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A Spirituality of Caregiving

The Henri Nouwen Spirituality Series

John S. Mogabgab, Henri J. M. Nouwen • April 2011

BUY Print $7.99

If you provide care for another person, whether you are a family member or a professional caregiver, you know that caregiving is hard, sometimes unappreciated work. But have you ever considered that it isn't easy to be the care receiver? "Caregiving is . . . about forming a relationship with another whom we might never have chosen to know. It is about doing all we do practically with the intention of growing into a relationship of respect, listening, presence, and truthfulness," Henri Nouwen writes. From the heart of Henri Nouwen comes wisdom for the caregiver about the transformational power of relationship in the unique bond between caregiver and care receiver. Interlacing stories from his own life and the lives of friends, Nouwen communicates warmth and compassion as he shares insights on what it means to be a caregiver and to be cared for. Whether you have chosen to be a caregiver or were thrust into the role by circumstances, you'll see how important and life-changing your work is. You'll also be encouraged by this beloved author who has been touted as one of the most influential spiritual writers of our time.


John S. Mogabgab, was the founding editor of Weavings: A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life. From 1975 to 1980 John served as Henri Nouwen’s teaching, research, and editorial assistant at Yale Divinity School. John died August 8, 2014.

Henri J. M. Nouwen was an internationally renowned priest and author, respected professor, and beloved pastor who wrote over 40 books on the spiritual life. Nouwen enjoyed an impressive academic career with positions at Notre Dame, Yale, and Harvard Universities. His commitment to explore the relationship between faith and justice led him to become involved in the civil rights movement and to make a number of trips to Central America. Nouwen lived the last ten years of his life as the pastor of L’Arche Daybreak in Toronto, one of the many communities founded by Jean Vanier. In L’Arche people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together as peers, create inclusive communities of faith and friendship, and transform society through relationships that cross social boundaries. This became Nouwen’s home until his death in September 1996.

ISBN: 978-0-8358-1045-6

Imprint: Upper Room

Pub Date: 20110401

Trim Size: 5 in (w) x 8 in (h) x in (d)

Page Count: 72

BISAC Categories: FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS / Eldercare

BISAC1: FAM017000

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To be a caregiver opens up levels of vulnerability to human suffering, disability, and spiritual exhaustion—but also to blessing. Henri Nouwen knew this from the inside out. His choicest wisdom about these matters is found in this luminous little book. I am once again indebted to him for a “truth deeper than we can articulate and a beauty richer than we ourselves can contain.” Any of us who are—or who will be—caregivers need this healing and transformative wisdom. —Don E. Saliers Wm. R. Cannon Distinguished Professor of Theology, Emeritus Emory University Caregiving can be an intimate act of compassion, a challenging chore, and a blessed moment of grace. This collection of Nouwen’s reflections on caregiving provides a refreshing and encouraging spiritual resource for family caregivers and professionals alike. I highly recommend this for all caregivers. —Greg Kepferle Chief Executive Officer Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County A Spirituality of Caregiving is an exquisite, poignant gathering of Henri Nouwen’s reflections on the anguish and joys of providing care for one another. Emerging from the “trial by fire” of his own experience with those needing his intimate help, Nouwen delves deeply and honestly into the ambiguities of the caregiving experience—the gifts as well as the enormous physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges. Through his own struggle, Nouwen came to understand that caregiving can be a call to mutual spiritual presence— to a growth in love that provides “an opportunity for inner healing, liberation, and transformation for the one being cared for and for the one who cares.” Both practical and inspiring, these reflections invite professional and private caregivers and care receivers to consider and explore a new view of caring—one full of hope and promise, and, most of all, blessing! —Jane Thibault Clinical Professor of Gerontology and Geriatrics School of Medicine, University of Louisville Author of 10 Gospel Promises for Later Life and coauthor of No Act of Love Is Ever Wasted