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Lonely Mystic: A New Portrait Of Henri JW Nouwen

Throughout his life and his writings, Nouwen struggled with loneliness, recently described as “the virus of our age.” But by integrating his spirituality, formed in the priesthood, with his psychological insights, gleaned through his clinical training, he produced books that helped others live with loneliness in creative ways. Loneliness is the main artery running through the corpus of Nouwen’s work, yet there has never been a single study devoted to this major theme of his thinking. In this new book, Nouwen’s biographer Michael Ford explores and analyzes Nouwen’s writings on loneliness, intimacy, and friendship in relation to his life. He draws from unused interviews recorded for his biography, Wounded Prophet, twenty years ago and includes original reflections on the subject from people Nouwen touched through his books and through his encounters with others wrestling with alienation and displacement. Ford also incorporates material from an interview Nouwen gave him, his only one for the BBC. The result is a spirituality of loneliness for our times, the fruit of Nouwen’s best writing on the subject and fresh insights into the soul of a priest whose tortured brilliance is inspiring a new generation of readers.

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Throughout his life and his writings, Nouwen struggled with loneliness, recently described as “the virus of our age.” But by integrating his spirituality, formed in the priesthood, with his psychological insights, gleaned through his clinical training, he produced books that helped others live with loneliness in creative ways. Loneliness is the main artery running through the corpus of Nouwen’s work, yet there has never been a single study devoted to this major theme of his thinking. In this new book, Nouwen’s biographer Michael Ford explores and analyzes Nouwen’s writings on loneliness, intimacy, and friendship in relation to his life. He draws from unused interviews recorded for his biography, Wounded Prophet, twenty years ago and includes original reflections on the subject from people Nouwen touched through his books and through his encounters with others wrestling with alienation and displacement. Ford also incorporates material from an interview Nouwen gave him, his only one for the BBC. The result is a spirituality of loneliness for our times, the fruit of Nouwen’s best writing on the subject and fresh insights into the soul of a priest whose tortured brilliance is inspiring a new generation of readers.

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