Letters on the Spiritual Life
By Henri J. M. Nouwen
Previously unpublished letters from the author of The Wounded Healer and The Return of the Prodigal Son
'This invaluable collection of over 200 letters by the late Nouwen (The Wounded Healer), a beloved author, pastor, and priest, provides insight into his personal struggles, insecurities, and faith and offers the heartfelt guidance Nouwen shared so generously with individuals to a wide audience ... The courage and kindness with which Nouwen shares his vulnerabilities and honest feelings, combined with his willingness to provide direction, advice, companionship, and affection, ensure that Nouwen's legacy as inspired spiritual guide will continue, enhanced by this testimony to his sincere desire to live with gratitude, faith, and love.'
- Publishers Weekly
'When I write I think deeply about my friends, I pray for them, I tell them my emotions and feelings. I reflect on our relationship and I dwell with them in a very personal way.' - Henri Nouwen
Over the course of his life, priest, professor and writer Henri Nouwen wrote thousands of letters to friends, acquaintances, parishioners, students and readers of his work all around the world. He held a deep conviction about the value of reaching out to others through letters, believing that a thoughtful letter written in love could truly change someone's life. As a result, many people looked to Nouwen as a long-distance spiritual advisor.
This collection of previously unpublished letters stretches from the earliest years of Henri's career through to his last ten years at L'Arche Daybreak. Rich in spiritual insights as well as touching details of Henri's daily life, the letters are organised around themes that emerge not just in his correspondence but in his writing, too: vocation and calling; solitude and prayer; suffering and perseverence; belovedness; and community. Across all these letters, what emerges most clearly is Henri's belief in the rich value of human relationships.
As relevant today as they were forty years ago, and full of insight and encouragement, these letters offer a deeply personal look into the mind of a spiritual giant of the twentieth century, and are an ideal introduction to his life and thought.
Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) is widely recognised as one of the most influential spiritual writers of the twentieth century. A Dutch-born Catholic priest, professor and pastor, he gained international renown as the author of over forty books on the spiritual life, including such classics as The Wounded Healer, The Inner Voice of Love, The Return of the Prodigal Son, and Life of the Beloved. Nouwen's books have been translated into more than thirty languages and have sold upwards of seven million copies worldwide, resonating with people across the religious, spiritual, cultural and political spectrum. Since his death in 1996, ever-increasing numbers of readers, writers, teachers, and seekers have been guided by his literary legacy.
- Other details
- Publication date:
21 Sep 2017
- Page count:
Hodder & Stoughton
His ability to struggle with his demons and find healing enables him to write comforting and even energising words...
Nouwen's profound conviction of his calling to priesthood and the centrality of prayer is evident throughout.
— The Church Times
This invaluable collection of over 200 letters by the late Nouwen (The Wounded Healer), a beloved author, pastor, and priest, provides insight into his personal struggles, insecurities, and faith and offers the heartfelt guidance Nouwen shared so generously with individuals to a wide audience. After the introduction by inspirational speaker Brené Brown, Earnshaw, Nouwen's archivist, divides the letters into three sections: 1973-1985, when Nouwen taught at Yale and Harvard's divinity schools; 1986-1989, when he served as pastor at L'Arche Daybreak, a community north of Toronto that's home to disabled people and their assistants; and 1990-1996, during which he published 11 new books, lectured, and traveled extensively until his death. Brief introductions to each letter give context and inform the reader of Nouwen's relationship with his many correspondents, who include personal friends, colleagues, students, clergy, scholars, critics, readers of his books, grieving parents, and politicians. The courage and kindness with which Nouwen shares his vulnerabilities and honest feelings, combined with his willingness to provide direction, advice, companionship, and affection, ensure that Nouwen's legacy as inspired spiritual guide will continue, enhanced by this testimony to his sincere desire to live with gratitude, faith, and love. — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
This month sees the long-awaited posthumous publication of Henri Nouwen's new book Love, Henri. The Roman Catholic priest was a favourite author of Protestants and evangelicals in the '80s and '90s when his books The Return of the Prodigal Son and The Wounded Healer were huge bestsellers. — Christian Today
Henri Nouwen continues to be a spiritual writer who speaks to people today. — The Church Newspaper
He writes with deep compassion and empathy... He had the rare gift of being able to say so much in a few carefully chosen words that came from his heart. — The Irish Catholic