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Growing Courage for Caregivers

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
1:00–3:00 p.m.

educators and coordinators retreat

Special Post-Conference Workshop

Growing Courage for Caregivers

Introductory Training Module in Using the Henri Nouwen Caregiving Resources


Join us for a special post-conference workshop with Marjorie Thompson, the 2018 Westberg Symposium keynote speaker, and Michelle O’Rourke. “Courage for Caregivers” is a collection of resources designed to support both family and professional caregivers in a time when offering care has become increasingly challenging and burdensome within modern society. With three books in print through Church Health (The Story of Caregiving Series), and a fourth under development for professional caregivers through the Henri Nouwen Society (HNS), HNS is now offering an initial training module in how to use these materials for retreats, small groups, classes and care teams. Our intention is to grow the reach and impact of this collection of timely resources.

“Growing Courage for Caregivers” is an introductory training module requiring two hours to complete. It covers the following material:

  • Orientation to the Story of Caregiving Series
  • Key Themes of the Foundational Book: Courage for Caregivers
  • Overview of Appendices and Ways to Use Materials
  • Basics of Retreat Day and Adaptations
  • Enrichments for Professional Caregivers
  • Closing Q & A

The date and time is April 10, 2019, 1:00–3:00 p.m. The workshop will take place at Crosstown Concourse. The cost is $50.00, which includes course materials.

About the Facilitators

Marjorie Thompson

Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Marjorie brings to her ministry over 30 years of retreat work and teaching in Christian formation and spiritual practice. She has served two congregations in pastoral ministry and as adjunct faculty for six seminaries. Her educational path includes Swarthmore College, McCormick Theological Seminary, and a research fellowship at Yale Divinity School where she was deeply influenced by her mentor, Henri Nouwen.

For 12 years Marjorie was director of Pathways in Congregational Spirituality with Upper Room Ministries, through the United Methodist Church. There, she served as chief architect of Companions in Christ, an innovative small-group series for adult spiritual formation which she shaped for more than a decade. Marjorie is also a Prepared Facilitator for Circle of Trustâ retreats, through the Center for Courage & Renewal. Currently she works freelance, offering retreats, lectures, and spiritual guidance.

The author of several books, including best-selling Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life (WJK, 1995/2005/2014), Marjorie considers writing a central dimension of her calling. Other of her titles for pastoral leaders and engaged laity are The Gift of Encouragement (Abingdon, 2013) and Forgiveness: A Lenten Study (WJK, 2014). Most recently, Marjorie has written a book and related workbook for the Caregiving Initiative of the Henri Nouwen Society, titled Courage for Caregivers: Sustenance for the Journey in Company with Henri J. M. Nouwen (Nouwen Legacy Trust & Church Health of Memphis, 2017).

Marjorie was married for 33 years to her beloved life partner, John Mogabgab, the founding editor of Weavings journal and a guiding influence with Upper Room Ministries for 29 years. John crossed the threshold to Eternal Life on their anniversary in 2014. Marjorie now lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She enjoys music, travel, friends and family.

educators and coordinators retreat

Michelle O’Rourke

Michelle O’Rourke is a registered nurse with an extensive background in emergency nursing, parish nursing, and hospice palliative care. While always maintaining a nursing position, she enjoyed 14 years as a lay pastoral minister in a large urban parish and two years as the lay ecclesial ministry specialist with the Roman Catholic Diocese of London. During that time Michelle helped to develop a national education program for training parish nurses and remained its coordinator until 2016. 

Thesis work for her graduate degree reflected her interest in spirituality and palliative care and was subsequently published. Befriending Death:  Henri Nouwen and a Spirituality of Dying has sold over 5,000 copies worldwide. Studying Henri’s life and writings impacted her deeply, both personally and professionally, which led to her second book, Embracing the End of Life:  Help for Those Who Accompany the Dying. It was a first-place winner of a Catholic Press Association award. Her newest book, Reflections on Caregiving: For Those in the Caring Professions will  release in 2019.  t is based on the writings of Henri Nouwen and others, with stories and tools to support those who provide care to others.

In 2014 Michelle was chosen to oversee the design and development of Chatham-Kent Hospice, a ten-bed residential hospice which opened in April 2016. She continued to serve as the program coordinator for both the Chatham-Kent Hospice and the Palliative Care and Oncology Departments at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance until her retirement in 2018. She now has more time to focus on what she truly enjoys—speaking, writing, consulting and self-care! Her areas of focus include palliative care, grief, spirituality and caregiving.

Michelle is the mother of four, and she and her husband, Tom, enjoy travelling and spending time with family and friends. She resides in London ,Ontario, offering support to St. Joseph’s Hospice there, and is excited to be working with the Henri Nouwen Society on their new Courage for Caregivers initiative.  

educators and coordinators retreat

Upcoming Events

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Online Course: The Art of Listening (3 contact hours)

May 1 @ 8:00 am - December 31 @ 5:00 pm UTC-6
Memphis TN
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August 29 @ 6:00 pm - October 8 @ 9:00 pm UTC-6

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