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Henri Nouwen fonds
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Administrative resources files

Series consists of administrative resources files which were maintained for Nouwen by Nouwen's administrative staffs from 1983 to 1997. These files contain materials collected by Nouwen in order to assist him with his roles as pastor, writer, researcher, and friend. In addition to subject-based material such as newspaper clippings and brochures, it is evident that Nouwen's administrative assistants at Daybreak used these files to hold administrative material related to liturgical events such as Christmas, Lent, and Easter, as well as other aspects of Nouwen's duties in the community. These files were likely maintained as a resource for Nouwen regarding his daily work.

The titles of the files are taken directly from the file labels created by Nouwen and his administrative assistants, unless otherwise noted. The files are arranged by subject or topic (such as Latin America, Vincent van Gogh, or Abbey of the Genesee), are in alphabetical order, and materials within the files have been maintained chronologically. Many of the materials have been placed in this series because they contain annotations, either by Nouwen or an assistant, saying "File" with the subject or name or "File - Resource files."

Aging and Ministry

Item consists of talks on "Aging - A Way to Darkness" (SR2 v1, side 1), "Aging - A Way to Light?" (SR2 v1, side 1), "Detachment and Compassion in the Minister" (SR2 v2, side 1) and "Ministry to the Aging" (SR2 v2, side 2). The talk explores three forms of rejection: by society (segregation), by dying friends (desolation), and by inner self (loss of self).

Beyond the mirror

Item consists of a sound recording of Dorothy Fitzpatrick reading Nouwen's book Beyond the Mirror for Xavier Society for the Blind Book of the Month.

Care and the elderly

This item consists of an audio recording of Nouwen discussing care for the elderly. Nouwen asks us to consider two questions, which he formats his lecture around: "what do the elderly teach us about care?" and "how do we provide care for the elderly?" Nouwen talks about the need for compassion, the natural impulse to care, and the wisdom that the elderly have to share.

Collected audio cassettes

Sub-series consists of 54 audio cassettes collected by Nouwen. The sub-series contains commercial and non-commercial audio cassettes.

Collected commercial audio cassettes

File consists of 43 commercial audio cassette tapes collected by Nouwen. Audio cassettes include:

Stages of Contemplation: The presence of God - SR189
Stages of Contemplation: Praying in the spirit - SR190
Stages of Contemplation: Marriage: Call to contemplation - SR191
Stages of Contemplation: The process of contemplation - SR192
Stages of Contemplation: Growing in prayer - SR193
Stages of Contemplation: To be Eucharist - SR194
Sister Jose Hobday, OSF: Fidelity to remembering - SR195
Sister Jose Hobday, OSF: Coming home and passing over - SR196
Sister Jose Hobday, OSF: The enfleshed heart of life - SR197
Sister Jose Hobday, OSF: Desert fertility - SR198
Sister Jose Hobday, OSF: The hidden and the revealed - SR199
Sister Jose Hobday, OSF: Brokenness - SR200
Sister Jose Hobday, OSF: The call to harmony - SR201
Sister Jose Hobday, OSF: Retreat and reentry - SR202
"CNN Report": Palm Sunday by K. Himle / 4/4/1993 - SR203
Most significant civil rights case of the decade by David Brown - SR204
The common sense of God - SR205
King of the Nation - SR206
Taking care of business: Called or driven by Bob Buford - SR207

Prophets for today - Cardinal John O'Connor - SR208
Abortion and race genocide - SR209
The war against population by Dr. Kasun - SR210
Christ in the New Testament 3/29/92 - SR211
The Nurturing Network: Pro-life in a pro-choice world - SR212
The Nurturing Network: "Practical idealism: Compassion in action" - SR213
The Nurturing Network: How to build an effective social ministry - SR214

2451 of Rumi and apocalypse with Andrew Harvey - SR215

Creating an inner path for real magic: Applying real magic awareness in everyday life I - SR216
Creating an inner path for real magic: Applying real magic awareness in everyday life II - SR217
Creating an inner path for real magic: Applying real magic awareness in everyday life III - SR218
Creating an inner path for real magic: Applying real magic awareness in everyday life IV - SR219
How can I help? - SR220 (sent to Nouwen from B. Crowley)
The liturgical year - SR221 (given to Sue and Kathy from Bob [last name unknown])
Joni Earekson Tada 11/8/92 - SR222
Michael Kelly Blanchard and selected topics - SR223
Fr. William: Hesychasm: Introduction #201 - SR224
Fr. William: Hesychasm: Desert fathers and doctrine #202 - SR225
Fr. William: Hesychasm: Gnosis #203 - SR226
Fr. William: Hesychasm: and poverty #204 - SR227
Fr. William: Hesychasm and celibacy & Hescichasm and encrateia - SR228

Fr. William: Hesychasm and fasting & hesychasm and moral life - SR229
Fr. William: Hesychasm - The Jesus prayer first conference - SR230
Fr. William: Hesychasm - The Jesus prayer second conference - SR231

Collected materials

Series consists of material collected by Nouwen on topics, people, and issues of interest. Nouwen used this material for articles, books, lectures, talks, sermons, general interest, and as reference for his duties as pastor, friend, researcher, and writer. Includes journal articles, books, sound recordings, newspaper clippings, photographs, newsletters, and manuscripts. See sub-series level descriptions for more detail.

The series has been arranged in the following six sub-series:
1.12.1. Materials regarding Thomas Merton
1.12.2. Circus material (excluding unpublished manuscripts which are located in the Manuscript Series)
1.12.3. Collected articles
1.12.4. Collected audio cassettes
1.12.5. Postcards and icons
1.12.6. Materials regarding Seward Hiltner

Collected non-commercial audio cassettes

File consists of 11 non-commercial audio cassette tapes collected by Nouwen. Audio cassettes include:

Beloved child - SR232
F. Entrevista - SR233
Fr. Mathew Klety/Thomas Ronseitz on Jane Norton - SR234
Filartiga tape - SR235
Geschichten das at - SR236
Harry Booth - SR237 (possibly a letter on tape)

Tony Melendez - SR238 (possibly a letter on tape)

Elie Wiesel: Hasidic laughter - SR239
Elie Wiesel: Hasidic grandeur - SR240
Elie Wiesel: Hasidic melancholy - SR241
Elie Wiesel: Hasidic wisdom - SR242


Item consists of an amateur recording of Nouwen lecturing on "Compassion" in Wilton, Connecticut, on February 19, 1976. The lecture was recorded and sent to Nouwen by Mrs B. B. Shipe.

Course lectures, handouts, reading, and student notes

Sub-series consists of bound volumes of materials and loose documents created and used by Nouwen for his teaching positions various academic institutions in both North America and Europe. This includes reading notes, preparation notes, lecture notes, typed lecture summaries, course handouts and syllabi, many of which are heavily annotated by Nouwen. It also includes lectures, letters, notes, assignments and course evaluations produced by Nouwen's students and teaching assistants. In addition to the course-specific bound volumes, there are two bound volumes that are labelled as "miscellaneous class material" that relate to Nouwen's early career from 1959 to 1976. This sub-series has been divided into 22 sub-sub series based on the course titles and subjects which Nouwen taught between 1961 and 1994, except for one sub-sub series involving the two-volume set of collected class materials mentioned above.
The sub-sub series are:

  1. Developmental Psychology
  2. Psychology of Personality
  3. Abnormal Psychology
  4. Psychology of Religion
  5. Pastoral Care
  6. Christian Spirituality
  7. Ministry to the Elderly
  8. Hospitality
  9. Discipline and Discipleship
  10. Prison Ministry
  11. Collected Class Materials
  12. The Life and Works of Thomas Merton
  13. Ministry and Spirituality
  14. Ministry in Non-Religious Institutions
  15. The Ministry of Vincent Van Gogh
  16. Compassion
  17. Education and Community
  18. Hesychasm
  19. Desert Spirituality and Contemporary Ministry
  20. Spiritual Direction / Spiritual Life and Spiritual Direction
  21. Introduction to the Spiritual Life
  22. Early Dutch course material

Henri Nouwen fonds

  • CA ON00389 F4
  • Fonds
  • 1910 - 1997, 1964 - 1996 predominant

Fonds consists of 15 series:

  1. Manuscripts
  2. General files
  3. Calendar files
  4. Personal records
  5. Publisher files
  6. Financial files
  7. Teaching materials
  8. Nouwen’s education records and study notes
  9. Published works
  10. Video recordings of Nouwen
  11. Sound recordings
  12. Collected materials
  13. L'Arche Daybreak administrative files
  14. Ephemera and artifacts
  15. Photographs

Nouwen, Henri J.M.

Henri Nouwen: the wounded healer

Item consists of a sound recording of Nouwen at the Yale Berkeley Convocation in 1972. Nouwen spoke on the theme of the wounded healer (based on his book by the same title). Nouwen is introduced by Colin Williams. The talk is divided into three parts: I. Ministry (v1); II. The Wounded Minister (v2); III. The Healing Minister (v3).

In the name of Jesus

Item consists of a sound recording of Dorothy Fitzpatrick reading Nouwen's book In the Name of Jesus for Xavier Society for the Blind Book of the Month.

Introduction to the spiritual life: L'Arche

Item consists of an audio cassette of a lecture by Nouwen at his Introduction to the Spiritual Life course at Harvard Divinity School in Spring 1984. During this lecture Jean Vanier was the guest lecturer and spoke about L'Arche.

Vanier, Jean

Letter from Monica v. Perjés

File consists of a letter from Monika v. Perjés on audio cassette, sent from Germany. Cassette is titled "Interlocking fingers: answer from Monika."

Letters from Javier Hinojosa

File consists of five letters from (Fr.) Javier (Xavier) Hinojosa, often writing from Mexico. File also includes an audio cassette sent with the letter dated February 10, 1989.

Letters from Richard Schulzetenberg

File consists of three letters from Richard Schulzetenberg. File also includes a typed letter of response from Connie Ellis, Nouwen's administrative assistant.

Materials regarding Thomas Merton

Sub-series consists of materials collected by Nouwen related to Thomas Merton. Sub-series includes newspaper articles, mimeographed letters from Merton, several copies of Merton’s manuscripts and several of Merton’s commercially produced audio cassette recordings of his talks to the monks and community of the Abbey of Gethsemani. Sub-series also contains Nouwen’s own records of the materials he collected on Merton. Sub-series also includes materials relating to Merton’s death in 1968 and homilies of funeral services held in his honour.

Personalizing theology: conversations on ministry

Item consists of three audio cassettes: Staying Alive: Alone and Together (1 hr. 22 min.); Being Faithful: Engaging the Powers (48 min.); Praying: Faith to Faith (51 min.). Nouwen speaks on the first cassette (SR13v1). Nouwen is in conversation with the interviewer, as well as two other interviewees: Sister José Hobday and Bob Warner.

Prayer: the way to a transparent life

Item consists of a sound recording of Nouwen speaking at the Eighth Annual Missouri Liturgical Congress at Rockhurst College in Kansas City, Missouri. Nouwen speaks about prayer and the effect that prayer has on our ordinary lives. Nouwen says that the world "loses its opaqueness and becomes transparent" to individuals who regularly pray.

Rabbula: Icon of glory file

File consists of materials relating to the Rabbula: Icon of Glory, these materials include three photographs of icons with a sticky in S. Ron's hand: "The Slide Program Icon Glory will offer the information on these."; two audio cassette tapes of the slide show and a paper copy of a slide show. The file also contains a manuscript pertaining to Rabbula Gospel. The materials appear to have been given to Nouwen by S. Ron.

Recording of Greenbelt 92 seminar tapes: journeys of the heart

Item consists of three audio cassettes of talks Nouwen gave at the 1992 Greenbelt Festival, St. Lukes Hillmarton Rd. London, England. Nouwen spoke on the theme of claiming oneself as the beloved son or daughter of God. On the B side of volume 2, Nouwen recalls travelling with a L'Arche core member named Bill and also testifying before the United States Senate against military intervention in Nicaragua. The B side of volume 3 is blank. SR107 v1: "The Life of the Beloved"; SR107 v2: "The Discipline of the Beloved"; SR107 v3: "Being the Beloved."

Recording of Henri Nouwen at C.R.K in 1993

Item consists of a sound recording of Nouwen speaking to an audience in Dutch. A search of Nouwen's appointment calendar for 1993 indicates Nouwen was in Europe in June and later in October and November. It is likely that he spoke during one of these visits. He may have spoken on the topic of pr. gebed gemeenschap verkondiging.

Recording of Henri Nouwen at Comiss awards

Item consists of a recording of Nouwen at the Dialogue '94: A Call to Partnership conference sponsored by Comiss at the Milwaukee Exposition and Convention Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Nouwen received the Comiss award which is presented periodically to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of Pastoral Care, Counseling and Education.

Recording of Henri Nouwen at Sojourners Peace Ministry conference: Washington, D.C. 1985

Item consists of a recording of Nouwen speaking in Washington, D.C. at the Peace Pentecost, a conference entitled, "The Rise of Christian Conscience: A national conference for Christian Nonviolence and Civil Disobedience". The conference was organized by the Sojourners Peace Ministry, Washington, D.C. SR61 v1 is entitled "Spiritual Basis." SR61 v2 is entitled "Prayer and Spirituality".

Recording of Henri Nouwen at Stanley foundation lecture

Item consists of three audio cassettes of talks Nouwen gave to the Stanley Foundation on January 12, 1989. SR85 v1: "Christian Discipleship in the Modern World"; SR85 v2: "L'Arche Community Life"; SR85 v3: "From Absurdity to Obedience".

Recording of Henri Nouwen at Trent Clergy Conference June 1991

Item consists of a sound recording of talks Nouwen gave at the 1991 Diocesan Clergy Conference for the Anglican Church of Canada between June 3 and June 5, 1991. The Conference took place in Peterborough, Ontario at the Trent Conference Centre. The theme of the conference was "Living the Spiritual Life - A Conference of Priestly Spirituality". SR159 v1: "Monday evening" [cassette consists of music]; SR159 v2: "Tuesday morning"; SR159 v3: "Tuesday afternoon"; SR159 v4 "Tuesday evening"; SR159 v5 "Wednesday morning".

Recording of Henri Nouwen at the E.A.N.E. congress 85

Item consists of a sound recording of Nouwen speaking at the E.A.N.E. Congress in 1985. SR50 v1 is entitled "Wholeness and Prayer: Carrying the Burden that is Light"; SR50 v2 is entitled "A question and Answer Time with Henri Nouwen".

Recording of Henri Nouwen for an R.C.I.A. course

Item consists of sound recordings made by Nouwen during his writing sabbatical in Freiburg, Germany for an R.C.I.A. course in Toronto. The tapes were not numbered by Nouwen, but the subjects have been identified in Nouwen's hand. SR130v1: "Creed III, Jesus: God- with- us"; SR130v2: "18th March 1993, Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead, 15 minutes"; SR130v3: "I believe in the Holy Spirit, 15 minutes."

Recording of Henri Nouwen for an R.C.I.A. course

Item consists of sound recordings made by Nouwen during his writing sabbatical in Freiburg, Germany for an R.C.I.A. course in Toronto. Titles for the tapes include:
SR133v1"About God the Creator, Henri Nouwen, Jan. 1993";
SR133v2"About Jesus the Reedemer [sic], Henri Nouwen, Feb. 1993";

  • SR133v.2_a – 46:31 (ends at 14:40)

Nouwen begins with, “Dear friends. It is good to be with you again.” It is a letter, and he is speaking just to the recorder. He says he is enjoying his time in Freiburg, and is getting rested and is excited to begin writing again. He arrived very exhausted, but is feeling better now, and is grateful to be in Freiburg.

He continues talking about the creed and Jesus. He discusses the second statement of the creed, which is, “I believe in Jesus Christ.”

Jesus is the redeemer, the savior. We have to have a personal understanding of our need to be saved. If you don’t feel the need to be saved from anything, then you can hardly be excited about a savior. He talked before about God as a creator, and in the Genesis story, God wanted to be sure that the human person would remain obedient to him, and would remain centered on Him who has created man. The question of what is good and what is evil is God’s question, and we cannot decide that. We consider the story about the fall and sin of Adam and Eve, and it is a story in which the human person forgets that he or she is not God. He or she can only be truly happy, really, truly, fully human, when he or she continues to give honour to the God who has created him or her.

If we look at the journey of the Jewish people as is written in the Old Testament, we see that one of the main temptations is the temptation of idolatry. We are always tempted to forget that God is God and not we. We give power to created beings or created ideas or created events, and before we know it, we expect of other beings something that only God can give. We expect from events, ideas, books, art, music, something that only God can give. This temptation is constant, and it always gets us into trouble because we have a heart that will only truly be satisfied with perfect fulfillment, and only God can give that. This idolatry traps us, makes us victims, and it makes us addicted. We are trapped there, like we are trapped in drugs or alcohol, we can be trapped by desires for fame or success, or money, and so on. We need someone to un-trap us. Jesus is the savior, the one who comes to get us out of our trap, to redeem us from our imprisonment, to set us free. Only God will satisfy the deepest desires of the heart. Only God loves us in a way that corresponds to the desires of our heart.

Nouwen concludes by saying he is missing everyone, and is grateful to Nathan [Ball] that he visited. He says it is wonderful that in this way [the tapes] they can support each other and keep each other’s faith and support each other’s hopes.
SR133v3 "The Resurrection of Jesus #4, Henri Nouwen, Feb. 1993";

  • SR133v.3_a – 46:46 (ends at 22:51)

Nouwen begins with “Dear friends,” like a letter. He says he has just returned from France, where he attended the funeral of Pere Thomas, the co-founder of L’Arche, and a very holy man with great spiritual vision, that gave Nouwen and many others a great amount of spiritual support. Pere Thomas was the man who gave the vision to Jean Vanier of L’Arche and to many others who came to him.

Nouwen reflects in this talk on resurrection, and how the death of Pere Thomas deepened his hope for the resurrection and his faith in the resurrection. The resurrection is the central point of his faith. In the creed it says, “Jesus descended to the dead. On the third day, he rose again.” Jesus was born among us, lived among us, suffered among us, and died among us. In this, God was with us in every respect.

The resurrection of Jesus was the event from which we have come to understand everything else. Without the resurrection, everything else that we say about Jesus loses its meaning. Nouwen reads from Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians, the 15th chapter, and summarizes that our hope in the resurrection is based on our faith in the resurrection of Jesus. “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is without substance, and so is our faith.” The resurrection of Jesus, therefore, gives meaning to all of the preaching of the church. All that we say of the birth, life, and suffering and death of Christ, finds its final meaning in the resurrection. If Jesus had not been raised from the dead, he would have been just another interesting prophet, and would not have been our redeemer, the one with the power to raise us from death. Nouwen says, “Resurrection is that event by which God overcomes the powers of death, by which God liberates us from our final slavery, which is our slavery to death. Paul says Jesus came to take the sting out of death, so death no longer is our final destiny. It’s really important to see that the resurrection of Jesus is the linchpoint of our faith, the fore point, the central point, around which everything hinges, everything moves.”

Nouwen says that resurrection is a hidden event. Jesus appears to those who have loved him, known him, been close to him. The resurrection is an intimate encounter in love. The resurrection wasn’t a spectacle in Jerusalem, but something that happened in the margin of society and gradually became the core of the preaching of the apostles and disciples of Jesus. They went around and said that they had seen Him, and he is our redeemer. We have discovered this through his resurrection. He came to free us from all forms of darkness. That preaching started to take place, here and there, and gradually it became more general and then it went beyond the Jewish world. It is this message that we have to hear with our hearts.

Secondly, the resurrection says that love is stronger than death. Love is something which comes from God, and love that comes from God is there to stay, it is eternal. We love in the body and with the body, with our eyes, hands, words, gestures, embraces. God says to us, “I love you. I sent Jesus into the body so you can see Jesus, touch him, be with him.” The resurrection is saying that all is not in vain, all that is real and lasting is listed up in God. Love is incarnate in the flesh the flesh itself is being redeemed and lifted up. Love is eternal because it comes from God.

Thirdly, the suffering that we live in our life leaves its marks on our body, and also in the resurrection. Jesus showed the disciples his wounds in his hands and sides, and told them to look at him and touch him. When they saw him, they saw him with his wounds, glorified wounds that are no longer suffering, but wounds that show who He is. Jesus shows us the way he has lived and suffered, and his suffering is being lifted up through his body to God, not as suffering, but as a way that gives him a unique way of being. Our suffering, too, is not in vain, and it will be glorified in our bodies, and it gives us our unique identity. Each of us has our own painful experiences, weakness, and struggles. They shape our life and give our body its form. What we say, write, talk about, and do depends on the way we suffered in our love. This is where our wisdom and our sadness comes from. We believe that we are shaped by our suffering life, but all that will be transformed.

This is an important point in L’Arche, where we so much are focused on the body. The work for the body, with the body, is really the work that is sacred, because the body is sacred, and because the body is not simply there to vanish, but to be finally lifted up in the resurrection and be given glory. Nouwen says, “Resurrection doesn’t mean the bones will be used again, but a new body will be given to us, and the new body will carry in itself all that we have lived in the body that has been laid to rest. That bodily life, that bodily suffering, that bodily spirit will be honored in death.”

Nouwen concludes his discussion of the resurrection by talking about Jesus’ having descended to the dead. Jesus descended to the dead to assemble all the people who had died before, to lift them up. Jesus died for all people, not just those who live now or will live in the future, but those who have lived in the past. Jesus descended to take them with Him into the life of God. That makes it clear that resurrection is for all people.

Nouwen then says that these are the core statements of faith that he can make, and he hopes they use these as a starting point for their own discussion and reflections. He thanks Cassie and Nathan for helping him to be a part of this community reforming, and he prays that they can grow together in their faith and deepen their love for one another, and ask God to show us the way. He finishes by saying, “Much love, and hopefully we’ll see each other again soon.”
SR133v4 "RCIA- I Believe in the Holy Spirit #5, Henri Nouwen";
SR133v5 "Jesus - The Compassionate God, Henri Nouwen, Feb., 1993, 15 minutes".

It is likely these tapes were made from the originals sent by Nouwen from Freiburg, and distributed to students in the class.

Recording of Henri Nouwen on Caring for the whole person: the relationship between spirituality and medical care

Item consists of a sound recording of Nouwen speaking at York Central Hospital, in Richmond Hill on June 3, 1992. Nouwen spoke on the subject of spirituality and medical care. Some topics covered include forgiveness during times of grave illness, the experience of being near death, and the need to shift caring for the sick away from viewing illness as "the great enemy" and death as failure. Nouwen talks of the necessity of befriending illness and death, and to address and accept mortality.

Recording of Henri Nouwen on Mourning and dancing

Item consists of a sound recording of Nouwen speaking at the Center for Social Concerns in South Bend, Indiana. This was a three day event from March 19-22, 1992. The audio cassettes are from March 21 when Nouwen spoke on the subject of mourning and dancing. Also includes singing, prayers and stories from core members of different L'Arche Communities. SR115v1 contains part I; SR115v2 contains part II.

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