By: Michelle O'Rourke
What is the meaning of death? How can we see it not just as an inevitable fate but as an act of fulfillment? Can our death be fruitful, a profoundly human gift to those we love? These are some of the questions that Henri Nouwen addressed in his later writings. In the years since his own sudden death in 1996, Nouwens influence as a spiritual mentor and companion has continued to grow. His writings on prayer, ministry, and the spiritual life have affected countless people of all faiths. But in this work, and largely through his own words, Michelle ORourke concentrates on his reflections on death and dying--a theme that stands out as one of the unifying threads in all his books, and one that may turn out to be among his most important contributions.
Michelle ORourke is a nurse who currently works in the ER at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance and coordinates the Foundations in Parish Nursing education program through the Institute of Catholic Formation at St. Peter’s Seminary. A frequent speaker and educator, she is co-author (with Eugene Dufour) of Embracing the End of Life: Help for Those Who Accompany the Dying (Novalis).