present with my life and Christ than in my days of youth ministry. The last 15 years I have worked as a pediatric social worker, encountering tragedy and resilience of others, that has many times shaken my faith and sense of purpose.
    I am eager to sit with Henri Nouwen again in hopes that I might find my way back to a life led by Christ and not the constant competing demands of the world. And eager to listen and learn from all of you!

  28. MAGGIE says:

    Hello everyone,
    I live in on the west side of WI., by the Mississippi River. This is my 2nd time, I found my Lenten experience so enriched I am joining again, as I pack up our home of 37 yr. In the country and move into town. I have read HN over the years and as I was packing my books, CYDTC came to rest in my hands. .. wonder…before placing it in the box…, then off his meditation web page came the invite so I picked it up from the library and here I am.

  29. Herb Hansen says:

    We met Henri through John Mogabgab while participating in the bicentennial celebration of the Episcopal Church in the US. Both have been of tremendous support as my wife and I move forward. This latest experience is looked to with keen anticipation,

  30. Ellen says:

    I am happy to be participating in this book study. After searching in our diocese for a spiritual counselor, I settled on Henri Nouwen. What a good change he has done for my spiritual life. I read “Can You Drink This Cup” a year ago. In April of this year, I had eye surgery and had to lay flat on my stomach for 16 days. Not being able to read, I bought the audible version, and listened to this book. It again made an impact on my spiritual life. Reading and discussing it with this group will help me get even more out of its contents. I am married with two grown daughters and 7 grandchildren. I work as a client educator at a Crisis Pregnancy Center.

  31. Janet says:

    Hello All!
    I have never really participated. I have occasionally looked at prior studies & may even have commented once but have not been a part of the online community from start to finish. I learn about the studies through the daily devotional I receive via email.

    I was first introduced to Henri Nouwen when my friend was given Prodigal Son (she didn’t read it but I did & have been blessed by so many of his books ever since). It’s hard to choose a favorite – Prodigal because it was my first or Beloved because it reminds me that God LOVES me.

    My days are spent working in an office behind a desk – ever mindful that my employer is God.

    Always grateful for the opportunity to grow closer to my Lord & Savior. Looking forward to being a part of this spiritual journey.


    • Ray Glennon says:

      Welcome to another book discussion.

      And thanks for the opportunity to remind anyone that joins us here that the degree to which someone participates in the online discussion is at whatever level that person feels is comfortable or appropriate. Some choose to regularly post; others to occasionally post; still others to read along and reflect quietly without posting at all. Regardless of the level of “visible” involvement on the blog, we are all members of a caring community that share a common interest in the work and wisdom of Henri Nouwen. We have come together on this summertime journey to support each other as we strive to, as St. Paul says, “…to live a life worthy of our calling…”

      • Ray Glennon says:

        Janet… I also spend my days working in an office behind a desk. Thank you for the much needed reminder that my employer is God.
        Blessings… Ray

  32. Elvie says:

    I have been reading Henri Nouwen for a number of years and my favorite is Life of the Beloved. His books have filled my cup through personal losses. I am a psychologist and work with people with mental illness in Los Angeles. I see a lot of Adams in my work. Henri’s experience with Adam at L’Arche has given so much meaning to my work. I am looking forward to joining this discussion group for the first time.

    • Ray Glennon says:

      Welcome to you and to all the participants that are joining us for the first time.

      Thank you for mentioning Henri’s experience with Adam in your comment. For me it is easy to see the hand of God in the fact that Henri dedicated CYDTC to Adam (Henri’s seemingly unlikely but perhaps greatest teacher) who preceded Henri in death by only seven months. As a dedicated fan of the great musical Les Misérables, I believe that Adam was present to welcome Henri to his eternal home–and perhaps with the same words that Fantine and Jean Valjean sing together she welcomes him to heaven: “To love another person is to see the face of God.” I think Henri would certainly agree.

  33. Peter Geissler says:

    Hello everyone!

    I live in the greater Los Angeles area and took early retirement nine years ago. All Saints Episcopal Church-Pasadena has been the foundation of my spiritual life for the past 22 years. Besides prayer, reflection, reading, seeing independent movies and listening to music, I spend my days getting some exercise, working in my organic garden, and volunteering to help people improve their public speaking skills. I got the ok to work with homeless folks at a local shelter, but that hasn’t started yet. Just happened to see this book link last week when I went to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church (Monrovia)’s Community Events website link

    I’ve read 15 books by Nouwen, but I especially like his spiritual journal books which have helped me with my own daily journal. After I read his books, I went on a Nouwen Retreat weekend at St. Andrew’s Abbey in Valeyrmo led by Wil Hernandez and then read Wil’s first book on Nouwen. Although I’ve participated in & led book discussions before but I have never been part of one that met online.

    I am looking forward to a new experience with all of you!

  34. Cozzette says:

    I am so thrilled to join everyone on this spiritual journey and I’m looking forward to the words of wisdom that this book will reveal. Although this will be my first time joining an online book discussion, I am familiar with Henri Nouwen’s books and have read ‘Spiriutal Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit’ and ‘The Wounded Healer’.

    Having recently relocated from California to Indiana, I find myself in the midst of trying to plant new seeds in a new community while continually aiming to foster positive growth – mentally and spiritually. As a mother of two (ages 11 & 8), my children give me much to reflect on as I try to translate my personal experiences into practical and positive parenting. My husband of 14 years travels often with his new job. While the time and distance comes with its own set of challenges, I feel fortunate for technology and how it enables us to share our thoughts at the end of every day.

    One of the many things that I truly appreciate from Henri Nouwen’s books is that it often challenges me to to think beyond my own little world. Nouwen’s words often guide me to see things with new perspective. With this particular book, I am intrigued by the symbolism of the cup and how it is drawn to ‘illustrate spiritual potential’ and immediately I question how well am I meeting my own spiritual potential. I always welcome an opportunity to Encounter Christ; and no doubt I already feel His presence here in this forum.

    Much gratitude for this opportunity and looking forward to seeing how this journey unfolds!

    Peace & Blessings,

  35. Tess Hufford says:

    Greetings all! I’m a little behind. I’m a former nurse. Answered the call to ministry in 1997 and have served as an ordained elder in the United Methodist tradition for the past 14 years. I have read several of Nouwen’s books over the years and have led two book studies on “The Return of the Prodigal Son”…. my favorite! I read “Can You Drink the Cup” several years ago, but welcome the opportunity to read it again and participate in the discussion. I look forward to it.

  36. Dottie L. says:

    Greetings to my fellow pilgrims! I am back for another reading group on this site. I was fortunate to be part of this community for Advent 2013 and then this past Lent, and now I look forward to dedicating a bit of Ordinary Time to my relationship with the Lord through this community.

    I have considered Henri Nouwen a friend across time and space ever since I read “The Inner Voice of Love” and then “Return of the Prodigal Son.” In “Inner Voice” I found a kindred spirit in Henri–I had experienced pain similar to his– and his book fostered my healing from a few personal difficulties. I look forward to meeting him at the heavenly banquet, if God is willing.

    My husband and I have been together for 41 years, have three children and three grandchildren, and are active in parish ministry in Ocean County, NJ. I am a retired teacher and a freelance writer.

    I am blessed to have found this website and look forward to sharing the way with all of you.

  37. Zeta says:

    I live in the northern part of Oklahoma in the United States. This is my first online discussion group and was led to join this group because of my love of Henri Nouwen’s writings. He expresses so beautifully the loneliness I am feeling upon the death of my husband yet he is also very hopeful and helpful to me to face this future of mine. I want to fill, lift and drain the cup of life God desires of me. I was introduced to Mr. Nouwen’s writings through a very dear friend who has walked closely beside me and comforted me through these last few years.

  38. Eileen Yeates says:

    Hi! I am a retired nurse–now living in Pointe Claire, Quebec (outskirts of Montreal). This will be my first online book discussion. I am a newbie to Henri Nouwen and learned about him from the online daily meditations. I am always interested in hearing about other people’s perspectives. Blessings on all on this journey

  39. Hi, I live in Melbourne Australia. This will be my first time in an online discussion group. I have known and read Henri Nouwen’s writings and tend to do most readings on my own. I have stopped going to church for many different reasons, but I am and always have been in love with God!

  40. Debbie says:

    Hello – I live in a small town north of Toronto and must say Henri Nouwen’s writings have been shaping and forming me for the last 27 yrs. My first connection with Henri was when he was an inpatient in hospital – I truly had no idea who he was until he left our floor a signed copy of a book he had written. After coasting through life for a while and many changes, Return of The Prodigal Son had a profound impact on my life – timing is everything. While I have several of Henri’s books on my shelf, I’ve attended presentations at L’Arche (when they were in Richmond Hill), I have never participated in a book study. At ‘middle age’ growth still happens and I look forward to sharing and growing with this community. My days are dedicated to my 3 children – though young adults now they still seek direction and shelter in times of uncertainty, my work in a cancer centre, and my ministry in RCIA. A full life- with a cup that I often feel is have empty lately – yet with a deep rooted sense of a call to grow deeper. I pray for a half full cup. As the cover of this book says, I hope to ‘expand my spiritual horizons’ and renew my heart. Henri Nouwen has always spoken to my heart. Thank you for this opportunity.

    • Ray Glennon says:

      Welcome Debbie. Thank you for your heartfelt sharing. Your description of how reading The Return of the Prodigal Son influenced your life mirrors my own experience when I found the book for sale after Mass while I was on business travel in Singapore at at time in my life when I really needed it. God works in His own time.

  41. Gaye says:

    I’m writing from beautiful Washington State where I live with my husband. I am blessed to have two of my daughters and their families(4 grandchildren and more on the way!)as my neighbors. I’m a newly retired preschool teacher and I am looking forward to participating in my first online book discussion.

  42. Lata Hall says:

    This is my third time to participate and when the last one finished, I felt almost lost for few days. So it is just a great joy to start reading together and sharing our lives. I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and I am on the East Coast. If you are travelling this way, apart from the month of August, you will be welcome to come and see my husband Jim and I and stay if you like for a while.
    I have been a fan of Henri Nouwen for almost 20 years, but after retirement, I had more time to read. I read something from Henri in the morning and something before I go to sleep. I have started to read the book. My daughter had met him and unfortunately he died few months before we were to meet him. My husband and I spend a fair amount of time with our L’Arche community in Halifax, which we were a part of starting it, and now it is gardening, which our other passion in summer

    Marianne: I know you from this online group and Jim and I shall be praying for you. God be with you.
    Also very nice to see many familiar names back again. Lata

  43. Don says:

    Greetings from Oklahoma!

    Notes written in the front of books cause me to think I began reading Nouwen in 1981. Over the years I have found his work nurturing, challenging and insightful–often opening new windows and ways of seeing and understanding the Christian life. I have used The Living Reminder as a text for ministry students and wrote a short study guide for it many years ago. The Wounded Healer has also been quite helpful. I think my favorite is The Return of the Prodigal, used many times in classes I have taught.

    I have enjoyed working/teaching in two Christian colleges over the past 34 years. In the last year I have been under treatment for melanoma and stomach cancer, having just completed my last round of chemotherapy. It has been a time of learning (I hope) more patience and trust.

    While I sometimes teach online courses, this will be my first online book discussion in this context. I look forward to learning from the reading and discussion. I learned of this opportunity from an e-mail notice. Thanks and blessings to all leading and participating!

    • Ray Glennon says:

      Welcome to our discussion and I’m certain that we will all benefit the experience you bring in sharing Henri Nouwen’s work in diverse settings. Thank you for sharing your ongoing battle with cancer and know that this caring community will keep you in our prayers as we journey together seeking our own answer to Henri’s poignant question, “Can You Drink the Cup?”
      May the Lord give you peace.

  44. Nancy Walter says:

    From Northwest Indiana near Chicago, learned of Nouwen from a friend just before his death, and my spiritual director, as well. His humility and gentle wisdom and his presenting God as the loving and abundantly forgiving father, have become very important, along with the idea of the wounded healer and being taken, blessed, broken and given. His writings speak to me as a deaconess called to serve those on the margins.

  45. Toby says:

    I have been getting the Daily Meditation email for several years and it has been a source of inspiration, help and healing for me and also for my friends and family who I have made sure to send it to when I knew it would be comforting for them in their time of need as it has helped me. I see there are a lot of teachers participating and I am a teacher also. I taught for 30 years and retired several years ago. I look forward to participating in this book discussion.

  46. Patti says:

    I’m so happy to have found this internet book club. I have been a fan of Henri Nouwen and his work for a long time. I teach graduate level special education classes at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois and this is exactly what I need to get me ready for my fall schedule.

    • Caryn B. says:

      we’re practically neighbors
      I’m at Alexian Brothers in Elk Grove Village
      MDiv from Northern Seminary 🙂

  47. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for telling me about not being able to connect on Sunday and Monday, I thought it was me. Henri Nowen has become my spiritual director for 14 years now. I would give anything to have met him. I would like to go to Canada to see his space at the University. Henri Nowen is so honest when he speaks of struggle with trust and love for God. I have read countless Nowen books. Bread for the Journey is a great source of spiritual reflections on a daily basis.
    The question “Can You Drink From the Cup” is much more that a question to be pondered as to drink from the cup that is your life each day and trust that our need to be taken in life as it comes with God as are help in all times and through our journey of life as we “take in” what God has to offer. God bless everyone.

    • Tom Demshuk says:

      I believe Jesus loved parties and feasts and festivals – he never drank alone and neither should we. It is a cup we share. a cup we all bare. I believe this calls for a toast….to life

  48. Toni says:

    I have been a Henri Nouwen fan for years. Have read many of his books, but the one that stands out for me is “The Wounded Healer”. First read it eight years ago, the summer before my 29 year old daughter died suddenly and violently. I have re-read it three times since….

    I live in southern California, have four grown children, and four grandchildren. As a spiritual director, I have been blessed as a companion to others, especially young adults and seniors in various stages of dementia. Each has a story to be told….

    Nouwen has the gift and the grace to weave together the simple and the profound to touch us deeply as both individuals and as community. I look forward to participating in this summer discussion.

    • Cathy Kerr says:

      “Nouwen has the gift and the grace to weave together the simple and the profound to touch us deeply as both individuals and as a community.” Yes, I think that is exactly right. Thank you for expressing it so eloquently.

  49. Jacqueline says:

    Another from South Carolina returning for third group. Generally do more reading and gathering than sharing. Learning that I do have a story to share and perhaps I will do more this go round. It appears this group has the globe pretty well covered! What an awesome “body of Christ”.

  50. lois says:

    Recently there were several email meditations about “The Cup” that just resonated with me so deeply. I didn’t even know it was a book, and then I read about this book discussion group… and I’m just so excited to join you!

    I live in the wonderful, crazy city of Cairo, am mothering 3 teenagers, so you can see to what and whom I have dedicated my days and energy for the past many years! I am also privileged to work with the Bible Society of Egypt. Currently I am in California just for a week, to see my little brother who is very ill with GBM brain cancer. 🙁

    I’ve been getting the Daily Meditation email for about 5 – 7 years, and it’s the only email meditation/devotional that I’ve ever read regularly, tho I have tried many different ones. So often, I am profoundly moved and inspired and challenged and encouraged by the various thoughts from Henri Nouwen. A very big “Thank You” for this ministry of sharing these nuggets in such a suitable format! I am drawn to him, he is so genuine and vulnerable, and so deliberate in loving others through that vulnerability, and so gentle in helping us learn. I’ve read “In the name of Jesus,” and have read Henri Nouwen quoted so often, and my nephew was reading “The prodigal son,” which I leafed through… and I’ve wanted to read more of his works, so now is the time, and again, am so glad to be doing it with this group.

  51. Jeanette F says:

    I wasn’t aware of Henri Nouwen’s writings until this spring when I was looking for something my daughter in the Coast Guard could connect with. That’s when I found the daily meditations by email. My daughter often quotes them back to me and tells me how helpful they are to her. In Elizabeth Sherrill’s book, “Surprised by Grace” she wrote that she interviewed him and was deeply affected by him.

    I am excited to be involved in this online discussion of CYDTC. It will be my first online study. I’m joining from Colorado where I work as a school nurse in a high school. Thank you for this opportunity.

  52. Ann says:

    Hello everyone,
    I am a mother of a great teenage son, and an elementary teacher living in Canada. I am so pleased to be participating in an online book chat with regards to another of Henri Nouwen’s books. My first read of Nouwen’s was Return of the Prodigal Son. The book profoundly affected my spiritual growth. This present opportunity to share with others another of Nouwen’s works could not have come at a better time. I have just recently returned to my church and my faith life, after being a little ways away from both for a while. Looking forward to the spiritual nourishment that will undoubtedly come from participation in this group.
    Thank you for the opportunity,

  53. Gloria says:

    Thank you for offering an opportunity to participate in this sharing. I am a recently retired Kindergarten teacher living in Canada. While reading a biography about Fred Rogers, a children’s TV host, Henri Nouwen was mentioned as a friend of the Rogers family. At the time, I was searching for a deeper communion with God. I have read several of Henri Nouwen’s books during the last year. Certainly, it was not an accident but an answer to prayer that I found his books and this website. Being a part of this group is like having a “neighborhood” of fellowship and “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!”

  54. Kathy Emrich says:

    Hi Everyone!
    Summer greetings from New Jersey! I’m delighted to have this opportunity to share in the discussion of this beautiful book. I thoroughly enjoy the daily meditations each morning – reflecting on those beautiful messages is how I begin each and every day!

    I look forward to hearing your insights about the book and feel very blessed to be joining this brief journey with all of you…
    Blessings to all!

  55. Daniel Templeman Twells says:

    Hi there,

    My name is Daniel, I’m Australian and together with my wife Melissa we are serving as Salvation Army officers (ministers) in Japan. I happened to see a link to this discussion on my twitter feed and having joined two previous discussions thought I would sign up again.
    I was introduced to the writings of Henri Nouwen by a mentor who gave me a copy of The Wounded Healer and I have enjoyed reading his books ever since.
    I’m looking forward to the conversations in relation to the symbolism of the cup and what it means to live life with all of its joys and sorrows.

    • Ray Glennon says:

      G’day Daniel and welcome. Glad that you will be joining us again for this discussion…Ray (Twitter @RayGlennon)

  56. Sylviemari says:

    My name is Sylvia and I live in Abbotsford BC.
    Although I work part time in the financial industry, my primary focus is providing care for our 2nd daughter who is 24 and has disabilities.
    Several years ago I read “Can you drink this cup” and since then have also read some of Henri Nouwen’s other books.
    I am looking forward to participating in my first discussion.

  57. Ted K says:

    Hi, everyone.

    My name is Ted, and I live in the greater Chicagoland area. This is my first time in an online book discussion. 🙂

    I am an administrator for a graduate training program at a local college, and much of my energy is expended there. I am the recipient of the daily devotions, and believe that I heard of this discussion group there initially. I really appreciate receiving these devotionals and the weekly devotionals in Advent and Lent. Thanks be to God for the Henri Nouwen Society.

    Henri Nouwen’s writing (including Can you Drink this Cup…probably my favorite) has been important in helping me understand suffering. I believe the first time I learned of one of Henri’s books was from a friend who recommended The Prodigal Son. I look forward to participating in the discussions over the next several weeks and learning from Ray and each other.

  58. Janet B Edwards says:

    I feel I have gained so much from reading Henri Nouwen’s books over the years and am looking forward to this discussion! I live near Asheville, NC and have attended a retreat on Henri Nouwen’s writings at Lake Junaluska.
    I appreciate getting the daily email devotional.

  59. Todd G says:

    Hi All:

    My name is Todd and I am a special ed teacher. I am married with 2 teen children (keeps life interesting!!)
    Have been a part of 2-3 book studies before, but am excited for this summer group as I am on summer break and should have more time to read and reflect.

    I am a big fan of HN and his work with L’Arche. I consider him a sort of patron saint. I suppose he would scoff at that ! 🙂

    Looking forward to sharing with all of you.

  60. Bethany says:

    Hello, everyone. I live in Kentucky and work in healthcare. I receive the daily meditations and started to join one of the Lenten discussions, but this is my first time participating.

    I first heard about Henri Nouwen from reading Becoming Human, a book by Jean Vanier, after listening to an inspiring interview with him on NPR. I’ve since read many of Henri’s books, the first being Making All Things New and the most recent being Turn My Mourning into Dancing. Its hard to pick a favorite because I’ve enjoyed them all so much. I look forward to reading this one for the first time with all of you.


  61. Russ Parker says:

    This is the first online chat I have ever done. I was introduced to Henri Nouwen while reading one of Brennan Manning’s books. It reminded me how we are all chosen because the Lord created each of us. It started to focus my life on Love and not performance.

    The opening of the this book is awesome. Nouwen acknowledges all the people who have helped him not only edit the book but also those who provided homes and financial support.
    God is Great.
    Blessings from Green Bay Wisconsin
    Russ Parker

    • Ray Glennon says:

      Welcome and thanks for sharing your first online book discussion with us. Your observation about the Acknowledgements is interesting. One of Henri’s main themes is the importance of community and in this section he thanks the community that assisted him in writing this book.

  62. Brynn says:

    Hello All!

    I’ve been participating in these book discussions since Christmas of 2009, which I believe is when Ray first joined as well. I am so glad that Ray will be leading this Summer book discussion – I’ve always appreciated his wisdom and caring leadership, and I know he’ll do a great job as facilitator.

    I’m from Ontario Canada, but currently I’m in Mexico City. My time is dedicated to a variety of things…. For the last five years I’ve been the part-time Project Coordinator for the Nouwen Archive Letter Project, which is how I first really got to “know” Henri and his written work. I feel very blessed to have so much of his teaching and way of being embedded in my mind and heart. I trust I also pass along his inspiration through my work as a Strategic Intervention Life Coach. Beyond these two important passions I am continuing to learn what it means to be a loving wife to my husband, and I have a personal dedication to learning to live in a healthy way.

    I’m anticipating that I won’t be able to participate fully in this discussion, but I’ll be with you as much as I can.



  63. Charles says:

    Hello, my name is Charles, and I reside in Northwestern Arizona. I have participated in a few of these book discussions in the past, but missed the last discussion due to some time constraints. So, I am excited to have the opportunity to participate in this discussion! I am currently an assistant principal in an elementary school, so I spend a lot of time guiding, coaching, and mentoring both students and adult teachers. I am also very active in our local Catholic Parish. I don’t remember how I began reading Henri Nouwen, but I am glad I did. One of my favorites of his is The Selfless Way of Christ. I really like the theme in that book about downward mobility. In any event, I am excited to be participating in this discussion. And Mr. Glennon, I have been enjoying your Tweets!

    • Ray Glennon says:

      Welcome Charles. Glad you are able to rejoin us. And Mr. Glennon was my father. I’m Ray or @RayGlennon 🙂

  64. Christine says:

    Hello to all from “The Natural State” of Arkansas. This will be the third book discussion I’ve participated in here, and I was happy to see this summer offering. Thanks, Ray, for stepping forward to lead us.

    “Life of the Beloved” was the first of Henri’s books I read in depth with others here. I found that sharing with others and reading their perspectives really opened up the lessons in the book for me. The truth that I am truly beloved in the eyes of God has been stamped on my heart with the help of Henri Nouwen’s wisdom contained in that book.

    I look forward to exploring within this forum the question posed, “Can you drink the cup?” I suspect I’ll be challenged, surprised, and enlightened as we journey through

  65. Virginia says:

    I am joining from Colorado and this is my first time in a discussion group. I have read several of Henri Nouwen’s books and learned much, but still need to learn more. I am looking forward to reading everyone’s viewpoints and learning from CYDTC. I experienced a major health issue and now have an ICD. God has granted me more time on this earth, now I need to listen carefully to what He wants me to do with it.

    • Ray Glennon says:

      Welcome Virginia. Thank you for sharing part of your summer with us. We look forward to your insight.

  66. Dr Connie says:


    Thanks for doing this summer book discussion Ray!
    My name is Connie and I live in NY. I think this is about my 6th book on line discussion. Henri continues to inspire me in so many relms of my life. I feel so blessed to be able to have his words and the inspiration of others who reflect on them.

    God Bless

  67. Vi Wiens says:

    I am joining in from Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. My first book, The Way of the Heart, which I read many, many years ago, was starred & highlighted on many pages – deeply impacting my life. I raised 3 sons, one with life long health issues from having cancer/bone marrow transplant at age 17. Another turned to drugs to cope with our stressful life as I was also working full time shifts in a Nursing Home. Both sons have recovered and our journey has continued. So along the way, Henri’s books impacted me to do life as it came my way.
    My passion is doing weekly Bible Studies/mentoring women in Recovery of Addictions. Taking them to church as well as standing with them in their journey towards wholeness.
    Been retired for 2 years and also enjoy much spiritual reading & journalling. I heard about this online thru the Daily Devotional message & am looking forward to this very much. Thanks from, Vi

    • Tom Demshuk says:

      As Henri says in his book – it is the holes in the leaf that allowed the light to shine through – it is the image of Divine Mercy – it is through the wounds and pains that God does and shines through his best work in you. Keep up in prayer you are in good company

  68. Corrie Ferrara says:

    Hi everyone, greetings from Sacramento, CA
    I am joining in for the first time. Amazon recommended The Return of the Prodigal Son based on my reading interests. I got it and have appreciated its honesty and relevance to my life – the elder son chapters, in particular. I googled Henri Nouwen and found the organization and this online discussion. I see he is dearly loved. Newly retired as a college librarian, my favorite thing to do is study spiritual books and teachings.
    This month our two very young grandkids are visiting with our daughter while her husband is away on business. If I don’t say too much, please realize I am listening!
    Thank you for hosting, Ray.

  69. Carol says:

    I dedicate my days to work, home and son. I have been married over 25 years, work two jobs and son has chronic illness that prevents him from being physically able to work. We financially take care of son and drive him to and from doctor appointments, etc. Son was independent up till about 5 years ago, so, its best he continue to live on his own. Henri Nouwen’s books have touched me in a very profound way. I read several of Henri’s books and every book have moved me in very needed spiritual growth.

    • Tom Demshuk says:

      Having been a caregiver for a business man who has progressive spinal muscular atrophy – eventual loss of most movement – has not damped his spirit he says it is never about the “why” in losses and hardship it all about the “how” – You see Jesus went through the agony in the garden so that when it came to our turn He would be waiting for us to walk us through it. I pray that you and your family will grow with Henri and his inspiring words that he has learned from the garden.

  70. Kathy Mell says:

    Hello everyone – and greetings from Wisconsin.
    I have enjoyed scrolling down and reading each of your posts this morning.
    My husband and I live in northern Wisconsin and have three grown children and two grandchildren. This is my first online book discussion group and also, my first read of Henri Nouwen’s writings (other than the e-mail meditations from the Nouwen’s Society that I recently signed up for). I first became aware of Henri Nouwen from a reference to the Jewish Talmad story, The Wounded Healer, Vineyard pastor/author Alexander Venter gave in his book I was reading for prayer ministry. I was excited to find this Nouwen book discussion forum when I researched some bio info to share with my small group who asked, ‘Kathy, who is Henri Nouwen’ when I recently shared the story myself. With just the little I have read of Nouwen’s writings, I can see more clearly why others before me speak of Nouwen with accolades and such respect for his spiritual writings. I’m excited to have this time to soak in some of Nouwen’s spiritual writings myself and the bonus of the community this forum provides. My hope and prayer with this book study/discussion is for an increased spiritual sensitivity with a deepened revelation of finding God in all things as I seek to deepen the reality of my identity in Christ. Looking forward to our walking together thru discussions this book brings and all that our Abba Father has for each of us.

    Thank you Ray for bringing this discussion group together.

    • Ray Glennon says:

      Kathy, thank you for joining us for this journey. And this is a wonderful book to be your first encounter with Henri Nouwen. You may have noticed on the outside back cover that Can You Drink the Cup? was the last book published by Henri before his untimely and unexpected death. The rich wine of wisdom that he shares here was carefully distilled over his lifetime of prayer, teaching, and loving service–especially in the last nine years of his ministry at l’Arche Daybreak. Henri is a reliable spiritual guide and it is likely that after sharing this book you will consider him, as I do, a close friend.

      • Kathy Mell says:

        Ray, thanks for the welcome and sharing your insight. I experienced a move in my spirit and joy as I read what you wrote about Henri’s writings and Can You Drink the Cup?. I believe this is added confirmation of God’s timing for this book to be a part of my spiritual life journey. Yes, I did notice this was Nouwen’s last book and paused a bit when I read his death was unexpected – unfortunate for the body of Christ indeed. However, this book as well as the others Nouwen wrote will be a blessing to all that pick up one of his books and experience his writing and rich legacy.

  71. Bonnie says:

    A few years ago, I read Henri Nouwen’s book, “In the Name of Jesus.” At the time, I was in the process of a career change. After serving as the Minister to Children for several years, I began a new career as a Special Education teacher. The humble way that Henri Nouwen expressed his lessons on leadership in the context of the L’Arche community was incredibly profound. This little book has been re-read, underlined, notated, and flagged.

    I live in South Carolina and read about this group study on Twitter. Now, I am looking forward to enjoying another of his writings, along with the insights of this wonderful group. I can’t think of a better way to renew and refresh my spirit this summer than to sit at Nouwen’s feet with all of you.

    • Todd G says:

      Hi Bonnie:
      I also am a special educator, and have a strong connection to HN and L’Arche. Have you read The Road to DayBreak? It is my favorite work by HN thus far. Looking forward to sharing this book study with you and the others…


    • Tom Demshuk says:

      Maybe Henri is sitting now at Jesus’ feet along side Mary and all the others for I believe it is really Jesus who speaks through people like Henri and us. It is in those moments we all have when we here those words “Be still (Bonnie,,,) and know that I am here with you”

  72. Marsha Garcia says:

    I’m excited to discuss the book with others, I got so much out of it! I first read Compassion about five years ago and didn’t quite get it; about a year ago I read The Prodigal Son and it was very meaningful and full of feeling for me.
    I live just outside Nashville, TN and have been on a renewed spiritual journey after experiencing some personal traumas several years ago. I am grateful to have found this group where I can share with others on a similar path.

  73. Marianne says:

    I live in Alberta, Canada and am a Registered Nurse Clinical Educator. I normally just devote my time to my own family, my parents who live in my town – Dad with Alzheimer’s living together with Mom in their home and my job as a Clinical Educator for staff in Senior’s Health. Now, however, I am sorry to say that I was just diagnosed with Breast Cancer and I will be devoting my time to beating cancer, beginning Chemo probably next week. This book study comes at a perfect time for me!

    I have participated in many Nouwen book studies, and my favourite book is “Reaching Out” although I can’t remember what was in it. It is my favourite because we read it in College and it started me down the path of redefining my own faith.

    I was happy to see you moderating, Ray! I’ve always appreciated your writing. I’m looking forward to getting to know some new people and reconnecting with the familiar this summer. My book is not yet here.

    • Ray Glennon says:

      It’s wonderful that you will be participating again this time and thank you for your kind words. I’m sure you will help keep me on track as a new facilitator. May Henri’s words and the love of God give you peace in your illness. Know that you will be in my prayers as you battle against breast cancer.
      Peace and all good.

    • Brynn says:

      Dear Marianne,

      Thank you for sharing with us of your current health challenge, and giving us the opportunity to pray for you! May the Holy Spirit fill you with faith, hope and love during this time.


    • Dear Marianne,

      Please be assured of our prayers for you and for your family. May you receive all the love and support you will need to meet this challenge with courage and hope.

      Welcome back,
      Nouwen Legacy Manager

    • Cindy Uhrich says:

      Dear Marianne,

      My prayers are with you on this journey! Thank you for sharing what you are going through as I am sure it is difficult. May you know the presence of Christ in a new way as you head into chemo.

      …grace and peace…cindy

    • Hi Marianne, four years ago I had a mastectomy for breast cancer. The journey for each of us is different. For me I found it a difficult yet rewarding journey. It has added another dimension to my tapestry of life and I look forward to the time I can see the whole tapestry (not in any hurry though!).
      Wishing you courage and wisdom and healing and health. Life is worth fighting for!
      My prayer for you is that you will know that the greatest Physician who is with you every step of the way!
      God Bless you Marianne

    • Cathy Kerr says:

      Marianne, I also enjoy God’s creation through photography – the images are a gift received in a special way. Thank you for sharing about yourself.

    • Marianne says:

      Thank you for your kind wishes and prayers.

  74. Lynn says:


    I was first introduced to Henri’s work when I picked up a collection of his work called “Seeds of Hope: A Henri Nouwen Reader”. His words inspired me and I signed up for the daily emails. I’ve also been collecting and reading his work ever since, but have not read “Can You Drink the Cup?”. I’ve participated in other online studies but not here. I look forward to the group’s insights as well as the opportunity to share. I live in central Ohio where I’ve recently begun a second career as a gifted intervention specialist. I have three children. One is just beginning her career as a Spanish teacher, a son who is studying architecture and my youngest daughter will be a junior in the school district where I work. My husband and I live in the country. I enjoy capturing God’s creation with my camera and taking long walks.

  75. Julie says:

    Dear all –
    I look forward to our study group — already halfway through with the peaceful messages!

    I learned of Henri Nouwen’s work through a quote posted by spiritual activist Adam Bucko.

    I live near Santa Cruz , California – am a spiritual seeker and work as an elementary school principal.

    Thank you and blessings to all — Julie

  76. Diane C. says:

    Good morning all
    My husband and I have lived in a small town in Northern New Jersey for over 30 years and have raised 2 daughters here. I am also a middle school science teacher in the same town! I am so happy to jump back into these book discussions…I have participated in several over the years but not recently. I refer to Henri as my spiritual “guru” and have read many of his books…they all speak to me. However, I’d have to say that my favorite is also the first one I ever read….”Here and Now, Living in the Spirit” where I was first introduced to the depth of God’s unconditional love for me. Henri’s words helped me to heal and he has continued to be my “wounded healer”…always there for me when I need him!
    I’ve read “Can You Drink The Cup” already but have pulled it back off the shelf for this discussion….looking forward to being a part of this community!

  77. Henri Nouwen’s writings have had great influence on me. The Return of the Prodigal and Can You Drink the Cup? are some of my favorites. I live in Alabama and am a writer, teacher and “soul tender” who desires to connect people to Christ through Scripture, story and community.

  78. Kathy~ Salem says:

    This will be my second shared book experience and once again I am so grateful for this invitation. The Lenten discussion was a delight and added a new demension to my prayer life that gives me support and direction. I am from Salem Massachusetts and I am a member of the Paulist Center community in Boston.
    I have found Father Nouwen’s words comforting, challenging and a blessing. Life can get very confusing and our choices at times can seem very draining. Reading his words is just the wake up call that I need some days to stir me from my sliding into my false self preoccupation with me and my and help me be open to all the possibilities my life holds through Grace and Love. Always we begin again, Thank you!

  79. Henri Nouwen ‘s writings have had great influence on me and Can You Drink the Cup? is a favorite. I live in Alabama and am a writer, teacher and “soul tender” who desires to connect people to Christ through Scripture, story and community.

  80. Ray Glennon says:

    Comment from Vickie Harris
    I learned about Henri Nouwen through Stephen Ministry leadership training and have been reading ever since. I receive the daily meditations, too. Although this is the first time I have done an online book study, I am very intrigued and excited.

  81. Kim Holmes says:

    I live in Wild and Wonderful and I will add Peaceful and Serene West Virginia, USA. I heard about this book discussion from Twitterville. I was introduced about five years ago to the Prodigal Son at Christ Episcopal Church and was hooked! Looking forward to re-reading “Can You Drink the Cup?

  82. Ray Glennon says:

    Comment from Joan McCarthy
    I am currently living in the Netherlands and heard about this through a Dutch friend who introduced me to “Hour of Power.” I have read Henri Nouwen’s books for years after hearing him quoted by other authors. I have never done an online study like this so am very excited. Thanks for making this available.

  83. Ray Glennon says:

    Comment from June Rose Garrott

    I know a good bit about Henri Nouwen and have been reading his works for a long time. As I have not read “Can You Drink the Cup?” before, I look forward to the discipline of trying to keep to the schedule.

    Blessings on all involved.

  84. John says:

    Introduced to Henri’s books when I was gifted the Prodigal Son. Have been a fan since. I have participated in the last 2 Lenten discussions and looking forward to another book. Somehow the group sharing seems to motivate and help me renew my spiritual life. I became aware of this discussion through the daily email. I am a retired physician living in New Hampshire. God bless and thanks to all for your insights.

  85. Cindy Uhrich says:

    Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this group! I am a full time lay person on staff at a Methodist church. CYDTC is particularly meaningful right now as I am a wife and caregiver to my husband who has an incurarable(so far) cancer.

    Henri Nouwen continues to teach me through his books. I’ve been acquainted with his work for a few years now.

    Looking forward to learning from all of you…grace and peace…

  86. Ray Glennon says:

    Comment from Jeffrey Rogg
    Thank you for the opportunity to re-read CYDTC? in the context of an online forum. I have never participated in the latter, but the book is how I first discovered Nouwen some years ago, during a church Lenten devotional study, where it was assigned. I later attended the “Turning the Wheel” conference at St Michaels College in Toronto commemorating the 10-year anniversary of Henri’s death, and have been a devotee since.

    I became aware of this study while choosing a Nouwen book as a comfort for a coworker who’s teenage son died (I picked “the Inner Voice of Love). I am a lawyer in Grand Rapids, MI and look forward to “meeting” and studying with you. God’s blessings!


    • Ms. Dean Robertson says:

      Hello, I lived in Lowell with my five llamas and taught at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids for nearly ten years. Interesting spiritual territory up there.
      Hard for my friends and family in this part of the world (and I’m from north Georgia!) to understand how much I grew to love tromping out in the snow to break ice in the water bucket or into the barn to bundle up and sit with my “boys.” I’m a cradle Episcopalian who built a sweat lodge in the back yard.

  87. Nan Volpe says:

    I’m not quite sure if it will be necessesary for me to buy the book or if it will be posted here for purpose of discussion. If it is posted here then I will be able to join the discussion. Otherwise I won’t. Also, hope I will be notified by E-Mail for each session.
    Blessings to all

    • Hello Nan,

      Thank you for your query and your interest in our book discussion. Our facilitator Ray Glennon, may post brief excerpts from the book but if you wish to follow along in the readings, it would be helpful to have a copy of the book. Many public libraries carry copies for borrowing if you do not wish to purchase. Ray will post questions each Sunday through to August 3rd and you can access his posts at this blog.

      Nouwen Legacy Manager

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