Henri Nouwen

Henri Nouwen (1932 - )


            Henri Jozef Machiel Nouwen, (Nijkerk, January 24, 1932 – Hilversum, September 21, 1996) was a Dutch Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian. His interests were rooted primarily in psychology, pastoral ministry, spirituality, social justice and community. Over the course of his life, Nouwen was heavily influenced by the work of Anton Boisen, Thomas Merton, Rembrandt, Vincent van Gogh and Jean Vanier.

       After nearly two decades of teaching at academic institutions including the University of Notre Dame, Yale Divinity School and Harvard Divinity School, Nouwen went on to work with mentally and physically handicapped people at the L'Arche Daybreak community in Richmond Hill, Ontario.

            Before his death Nouwen published 39 books and authored hundreds of articles.[31]:9 His books have sold over 7 million copies worldwide and have been published in more than 30 languages.In a magazine survey conducted by Christian Century in 2003 Nouwen's work was indicated as a first choice of authors for Catholic and mainline Protestant clergy.

            His books include The Wounded Healer, In the Name of Jesus, Clowning in Rome, The Life of the Beloved and The Way of the Heart, along with what is recognized as one of his most popular books, The Return of the Prodigal Son.

            While visiting the L'Arche Trosly-Breuil community in France, he saw a poster of Rembrandt's painting The Return of the Prodigal Son that made a deep impression on him. He decided to see the painting personally and traveled to Saint Petersburg (Leningrad at that time) to visit the Hermitage Museum where it is kept.

            This resulted in a several-day contemplation of the painting, which prompted him to write a book of the same name. The Return of the Prodigal Son was ranked number 66 on a list of 100 best Christian books compiled by the Church Times in 2014.

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