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The Suffering Human Being

The Suffering Human Being

by Katie Eriksson

translated by Karl Olsson and Charles Peterson

edited by Charles Peterson and Joan Zetterlund

ISBN 0-9772714-0-4

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First published in Swedish as Den Lidande Människan, The Suffering Human Being is the first of Katie Eriksson's books to be published in English. Katie Eriksson is a Professor and Director of the Department of Carine Science at Åbo Akademi University in Vaasa, Finland. Professor Eriksson also is responsible for caring research and education at Helsinki University Central Hospital as Director of Nursing. For Eriksson, the ultimate purpose of caring is to alleviate the suffering of others through compassion, confirmation of dignity, and a caring communion that is based on “caritas,” or love.

The book is the result of research on health and suffering conducted by the Department of Caring Science, Åbo Akademi University, Vaasa, Finland. Eriksson integrates her caring research findings with philosophy, psychology and theology to present a broad perspective of suffering related to illness, care, and life.

In her Preface to The Suffering Human Being, Eriksson writes, “…I have tried to speak of a suffering where hope and despair meet, where light and darkness break like waves against each other in the distant horizon, where the rays of hope illuminate the way. It is a message about life and love and about the human being’s infinite potential and the all-embracing communion of love that unites human beings around the world…”

Translated by Karl Olsson and Charles Peterson.

Edited by Charles Peterson and Joan Zetterlund.



“There is need now for a new profundity, a new depth dimension of the parlance of ‘caring.’ Dr. Katie Eriksson goes a long way in her exploration of the motif. All at once it touches theology, philosophy, and science – crucial ingredients in the process of healing and encounters with suffering. Her writing is like opening a window and letting the fresh air sweep over us.”

Burton Nelson, PhD (1920-2004)
Professor Emeritus of Theology and Ethics
North Park Theological Seminary
Chicago, IL


“Professor Katie Eriksson has been untiring in furthering our knowledge on being, suffering, and caring. One of the most important challenges that faces all health professionals is the alleviation of the suffering of another. In this book, The Suffering of Human Being, I encountered one gem after another which deepended my understanding, fed my soul and truly inspired me. I recommend it to all those who want to understand more deeply the sacred mission of being there for the suffering human being.”

Sigridur Halldorsdottir, RN, MSN, PhD (Med. Dr.)
Professor of Nursing
University of Akureyri

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