Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Remembering Henri Nouwen

 
Today--September 21--is Henri's day.  As I remember my teacher Henri Nouwen on this 15th Anniversary of his death and transition, I am reminded not only of his incredibly significant contribution to the theory and practice of spiritual direction and spiritual formation, but of his conviction that if we befriend our death before we die, our spirit remains accessible to those we leave behind.
I reached out today to others who knew Henri in life and remember him in death.  They too recognize September 21 as an auspicious day for many.   In honor of Henri, I offer this quote about “befriending death” in Chapter 7 of Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit   
"It seems indeed important that we face death before we are in any real danger of dying and reflect on our mortality before all our conscious and unconscious energy is directed to the struggle to survive… I think, then, that our task is to befriend death."

Looking ahead, Drew University will honor the memory of Henri Nouwen on All Saints Day--Novemeber 1, 2011.

Drew has an endowed Lectureship in Classical Christian Spirituality to which we invite outstanding figures in the field to come and lecture on the subject related to the person, witness and works of Henri J. M. Nouwen (1932-1996).
Past presenters have included: Dean James Pain, Michael Christensen, Jim Forest, Nathan Ball, Robert Jonas, Robert Ellsberg, Rebecca Laird, Lisa Cataldo and John Dear.
  
This year's featured Lecturer is Enuma Okoro, author of the spiritual memoir, Reluctant Pilgrim--an award wining finalist for the 2010 USA Book News and 2011 National Eindie Excellence Book Awards.  She also is co-editor (with Shane Claiborne and Jonahtan Wilson-Hartgrove) of Common Prayer:  A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.  Her writings have been featured on ABC's Good Morning America, Christian Century and Christianity Today.

Her topic for the Drew lecture is BY WAY OF PAINT AND PEN: THE ARTS AS A MEDIUM FOR SPIRITUAL FORMATION
Henri loved the arts--especially painting, music and dance--and Okoro, a liturgical artist born in Nigeria and raised in New York, loves Henri's spirituality and life work.
Please join us if you can on Tuesday, November 1, 7:30pm, in Craig Chapel for a liturgical dance processional, Taize meditation in song, and special lecture by Enuma Okoro. Followed by a Book Signing in the Atrium of Seminary Hall. 
To register, or for further information, contact Nancy VanderVeen at nvanderveen@drew.edu