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Henri Nouwen fonds
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Lenten meditations

Item consists of a typescript of "Lenten Meditations: Battell", a sermon given by Nouwen at Battell Chapel during Lent. It is a reflection about suffering and hope using the story of Jesus on the Cross and how we can look at him and hear the words that are addressed to him. Nouwen suggests that Jesus' death helps us with our death, and that we need to reflect on the abundant mercy of God.

Getuigschrift Gymnasium A

Item consists of a diploma from St. Aloysius College, Nouwen’s Gymnasium in The Hague. Document declares that Nouwen has favourably passed his exams, and is fully qualified to study at a university in Theology, Arts, Law and other faculties. It is signed by multiple people including Nouwen, using the name Harrie.

Prayer and ministry

Item consists of a typescript of "Prayer and Ministry", a meditation by Nouwen based on Luke 9:28-36. Nouwen provides many examples of prayer and expounds on them using Jesus as the model. This meditation is less about ministry than it is about prayer.

Three meditations

Item consists of a typescript of "Out of Solitude". Includes the Preface, Chapter 1: 'Out of Solitude', Chapter 2: 'With Care', Chapter 3: 'In Expectation', and the Conclusion. These meditations were given as sermons at Battell Chapel, Yale University.

Typescripts of Boisen book

File consists of manuscripts for a book on Anton T. Boisen.

Folder 1 consists of seven typed manuscripts by Nouwen on Boisen. They include:

  • Boisen and Forestry
  • Dr. William Lowe Bryan
  • Boisen and Coe (George Albert Coe (1862-1951) important contributor to religious education in the US)
  • The Symbolic Flower
  • Anton Boisen’s Relationship with Alice Batchelder
  • The Background of a Clinician
  • Boisen and Freud

Folder 2 consists of eight typed manuscripts by Nouwen on Boisen. They include:

  • The Symbolic Flower
  • Dr. William Lowe Bryan (2 copies)
  • Boisen and Freud
  • Boisen and Forestry
  • Boisen and Coe
  • The Background of a Clinician
  • Boisen (2 copies) [3-page document about Nouwen's visit with Boisen in the Elgin State hospital in August 1964]
  • Anton Boisen’s Relationship with Alice Batchelder
    Folder 2 also contains sections of The Symbolic Flower and Anton Boisen’s Relationship with Alice Batchelder, as well as handwritten notes by Nouwen entitled, Richard Cabot and Anton Boisen.

This is my Son, the Beloved, listen to Him

Item consists of a typescript of "This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to Him", a sermon given by Nouwen about God as Father, Jesus as Son, and people as Beloved sons and daughters, on November 14, 1979.

How do we keep our lamps burning?

Item consists of the typescript of "How Do We Keep Our Lamps Burning?: A Sermon on Patience". Nouwen suggests that patience helps us live in the present beyond impatience and boredom to discover that the interruptions of our lives are our very work.

Meditation given during the celebration of the life and death of Gus van der Woude

Item consists of a typescript of "Meditation given during the celebration of the life and death of Gus van der Woude, 20th April [sic], 1975", a meditation by Nouwen using Luke 24:13-34 (the road to Emmaus). This homily portrays Gus van der Woude as Jesus who is minister and pastor, and the people present at his funeral as the disciples. Just as Jesus lived after the resurrection, so van der Woude lives on as minister to his people.

Certificate for Tonsure

Item consists of a certificate from Archbishop Bernardus Johannes Alfrink, dated July 18, 1954 , which certifies that Nouwen has received his tonsure (a symbolic cutting of the hair during the process of being ordained). Received while Nouwen was studying at the seminary to be ordained.

Meditation on prayer

Item consists of handwritten notes and a typescript of an Advent meditation on prayer, written between November 21 and 28, 1979. The meditation is based on listening to gospel texts that speak of God's coming and presence.

Sermon on death

Item consists of a typescript of a sermon by Nouwen using Luke 9:20-31. This sermon discusses death and the ways we can learn to live more easily with our own death.

The clown

Item consists of a typescript of "The Clown", a sermon on clowns, ministry and weakness. Nouwen uses the circus as an image for our world. He suggests that people keep the circus functioning, as do people in our world. The clown is the one we identify with because he stumbles and makes mistakes like us. Christ was the clown to announce by his life that we are not what we perform. The minister's final task is to announce that God loves us beyond what we can ever perform. Thus we can laugh at our weakness.

Certificate for the reception of the first two minor orders

Item consists of a certificate from Archbishop Bernardus Johannes Alfrink, dated November 14, 1954, which certifies that Nouwen has received the first two minor orders (Porter and Lector; Latin: priores). Received while Nouwen was studying at the seminary to be ordained.

Gratitude

Item consists of a typescript of "Gratitude", a sermon given by Nouwen for a Eucharistic service. Nouwen suggests that the spiritual life is one where we are not to master everything, but to be mastered; not to conquer, but to be conquered; not to fill our hearts, but to empty them; all to make a place within to receive the Word of God.

Live in harmony of mind: rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with the mourner

Item consists of a typescript of "Live in Harmony of mind: Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with the mourner", a sermon likely given by Nouwen during his placement at the Menninger Foundation (Topeka, KS). The theme of the sermon is taking our eyes off the big and spectacular and realizing the gift of the present. A second page may not be related to the first, but is about finding ways to get an overview of life in order to see new things in our daily lives.

Meditation on prayer

Item consists of a typescript of a meditation on prayer given by Nouwen on December 12, 1979. He suggests that prayer is a discipline of faith. Prayer should not be for entertainment or to make us feel better, but to express a longing to know that God is with us.

Certificate for the reception of the second two minor orders

Item consists of a certificate from Archbishop Bernardus Johannes Alfrink, dated July 17, 1955, which certifies that Nouwen has received the second two minor orders (Exorcist and Acolyte; Latin: ulteriores). Received while Nouwen was studying at the seminary to be ordained.

Confession and forgiveness

Item consists of a manuscript and typescript of "Confession and Forgiveness", a sermon given to the Unitarian Fellowship (KS). Nouwen spoke on confession and forgiveness and suggests that just as we can treat people badly physically, we can also do so spiritually, by focusing on their weaknesses. Forgiveness is necessary.

Lenten meditations

Item consists of a typescript of a Lenten meditation given by Nouwen at Battell Chapel on February 5, 1980. It is based on Luke 22:47-62 - the betrayal and despair of Judas. This is contrasted with Peter's denial and hope.

Subdeacon certificate

Item consists of a certificate from Archbishop Bernardus Johannes Alfrink, dated July 22, 1956, which certifies that Nouwen has been ordained subdeacon. Received while Nouwen was studying at the seminary to be ordained.

Ministry as hospitality

Item consists of a typescript for "Ministry as Hospitality", a sermon given by Nouwen on June 11, 1972. These ideas were later published in "Reaching Out".

The immaculate conception of the blessed virgin Mary

Item consists of a manuscript of "The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary", a sermon given by Nouwen for Advent. Nouwen suggests that Mary believed and was therefore prepared when visited by the angel Gabriel. Her life was her preparation for her call.

Draft of Anton T. Boisen and the study of theology through living human documents

File consists of a partial draft typescript of an unpublished book by Nouwen entitled, "Anton T. Boisen and the Study of Theology Through "Living Human Documents". Draft includes 'Preface', 'Part 1. The Case of Anton T. Boisen: General Introduction', and 'Chapter One: The Creative Experience'. This text was likely written during Nouwen's last year at the Menninger Clinic (Topeka, KS).

Battell Lenten meditation

Item consists of a typescript of a Lenten meditation based on Luke 22:39-46 - how the suffering Jesus gives comfort and hope in suffering.

Deacon certificate

Item consists of a certificate from Archbishop Bernardus Johannes Alfrink, dated November 18, 1956, which certifies that Nouwen has been ordained deacon. Received while Nouwen was studying at the seminary to be ordained.

With care

Item consists of a typescript for "With Care: Mark 6:30-44", a talk on care of the sick and pastoral counseling. Nouwen argues that cure without care is more harmful than helpful, even in the professional setting. He asks: What does it mean to care? How to become a caring community around the person who is suffering? Nouwen urges his listeners to go beyond the professional to the human in the "caring" professions. Similar ideas were published in "Out of Solitude".

Drafts of Intimacy

File consists of typescripts of three chapters (seven) of Nouwen's first book, "Intimacy". The chapters included are: 'From Magic to Faith' (originally a student lecture by Nouwen) (includes three copies in Dutch, one in English); 'The Priest and His Mental Health' (one copy; English); and 'The Challenge to Love' (two copies; based on lecture notes). File also includes a typescript of an article entitled, "On the Possibility and Desirability of Love", a precursor to the chapter, 'The Challenge to Love'.

Sermon on joy and suffering

Item consists of a manuscript of a sermon on joy and suffering. Nouwen begins with: "It is remarkable how many books there are written about sorrow, grief, anxiety - and how few about job." He suggests that it is hard to be joyful, but underscores that Paul calls us to be joyful just as the angels called on the poor shepherds to rejoice even when things were not perfect.

Sermon on care

Item consists of a typescript of "With Care", a sermon on the care of the sick and pastoral counseling given by Nouwen at Harkness Chapel, Connecticut College, on March 10, 1974. Nouwen argues that cure without care is more harmful than helpful even in the professional setting. He asks: What does it mean to care? How do we become a caring community around the person who is suffering? Nouwen urges his listeners to go beyond the professional to the human in the "caring" professions. Similar ideas were published in "Out of Solitude".

Ordination certificate

Item consists of a certificate from Archbishop Bernardus Johannes Alfrink, dated July 21, 1957, which certifies that Nouwen has been ordained priest. Received while Nouwen was studying at the major seminary in Rijsenburg to be ordained.

Prayer as listening

Item consists of a typescript of "Prayer as Listening", a talk Nouwen gave at a conference on prayer, at the Community of Celebration (Woodland Park, CO), on June 23, 1980. Nouwen talks about the intimate connection between theology and prayer, forms of prayer and the importance of listening.

Dispuut “De Toorts”

Item consists of a certificate with the title Dispuut “De Toorts” that is dated March 7, 1956, and given by Corpori Studiosorum Noviomagensium [University of Nijmegen] from a group called Caroli Magni, and the Roland Society. It is likely that this is a certificate from a student society at the University of Nijmegen that is granting Nouwen membership.

Sermon on Romans 13:10-12

Item consists of a manuscript of a sermon on Romans 13:10-12, which discusses rising from sleep. It is likely Nouwen gave this sermon during his time at the Menninger Foundation (Topeka, KS). He suggests that when we are sleeping the sleep of despair, it is dangerous and we are called to wake up and experience new light and new hope.

Notes for sermon on spiritual life

Item consists of handwritten notes by Nouwen for a sermon on the spiritual life, likely given at a conference on prayer, at the Community of Celebration (Woodland Park, CO). Nouwen talks about how many Christians feel a heavy burden to save and redeem the world. He suggests instead that when Christians feel the need to be relevant, spectacular, and powerful, these are the temptations of Satan. Nouwen argues for the discipline to convert loneliness to solitude, and solitude to community.

Roland Society certificate

Item consists of a certificate with from the Roland Society at the University of Nijmegen (Studiosorum Noviomagensium), dated November 22, 1957. The certificate has a red wax seal with word ‘Roland’ inscribed in it and an impression of a drawing of a man with a sword.

Met Open Handen - Inleiding

File consists of a manuscript of introduction of the Dutch edition of With Open Hands. It is titled "Met Open Handen : vingeroefeningen voor het gebed" [With Open Hands: Exercises for Prayer].

How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language?

Item consists of a typescript of "How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language?", a talk Nouwen gave on the theme of Christian unity and ecumenicism. He uses St. Paul's text about many different languages to talk about unity and division in the Body of Christ. He argues that bread and wine is a sign of unity but perhaps also a sign of brokenness.

On departure

Item consists of a typescript of "On Departure", a sermon given by Nouwen to priests and seminarians at Moreau Seminary, University of Notre Dame, on May 12, 1968. He speaks about departure and leaving based on St. John 16:4-7. Nouwen's main theme is that, instead of viewing departure as a sad event, Jesus announces his leaving as something positive.

Be still and know that I am God

Item consists of two drafts of typescripts for a meditation on Psalm 46:10 ("Be still and know that I am God"), given on November 7, 1979. Nouwen speaks about letting ourselves trust and find the stillness that allows God to meet us, to pray in us, to find us. He describes stillness, knowledge that goes beyond intellect, and the love of the God that we believe in and trust. The first draft is written in point-form; the second is likely written as it was spoken.

Page 1 of Album 14

File consists of page 1 of Album 14. There are two photographs on the page [P8460, P8461]. Taken on February 3, 1964, Henri, Laurent J.M. and Maria Nouwen are seen sitting and standing during Henri's psychology doctoral exam at the Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen. Included in the pictures are Professor Han Fortmann, Professor Prick, a crowd of unidentified students and family, including Toon Ramselaar, watching the proceedings. The annotation on the page reads: "Doctoral examen - psychologie. 3 Febr. 1964. Staande: Professor Fortmann. Zittende: Professor Prick."

Weekly calendars

Sub-series consists of Nouwen’s weekly appointment calendars from 1975 to 1996. Most contain ephemeral material (including personal notes, reminders, invitations and miscellaneous information) which has been removed and placed in separate envelopes.

Articles by Nouwen

  • CA ON00389 F4-9-1
  • Subseries
  • 1960 - 1996, predominant 1974, 1976 - 1996
  • Part of Henri Nouwen fonds

Sub-series consists of published articles written by Nouwen between 1960 and 1996. A majority of the articles are dated between 1975 and 1996 probably because in 1975 Nouwen began transferring the articles for storage at Yale. The articles are in various formats including entire periodicals, offprints, clippings, and photocopies as originally saved by Nouwen. Specific publications include Pastoral Psychology, Sojourners, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Feu et Lumiere, The New Oxford Review, National Catholic Reporter, Weavings, and Zaken die God raken. Articles from church newsletters and other sources with limited publication are also included. In addition to featuring unique writings, the articles also represent published material that has been excerpted, condensed, adapted and reprinted from Nouwen's books, articles, and conference speeches. This sub-series contains only those articles written by Nouwen which he collected and does not contain all of his published articles as is evident by several incomplete article series.
The files are arranged chronologically. Each file features one unique published article although photocopies of newspapers as well as business cards and letters indicating the source of the articles are also included. Each file/article has been described at the item level.

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