Item 1559 - Encounter loneliness

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Reference code

CA ON00389 1-9-1-1559

Title

Encounter loneliness

Date(s)

  • June 7, 1974 (Creation)

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1 p. of textual records

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(1932-1996)

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This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, Encounter Loneliness, published in the National Catholic Reporter, June 7, 1974, p.11. This article continues the focus on loneliness found in the article of May 31, 1974. Nouwen opens the article by stating, “Basic human loneliness threatens us and is so hard to face. Not seldom we will do every possible thing to avoid the confrontation with the experience of being alone and not seldom we are able to create the most ingenious devices to prevent ourselves from being reminded of this condition”. Nouwen speaks of our culture’s tendency to avoid loneliness; to fill all available time with activity. He suggests however that society also suffers because individuals also believe that they can take others’ loneliness away. “When my loneliness drives me away from myself into the arms of my companions in life, I am in fact driving myself into excruciating relationships, tiring friendships and suffocating embraces”. Nouwen goes on to develop the possibility that loneliness or unsatisfactory relationships can drive people into violence. He suggests at the conclusion that there must always be a private, ‘mysterious’ place in each person in order to develop community and healthy personal relationships.

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Note

Published in National Catholic Reporter, 7 June 1974, p. 11.
There is a head shot photo of Nouwen, taken by Ron van den Bosch. See P6433 on Page 11 of Album 3 for a full-size version of the photo.
This article is published in a revised form in Chapter 1, A Suffocating Loneliness in Nouwen, Henri, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life, Image Books, Doubleday, New York, 1975

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Accession Number

2000 02

Location

Box 294

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