• Murray Watts "Henri Nouwen - the Stage Play" | Episode Transcript

    Karen Pascal: Hello, I’m Karen Pascal. I’m the Director of the Henri Nouwen Society. Welcome to a new episode of Henri Nouwen: Now and Then.  Our goal at the Society is to extend the rich, spiritual legacy of Henri Nouwen to audiences around the world. Each week we endeavor to bring you something new that will enhance your knowledge of the writings of Henri Nouwen. We invite you to share these podcasts with your friends and family. Because we’re new to the world of podcasts, taking time to give us a review or a thumbs up will mean a great deal to us and will help us reach more people. Our goal is to allow the wisdom, honesty, and encouragement found in the life and the writings of Henri Nouwen to speak to a world hungry for meaning.

    Now, let me take time to introduce today’s special program. This week we’re coming to you from New York City where we’ve been working with actors and our director, Kathy McGowan, on a new play based on the life of Henri Nouwen. We have co-commissioned this play with the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture here in New York City. My special guest today is our playwright Murray Watts. Murray hails from the very north of Scotland, so the collaboration brings together Canadians, Americans and the Brits, all of them creatives. I think Henri Nouwen would have loved the richness of this collaboration.

    I’ve known Murray Watts for at least 20 years. He’s a wonderful, successful screenwriter, a playwright, and he has many credits to his name as an author as well. Most of all, he’s a dear friend whose creativity and spirituality I trust and I look forward to working with him right now on something which will bring to life Henri Nouwen to a new generation of seekers and scholars. That’s really what we’re all about. Murray why did you say yes to taking on this project?

    Murray Watts: Well, it wasn’t a hard decision. I was very fortunate to meet Henri very briefly in 1993 at the Greenbelt Festival, which is a major arts festival. And I’ve just been there actually. I’ve had a show on there this summer, so it’s still going. And it’s an incredible event with wonderful speakers, people who are leading figures in the world of spirituality. And that’s why Henri was there.  Desmond Tutu and all sorts of globally significant figures have been at Greenbelt. And I was very struck by that very brief meeting, really by him as a person. I had already read one or two of his books, but I went off and read a lot of other books so for quite some years he was speaking into my life through his writings. I was aware that he’d died, and died quite young, and it was always a matter of regret to me really that he hadn’t lived to old age and I would love to have just come to Toronto and just spent time with him. But he had been speaking to me over the years so when you got in touch with me and said well, what about the Henri Nouwen story, it wasn’t lighting a fire because that fire was already burning in my heart, but it was stoking it up and the flames rose higher really. And I thought, yeah, that would be so wonderful.

    Karen: It’s neat that we have a history, like this 20 years wasn’t just being friends, we actually have worked at projects together. We first looked at doing the story of John Newton and went quite far down that track. He did a wonderful script and then Amazing Grace came out and we said, okay, we have to put that aside for a time. There’ll be a time to tell John Newton’s story. And then we collaborated again on a wonderful piece on Eric Liddle, who was the character that we discovered in Chariots of Fire. And that was a wonderful project to work with you on. I mean, you have many screen credits and credits in the theatre. I was just so delighted to be able to say to the people here at the Sheen Center, “I think I’ve got the writer for you for this,” but it was your response that was so exciting, that Henri was an influence on you. What about Henri had kind of spoken into your life?

    Murray: I think that … I grew up in a very Protestant world influenced by Scottish Presbyterianism, by Calvinism, by many powerful forces and many good forces. But I would say that there was a struggle for me growing up to understand the most basic fact that God is for you not against you. You are the beloved, he loves you. And now it’s so basic and it’s there in the kind of children’s choruses that I would’ve sung at Sunday school, ‘Jesus loves me this I know because the Bible tells me so,” but you can grow up in these wonderful traditions and miss that point and you can feel somehow originally bad if you like. The emphasis sometimes on the idea that we’re kind of doomed and that the solution is of course salvation and atonement and everything. But the danger with my tradition is that you speak a lot about light and joy and grace, but you live trying to earn God’s favor. And there was a lot of that in my mother’s background, she was from the Plymouth Brethren. There was a lot of it in my own life.

    So Henri was speaking to me as he has spoken to hundreds of thousands, millions of people, he’s basically saying, “You are the beloved. It’s not just that Jesus himself is the beloved son.” And this was fascinating to me, this insight that I had dramatized the life of Jesus in the film called The Miracle Maker, which went all over the world and it’s probably been seen by about 50 million people. And I dramatize the baptism of Jesus, but I’d never thought at the time when the voice of God says, “this is my beloved son,” that I am the brother of Jesus. I am also his beloved son. It’s a daring insight actually, but we know it’s scriptural — brothers and sisters we are the children of God — and Jesus shows us how to be the beloved. And I think that was a missing ingredient in my life. I think it was water in the desert to realize that.

    And I mean, Henri had a wonderful way of saying that we start before all time in the intimate embrace of God. We are in the goodness of God:  “And God saw what he had created and it was very good.” It was good as in Genesis chapter one. And yes, we have a life on earth which is full of challenges and we fall into sin and we have a huge need of salvation and so on, but our destiny is ultimately back into the intimate embrace of God. And there is an essential goodness about our origin and our destiny. Now, people weren’t saying this when I was growing up, most of the evangelism, most of the preaching was on how terrible we were, how awful. And I remember Billy Connolly, the great Scottish comedian, growing up in his Catholic primary school seeing a crucifix on the wall and saying, not only was he looking at the crucified Christ on the wall, but he said, he grew up with the idea of, “and it’s your fault. “It’s your fault that he’s on the wall hanging there.” And that made me laugh when Billy Connelly said it because it’s such an extreme thought. But that is the tradition I grew up with, was the feeling of essential badness if you like, or a huge problem that has to be solved and evangelists play on tha, of course.

    Karen: You know I think it’s interesting what you said. It’s like water in the desert. And I think there’s lots of people who have come to Henri– probably 99% of the people come to him through his books — they didn’t get to know him. But they come to Henri and they find their, ”Oh, yes, this meets me where I really have been crying to be met. Henri speaks in a way that is life giving to me and not judgmental. And it’s so profound.”

    Murray: Yes. I think that’s incredibly true of my own experience with him. And I’ve seen him as a guide and as a mentor. I know we would’ve got on really well and I have a very close mutual friend with Henri and who knew him incredibly well. So that was another influence on my life. But I mourn the loss of knowing him personally, as you were able to know him. But he lived it out the way he treated his friends. I mean, the way he would travel huge distances to just be with someone when they were in trouble. And yes, by his own admission, he was very needy. He was very vulnerable, but he speaks from this wounded place and he helped me to understand that the wounds in life are not a disadvantage. They are the essential qualification. God works through our woundedness. And actually, I don’t know whether this insight was in Henri’s writings – it probably is somewhere – but I certainly read recently about the risen Christ bears his scars. Why is he wearing scars? Why does he have scars? And he realized there’s a transcendent quality to our woundedness. It’s right there carried into the presence of God and the risen Christ is there with his wounds. They mean something. They are healing wounds. They are the wounds that heal us. We read in Isaiah, “By his stripes we are healed.” And the bearing of scars, glorious wounds, is a very significant theme. And I think Henri, whether he said that or not, he certainly would’ve believed that. And he wrote about it in a way that helped us to give great dignity to the brokenness. And we can all list the things in our lives where we’ve been completely broken. And I always remember reading John Donne — I studied English at university — and I remember reading a sermon by the great poet, John Donne. He’s preaching to a British audience, an English audience, in 1600 at the time of Shakespeare. And he’s speaking about Revelation 21, “and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” And he turns to his very English, very stuffy Elizabethan audience at old St. Paul’s cathedral and he says, “But what shall God do with the eye that has never shed any tears?”

    And in Henri’s wonderful world, there is weeping, there is sorrow, there is brokenness, there’s desperate neediness. And that is the reality that God speaks into. And that is where the water comes into the desert, flows into the desert. And yeah, it shocks me to think that I could come from such an incredible Christian heritage that goes back many generations on both sides of my family and yet I could still grow up doubting that I was loved by God. At times I struggle to understand it, and Henri is one of the guides that helped me to know, yeah, I am the beloved.

    Karen: Well, it is an incredible…it’s a privilege to have you involved in this project and it is a wonderful, difficult issue to solve. How will we tell Henri’s story? And I’m curious, did you, are you telling the whole of it or are you focusing in on a time period in Henri? How are you approaching this project?

    Murray: I think it’s very important to determine what the world of the play is or the world of the film. And there’s so much in Henri’s life that you could cover. It’s an extraordinary life. But I was really interested in the person who is at the very top of the tree academically, who was at Harvard – I mean, not particularly comfortably at Harvard because of the character that Henri was and the kind of place. I mean, I have visited Harvard. I don’t know Harvard well, but I know Cambridge extremely well. I studied at Cambridge and it’s part of my heritage. So I have something of the knowledge of those kind of establishments, that very competitive world and that very restless world in many ways, a very high academic achievement. And here is a man who’s got so much, he’s already a famous author. Many, many people are wanting his attention, famous figures in society at the very top of society are seeking him out. But he’s conflicted and what fascinates me is the downward mobility story. It’s the fact that somebody would give all this up, get involved with L’Arche, initially at Trosly in France with Jean Vanier, and really detach himself from Harvard, detach himself from that successful world and land up finally at Daybreak in Toronto. I mean, initially with van loads of books and furniture and his whole Harvard life was almost sort of piling into this small world of L’Arche Daybreak, but he’s in a world where nobody can read his books. You know, it fascinates me this, and I understand those pressures of success and, you know, what have you done? What have I seen you in? Many actors of course, go through that painful thing at parties which civil engineers don’t have that, people say, have I ever driven over a bridge that you’ve created? No one asks you that you know. Have you ever operated on any of my friends if you meet a surgeon, but actors, writers are always, what have you done? And there’s this huge emphasis on your credits, whether you’re famous or not, or whether you’re worth knowing. And suddenly Henri lets go of all that. And people are living in the moment and it’s very disturbing to him initially, I think. And so for me, the play looks at that move, that shift from Harvard to L’Arche. So it really looks at that crucial last 10 years of his life.

    Karen: I think it would be helpful if we just explained a little bit what L’Arche is.  L’Arche Daybreak was the place that Henri came to. And L’Arche is a community where people with intellectual disabilities live in community with people that don’t have intellectual disabilities. Jean Vanier had this vision, that community was really what we were called to. And he had this vision of bringing value to the people that sometimes had been ignored or pushed aside, or literally put away. And it was a revolutionary way of thinking. When Jean Vanier invited Henri to come to L’Arche he said, maybe our people can give you a home. And it was really interesting if you think about it just as you described it, writers have accolades and Henri had probably at that point 20 or 30 books to his name, But it was a place where for the first time, I think Henri actually began to look at what would home look like for him and his sense of belonging. I’m so glad that’s what you’ve put your focus on in this play. That’s, that’s an amazing thing. You might want to expand a little bit on that.

    Murray: Yes. I would like to because I’ve been very struck by things that John Vanier has said too. And for years I’ve been out there for more than 40 years as a playwright, writing screenplays and the rest of it. And of course, there’s a big thing about talking about communication in the sixties and seventies and there was a big emphasis in the church. We need to learn how to communicate well. We need to get into the world of arts and media and communications. So the word communication has a kind of strong force and cachet if you like. But you see, I think that’s wrong because what people need is not communication but communion, they need to belong. You can communicate ‘til you’re blue in the face and many marriages and relationships and business partnerships and churches fall apart, even though everybody’s communicating furiously at each other. Communion is something else. And Jean Vanier had this wonderful expression, which is important in the play because I show how it has an impact on Henri. He says L’Arche is not about achievements, it’s not about reputation it’s about relationship. And L’Arche is a communion of hearts. And I love this expression, ‘communion of hearts’. And what Henri needed more than anything was a context in which he could just be himself and be accepted and not be on this treadmill of trying to prove himself. And of course, the thing we all identify with in Henri’s life is he’s trying to get his father’s approval. Very interesting, the struggles he had and I have a number of friends from Dutch backgrounds who’ve almost compared notes if you like, at least in theory with Henri. Because an older tradition of Dutch parenting has sometimes been, you need to strengthen your child and you don’t overpraise them because they might get a big head. And various Dutch fathers have said this to me. I didn’t want to make my child boastful and yet children need affirmation. And I think Henri struggled on this issue. And I guess if you heard it from his father’s point of view, well, the family’s point of view, it might be that he appeared to need too much. They could never give him enough. He was a very, very sensitive person in many ways. I think Henri’s best understood as an artist or an actor. He had very much that kind of character.

    Karen: I think it’s interesting, because Ron Rolheiser does a beautiful talk and in fact, if you’re interested in it, it’s probably on our website, you could go to it and he talks about Henri as an artist and that understanding of Henri as an artist. But it’s interesting because I think most readers are disarmed when they read Henri Nouwen, because they find there a kind of level of intimate honesty about our heart needs. About our uncertainties about ourselves. About that which in a way we almost discover in Henri – wow, you feel that way too. I’ve always quoted this one line. Somebody wrote to him and said, “How could you know the map of my heart?” And that just describes it.

    Murray: That’s a beautiful phrase.

    Karen: Isn’t that? Isn’t that a beautiful line? And it does describe that Henri’s writing, there was this level of honesty and I guess it was because he wasn’t hiding his wounds. In some ways he was able to realize they had value and he could give them and use them in terms of comforting others because he was so honest.

    Murray: And that is unique I think also coming from a man, coming from a European tradition. I mean, I’m British and I was sent to British boarding school. I was away from my parents for years, hundreds of miles away from them, just seeing them in the holidays. And a lot of people in Britain from my kind of background grew up with this rather harsh world where not only did you not have affirmation from your parents, you didn’t have them there at all. And we learned how to survive. We learned how not to cry. We learned how not to show our emotions because if you did, then you might be torn apart. You might be bullied. You might be far too vulnerable. And so there’s something about my own background that’s absolutely fascinated by a man who comes along, like Henri Nouwen, and speaks from the heart about his needs, his emotional crisis.

    A lot of my friends, a lot of the people I knew, would never be that honest. And yet I found in my own journey of life that I was becoming more honest, I was being broken open. And so even before I came across Henri’s writings, I’d spent some very interesting time in townships in South Africa. And I realized that I would do performances, sometimes a trilingual show in English, Sutu and Zulu. I was with audiences who would literally fall off their seats laughing, but who would weep profusely, who would express rage. They would express longing. They would sing, they would dance. And I began to see they were playing the whole piano and I’d grown up playing one octave well, very subtle, you know? So I knew when my mother was upset but it was very subtle and my father never raised his voice, but it was very subtle, one octave. And we got expert at this. But suddenly I was — and I believe this is what happens if you get into the Psalms by the way — where there’s so much lament and rage and confusion and wonderful outpouring of the broken human soul. And so Henri is in a great tradition actually, of a Hebrew tradition and a tradition well understood in African culture, of playing the whole piano. So here is this man who suddenly touches notes. He plays notes. He starts being very honest about the most hidden areas of life and combined with that as an incredible lucidity as a writer, a simplicity of style. Speaking as a writer, it’s impossible not to admire Henri’s style that is terrifyingly simple at moments.

    Karen: Yes he always worked to make it simpler and simpler rather than more and more complicated. And there goes some of the conflict with a place like Harvard, because in a sense he wanted to be accessible. He wanted to reach people. And it’s interesting because that was work; that was hard work. He’s a beautiful writer and a beautiful thinker behind that. Let me ask you, what do you see as the greatest challenge now for you as a writer taking on this play? Tell us about the problems you have to solve in a play about somebody who lived almost 25 years ago.

    Murray: Yeah. I think that one of the most important things for any writer and I mean, everybody who listens to this will know when they go to see a film, I think the big question of, ‘Why should I care?’ So if within the first few minutes I’m not engaged with the central character or there’s nothing to really seize my attention– If it’s a DVD, for example I might just switch it off and go make a coffee and do something else. In the cinema you usually think, well, I’ve paid for my ticket so I’ll sit this out. But it’s incredibly important that one grabs an audience in the right way, that they have a sense of, well there’s real jeopardy here, or there’s a character who’s in trouble who’s going to have to go through all these things and who’s gonna come out on the, hopefully, the right side of it. And this, ‘Why should I care?’ is very, very important.

    And so you have a challenge. I mean I’ve written plays about Darwin. I’ve written plays about very famous figures in history. And in a sense it’s easier because people have very strong feelings about Darwin one way or another. And they’ve heard of him and they realize he’s one of the most fundamental figures, really lying behind our culture scientifically and in many other ways. But Henri isn’t that well known outside the readership. He is vastly well known to all who’ve read his books, but in terms of a general theatre audience, I have to allow for the fact there will be people coming who’ve never heard of him. And I want this play to be a window into the mind and the heart and the soul of Henri Nouwen. And through that window into the life and the heart of God himself, the one who pours out love and says, “You are my beloved.”

    So it’s very important that I create a play where people care about Henri; they really like him and they understand what an engaging person he is. So my task is one of creating emotional identification. So his vulnerability helps, his humor helps, his self-mockery at times, the kind of stories that he tells sometimes when he … one thing I quote in the play is that when he’s hurrying through an airport at one point– you know he gets late from a meeting and he comes all with bandages on him. And the reason is as he explains that he ran through a door, only, it wasn’t a door, it was a window because he was in a hurry and he didn’t see the difference between the window and the door. And Henri’s full of little stories like that, which are funny and charming. And there are so many points of identity with him as a character. So I’m looking for the humor, I’m looking for the sympathy. I’m also looking at the challenge, the provoking aspect to Henri. And of course L’Arche is an amazing world. Having visited Daybreak in Toronto and L’Arche in Inverness near where I live in Scotland, you can be completely blown away by these places because in my own experience, the love I’ve been shown by people who didn’t know me, uninhibited love or interest or emotion or being included or suddenly finding an essential humanity because we’re all on the same level we’re equals.

    Karen: It was interesting for Henri, clearly it was a place where he felt loved. And maybe for the first time he felt at home. That’s an interesting…

    Murray: At home is a big deal.

    Karen: He had the last 10 years of his life, where some of the most important books he wrote were written while he was there. And at the same time, it is the place where he was safe enough to have a very major breakdown which went right to the core of his being and he had to rebuild his life. And the person that came out on the other side of that was probably a deeper, yet more secure, person. I mean really it’s interesting because one of the things of course you discover as you get to know Henri, there was a needy person in there that longed to connect with everybody that he cared about and connect at such a deep level and it almost wore people out. And at the same time it was the most lovable part about him.

    It’s funny because you talk to people and they say, what do you remember? Well, I remember that when I was with him, it was like, there was nobody else there except me. He had that gift of giving himself so totally into people’s lives that they remember being seen, heard and listened to and valued. And I really appreciate that you’re taking on this challenge.

    I want people to know a little bit more about you and I’m just going to let you share just one little aspect of Murray. Murray lives up on the very north shore of Scotland. Tell us about Freswick and tell us what this is all about.

    Murray: Okay. Well sometimes I tease people when they say, what do you do? And I say, well I write plays, I write screenplays, but I also work with the homeless. And they say, well, how’s that possible? I said, well I work with artists. I work with people in the arts and media world and they are homeless people, spiritually and emotionally. They may have a home. They may live with their parents or they may live in a flat somewhere which is far too high rent in New York. They may be struggling. They may have wonderful homes to live in, but emotionally, spiritually they’re so often homeless people. And when I was studying the history of art at Cambridge as a student, I was feeling somewhat homeless actually because I was in a very secular environment. And we were studying nearly 2000 years of the history of salvation in great art, whether it was Rembrandt or Donatello or Michaelangelo. And I didn’t find any particular spiritual sympathy with my supervisors or the other people I was studying with. And then I read something which was spoken by a Russian artist at the turn of the 20th century. So about 1900, this post-impressionist Russian artist Alexei Jawlensky, said, “All art is nostalgia for God.”  And the word nostalgia, you could translate it like this, “the pain of longing to go home.” And this is so profound and it had a big impact on me. And I began to realize that the homelessness that I felt as a person was shared by so many other creative people that I knew. And as I went on through a life of founding theatre companies or directing plays or working in film, working as a producer for the BBC or whatever, many things, I began to realize more and more that there were many people out there, writers, artists, actors, dancers, people of every single artistic discipline who were homeless, who were emotionally, financially, spiritually going to the wall in deep trouble.

    And yet I felt a compassion from my own brokenness, I suppose, an experience for people who were often spiritually and emotionally destitute, but were actually on the front line of our culture. And I thought, well, okay, I’ve been involved in lots of projects. I’ve written lots of things. I’ve set up companies. I’ve been part of all sorts of events, but what if there was something I could do for the people rather than just write another film or do another project. That train of thought led me eventually to buy somewhere in the far north of Scotland. And this was an area of Scotland I knew very well. I didn’t know the precise location of this marvelous place, Freswick Castle, but I knew the far north of Scotland. And it was where I had often gone on retreat, if you like, a writing retreat, spiritual retreat of my own.

    And I decided to buy this place, it was kind of madness bordering on faith or faith bordering on madness, I’m not sure which. It was a crazy enterprise. I bought this place which needed so much doing to it and I didn’t really have the money to do it up. Anyway, gradually over the years with the help of friends, with the love of many people, with a certain degree of endurance and bounce back, it’s been possible to renovate this incredible place, which is right on the sea and under an incredible night sky in the winter where there’s no light pollution. Sometimes you can see the Northern Lights occasionally in the winter, but it’s the most inspiring place. And there’s a river -we call them a burn, a small river – in the north of Scotland and the burn weaves around the castle. And it has so much iron in it. The peaty color in it turns the waves golden in the winter, incredibly abundant bird life. It’s a world that’s fantastic for the ornithologist or the natural historian. Anyone who loves history is at home there because there’s a thousand years of history at Freswick. It’s on a Viking site and there’s a thousand years of history at the castle ranging from the medieval right up to about 1720, which is the most recent part. But people come and are blessed and they come very often blessed by the silence. Creative people are subject to a lot of burnout and so they suddenly find themselves in the presence of the creator.

    Karen: I have been there and I have loved it and it has been a resource to me. I’ve been there a couple of times. We’ve worked together creating a screenplay there. I think it would be fun for people just even to think about now. I send him back to Scotland tomorrow to work on the play. Where will you be working on the play? Describe your little writing space.

    Murray: Well, my great-grandmother was Welsh and she grew up in a place called Laugharne in south Wales, which was the place where Dylan Thomas, the great Welsh poet, had a shed looking out to sea. So Laugharne is kind of special place to me. It has a family history, but it has this image of the poet in the shed. And I have my shed in the castle garden. So people often tease me about this because they say, you’ve got this beautiful castle. And now you’ve created a wonderful library there with thousands of books. You’ve got these wonderful rooms everywhere, and yet you are sitting in a shed in the garden. But the point about the shed is that it’s not online. There’s no phone. I don’t bring my mobile phone there. It does look out to sea but it is a very quiet space. No one ever goes in there. The castle and the cottages I have are shared with so many people, but the shed it’s my space. I just go there, I lock myself in and I then am able to dream. And I’ve sometimes spoken in local schools in Scotland to primary school children, you know, seven- or eight-year-old children. And I say to them, ‘What do you get told off for doing at school?’ And I get wonderful answers you can imagine, but one of them is, looking out of the window and thinking of other things. I get told off for daydreaming. And I said, “You know what? I get paid for doing that.” I said, “I was always told off for daydreaming and looking out of the window and imagining I’m someone else or I’m somewhere else. Now I get paid for doing that because daydreaming can be a profession.”

    Karen: I love that. I love it. That’s fantastic. Well, you know something, we are good friends because we can daydream together. And here we are at the Sheen Center with some wonderful people: Bill Riley, Andrew Levine, we brought Murray over from Scotland. I’ve come in from Toronto and Will Finley, we represent the Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust, and we are dreaming together. And we just wanted to let you in on the dream. Creating a play that ultimately will play here in New York will play everywhere in North America, probably in the west end of London, whatever, we are dreaming big right now. And we are just delighted to introduce you to this. The next stages for us, probably sometime within 2020, we’re going to have an Equity showcase in New York. We are, we just are dreaming big right now. We believe Henri’s story is a wonderful way of introducing new audiences, younger audiences, people that haven’t picked up a Henri book, to a man whose life and whose journey from Harvard to L’Arche Daybreak. That journey of downward mobility is a very important story to tell, a very important story about faith.

    We often think that faith is all about climbing mountains and getting bigger and better. And that journey of faith that follows God’s calling in our heart is often completely the opposite. Murray. I’m so grateful this is coming through your hands; that you’ll be gazing out the window next week at the seas of Scotland and you’ll be thinking about what can we do to make this a wonderful piece. And as our audience out there, I thank you for the way you support the Henri Nouwen Society. And I thank you for the way that you allow us to continue to extend the legacy of Henri Nouwen to a new generation of seekers, of scholars, of readers. We think we have this rich treasure: it’s books, it’s a life and it’s a way of seeing God and a way of seeing ourselves. We pass it on with joy to you. Thank you.     

    Thank you for taking time to listen. If you enjoyed today’s podcast we’d be so grateful if you’d take time to give it a stellar review or a thumbs up or even share it with your friends and family. As well you’ll find links in the show notes for our website and any content resources or books discussed in this episode. There’s even a link to books to get you started in case you’re new to the writings of Henri Nouwen. Thanks for listening until next time.

Praise from our podcast listeners

"A wonderful podcast that does a deep dive into Nouwen's teachings & influence on other leaders."
Matthew, Canada
"It's a great podcast - that truly pierces your heart!"
Jude, UK
"Karen Pascal does a wonderful job interviewing. There is so much to ponder after each episode."
Sandra, USA

Help share Nouwen’s spiritual vision

When you give to the Henri Nouwen Society, you join us in offering inspiration, comfort, and hope to people around the world. Thank you for your generosity and partnership!

Donate Today