The Henri Nouwen Trilogy

With Michael J. Christensen, Ph.D


Learn Henri Nouwen’s unique approach to spiritual direction, formation and discernment. 

Discover new truths and understandings of Spiritual Formation.


Henri Nouwen Society
Podcast with
With Michael J. Christensen, Ph.D


Karen Pascal, Executive Director of the Henri Nouwen Society, speaks with Dr. Michael Christensen about what it was like to be a student of Henri Nouwen’s at Yale, Henri’s influence on his life, and on becoming a professor who now teaches about the spirituality of Henri Nouwen.

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Now & Then Podcast

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Spiritual discernment

Balancing Rocks

Program Description

At the intersection of theology (study of God) and psychology (study of human psyche) is the place of spirituality. One of the leading voices in Christian spirituality is psychologist-priest Henri J. M. Nouwen, author of over 40 books on the spiritual life. Spiritual Formation, according to Nouwen, is the shaping of the human heart or deepest self, through intentional spiritual practices, leading to communion, community, and compassion in the world.  


Professor Michael Christensen (a former graduate student of Nouwen’s at Yale) describes Nouwen’s unique contribution to the field of pastoral psychology and spiritual development, this way: “Nouwen turned the ladder of divine ascent on its side and taught spiritual formation as a series of horizontal movements of the heart, back and forth, that require daily devotion and discipline, with the goal of human wholeness rather than divine perfection.” 

​The Northwind Institute Certificate  Program in Spiritual Formation focuses on the distinctive contribution of Henri Nouwen to spiritual direction, Formation, and discernment, as well as on the classical sources in the history of Christian spirituality that informed his unique approach. The practical focus of this concentration is on the dynamic process, practices, states, stages, movements, and various approaches to adult spiritual Formation within the Christian tradition. 


Northwind Institute has met the requirements of the Oklahoma Board of Private Vocational Schools to offer certificates of completion for theological and ministry-related courses.

Courses in the Spiritual Formation Certificate Program may be transferred to Northwind Seminary's Master in Contextualized Ministry, Master in Specialized Ministry after completing the Seminary's Application Process.