The Return of the Prodigal Son

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Book Discussion Group: The Return of the Prodigal Son

by Henri J.M. Nouwen

Thursday evenings: 24 May, 28 June, 26 July, 23 August, 27 September

Cremorne (address supplied after registration). Free to attend, all welcome. 

This year, our St James’ Book Discussion Group will be meeting monthly from May to September to discuss The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri J.M. Nouwen. Nouwen was a Dutch-born priest, professor and pastor, and gained worldwide acclaim for his many publications on spiritual life. A chance encounter with a reproduction of Rembrandt’s The Return of the Prodigal Son sent Nouwen off on a long spiritual adventure; a journey which he shares in this extraordinary book. Penguin Random House publishing said of this book, ‘in seizing the inspiration that came to him through Rembrandt’s depiction of the powerful Gospel story, Henri Nouwen probes the several movements of the parable; the younger son’s return, the father’s restoration of the sonship, the elder son’s vengefulness, and the father’s compassion. In his reflection on Rembrandt in light of his own life journey, the author evokes a powerful drama of the parable in a rich, captivating way that is sure to reverberate in the hearts of readers.’ (

The Book Group meetings are free to attend and open to all. Copies of the Book are available from the Parish Office. Please register below; address details are supplied on registration.

Register by phone: (02) 8227 1305

Register by email:


The Return of the Prodigal Son is a beautiful book, as beautiful in the simple clarity of its wisdom as in the terrible beauty of the transformation to which it calls us.’ – New Oxford Review

From The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen…

‘The painting has become a mysterious window through which I can step into the Kingdom of God’ (p.15)

‘To make my home where God has made his, this is the great spiritual challenge’ (p.16)

‘Jesus himself became the prodigal son for our sake’ (p.55)

‘Rembrandt’s painting becomes the summary of the history of our salvation’ (p.58)