Celebrating Henri J.M. Nouwen 25 Years Since His Passing: Moving from Hostility to Hospitality
A virtual program with Robert A. Jonas, Ed.D. September 25, 2021, 1:30-3:30 p.m. U.S/EDT (12:30 p.m. CT; 11:30 a.m. MT; 10:30 a.m. PT) A free will offering is appreciated.
“The paradox of hospitality is that it wants to create emptiness, not a fearful emptiness, but a friendly emptiness where strangers can enter and discover themselves as created free: free to sing their own songs, speak their own languages, dance their own dances; free also to leave and follow their own vocations.—Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life , Henri Nouwen
This commemorative program will honor the life and legacy of Fr. Henri J.M. Nouwen, who died 25 years ago (1932-1996). He is known worldwide as one of the most beloved and prolific spiritual writers in contemporary times. A Dutch Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian, Fr. Nouwen’s interests were largely grounded in psychology, pastoral ministry, spirituality, social justice and community. In his lifetime, he wrote more than 40 books, some of which he penned in Mercy by the Sea’s “Tower Room” (aka “The Nouwen Room”), when he was a Yale Divinity School professor.
Dr. Robert A. Jonas, a dear friend of Nouwen’s and one of his biographers, will facilitate this program via Zoom. He will share personal stories of their friendship and highlight some of Nouwen's timeless and inspiring spiritual messages. We will read a passage on hospitality and will meet in large and small groups to share the enduring value of Nouwen’s perspectives. Dr. Jonas will also lead us in silent meditation and prayer and offer shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) music that Henri enjoyed, and which Dr. Jonas played to accompany a Nouwen talk at Mercy by the Sea. This program is for participants of all faith backgrounds or “nones.” It is also for those who have long journeyed with Nouwen’s teachings, as well as for those experiencing them for the first time.
Dr. Robert A. Jonas, Ed.D. M.T.S. is the author of The Essential Henri Nouwen, Henri Nouwen, and Rebecca. He directs The Empty Bell, a contemplative sanctuary in Northampton, MA, a resource for contemplative Christians and for Buddhist-Christian dialogue. Trained as a psychotherapist, he is a retreat leader, author, video artist, musician and environmental steward. Dr. Jonas is a past Board member of the Henri Nouwen Society and a member of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies and the Eckhart Society. Dr. Jonas' upcoming book, My Dear Far-Nearness, will be published by Orbis Books in early 2022.