Saturday, November 7, 2009
Henri Nouwen-Being the Beloved
Henri Jozef Michiel Nouwen (Nijkerk, January 24, 1932 - Hilversum, September 21, 1996) was a Dutch Catholic priest and writer who authored 40 books on the spiritual life. His books are widely-read today by both Protestants and Catholics alike. The Wounded Healer, In the Name of Jesus, Clowning in Rome, The Life of the Beloved and The Way of the Heart are just a few of the more widely recognized titles. After nearly two decades of teaching at the Menninger Foundation Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, and at the University of Notre Dame, Yale University and Harvard University, he left to share his life with mentally handicapped people at the L’Arche community of Daybreak in Toronto, Canada. He died in September of 1996 from a sudden heart attack. His spirituality was influenced by many, notably by his friendship with Jean Vanier. At the invitation of Vanier he visited L’Arche in France, the first of over 130 communities around the world where people with developmental disabilities live and share life together with those who care for them. In 1986 Nouwen accepted the position of pastor for a L’Arche community called "Daybreak" in Canada, near Toronto. Nouwen wrote about his relationship with Adam, a core member at L’Arche Daybreak with profound developmental disabilities, in a book entitled Adam: God’s Beloved. Father Nouwen was a good friend of the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin.