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Died: Brennan Manning, Author of The Ragamuffin Gospel


The official website for Brennan Manning announced Friday that the author had died.

He was 78 and passed away just a few days shy of his April 27 birthday.

BrennanManning.com said:

It is with mixed emotions that we must tell you that on Friday April 12, 2013, our Brother Brennan passed away.While he will be greatly missed we should all take comfort in the fact that he is resting in the loving arms of his Abba.


Art & Gerry Rubino

[Gerry is his sister]

Starting in 1970 with the publication of Gentle Revolutionaries, Manning wrote and published more than 20 books. His alcoholism in the context of being a Franciscan priest was the backdrop for much of his spiritual reflection. The Ragamuffin Gospel, published first in 1990, was his most well-known work. In 2011, his memoir, All is Grace, was published in which he talked about leaving the priesthood, his marriage, and later divorce.

Last fall, Hurricane Sandy severely damaged Manning's residence in Belmar, NJ, according to his office manager, Art Rubino.

At the time, Rubino said:

My name is Art Rubino. My wife Gerry (Manning), Brennan's sister, and I are Brennan's care providers.While his physical health is good, he is almost totally blind and neurological issues have severely impaired his speech and ability to move about. He has a full-time Health Aide named Richard who Gerry and I feel is a gift from God. As many of you know, Belmar, NJ has been devastated by the recent storm. The home where Brennan lived is uninhabitable and he must find other accommodations. Much of our inventory was destroyed.

In January, 2013, this information was updated:

Due to complications brought on by Hurricane Sandy, Brennan had to be moved to an extended care facility where he could get the care and attention he needed. His neurological issues have gotten worse. Please continue to pray for him.

In 2004, then associate editor Agnieszka Maria Zielinska wrote a profile of Manning, including:

When I first meet Manning, my eyes are drawn to his thick black brows, which only recently have begun to turn white like the snowy hair on his head; his thin, almost absent, lips; and the deep creases around them. He is life-weary, but his intensely blue eyes are young with eternity. Looking down, I notice a whimsicality coming from the soul of a child. His light denim jeans are cheekily patched up with colorful squares. It's as if to remind himself and me, "Don't think I'm a saint. I'm a ragamuffin, you're a ragamuffin, and God loves us anyway." In his bestseller The Ragamuffin Gospel (Multnomah, 1990), he writes that "justification by grace through faith means that I know myself accepted by God as I am." He explains, "Genuine self-acceptance is not derived from the power of positive thinking, mind games, or pop psychology. It is an act of faith in the grace of God alone." The jeans are a symbol, then, of faith. We sit down, and Manning tells me that there's nothing he'd rather do than what he has done for 41 years: help sinners journey from self-hatred to self-acceptance.

He's been there—or, to put it more accurately—he is there, traveling this road daily, never too far from a character he calls the Imposter. Everyone's got one. It's "the slick, sick, and subtle impersonator of my true self." The persona craves to be liked, loved, approved, accepted, to fit in. "It's the self that refuses to accept that my true self, centered in Christ, is really more likeable, more attractive, and more real than the fallen self."

The Imposter has shadowed Manning all through his never-boring days: from Brooklyn, where he grew up; through one semester of journalism studies; through Korea, where he served with the Marines; the Catholic seminary—which he left after seven days because of the dreaded "rising at 5 a.m., chanting psalms in Latin with pantywaist 18-year-old postulants," being ordered to eat beets ("which I hated"), and "stumbling up steps in an ankle-length robe unaware that I had to lift the hem"; through his service with the Franciscans in the United States and the Little Brothers of Jesus in Europe; to New Orleans, where he now lives.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

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