It All Begins With Tenderness

It All Begins With Tenderness

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It All Begins With Tenderness

André Drouin
Cover by Peter Schwarz
Illustrated by Karen Lindquist

6 X 9 inches, 72 pages

FOR THE PAST SIXTEEN YEARS Father André Drouin has been tending to the spiritual needs of persons living with AIDS: It All Begins With Tenderness is an account of that ministry.

For his work with sufferers from AIDS Father Drouin takes his inspiration from the parable of the Prodigal Son. More than once he reminds the reader of the gesture of the father in that tale: "When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell upon his neck, and kissed him."

Father Drouin introduces us to a varied cast of characters: the highly cultivated François, from whom the priest learns the infinite value of a handclasp; Jean-Guy, who recovered his spiritual vision even as his eyes were losing their sight; Étienne, a seven-year-old with a profound knowledge of the meaning of gift-giving; Daniel, a drug-user from the streets, the last of three friends to die of AIDS, who learned to speak his needs in prayer, and who adopted Father Drouin as his "Pops."

Not all of Father Drouin's tales are spiritual success stories. After weeks of tending to the most elemental physical needs of Jim, who has opted to end his days in desolate solitude away from his home city, all the priest is left with is a mystery. And some sufferers, like Emmanuel, simply reject any offers of help. Caregivers of many kinds, in many different situations, no matter what their religious beliefs, will find Father Drouin's example not only inspiring but also instructive. His message is simple, very human, and tremendously demanding: be there for the patient; make contact, literally and figuratively; listen; do not judge; and love.


André Drouin


Father Drouin is a parish priest at St. Anne Church and at the Church of Nativity in Ottawa. A native of Ottawa, he was educated at the University of Ottawa, from which he has graduate degrees in both Geography and Family Counselling. He has taught at the Minor Seminary and at Notre Dame de Lourdes High School and has been chaplain to the Hull regiment of the Royal Canadian Army Reserve Force for 42 years.

Peter Schwarz

Cover Art

Peter Schwarz lived and worked as a full-time artist in Grafton, Ontario. His bold-stroked paintings, pastels, and prints have graced the covers and interiors of numerous Penumbra Press books. His work embraces the human range from agony to ecstasy and inspires with its resilience.

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