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Befriending Life

Beth PorterSusan M S BrownPhilip Coulter
Befriending Life
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Befriending Life

Beth PorterSusan M S BrownPhilip Coulter

$30.99

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Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) was a Catholic priest who taught at several theological institutions and universities in his home country of The Netherlands and in the United States. He spent the final years of his life teaching and ministering at the L'Arche Daybreak Community, a home for people with mental and physical disabilities, in Toronto, Canada. His writings have touched millions of readers around the world, and since his death, recognition of their enduring value has continued to grow. Oprah Winfrey, one of Nouwen's many admirers, ran an extensive excerpt from The Prodigal Son in her magazine, O, with Hillary Clinton contributing an introduction revealing the profound effect Nouwen had on her own life.^However, Nouwen's influence was not limited to the printed page. His one-on-one encounters as a lecturer, teacher, and spiritual guide, and as a leader at the L'Arche Daybreak Community, enriched the lives of a wide variety of people. Now "Befriending Life" brings together thoughtful, heartfelt remembrances of Nouwen by those who knew him best, from members of L'Arche to such prominent figures as Joseph Cardinal Bernadin of Chicago and Hillary Clinton. Their personal reflections on his life both on and off the page magnificently capture his spirit, compassion, and wisdom. With a wealth of quotations from Nouwen throughout, "Befriending Life", like Nouwen's own great books, will inspire readers in all walks of life.

- Publisher A Conversation with Henri JACKIE RAND Jackie Rand, with her husband, Baruch, was a friend of the L'Arche Daybreak community and a member of the Kehillah Ahavat Hesed, the small Toronto synagogue some Daybreak members attend. She was a social worker and family therapist and also worked with people with AIDS. Jackie passed away shortly before this book went to press. Baruch continues their friendship with Daybreak. I met Henri Nouwen only once, at a soiree held by a Daybreak friend in the spring of 1995. When my husband and I came into the elegant home where my friend was living at the time, a number of people were semiformally milling about with appetizers. She introduced me to a tall man in a dark suit jacket. We started what I thought was a casual conversation, but quickly I realized I was engaged in a very unusual experience. I think it was because I felt enveloped by Henri's gaze, the object of his undivided attention to the exclusion of everyone else. I have seldom had this sensation--only in intimate conversations or with a therapist. Yet here was this man I didn't know offering me the gift of his completely focused attention. I had no idea who Henri was. When I was introduced, I gathered that he was a priest, but I knew nothing else about him except that he was in some way involved in L'Arche Daybreak. At that time I knew very little about L'Arche itself. Just to make conversation, I asked Henri what he was planning to do during the coming summer and was astonished by his reply. He said he was planning to rejoin a circus troupe in Germany and travel with them while he studied their way of life. When I asked him what prompted him, a priest, to such an unlikely undertaking, he said, "You have to understand that I regard circuses very highly. The best circuses, such as Cirque du Soleil from Montreal, teach me a great deal. They've taught me more than anything else about trust." Here Henri explained how in the trapeze act the flyer must allow himself to fly in the direction of the catcher without grasping, and it is the catcher's responsibility to connect without hurting or injuring the flyer. This requires infinite artistry and precision, and transparent trust. Unless the trapeze artists resolve all problems, doubts, or difficulties between them every day, this ability to connect within a split second becomes flawed and can lead to a fall. In addition to the beautiful work of the trapeze artists, Henri would observe the circus community as a whole. He said, "I'm very much interested in understanding the workings of this circus community so I can apply my learning to the communities I am involved in, especially L'Arche. All the elements I need to learn are there in the circus: above everything, caring and trust and the ability to take risks without fear because of this caring and trust." The skill of this completely charismatic stranger in combining philosophical and theological ideas with popular entertainment had for me the force of a parable. Had his ideas been expressed only conceptually, they could have been sterile and dry. Yet as he presented them, they were vivid and utterly engaging. He never seemed to be talking about religion, yet he was talking at a deep spiritual level. I remember that Henri and I also spoke about the practice of meditation. I was meeting at the time with a meditation group that included some other guests at that party, but I was just a beginner. Henri was acquainted with both Eastern-style and Christian meditation. He demonstrated, taking a huge breath, what it would be like to take in a word that conveys a powerful concept--like love or shalom or a line from a prayer--to fill oneself with this healing quality breath after breath. This approach, according to him was different from the detachment and peace sought in Eastern meditation. In his acceptance of both approaches and his clear explanation, he widened my understandi

- Publisher A beautiful collection of reminiscences celebrating the life and works of the bestselling author of The Wounded Healer," "The Return of the Prodigal Son, and The Inner Voice of Love,"^"^Henri Nouwen (1932-96) was a Catholic priest who taught at several theological institutions and universities in his home country of the Netherlands and in the United States. He spent the final years of his life teaching and ministering at the L'Arche Daybreak Community in Toronto, Canada. His writings have touched millions of readers around the world, and since his death, recognition of their enduring value has continued to grow. Oprah Winfrey, one of Nouwen's many admirers, ran an extensive excerpt from "The Return of the Prodigal Son "in her magazine, "O," with Hillary Clinton contributing an introduction revealing the profound effect Nouwen had on her own life. ^Nouwen's influence was not limited to the printed page. His one-on-one encounters as a lecturer, teacher, and spiritual guide, and

- Publisher
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About "Befriending Life"

Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) was a Catholic priest who taught at several theological institutions and universities in his home country of The Netherlands and in the United States. He spent the final years of his life teaching and ministering at the L'Arche Daybreak Community, a home for people with mental and physical disabilities, in Toronto, Canada. His writings have touched millions of readers around the world, and since his death, recognition of their enduring value has continued to grow. Oprah Winfrey, one of Nouwen's many admirers, ran an extensive excerpt from The Prodigal Son in her magazine, O, with Hillary Clinton contributing an introduction revealing the profound effect Nouwen had on her own life.^However, Nouwen's influence was not limited to the printed page. His one-on-one encounters as a lecturer, teacher, and spiritual guide, and as a leader at the L'Arche Daybreak Community, enriched the lives of a wide variety of people. Now "Befriending Life" brings together thoughtful, heartfelt remembrances of Nouwen by those who knew him best, from members of L'Arche to such prominent figures as Joseph Cardinal Bernadin of Chicago and Hillary Clinton. Their personal reflections on his life both on and off the page magnificently capture his spirit, compassion, and wisdom. With a wealth of quotations from Nouwen throughout, "Befriending Life", like Nouwen's own great books, will inspire readers in all walks of life.
- Publisher

A Conversation with Henri JACKIE RAND Jackie Rand, with her husband, Baruch, was a friend of the L'Arche Daybreak community and a member of the Kehillah Ahavat Hesed, the small Toronto synagogue some Daybreak members attend. She was a social worker and family therapist and also worked with people with AIDS. Jackie passed away shortly before this book went to press. Baruch continues their friendship with Daybreak. I met Henri Nouwen only once, at a soiree held by a Daybreak friend in the spring of 1995. When my husband and I came into the elegant home where my friend was living at the time, a number of people were semiformally milling about with appetizers. She introduced me to a tall man in a dark suit jacket. We started what I thought was a casual conversation, but quickly I realized I was engaged in a very unusual experience. I think it was because I felt enveloped by Henri's gaze, the object of his undivided attention to the exclusion of everyone else. I have seldom had this sensation--only in intimate conversations or with a therapist. Yet here was this man I didn't know offering me the gift of his completely focused attention. I had no idea who Henri was. When I was introduced, I gathered that he was a priest, but I knew nothing else about him except that he was in some way involved in L'Arche Daybreak. At that time I knew very little about L'Arche itself. Just to make conversation, I asked Henri what he was planning to do during the coming summer and was astonished by his reply. He said he was planning to rejoin a circus troupe in Germany and travel with them while he studied their way of life. When I asked him what prompted him, a priest, to such an unlikely undertaking, he said, "You have to understand that I regard circuses very highly. The best circuses, such as Cirque du Soleil from Montreal, teach me a great deal. They've taught me more than anything else about trust." Here Henri explained how in the trapeze act the flyer must allow himself to fly in the direction of the catcher without grasping, and it is the catcher's responsibility to connect without hurting or injuring the flyer. This requires infinite artistry and precision, and transparent trust. Unless the trapeze artists resolve all problems, doubts, or difficulties between them every day, this ability to connect within a split second becomes flawed and can lead to a fall. In addition to the beautiful work of the trapeze artists, Henri would observe the circus community as a whole. He said, "I'm very much interested in understanding the workings of this circus community so I can apply my learning to the communities I am involved in, especially L'Arche. All the elements I need to learn are there in the circus: above everything, caring and trust and the ability to take risks without fear because of this caring and trust." The skill of this completely charismatic stranger in combining philosophical and theological ideas with popular entertainment had for me the force of a parable. Had his ideas been expressed only conceptually, they could have been sterile and dry. Yet as he presented them, they were vivid and utterly engaging. He never seemed to be talking about religion, yet he was talking at a deep spiritual level. I remember that Henri and I also spoke about the practice of meditation. I was meeting at the time with a meditation group that included some other guests at that party, but I was just a beginner. Henri was acquainted with both Eastern-style and Christian meditation. He demonstrated, taking a huge breath, what it would be like to take in a word that conveys a powerful concept--like love or shalom or a line from a prayer--to fill oneself with this healing quality breath after breath. This approach, according to him was different from the detachment and peace sought in Eastern meditation. In his acceptance of both approaches and his clear explanation, he widened my understandi
- Publisher

A beautiful collection of reminiscences celebrating the life and works of the bestselling author of The Wounded Healer," "The Return of the Prodigal Son, and The Inner Voice of Love,"^"^Henri Nouwen (1932-96) was a Catholic priest who taught at several theological institutions and universities in his home country of the Netherlands and in the United States. He spent the final years of his life teaching and ministering at the L'Arche Daybreak Community in Toronto, Canada. His writings have touched millions of readers around the world, and since his death, recognition of their enduring value has continued to grow. Oprah Winfrey, one of Nouwen's many admirers, ran an extensive excerpt from "The Return of the Prodigal Son "in her magazine, "O," with Hillary Clinton contributing an introduction revealing the profound effect Nouwen had on her own life. ^Nouwen's influence was not limited to the printed page. His one-on-one encounters as a lecturer, teacher, and spiritual guide, and
- Publisher

Meet the Authors

Beth Porter

Beth Porter and Philip Coulter are both writers who live and work at the L'Arche Daybreak Community. Susan M. S. Brown is an editor who lives and works in Massachusetts.

Philip Coulter

Beth Porter and Philip Coulter are both writers who live and work at the L'Arche Daybreak Community. Susan M. S. Brown is an editor who lives and works in Massachusetts.

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Product Details

Product Details
  • Catalogue Code 174445
  • Product Code 0385502028
  • EAN 9780385502023
  • Pages 304
  • Department General Books
  • Category Biography
  • Sub-Category General
  • Publisher Doubleday
  • Publication Date Jun 2001
  • Dimensions 209 x 139 x 27 mm
  • Weight 0.454kg

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