The Return of the Prodigal Son: The Story and Backstory

Mondays 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Henri Nouwen’s The Return of the Prodigal Son is a spiritual classic. This book has changed lives—including that of its author. We will explore The Return in parallel with the recent book by Gabrielle Earnshaw on how The Return came to be written. Using previously unpublished material, Earnshaw provides new insights into the nine year gestation of this masterpiece, including Nouwen’s recovery from a crushing depression. Writing The Return played a key role in Nouwen’s recovery which led to the most fruitful years of his life and his recognition as a spiritual master. The Return continues to change lives today.

Required Text: The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen; One source:

Also, available at many on-line sources

Highly Recommended:Henri Nouwen and The Return of the Prodigal Son by Gabrielle Earnshaw 


Ray Glennon is a board member of the Henri Nouwen Society and a facilitator of many Nouwen book discussions. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy (B.S.) and George Washington University (M.S.A.), he is active in lay ministry and religious education in his Catholic parish.

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