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Gracias!: A Latin American Journal

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  370 ratings  ·  27 reviews
In this journal of his travels in Bolivia and Peru, Nouwen ponders the presence of God in the poor, the challenge of a persecuted church, the relation between faith and justice, and his own struggle to discern the path along which God is calling him. "Nouwen puts his inexhaustible curiosity and hunger for religious experience gladly at the service of a worldwide audience". ...more
Paperback, 188 pages
Published January 1st 1993 by Orbis Books (first published 1983)
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Ana Mahomar
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved Nouwen's spirituality! Perfect for ministry related trips! ...more
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
!Gracias¡ (By: Henri J.M. Nouwen) (COUNTRIES REPRESENTED: Bolivia/Peru)

Like any good L'Archie I have read my fair share of Henri Nouwen. In fact, Henri Nouwen's book "In the Name of Jesus" is the very reason I got into L'Arche in the first place. Yet, I had no idea of this other part of Nouwen's life (lodged in between his rigorous academic studies/time spent as a professor and his journey at L'Arche Daybreak). In this book, Nouwen takes 6 months out to travel to Bolivia (where he engages in ext
Erwin Thomas
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Henri J.M. Nouwen’s Gracias wrote as a Roman Catholic priest on a pilgrimage to Bolivia and Peru. This Dutch priest was on a visit to Latin America for six months in order to discern if he was meant to be a missionary to this region for an extended period of time. What resulted was a memoir and spiritual journal of exploration about his experiences.
Notably Nouwwen was blown away by the poverty he encountered, the warmth of the families he lived with, and the dedication of Catholic missionaries i
Paul F
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I've lived in Mexico for five years now. Culturally and social-economically conditions are quite different for me than what Nouwen describes in his book, some thirty-five years earlier. So, what really spoke to me were moments when Nouwen grappled with his own limits and his abilities - I can how see these moments were part of the road that led to Daybreak. They also help feed me a journey to where God only knows. ...more
Christopher Pokorny
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: clergy-memoirs
A journal of Nouwen’s journey of vocational discernment about living in Latin America as a Catholic missionary priest. A helpful companion to those discerning their own religious vocation, to be used in conjunction with a spiritual director/vocations director. Also helpful for peering into the cultural reality of Latin America, through the eyes of a remarkable Catholic priest.
Joy Matteson
May 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
If every missions major at every Christian college in America read this book before going on a "mission"--this world, and the kingdom of God--would be a much better place. Such humility and grace, to be taught by the poor--it should be required reading. Humbling and beautiful. May we all strive for a spirit like Henri's. ...more
Emma Grace
Jul 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Hands down one of the best things I’ve read/consumed in a long time. Transformational and sooooo timely. Nouwen gives words and ideas to thoughts about living among the poor that I have only ever vaguely grasped at. It also reads wonderfully as it is broken up into journal entries. This is one I will come back to and is changing the way I think about life, theology, faith, and prayer!
Erika Filer
Jul 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Henri Nouwen articulated the feelings of being in a new place, leaning a new language, and struggling to love and walk alongside the marginalized so simply and so well. An incredible encouragement to read during my own time in a new cultural and language context - Nouwen constantly points back to God's goodness and presence in every joy and struggle that he experiences. ...more
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent journal by one of the greatest modern spiritual writers.
Rissa Ho
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
rich, life-changing, applicable for all season of life
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A daily journal of the author's travels to Peru. Insightfulness into the missions and the Catholic church ...more
Sep 25, 2009 rated it liked it
It took me a loooooooong time to read this book.

Nouwen writes this book while spending time in South America trying to determine what he ought to be doing in life.

Looking back over months of reading, here are a few things I've hi-lighted. The hi-lights perhaps say more about me than reveal the message Nouwen wanted to convey. Here they are anyway:

1. Growing older has not made life with God easier. In fact it has become harder...(p.69)
2. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn't be
Jeffrey Nelson
Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Powerful journal that documents cross-cultural transition and a true heart of service from the perspective of a Dutch-born catholic priest.

The book was helpful for me because it formalized some of the parallel lessons while learning to live and receive grace in Costa Rica. The principle lesson being the inspiration for the title: ¡Gracias! – Thanks! On page 16 he states it most directly -

“Gratitude… becomes the central virtue of a missionary.”

The book is a collection of the author's journal entr
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
I know he's Henry Nouwen . . . but sometimes the patronizing/simplistic tone made me need to set down the book for a while. (It's a journal, so I guess this should be forgiven.) But also some really good thoughts, helpful as I spend a semester in another culture (similar to the one he encounters in ¡Gracias! - the location is the same, but the culture has certainly shifted in the last 20 years). ...more
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful read especially if you are going through your own discernment process. Gracias! chronicles Henri Nouwen's beginning journey that will lead him eventually to L'Arch. Reading his thought processes as he lives among the people of Peru is as if you are sitting down with Henri and having a good cup tea and conversation. ...more
Jacob Grady
May 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: definitely
For those who love latin america and are interested in its bloody history and current hardships, this is a wonderful peace giving book. Henry Nouwen is a great writer and this is his journal from his time in peru and bolivia.
Mar 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: i-quit
I quit. It's nothing like all the other Nouwen books I've read. I found it too slow and lacking in inspiration...which makes me sad because it's perhaps THE most important topic of our time.

...perhaps I'll pick it up again in the future.
Massanutten Regional Library
Raquel, Main patron, July 2015, 5 stars:

Although written in 1982, excellent book about Henri Nouwen's 6 months in Peru and Bolivia and how he discerned if he should live in Latin America. Recommend to readers interested in mission, God's call, or hearing about the struggle of the poor.
Jan 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Nouwen... nothing is better Nouwen. This was a GREAT book. It would be particularly relevant to people in times of searching and transition.

What a gifted author. I do think of him as sort of a patron saint.

Nov 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
I read this during my month in Haiti. Nouwen's journal of seeking his calling in Latin America. A great book as a precursor to a missions trip. ...more
Nov 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This was an important part of my personal devotional in Central America.
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Henri Nouwen's inspires me, and rocks my worldview. I recommend this book for anyone searching a different perspective. ...more
Michael Mulberry
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book helped me to understand my time in Chiapas.
Julie Goff
Dec 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all
What a refreshing reflection on time spent in Latin America...but really, would we expect anything less from Nouwen?
Aug 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Latin America and/or serving the poor.
Recommended to Lauren by: Heather Mickelson
Many of the chapters deserve 5 stars, but many others were slow for me. I'd recommend it, the good chapters are worth the rest. ...more
Sep 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Reflections on the meaning and purpose of serving the poor from a Catholic perspective. Very honest and touching.
Mirra Matheson
rated it it was amazing
Dec 12, 2016
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Jul 03, 2014
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Alex Fine
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Nov 17, 2009
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Henri Jozef Machiel Nouwen (Nouen), (1932–1996) was a Dutch-born Catholic priest and writer who authored 40 books on the spiritual life.

Nouwen's books are widely read today by Protestants and Catholics alike. The Wounded Healer, In the Name of Jesus, Clowning in Rome, The Life of the Beloved, and The Way of the Heart are just a few of the more widely recognized titles. After nearly two decades of

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