In September 1995, Nouwen took a year's sabbatical to write, pray and visit family and friends. Although he had little time to write, as a spiritual discipline he kept a daily journal enriched with vivid observations and soul-searching reflections. Sabbatical Journey records the flowering of friendship and prayer during what would be his final year on earth.
Priest and writer Nouwen went from teaching in American universities to serving severely handicapped people at L'Arche Daybreak in Canada. He kept this diary during a sabbatical that turned out to be the last year of his life. Some diaries seem a record of random events, but a remarkable unifying feature of Nouwen's record is his daily celebration of the Eucharist, alone or with friends who happen to be around him. Another is his genuine engagement with the hundreds of people he encounters. Nouwen's fans will welcome occasional glimpses into his inner life. For example, after recording factual events for days, he will mention that he has been struggling with anguish, loneliness and the need for acceptance. Throughout, he ponders what to do after his sabbatical and his desire (mixed with fear) to break out of the roles his church and public expect of him. By the end, he feels ready for a new direction. Anyone who already knows and enjoys Nouwen's writing will want to read this book. Readers unfamiliar with Nouwen might prefer to read some of his other works first, however.