Will someone with a disability, either mental or physical, be recognisable in the heavenly realm? If they no longer have their disabilities, how will we know them? Are disabilities part of who we are? In the case of someone who loses a limb in an accident, it is easy to imagine them with the missing limb restored, but with congenital conditions many complex questions are raised. This book attempts to look at the issues in detail by comparing two key interlocutors, St Augustine and Jean Vanier. Although Augustine lived more than a thousand years ago, his teachings on the subject of heaven are still fundamental to much contemporary theology. Jean Vanier, founder of the L'Arche communities, works with people with learning difficulties. His contribution is supplemented by the work of Henri Nouwen, a Dutch Catholic priest whose writing was heavily influenced by his experiences with L'Arche. Finally, this book also offers some suggestions for the application of the theological debate to pastoral situations.
Nicola Santamaria taught maths and psychology in secondary schools for many years, before completing a doctorate in theology at King's College London. During this time, she worked at St Joseph's Pastoral Centre for people with learning disabilities and taught at Allen Hall, the Roman Catholic Seminary in the Diocese of Westminster.
CONTENTS: Approaching the Discourse on Disability - Mindfulness in Abraham's Bosom - The Voice of Jean Vanier - Henri Nouwen's Eschatology of the Beloved - Seeing the Riddle through the Mirror - Pastoral Implications.