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This website is dedicated to promote the enduring legacy of Henri Nouwen, one of the greatest spiritual writers of the last century. It is owned and managed by Wil Hernandez whose Ph.D. dissertation work focused upon the study of Nouwen's counterintuitive and countercultural brand of spirituality.
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HomeArchives › Archives 2009
Archives

View past archives of: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009

September 2009

Pecos RetreatSeptember 15, 2009 - I just returned from a week and a half-long trip from Pecos, New Mexico. Upon the gracious invitation of the Administrator of Pecos Benedictine Monastery, Fr. Steve Coffey, I conducted a weekend Nouwen retreat for 18 participants coming from various places as far as Texas (El Paso, Houston, Austin), Arizona, Colorado, and nearby areas of New Mexico. The group, which was as diverse as can possibly be, was exceptionally engaging and highly interactive. We had such fun time learning together.

Two weeks before my trip to New Mexico, I was in another Benedictine Abbey in Valyermo, CA leading a Nouwen retreat focusing on spiritual companioning. Fifteen participants gathered on the weekend of August 21-23 at the same Abbey where I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation some six years ago. Two of the attendees came all the way from Oregon and Washington areas. It was exciting to witness how eager people were to learn about Nouwen and his unique ministry approach. For me, it was a privilege to meet new friends who are on the same page with me and are zealous learners! It was also good to be back to the Abbey after a long time of not visiting the place. Indeed it is a sacred place for me in more ways than one. Were it not for the hospitality of the Benedictines of Valyermo, who knows how I would’ve ended up insofar as my work on Nouwen is concerned! I probably would still be laboring hard to finish my dissertation to this day!

August started with me doing a one-day workshop on Nouwen with the theme around Sacred Accompaniment at The Source program hosted by the Center for Spiritual Development in Orange County. I enjoyed getting to know the nineteen folks who participated in the program. As usual, they came from different parts of the country. It simply is amazing each time I realize Nouwen’s far-reaching influence in many people’s lives!

The last week of July proved to be “intensive” in every sense of the word as I taught a combined class of MA/MDiv and DMin students at Azusa Pacific University everyday from morning to afternoon. The course was titled “Spiritual Practices in the Church: Guiding Wisdom of Henri Nouwen.” The response of the class was quite encouraging! The students’ active participation in the discussion showed their genuine interest in the subject matter. The weeklong class was capped by a day retreat at the Immaculate Heart Center in Los Angeles. It was well worth the intensive nature of the course as I saw how positively it impacted the students!

As I gear up for the last quarter of this year, I encourage you to check out the remaining Nouwen event opportunities for the next three months (see the July - December 2009 Events). To view a more detailed information for each of the classes, workshops, seminars, and retreats scheduled for this final quarter, click the Events Calendar. If you happen to be around the area where some of these events are taking place, I invite you to join us. I am excited to personally meet more people who have been and continue to be influenced by Nouwen's life and works. To those of you who haven't signed up yet to be officially part of the Nouwen Legacy Associates, you may do so by clicking here.

 


July 2009

FLASH! Check out my reinstated blog series at www.NouwenLegacy.blogspot.com on "Henri Nouwen's Ministry of Companioning" which will start by July 1st (Wednesday)

July 20, 2009 - This month of July for me began with two major travels to the Midwest and the Southern parts of the country. From July 5-10, I stayed at the lovely Lakeshore campus of Loyola University in Chicago for the annual Summer Institute for Adult Spiritual Renewal. I had the joy of spending a week interacting with a responsive group of 15 people who attended my class on Henri Nouwen focusing on his “Dynamics of Soul Companioning.” After five days of being together (including meal times and evening socials for some of them), it did feel like we found in each other a good sense of camaraderie. Beyond the class sessions, I had such fun meeting new people informally from other classes during the entire week that I was there. The meal fellowships proved both rich and meaningful that I felt a tinge of sadness on the last day when we were already saying our goodbyes to one another. I truly feel privileged to be a part of this ever growing community of learners! I hope to be invited again in the future (if not next summer!).

shore

From Chicago, I flew to Asheville, North Carolina where I took part in the "Soul Feast" Conference sponsored by the Upper Room Ministries at the gorgeous Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. I was blown away by the overwhelmingly enthusiastic responses of the participants to the series of Nouwen workshops I conducted. The personal highlight for me was the kind of “divine affirmation” I sensed from God that this is really what I’m made to do in terms of calling. I cannot not be awed each time I hear people claim how life-changing it is for them to encounter the works of Nouwen. I’m truly humbled to be used as a conduit of God’s transforming dealings with people. Though I was feeling a bit exhausted due to the accumulated fatigue of teaching almost back-to-back in two different places, somehow I felt in more ways than one God’s energizing power sustaining me all the way up to the end of the conference. The theme “Show Me Thy Ways” felt more like it was designed exclusively for me. God did meet me personally in ways I did not even expect and for that I was more than grateful. The people were so warm, gracious, and kind that I really sensed God’s loving embrace through many of them. I am already looking forward to next year’s event where I definitely am bent on coming back and bringing along many others with me. This was the one event where I ended up being the blessed recipient of God’s rich favors!

The last week of July will be devoted to concentrated teaching at both the master’s and doctor of ministry level at nearby Azusa Pacific University. I will be teaching everyday from morning till afternoon on the subject “Spiritual Practices in the Church: Guiding Wisdom of Henri Nouwen” which will be capped by a half-day retreat at the Immaculate Heart Retreat Center in Los Angeles at the end of the said week.

retreat

Like I already mentioned before, July does prove to be my busiest month insofar as the Nouwen activities are concerned. Speaking of which, my six-month line-up of the Nouwen Legacy offerings is available for everyone to check out: see the July - December 2009 Events. To view a more detailed information for each of the classes, workshops, seminars, and retreats scheduled for the last two quarters of this year, click the Events Calendar. If you happen to be around the area where some of these events are taking place, I invite you to join us. I am excited to personally meet more people who have been and continue to be influenced by Nouwen's life and works. To those of you who haven't signed up yet to be officially part of the Nouwen Legacy Associates, you may do so by clicking here.

 

June 2009

June 27, 2009 - I just got done leading a one-day retreat at the Holy Spirit Retreat Center in Encino, CA. The topic is based on Nouwen's popular book "In the Name of Jesus" which focuses on his commentary on the temptations of Jesus and how they relate to issues of leadership and ministry. There were 15 of us who engaged in a very lively discussion with each other. It was a fabulous time even though our group was relatively small---which actually made it even more meaningful in terms of interaction together.

Last Wednesday, the Renovare International Conference held in San Antonio, Texas officially ended with more than 2, 500 participants. I had the opportunity of conducting two workshops on Nouwen entitled "Spiritual Accompaniment: Soul Care with Henri Nouwen as Guide" last Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning respectively. Around 300 people showed up for both workshops. The audience response was encouraging. Seeing the enthusiastic reception of the participants testifies to the enduring impact of Nouwen's writings and his profound insights into ministry and spirituality. I've been approached by a number  of folks afterwards sharing with me the various ways Nouwen has influenced their lives and ministry through their encounter with his works.

Just before I headed towards to the airport, I visited the Oblate School of Theology and met up over lunch with Fr. Ron Rolheiser, the school's president. We talked about the prospect of doing a two-week Nouwen course during the summer of June 2010. What a great open door to do that there (despite the fact that it's during the hot summer month of June in San Antonio!). I can't wait to get this idea finalized soon.

I am set to travel this July to Chicago and North Carolina. The first stop will be at the Loyola University's Lakeshore campus for an entire week of teaching on the Nouwen's "Dynamics of Soul Companioning" hosted by  the Institute for Adult Spiritual Renewal. Immediately after, I fly to Asheville, North Carolina where I will attend the "Soul Feast" Conference sponsored by the Upper Room Ministries at the beautiful Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. For three consecutive days (Monday to Wednesday) I will be doing a series of workshop dubbed "Inward, Outward, Upward: Henri Nouwen's Interated Journey." On Tuesday, in the middle of the series, I will be conducting a one-day workshop based on my second book entitled "Henri Nouwen and the Art of Soul Companioning." This is my first time to visit North Carolina and also my first opportunity to join "SoulFeast" and I am really looking forward to this upcoming event. While at the conference, I hope to be able to reconnect with some old friends who have been part of the two-year Academy for Spiritual Formation program I attended several years ago.

July does promise to be a busy month for me insofar as the Nouwen activities are concerned. Speaking of which, my six-month line-up of the Nouwen Legacy offerings is already available for everyone to check out: see the July - December 2009 Events. To view a more detailed information for each of the classes, workshops, seminars, and retreats scheduled for the last three quarters of this year, click the Events Calendar. If you happen to be around the area where some of these events are taking place, I invite you to join us. I am excited to personally meet more people who have been and continue to be influenced by Nouwen's life and works. To those of you who haven't signed up yet to be officially part of the Nouwen Legacy Associates, you may do so by clicking here.


May 2009

May 22, 2009 - I just came back from Toronto where I stayed for a week. Once again I was graciously hosted by Lowry and Jeanne Chua, long-standing friends originally from Manila who have supported my Nouwen endeavors from day one when I first did my dissertation research in Toronto about six years ago. It was great to be back, this time around, conducting my first ever Nouwen retreat at the Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Renewal Centre (Pickering, Ontario). The overnight retreat, attended by 15 people, happened last May 15-16 with a wonderful group of Nouwen enthusiasts, all of whom are local Ontario residents. A few of the attendees were old friends of mine whom I've not seen for a long, long time — a couple of them spanning some twenty years. It became a reunion of sorts in a way! It was also neat to encounter some of them who've had close associations with Nouwen when he was still alive. While the retreat, themed around Nouwen's Integrated Journey, proved to be too short for some, it nonetheless turned out to be a real fruitful experience for most.

Manresa Retreat


The following day, my wife and I, together with the Chuas, got to worship with the vibrant community of Karen Pascal, the producer of The Journey of the Heart video on Nouwen. That same evening I spoke at a Chinese Baptist Church under the invitation of a good old friend on the subject "Spiritual Companioning: The Art of Soul Care" — a topic specifically inspired by Nouwen's creative companioning approach. The seminar was well received by the 30 plus folks who really engaged with me in a lively discussion on the said topic. I saw how many of them showed interest in being companioned themselves and being sacred companions to others on the journey.

Last Tuesday I had breakfast with Sue Mosteller (Literary Executrix of the Nouwen Estate), Maureen Wright (Resource Coordinator of the Nouwen Society), and Karen Pascal (Board Member of the Nouwen Society). It was good to reconnect and explore ways of collaborating together in our shared thrust of promoting the legacy of Nouwen everywhere. Immediately after the breakfast meeting, my wife, together with a friend, swung by the L'Arche Daybreak Community where Nouwen spent the last decade of his life. After a quick, partial tour of the place, we briefly stopped by the bookstore and got some Nouwen video collections. From there, I proceeded to meet with the Dean and one of the professors of Tyndale College and Seminary. Both of them showed genuine interest in offering a Nouwen course at Tyndale in 2010, a prospect that already thrills me even at this early. During lunch, my friend Johsnton Pablo and I had a chance to chat with Michael Hryniuk (the former executive director of the Nouwen Society) over Thai food. It was a rich time of fellowship and learning! My last stop for the day was at the University of Toronto where I met with the Dean of Regis College, discussing about some possibilities of collaboration pertaining to Nouwen's work.

All in all, it was a "packed" Canadian trip but very productive in a lot of ways. I hope to be back next year to pursue various opportunities that might open up for me there insofar as the Nouwen activities are concerned. Speaking of which, my six-month line-up of the Nouwen Legacy offerings is already available for everyone to check out: see the July - December 2009 Events. To view a more detailed information for each of the classes, workshops, seminars, and retreats scheduled for the last three quarters of this year, click the Events Calendar. If you happen to be around the area where some of these events are taking place, I invite you to join us. I am excited to personally meet more people who have been and continue to be influenced by Nouwen's life and works. To those of you who haven't signed up yet to be officially part of the Nouwen Legacy Associates, you may do so by clicking here.


April 2009

April 20, 2009 - My most recent trip to Houston, Texas over the weekend was quite memorable. The event, sponsored by Spiritual Directors International, gathered close to 400 participants from all over the world. Built around the theme of "Presence," the conference offered tons of workshops conducted by a number of well-known authors. I had the privilege of facilitating two back-to-back workshops on Nouwen entitled "Henri Nouwen and His Integrated Ministry of Presence" which was attended by about 60 plus Nouwen enthusiasts combined together. While I must admit that it was a bit exhausting to speak two times in a row, nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the very lively interaction among the participants.

One encouraging result that came out of that experience was the number of interesting invitations I got afterwards (for 2010-2011) to speak in different parts of the country on the insights of Henri Nouwen. The prospect of going into places (like Alaska) I've never been to before excites me. What is even more thrilling is the growing interest I can sense among the folks I ran into during the conference to "rediscover" the relevance of Nouwen's writings to the broad arena of spiritual direction practice.

I also had the rare opportunity of doing lunch with our conference plenary speaker, Fr. Ron Rolheiser, the famed author of the book Holy Longing. Out of the conversation emerged the strong possiblity of me teaching a Nouwen course at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, TX (where Fr. Rolheiser serves as the president) come June of 2010. Along with that is an invitation for me to do a talk on the mysticism of Henri Nouwen during one of their upcoming Saturday morning [ecumenical] gatherings in the San Antonio area. Already, I'm so looking forward to these two great prospects!

Next month, I'm making a come-back trip to Toronto (where I first did my dissertation research on Nouwen back in 2004-2005) to conduct an overnight Nouwen retreat at the Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Renewal Center. I also can't wait to touch base with the Nouwen Society folks and meet seminary deans of a few schools to explore the possibility of teaching a Nouwen course in Toronto. I continue to be grateful for the increasing number of doors that are continually opening up for me to promote Nouwen's enduring spiritual legacy.

For a complete six-month line-up of the Nouwen Legacy offerings, see the January - June 2009 Events. To check a more detailed information for each of the classes, workshops, seminars, and retreats scheduled for the first three quarters of this year, click the Events Calendar. If you happen to be around the area where some of these events are taking place, I invite you to join us. I am excited to personally meet many more new people who have been and continue to be influenced by Nouwen’s life and works. To those of you who haven’t signed up yet to be officially part of the Nouwen Legacy Associates, you may do so by clicking here.

April 12, 2009 (Easter Sunday) - Happy Resurrection Day to all!! The Lord is risen indeed! The Sunday before, which was Palm Sunday, some 21 of us commenced the passion week by gathering together for a special Lenten retreat at the gorgeous Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center in Sierra Madre. Without a doubt, the Stations of the Cross experience proved to be the highlight for all the participants. We followed Nouwen's moving meditations based on his book Walking with Jesus: Stations of the Cross.

Last Monday night, I ended the 4-part Book Study series on Henri Nouwen and Soul Care: A MInistry of Integration at the Center for Spiritual Developmetn in Orange. What a blessed group I had! Monday after Monday, they'd come enthusiastic to learn and engage with Nouwen's insights into spiritual companioning. Needless to say, we instantly built a community with our newfound friends. I will personally miss each one of them although I'm hoping to see many of them again at some future Nouwen events.

The Wednesday before that, I also wrapped up a five-week series on the Integrated Journey of Henri Nouwen with some 30 folks regularly attending at St. Peter's by the Sea Presbyterian Church in Palos Verdes. The group was mainly composed of adults aged 45 and above and many of them were very responsive and eager to participate in the discussion, which was very encouraging! Despite the long drive (sufficiently offset though by the breathtaking ocean view and beautiful scenery), I felt that the series was really all worth the energy I put into it. People received Nouwen's spiritual teachings quite positively.

At this early, I'm already looking forward to my trip to Toronto in May to conduct an overnight Nouwen retreat at the Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Renewal Center. I'm also excited to touch base with the Nouwen Society folks and meet seminary deans of a few schools to explore the possibility of teaching a Nouwen course in Toronto. Suffice it to say, I'm overwhelmed by the increasing number of doors that are continually opening up to promote Nouwen's enduring spiritual legacy.

This Easter Sunday, may we be encouraged by the hope Henri Nouwen lends to us by his words:

"Easter season is a time of hope.There still fear, there still is a painful awareness of sinfulness, but there also is light breaking through. Something new is happening, something that goes beyond the changing moods of our life. We can be joyful or sad, optimistic or pessimistic, tranquil or angry, but the solid streams of God's presence moves deeper than the small waves of our minds and hearts. Easter brings the awareness that God is present even when his presence is not directly noticed. Easter brings the good news that, although things seem to get worse in the world, the Evil One has already been overcome.Easter allows us to affirm that although God seems very distant and although we remain preoccupied with many little things, our Lord walks with us on the road and keeps explaining the Scriptures to us. Thus there are many rays of hope casting their light on our way to life" (Show Me the Way).

For a complete six-month line-up of the Nouwen Legacy offerings, see the January - June 2009 Events. To check a more detailed information for each of the classes, workshops, seminars, and retreats scheduled for the first three quarters of this year, click the Events Calendar. If you happen to be around the area where some of these events are taking place, I invite you to join us.I am excited to personally meet many more new people who have been and continue to be influenced by Nouwen’s life and works. To those of you who haven’t signed up yet to be officially part of the Nouwen Legacy Associates, you may do so by clicking here.


March 2009

March 9, 2009 - Two weekends ago, I was at the annual Religious Education Congress at the Anaheim Convention Center joining some 30,000 other attendees. It was fun seeing many familiar faces and connecting with tons of old friends. I especially enjoyed being at the booth of the Spiritual Direction International (SDI), orienting visitors about SDI and the ministry of spiritual direction. Sunday morning was my scheduled workshop on Nouwen attended by around 200 people. Though attendance was significantly lower than the previous year, the people who stayed throughout the presentation were very encouraging in their responses. The presentation was immediately followed by a book signing at the Exhibit Hall. The real highlight for me was the rare chance to chat with Richard Rohr who happened to sit right next to me during the book signing (we even exchanged books to one another!). While the weekend was a real tiring one, it was nonetheless so energizing (if only for the excitement of seeing lots of friends and meeting new ones!).

My Nouwen course at Fuller Pasadena ended with a big bang last week. The students gave superb presentations on Nouwen's life - both substantial and creative! I was so pleased with the efforts demonstrated by the class. We closed the ten-week course with a pizza fellowship during the final session. Similarly, my course in Houston came to an end last Saturday with a liturgical service. I so enjoyed the Houston folks that I felt sad that the class was over. I already look forward to coming back there, hopefully soon.

Last Wednesday, I started an evening series on the theme of Nouwen's integrated journey for the members of St. Peter's by the Sea Presbyterian Church in Palos Verdes. More than 40 people showed up for the first session which was kicked off by a buffet dinner. The series will run until April 1. This coming Monday, I begin yet another series at the Center for Spiritual Development in Orange. This time, the interactive book study series will be based on my second book entitled "Henri Nouwen and Soul Care." I'm expecting around 20-25 people to regularly participate every Monday evening until April 6.

A this early, I'm already preparing along with my co-facilitator (Annette Kakimoto) for our upcoming Lenten Journey Retreat with Henri Nouwen as Guide. This will be on Palm Sunday at the beautiful Mater Dolorosda Passionist Retreat Center in Sierra Madre. Those of you who are close to the San Gabriel Valley or LA area are all invited to participate. It will be a memorable way to get into the mood of the Lenten season.

For this new year, allow me to give you a preview of what you can look forward to insofar as the Nouwen Legacy offerings are concerned (see the January - June 2009 Events). More classes, workshops, seminars, and retreats are already lined up for the first quarter of 2009 (see Events Calendar). I am excited to personally meet many more new people who have been and continue to be influenced by Nouwen’s life and works. If you happen to be around the area where some of these events are taking place, I invite you to join us. If you haven’t signed up yet to be officially part of the Nouwen Legacy Associates, you may do so by clicking here.


February 2009

February 21, 2009 - Today's one-day Nouwen retreat held in Orange was awesome! More than 55 people showed up (more than half of whom were folks I've never met before!). Participants spent an hour and a half of individual solitude time in the morning reflecting and journaling on what it means to be present to oneself, to others, and to God. The community interaction in the afternoon turned out to be so rich and insightful as participants eagerly shared their thoughts with the group. The day was capped with a short liturgical service at the chapel. I felt so gratified by the whole experience, including the opportunity to meet new friends who greatly appreciate Henri Nouwen's spiritual influence on them.

For this new year, allow me to give you a preview of what you can look forward to insofar as the Nouwen Legacy offerings are concerned (see the January - June 2009 Events). More classes, workshops, seminars, and retreats are already lined up for the first quarter of 2009 (see Events Calendar). I am excited to personally meet many more new people who have been and continue to be influenced by Nouwen’s life and works. If you happen to be around the area where some of these events are taking place, I invite you to join us. If you haven’t signed up yet to be officially part of the Nouwen Legacy Associates, you may do so by clicking here.

February 15, 2009 - Since mid-January I've been teaching my Nouwen course in three different settings: Fuller Pasadena, Fuller Texas, and Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles. All in all I have 45 students this quarter who are eagerly soaking in the spirituality of Henri Nouwen. I can't say enough of how blessed I am to be doing what I love to do the most - extending Nouwen's spiritual influence everywhere. The students' responses have been very rewarding! Last weekend when I taught at Fuller's campus in Houston, I had the privilege to listen to our students share with their respective groups their personal essay dealing with their own version of a spirituality of imperfection. I had the exact same experience last Tuesday with my class in Pasadena. In both these instances, it was heartwarming to sense the students slowly internalizing the counterintuitive concepts they are learning in class via Nouwen's own example. I look forward to "eavesdropping" from my Loyola students' sharing as well next week. Just the other day I received an email from one of my former students last year at Fuller telling me that he's just finished reading Nouwen's "Intimacy" and "Return of the Prodigal Son" books and how it deeply impacted him. He ended by thanking me profusely for introducing Nouwen to him. This and many other feedback I get from people whose lives are transformed by their encounter with Nouwen's powerful writings drive me to continue focusing my teaching on the subject of his spirituality.

For this new year, allow me to give you a preview of what you can look forward to insofar as the Nouwen Legacy offerings are concerned (see the January - June 2009 Events). More classes, workshops, seminars, and retreats are already lined up for the first quarter of 2009 (see Events Calendar). I am excited to personally meet many more new people who have been and continue to be influenced by Nouwen’s life and works. If you happen to be around the area where some of these events are taking place, I invite you to join us. If you haven’t signed up yet to be officially part of the Nouwen Legacy Associates, you may do so by clicking here.


January 2009


January 19, 2009 - I just flew back from Houston, TX where, for the first time, I taught the first of a three-weekend series on Nouwen for our Fuller Seminary extension site there. What a responsive group of students I have! We engaged in some pretty good discussion during sessions and also enjoyed warm fellowship together at the Serenity Retreat for Healing and Spiritual Renewal which served as the venue for the class. Teaching an intensive course like this on a Friday evening and whole day of Saturday can be exhausting but I did feel energized because of the enthusiastic reception of the students to the subject matter. It has been a rewarding weekend and I'm already looking forward to going back next month to continue the series.

For this new year, allow me to give you a preview of what you can look forward to insofar as the Nouwen Legacy offerings are concerned (see the January - June 2009 Events). More classes, workshops, seminars, and retreats are already lined up for the first quarter of 2009 (see Events Calendar). I am excited to personally meet many more new people who have been and continue to be influenced by Nouwen’s life and works. If you happen to be around the area where some of these events are taking place, I invite you to join us. If you haven’t signed up yet to be officially part of the Nouwen Legacy Associates, you may do so by clicking here.

January 12, 2009 - In today's meditation by Henri Nouwen (Bread for the Journey), he addresses "The Spiritual Work of Gratitude" which brings so much resonance to my soul because of where I am at this juncture in my journey. Nouwen remarks:

To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives-the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections-that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only truly grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for. Let's not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God.

Last night, our home church for the past five years hosted a farewell dinner for our family. I felt deeply loved and appreciated by our friends who honored us with their presence, gifts, and words of encouragement even as we venture in new directions this year and beyond. Looking back, I feel profoundly grateful for the formative work God has done in my own life as a result of being part of this community of faith. I still don't know for sure how the future will take shape insofar as my ministry is concerned but this past weekend, God seemed to be giving me a glimpse of how it might look like.

I led a Nouwen retreat from Friday to Sunday at the Mary & Joseph Retreat Center around the theme: Holistic & Integrative: Dynamic Contours of the Journey. It was a joy to witness some 40 plus participants, mostly theology students from both Fuller Seminary and Loyola Marymount University interact and engage warmly with each other. I never imagined I'd have a retreat like this where Catholic and Protestant theology students mixed well together all for the love of Nouwen! I anticipate more and more of this kind of ecumenical encounter in my future retreats. I find that my audience is becoming a lot more diversified which is really exciting for me!

This weekend I fly to Houston, TX to start another Nouwen class at the Serenity Retreat for Healing and Spiritual Renewal. It's with a great deal of anticipation that I look forward to meeting a new bunch of learners eager to study about the spirituality of Nouwen.

For this new year, allow me to give you a preview of what you can look forward to insofar as the Nouwen Legacy offerings are concerned (see the January - June 2009 Events). More classes, workshops, seminars, and retreats are already lined up for the first quarter of 2009 (see Events Calendar). I am excited to personally meet many more new people who have been and continue to be influenced by Nouwen’s life and works. If you happen to be around the area where some of these events are taking place, I invite you to join us. If you haven’t signed up yet to be officially part of the Nouwen Legacy Associates, you may do so by clicking here.


December 2008


December 30, 2008 - I just came back from Santa Barbara with 17 others who participated in “Holy Conversations” — a year-end retreat at the beautiful Immaculate Heart Center for Spiritual Renewal. Individually we did our own Grand Examen — a way of doing a spiritual inventory of the past year. It was a “looking back, looking forward” type of exercise. As we all face the new year, may we imbibe in us hearts that are truly expectant and welcoming of God’s wonderful surprises. As Henri Nouwen remarks:

“Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or joy. It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity” (Bread for the Journey, January 1).

Indeed God gifts us with surprising breakthroughs in our lives when we least expect them. May we learn to notice the hidden sparks of miracles in our midst this new year. Here’s wishing you all a peaceful and grace-filled 2009!

For this new year, allow me to give you a preview of what you can look forward to insofar as the Nouwen Legacy offerings are concerned (see the January - June 2009 Events). More classes, workshops, seminars, and retreats are already lined up for the first quarter of 2009 (see Events Calendar). I am excited to personally meet many more new people who have been and continue to be influenced by Nouwen’s life and works. If you happen to be around the area where some of these events are taking place, I invite you to join us. If you haven’t signed up yet to be officially part of the Nouwen Legacy Associates, you may do so by clicking here.

December 24, 2008 - As we reflect upon this Christmas season, there is certainly more to the memorable ritual of giving and receiving of gifts. Henri Nouwen helps focus our thinking to a much higher task:

“Our task is reconciliation. Wherever we go we see divisions among people — in families, communities, cities, countries, and continents. All these divisions are tragic reflections of our separation from God. The truth that all people belong together as members of one family under God is seldom visible. Our sacred task is to reveal that truth in the reality of everyday life. Why is that out task? Because God sent Jesus to reconcile us with God and to give us the task of reconciling people with one another. As people reconciled with God through Jesus we have been given the ministry of reconciliation” (Bread for the Journey, Dec. 25).

Let us strive to be reconciling agents this Christmas season and throughout the new year to come! I want to wish you all a blessed commemoration of our Savior’s birth. May Christ the Lord remain the focus of all our celebrations!

For the coming year, allow me to give you a little preview of what to look forward to insofar as the Nouwen Legacy offerings are concerned (see the Jan.-March 2009 Events). More classes, workshops, seminars, and retreats are already lined up for the first quarter of 2009 (see Events Calendar). I am excited to personally meet many more people who are impacted by Nouwen’s writings. If you happen to be around the area where some of these events are taking place, do join us. If you haven’t signed up yet to officially be part of the Nouwen Legacy Associates, please do so by clicking here.

December 6, 2008 - Twenty-two people gathered yesterday at the gorgeous Serra Retreat Center in Malibu to engage with Nouwen's writings dealing with his approach to spiritual "companioning" — in particular, his role as a soul guide. Aside from the scheduled individual solitude/reflection time, participants also had an ample chance to interact with others in small groups. This rather informal experience proved to be a huge highlight for many. A solemn liturgical service in the style of Taize capped the eight-hour retreat. It was a long, tiring day but without a doubt a rewarding one!

This morning I had to wake up very early for a short Nouwen class at Loyola Marymount hosted by the Center for Religion and Spirituality. Frankly, I thought I'd have no more energy left to expend as I felt a real lack of sleep. But I was blessed to have a small group of eager learners who exhibited genuine curiosity about Nouwen and his integrated dynamics of soul care. Their enthusiastic responses energized me and before I knew it the class was over for the day. Despite the tight preparation and careful facilitation that these two consecutive events demanded from me, I've been immensely encouraged by people's desire to take in as much as they could from Nouwen's practical insights into the ministry of sacred companioning. The whole thing was certainly well worth the investment of my time and energy!


November 2008


November 22, 2008 - My "Spiritual Accompaniment" class at Fuller officially ended today with an overnight retreat. We were joined by two PhD. students from BIOLA, a couple from Fuller, and three Companions for the Journey facilitators from La Canada Presbyterian Church. The actual experience of group companioning proved to be a real highlight for most everyone. As a bonus treat, we even had a chance to attend a Taize service hosted by the Holy Spirit Retreat Center last night! A great way to end the fall quarter at Fuller!

The final retreat I'm scheduled to do will be in two weeks at Serra Retreat Center in Malibu entitled Henri Nouwen: Soul Guide. Already, we have 20 attendees confirmed including some folks from Pepperdine University (it's just in their backyard really!). I have yet to meet personally 80% of the participants. One in particular is driving al the way from Oakland (Northern Cal), a former student of Nouwen at Yale many years ago! The group also promises to be pretty diverse in terms of ethnicity, age, gender, and religious affiliation - a remarkable testimony to Nouwen's far-reaching influence that crosses all these boundaries!

November 13, 2008 - The Fall Colloquium event at Vanguard University (Henri Nouwen: An Integrated Life) went very well. What surprised me was the revelation that there was quite a number of Nouwen followers among the Vanguard staff, faculty, and students in the audience. Overall, the crowd appeared enthusiastic about the topic. Most everyone were responsive and a good number of individuals expressed genuine compliments about the presentation afterwards. I was very gratified by the opportunity to speak at this event sponsored by the Judkins Institute for Leadership Studies, my very first at Vanguard University.

Next Friday-Saturday (Nov. 21-22), I will be facilitating an overnight retreat at the Holy Spirit Retreat Center in Encino (Soul Companioning with Henri Nouwen as Guide). This is partly in conjunction with my finale class at Fuller Seminary("The Practice of Spiritual Accompaniment"). A few folks from Companions for the Journey of La Canada Presbyterian Church will lend me a hand during the whole of Saturday morning in facilitating an actual experience of group companioning. We have a few people joining us who aren't part of the Fuller class. I am personally excited for this retreat and for how the retreatants can benefit from the group exercise.


October 2008

October 27, 2008 - I had reasons to believe that God must have really handpicked the people who joined me last Wed.-Thurs. for the retreat at the Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside. The participants, most of whom have never before met each other, just "gelled" very well together. We all felt like we formed an instant community right there and then! The discussion/interaction times centered around Henri Nouwen on Friendship proved to be a very stimulating exchange. I came away feeling very gratified by the whole experience.

The following day(Fri.), I drove to Hollywood (where I ended up getting lost three times!) and addressed a group of pastors who are a part of the Ecclesia Westcoast Gathering and spoke about Nouwen's integrated journey for the entire morning. This felt like a really different crowd that I'm normally used to but the group dynamics turned out quite well. In fact I found myself picking up some new insights from our lively interaction together that I know I can put to good use in my future Nouwen presentations. I am appreciating more and more oppotunities such as this one where I could mingle with an increasingly diverse crowd who are mostly into church planting. They are learning more about Nouwen but I'm also learning so much more from their unique ministries myself and I count that as a privilege!

October 14, 2008 - I was at Lakeland Community Church in Lee's Summit, Missouri last Friday and Saturday for a Nouwen retreat hosted by Dan Wilburn of Lakeland Church and Craig Babb of Rhythm of Grace Ministries. This was a relatively new territory for me - doing a retreat/seminar in an evangelical church setting with an interdenominational/ecumenical audience. We had a great time of interacting and fellowshiping together even though I hardly knew most of the 30 plus people who attended the event. The morning before the evening Friday retreat, I had a brief tour of the world-famous Plaza situated at the heart of Kansas City and had a sumptuous barbeque lunch with Dan and Craig. It was indeed a pretty sight and the weather was simply gorgeous!

I have another retreat coming up this month at the Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside, CA. The theme is "Henri Nouwen on Spiritual Friendship" based in part on my newly released book sequel from Paulist Press. I have yet to meet personally half of the registered participants. Three more spots are left which I hope to fill up before the Oct. 22-23 event. I can't wait for this retreat to happen. It's always a joy to meet and interact with new folks who are into Nouwen stuff.


September 2008

September 29, 2008 - I just came back from Mt. Calvary Monastery and Retreat House in Santa Barbara where I facilitated an overnight retreat with a small group of people centering around Henri Nouwen's integrated ministry dynamics. What a rich interaction we had together! This is the first of a series of retreats that specifically focuses on various key sections from my newly released book sequel titled Henri Nouwen and Soul Care: A Ministry of Integration (see the ad below).

Speaking of which, I am happy to let everyone know that this new companion book, which is also published by Paulist Press, is now available. In it you'll catch a glimpse of how Henri Nouwen employed a highly integrated approach to soul companioning. To order your own copy, go directly to www.paulistpress.com or to www.amazon.com.

September 16, 2008
- Over the weekend, 17 of us gathered together at St. Placid Priory in Lacey, Washington (about an hour and a half away from Seattle) for a Nouwen retreat. The place was gorgeous and the weather was perfect! The Sisters took great care of us (consistent with their characteristic Benedictine hospitality!). I would love to go back there myself in the future. The real highlight for me was the opportunity to "eavesdrop" from several of the participants as they openly shared with each other their own version of spirituality of imperfection. The sharing was marked by the kind of honesty which Nouwen himself exemplified in all his writings. Next week I start another retreat in Santa Barbara, CA (at Mt. Calvary Monastery and Retreat House) with a special focus on Henri Nouwen's integrated ministry dynamics (particularly on his approach to soul care and spiritual formation). I'm excited for another opportunity to interact with a diverse group of people eager to drink deeply from the well of Nouwen's insights about ministry.

September 7, 2008 - Last Saturday was a real special retreat time for me. Though I was with a much smaller group than usual, this was by far the most intimate interaction I have ever had with the participants. Together we discussed Henri Nouwen's article about "Intimacy, Fecundity, Ecstasy" based on John's Gospel (15:4-11). What a blessing it was to listen to and engage with the collective insights of the group as they each shared their own reflections on the article. That proved to be the highlight of the day for everyone. Needless to say, Nouwen's thoughts continue to be very provocative as we all seriously ponder upon the priorities of our spiritual life. I encourage you to read his book Lifesigns from which the article was culled and I bet you'll agree with me how profound Nouwen's take was on the said passage from the Gospel of John.


August 2008

August 27, 2008 - From one "desert" experience to another is how I'd characterize the two recent retreats I facilitated on back-to-back weekends. Coming out from the scorching Arizona sun two weekends ago, I proceeded to conduct another retreat last Friday to Sunday at the high desert of Valyermo (St. Andrew's Benedictine Abbey). Amidst the heat, the hearts of the 30 participants did warm up to the whole experience. I was gratified by the diversity of the folks who showed up at the retreat. It was encouraging to sense people's enthusiasm and eagerness to learn and soak in the spiritual insights of Henri Nouwen. Truth be told, I felt exhausted at the end of it but I came away feeling rewarded by the positive response of the people toward the entire time. Needless to say, the weekend turned out to be a huge blessing for all of us!

August 20, 2008 - I just lead a retreat last Fri.-Sat. at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. With Solitude, Service, Prayer: The Integrated Journey as the overriding theme, some 45 participants gathered to learn and have a foretaste of the integrated life that Henri Nouwen embodied in his life. Half of the attendees were Fuller Seminary Southwest students who just completed a weeklong intensive course on the Spiritual Disciplines. The other half came literally from all over the place, even beyond the Arizona region. One eager learner was an 87 year-old nun named Anne who was such an inspiration to us all! This coming weekend, I will be facilitating another Nouwen retreat at the St. Andrew's Benedictine Abbey here in Valyermo, California. Out of the 30 some participants, 10 are Fuller students from Fuller Seminary's regional site at Irvine who are taking the full course on Henri Nouwen this summer. I am so looking forward to another opportunity to conduct a Nouwen retreat to a diverse group of people this coming weekend!

wil@nouwenlegacy.com