Courage for Caregivers: Sustenance for the Journey in Company with Henri J. M. Nouwen, By Marjorie J. Thompson alt

Courage for Caregivers

Sustenance for the Journey in Company with Henri J. M. Nouwen

by Marjorie J. Thompson

Courage for Caregivers
  • Length: 168 pages
  • Published: August 16, 2022
  • Imprint: IVP Formatio
  • Item Code: A0557
  • ISBN: 9781514005576

*affiliate partner

Drawing on the writings and wisdom of Henri J. M. Nouwen's themes of caregiving, Marjorie J. Thompson offers a vulnerable exploration of caregiving intertwined with both her own many years of intimate caregiving of family members and collected stories of caregivers in varied settings and stages of life. While not shying away from the demanding physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges of caregiving, Courage for Caregivers also celebrates the gifts of caregiving grounded in the belovedness both caregiver and care receiver share in God's eyes.


Practical leader guides and resources make Courage for Caregivers a tool that moves smoothly from individual encouragement to group and congregational ministry to develop support for the universal experience of caregiving. 

"This book resonates with the lived experience of those of us who have spent a season giving or receiving care. It provides not only sustenance for the journey but also a seasoned spirituality that incorporates both the gifts and the guilt of the ministry of care. Rich in stories and practical suggestions, it is highly recommended for those who are blessed, challenged, and called to be a Simon of Cyrene for another."

Albert Haase, OFM, author of Becoming an Ordinary Mystic: Spirituality for the Rest of Us

"Caregivers are my heroes, the undervalued souls who selflessly dispense grace and compassion. And Henri Nouwen is the patron saint of caregivers, for he voluntarily left a prestigious career to care for one severely disabled individual—and to his surprise found himself the chief beneficiary of this mutual exchange. The wisdom he learned in the process informs us all, caregivers and care receivers alike."

Philip Yancey, author of Where the Light Fell and Fearfully and Wonderfully

"Marjorie Thompson's authoring of Courage for Caregivers is a unique and rich contribution to the vocation of caregiving, which Marjorie knew both as freely chosen and as accepted in loving duty."

Sue Mosteller, literary executrix and trustee for Henri Nouwen Legacy

"What a precious resource Courage for Caregivers will be for those who give care and compassion. As a family therapist for over forty years, I have had many occasions to share the works of Henri Nouwen with clients to see their hearts and minds lifted with hope and strength at times of great pain and distress and at times of deep joy and fulfillment in the journey of loving another. The guided process for a caregivers retreat is a brilliant and extremely helpful appendix to this beautifully written and illustrated guide for those called to being with and walking alongside others."

Diane Marshall, registered psychotherapist at the Institute of Family Living, Toronto

"As someone who supports caregivers—those caring for loved ones and those involved in caring professions—I am excited for the opportunity to use this wonderful resource. Courage for Caregivers explores so many of the themes and questions people experience in a caring role. Henri Nouwen's words are treasured gifts that continue to inspire and strengthen, and the stories and reflective format will be invaluable to anyone looking for support in their caregiving roles."

Michelle O'Rourke, palliative care nurse and author of Befriending Death: Henri Nouwen and a Spirituality of Dying

"The relationship journeys of caregivers and care receivers are ones we may not or cannot anticipate or plan. We find ourselves in the land of vulnerability and weakness with a need to reorient. One pathway through the unfamiliar is the shared experiences and wisdom of others. Courage for Caregivers does just that. This resource opens up a space for exploration, acceptance, and understanding to find those places of hope, rest, and rediscovery. Through the lens of Henri Nouwen's wisdom, Marjorie J. Thompson shares her own personal journey and draws on the stories of others to reveal both the challenges and unexpected blessings of hope."

Neil Cudney, director of organizational and spiritual life at Christian Horizons

"Courage for Caregivers is a beautiful, hopeful journey through the 'universal and unique' experience of caregiving. Blending personal stories with the reflections of Henri J. M. Nouwen, Marjorie J. Thompson has created a wonderful resource not only for caregivers but also for those who walk alongside them."

Elrena Evans, author of Special Grace: Prayers and Reflections for Families with Special Needs

"Caregiving is demanding work that requires us to take care of ourselves. Courage for Caregivers offers sacred stories and space for those who serve to receive comfort and support as they walk into their calling. Engaging with Henri Nouwen's pastoral counsel, this book lifts up the belovedness of every caregiver."

Parker J. Palmer, author of Let Your Life Speak and A Hidden Wholeness

Read an Excerpt


Preface by Karen Pascal
Foreword by Rev. Scott Morris, MD
Beginnings: Henri Nouwen, Our Spiritual Companion

1. The Mutuality of Caregiving: Shared Suffering and Compassion
2. The Challenges of Caregiving: Naming and Embracing
3. The Gifts of Caregiving: Seeing and Celebrating
4. The Sustenance of Caregiving: Self-Care and Spiritual Practice

Appendix A: Retreat Leader Guide
Appendix B: Small Group Leader Guide: For Home Groups, Adult Classes, Support Groups, Congregational Care Teams, Health Ministry Teams, and Workshops
Appendix C: A Treasury of Stories
Appendix D: Further Resources
Appendix E: Congregational Support for Caregivers
Appendix F: Print and Video Resources



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Marjorie Thompson

Marjorie J. Thompson is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church USA. She has served as a teacher, writer, and retreat leader for more than thirty years. Henri J. M. Nouwen was one of her early spiritual mentors and personal friend of her husband, John Mogabgab, who served as Henri's teaching and research assistant for five years at Yale Divinity School.