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The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  438 ratings  ·  36 reviews
When Henri Nouwen left the world of academe and headed for the village of Trosly in France, he sought a place that would lead him "closer to the heart of God." Arriving at L'Arche community in Trosly, he felt as if he had finally "come home." Indeed, it was destined to change his life forever.

The Road to Daybreak is Henri Nouwen's intimate diary that records his poignant y
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 1st 1990 by Image (first published 1988)
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Josh Sorensen
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had heard of Henri Nouwen for years as he is often quoted and referred to by various authors. But I am pleased to have this book be my first official introduction to his life and ministry. At some point within the past month this book was recommended on social media, and I am thankful I added this to my reading list as my first book of 2019.

I would love to continue to read more of his journals and hear more of his story, particularly as the accounts in “The Road to Daybreak” are recorded in th
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian, theology
My wife picked up this book because friends of ours were culling their books and we both have read a fair amount of Henri Nouwen, but mostly from before his move to L'Arche Daybreak in 1986. Mind you, those books have had a considerable influence on me, so I welcomed the chance to follow Nouwen's journal in the year proceeding his move. These journals trace Nouwen's year at Trosley, the original site of l'Arche as he was discerning what he would do after he left his position at the Harvard Theol ...more
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Henri Nouwen is a unique spiritual writer because of his authenticity and honesty. His journals (including this one) are extremely personal and I am constantly surprised at how much he is willing to open up and share his/her feelings and inner struggles and doubts in his faith. Many people see this as a sign of weakness especially as a spiritual leader but I believe he wanted to reach out to a specific group of people. Moving from an academic life as a theology professor and leader in Harvard/Ya ...more
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An outstandingly honest account of a personal journey through a year of new beginnings. The personal struggles are not hidden and the balance of need for reflective solitude and interdependent friendships is particularly well narrated in what is a very intimate journal into which the reader is drawn by the warmth and lucidity of the daily entries. It challenges the reader to put Jesus right in the centre of Christian faith rather than personal relationships and service of others. One of the very ...more
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Finished in 1988 this is more a collection of what I'd considered modern day blogs about Nouwen's musings about his stay at the L'Arche community in France and how he felt led to move to the L'Arche community in Toronto called Daybreak.

Over the course of the book I appreciated some insights and I was kind of surprised by how unsettled he seemed to be.

I was not as moved or engaged in this book as I was with his book about the prodigal son.
May 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian
A couple of quotes from this book have stuck with me over the past three years since I read it, about what it really means to give yourself entirely to a community with no expectation of getting anything back out of it - no success, no accolades, nothing to add to your resume - and how good that actually is for your soul. And how like Jesus that way is. Would recommend.
Tiffany Lopez
Not so much about disabilities

I love Henri and was deeply touched by his Life of the Beloved. Will I enjoyed this book I chose it hoping to better integrate my work with students with developmental disabilities and my faith. But this book talks very little about the realities of serving this population. Not anyone’s fault but that’s where I was coming from.
Pamela Bradley
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inspirational and motivating.
C.S. Fritz
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Heartfelt and raw. Ate up every crumb nouwen dropped as he feasts with the lord
Alyssa Kinnier
Nov 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
appreciated his perspective of joy
Stephen Lake
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Nouwen's search for and discernment of a vocational home is recorded in these journal entries with an unrivaled poignancy and depth of spiritual insight. There is pain and loneliness and grace when God calls us out of comfort and 'success' into a place of sacrifice--into a vocational space where our lives might be more fully hidden together with Christ in God. I read this book at a point where I too, like Nouwen, find myself in a vocational wilderness seeking a home. The Lord ministered to me po ...more
Maria Longley
Nov 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Henri Nouwen was invited to spend a year at Trosly, France, at the community that Jean Vanier started: L'Arche. This is his journey as recorded in his journal of leaving Harvard and that setting of prestige to go to rural France, and eventually the call to go be the priest at Daybreak in Canada. It is painfully honest at times, and a remarkable effort to record faithfully the not-always-easy spiritual journey with all its ups and downs.

It is fascinating reading his account and the glimpses of c
Jul 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful personal journal of the Holy Spirit working in Henri Nouwen's life as his vocation is diverted from academia to the humble life in community with the mentally handicapped. Nouwen is very open and honest about his own brokenness and his need for friendship and affirmation. He is very human as he writes about his disappointments with friends who let him down and his own need to forgive. As a priest and confessor himself, he is honest about his own struggles and motivations. I h ...more
Aug 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
A beautiful collection of his diaries during the time of transition from the prestige of Harvard to the life he found in moving into a community that aids people with handicap. In doing this, he was able to find the calling that he was looking for although he was fairly hesitant at first. It's interesting to see all the happenings that took place in him moving there and the experience of that transition, but in some cases I was left feeling like I wanted a book he had specifically written as opp ...more
Janet Tuck
Apr 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
There are very few books that i am drawn to read slowly. This has been one. I have lived with this book for several years. Each day's entry has given me thoughts to mull over and reflect on for long periods of time.
It has been precious indeed to have been offered the journey of this mans soul as he transitioned from academic, to care giver and priest at Daybreak community.
I will miss the journey and suspect I will return to it often.
Michelle Hoyt
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A awesome book

I found this book to be inspirational talk provoking and very interesting . It inspired me to sit down and start riding a spiritual the spiritual journey I've been traveling for the last eight years . I have been looking for the road to God to the perfect spiritual union with God through prayer and helping others . This book will help me to do those things as well as to write my own spiritual journey thank you .
Nancy Lou
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
There is a lot to learn in this Nouwen book. He offers us much about how difficult it can be to be centered in God's love and live close to Him. It was especially timely for me to read about his struggles with the nature of friendship. As he wrote of his need for the approval of others I understood his struggle and pain. My own insecurities stood out while reading about his. We all have journeys to make if we choose to step out onto our road. ...more
May 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
A beautiful inspiring yet deeply convicting book. Makes you stop to think about the "what if's" of life. Personal in a way but still relevant to the wider audience nonetheless. Easy for everyone to associate self with it. First of Henri's books for me to read, though i have done his Journals... but certainly not the last. Great Read ...more
Neil Steinwand
Jun 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, christian
Excellent set of journal entries detailing Henri's visit to L'Arche in France and then answering the call of God to join Daybreak, a handicapped community in Toronto, Ontario. It challenged me to not seek the glory and acclaim of the world, but be willing to be 'poor' in the service of the God who knows where we are needed the most. ...more
Kristin Lucas
Oct 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Inspiring, compelling, relatable, challenging, thought-provoking. Nouwen's honesty and vulnerability amidst his struggles was encouraging to this fellow journeyer. This was my first venture into Nouwen and I hope to read many more! ...more
Mar 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite spiritual writers. Insightful journal of his road to becoming a member of Daybreak, a home for handicapped men and women.
Nov 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Nouwen shares his thoughts on vocation and calling in the context of his experience of a sabbatical stay at a house for people with severe mental and physical disabilities.
Jun 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Very good. I read this en route to see my brother one last time. I did not make it. This book was a tremendous comfort and reminder about what is really important this side of heaven.
Mar 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
In this book Nouwen shared his struggles and questions. From him I learned that christians are humans too...
Jan 18, 2010 rated it liked it
Ike Unger
Aug 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: spiritual-growth
A deeply stirring book
Jimmy Locklear
Jun 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite of the 30+ Nouwen books that I've read. Topical and like a travel log of the heart. ...more
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Read this book at least once a year. It provides insights and encouragement while speaking to my heart.
Dec 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Deeply personal and convicting book, as Henri Nouwen shares his transformation and spiritual journey from Ivy League prof to resident at a community for disabled.
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
I enjoy his devotionals more than this journal but if you extract the best passages from this journal its form is still that of a devotional.

You certainly won't be any worse off for reading it.
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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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Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” So, this January, as we celebrate Martin Luther King...
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“Yet why all this resistance? Why this powerful attraction to the darkness? Jesus says, “Everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it, to prevent his actions from being shown up; but whoever does the truth comes out into the light, so that what he is doing may plainly appear as done in God” (John 3:20–21). That is an answer to my question. I do often prefer my darkness to God’s light. I prefer to hang on to my sinful ways because they give me some satisfaction, some sense of self, some feeling of importance. I know quite well that moving into God’s light requires me to let go of all these limited pleasures and no longer to see my life as made by me, but as given by God. Living in the light means acknowledging joyfully the truth that all that is good, beautiful, and worthy of praise belongs to God. It is only a truly God-centered life that will pull me out of my depressions and give me hope. It is a clear path, but a very hard path as well.” 1 likes
“Jesus says to Nicodemus, “though the light has come into the world, people have preferred darkness to the light” (John 3:19). In me I can feel this strange preference for the darkness. It seems as if I resist coming into the light and enjoy staying in my self-made darkness. Jesus offers the light, the truth, the life coming from above. He makes it clear that God wants to pull me away from the darkness; he wants to offer me a solid love to dwell in, a firm ground to stand on, a faithful presence to trust in. But I have to look upward instead of inward, and embrace the gifts that are given. Yet” 0 likes
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