Friday, March 29, 2013

"Hi. I am Mark Andrew Nouwen."

"Hi, I'm Mark Andrew Nouwen."

That may take some time for me to get used to, and yet it feels so natural because I have thought of changing my name for a very long time. Yes, I am currently in the process of legally changing my name to Mark Andrew Nouwen. This seemed like a natural fit and was the only name I really considered, as for more than a decade I have been highly influenced by the writings of the late writer Henri J.M. Nouwen.

Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) was a Dutch-born Catholic priest and spiritual writer who taught at Harvard and Yale among other places, studied psychology, and authored 40 books on the spiritual life. My favourites include Life of the Beloved, Reaching Out, & The Inner Voice of Love.

I can relate to Henri Nouwen in many respects. Nouwen was drawn toward solitude but found it hard to stay there, and he knew that not one person can satisfy the deepest desires of our hearts, yet he sought the affection of friends. Nouwen was also a gifted speaker, and had a special heart for the poor and downtrodden.  Nouwen spent the last years of his life living at L'Arche Daybreak, a community in Toronto where able-bodied people live with disabled people. Earlier in his life he was also a missionary in Latin America.

For an excellent biography of Henri Nouwen, I recommend Wounded Prophet by Michael Ford (2002).

The legal process should take 6-8 weeks, but online I shall start using my new name as of today. Also, please note my new e-mail address.

In Peace and Love,

Mark Andrew Nouwen