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PASTOR-WRITER LEFT A LEGACY OF QUIET FAITH

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There are times, perhaps more frequent in the life of a religion writer, when you encounter people who have a spiritual aura about them - a simple presence that alone provides eloquent testimony of their faith.

One such person was the Rev. Henri J.M. Nouwen, a spiritual writer and Catholic pastor who died of a heart attack in September while traveling in his native Netherlands.Nouwen, 64, was the renowned author of 38 books on spirituality - including such well-known works as "The Wounded Healer" and "The Return of the Prodigal Son" - and a teacher at Yale and Harvard divinity schools.

Consistent with his writing, he never sought solace in fame and adulation. Nouwen would periodically leave comfortable posts at the finest academic institutions to spend time as a pastor in South America.

He spent the last 10 years of his life as pastor of L`Arche Daybreak Community in Toronto, a nondenominational residence for the mentally handicapped in Toronto.

Two of his books - "The Genesee Diary: Report from a Trappist Monastery" and "Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life" - are being reissued this month by Doubleday.

He also left a new book, which is coming out shortly. "The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom" is an amazingly personal journey through a time of deep spiritual torment in Nouwen's life eight years ago.

The loss of a close personal relationship had left him despondent and struggling to find meaning in life.

As he makes what he calls his final journey, he leaves those behind with a gift that each person can call on: the inner voice of love.

"Many friends and family members have died during the past eight years, and my own death is not so far away," he wrote earlier this year in his last book. "But I have heard the inner voice of love, deeper and stronger than ever.