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Henri Nouwen fonds
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Catholic Press Association Journalism Award

File consists of the Catholic Press Association Journalism Award for Best Treatment on Prayer, which Nouwen received for his article “Unceasing Prayer” in America magazine, and one letter from Joseph A. O’ Hare, editor of America, notifying Nouwen of the award.

Catholic Peace Fellowship - April 11, 1981

File consists of correspondence and other material regarding the New England Catholic Peace Fellowship's meeting at Yale University. Nouwen spoke on "Peacemaking - Prayer, Resistance, and Community." Includes a letter from Watt Noyalis enquiring about meeting Nouwen for a meeting sometime during the conference.

Catholic Pastoral, Calgary - October 1-5, 1990

File consists of correspondence and other material, mainly with Bishop Paul O'Byrne and Rev. Leonard J. Hagel, regarding Nouwen's leadership at Study Days for the Priests of the Diocese of Calgary. Includes handwritten notes, airline tickets, names of participants, daily schedule, and thank you cards. Also includes a copy of a lengthy outgoing letter by Nouwen to all participants outlining the format of the Study Days and expectations of the participants.

Catholic New Times

File consists of business correspondence concerning the first installment of Nouwen's talk to the Christian Counselling Service (entitled Time to Mourn, Time to Dance).

Catholic Leader - Australia

File consists of business correspondence concerning a request to Nouwen to consider contributing to their paper. The Catholic Leader gratefully accepted the article Nouwen had previously successfully published in Weavings.

Catholic Health Association of the U.S. - June 10-14, 1990

File consists of correspondence and other material mainly from John E. Curley, Jr., regarding Nouwen's participation as a speaker at the 75th annual Catholic Health Assembly, in Washington, D.C. The title of his presentation was "Prayer and Health Care: Making Room for God." Includes programs, forms, conference newsletters, and itinerary. Also includes letters from Nouwen responding to Curley's invitation to speak at the event and to other people who wished to see Nouwen during his stay in Washington.

Catholic Digest

File consists of business correspondence concerning the use of Nouwen's article: "The Extraordinary Witness of Marthe Robin" which appeared in the May 1987 issue of New Oxford Review.

Catholic Conference of the Archdiocese of Toronto - May 17, 1991

File consists of correspondence from Doreen Cullen, regarding Nouwen's involvement in developing a conference for parish volunteers, for the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Toronto. The letter requests time to sit with Nouwen and discuss ideas. A letter of response from Nouwen's secretary states that Nouwen was unable to respond to this request because he was out of the country.

Catechism file

File consists of the book “Credo” and the “Credo leader guide”, as well as a copy of a typed ceremony for the rite of becoming catechumens.

Cassette tape duplication - 1984

File consists of handwritten notes and a typed handout for Nouwen's 1984 class Introduction to the Spiritual Life. These notes are regarding efforts by Nouwen's teaching assistants to collect audio recordings of Nouwen's lectures and duplicate them to sell to students. This file includes several lists of Nouwen's lecture schedule and the date they were given. Of interest is the fact that one list indicates the division of lectures onto separate tapes. It appears that the assistants to group the guest lecture presentations (Jean Vanier and Br. David Steindl-Rast) together. This file also contains a typed handout distributed in class mentioning the availability of the cassette tapes.

Casowasco Conference Center - October 27 - November 1, 1996

File consists of correspondence and other material regarding Nouwen speaking at the Casowasco Conference Center, Moravia, New York. Nouwen was to speak on "Solitude, Community and Ministry." Includes other letters from people wishing to see him while in the area. Also includes a list of Nouwen's publications. Nouwen did not attend this event due to his death on September 21, 1996.

Cash book 1984 -1987

File consists of one cash book kept for Nouwen between January 1984 and August June 1987. The book was kept by Peter Weiskel and Connie Ellis. The book lists Nouwen's deposits, expenses and balance chronologically.

Cash book 1982-1983

File consists of one cash book kept by Nouwen predominantly from September to December 1982 and March to June 1983. Includes a list of Nouwen's expenses by date and also expenses divided by category such as food, phone, travel, liturgical supplies and office supplies. Also includes entries regarding cash on hand, money exchanged, and exchange rates.

Case-recording in pastoral education

This item is a 9 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Case-Recording in Pastoral Education’ published in The Journal of the Academy of Parish Clergy, by the Academy of Parish Clergy, Minneapolis, Mn., 1974, p. 16 – 24. In this article Nouwen is writing about the value for parish clergy of note-making in their interactions with parishioners. Although Nouwen suggests that such note-making is rarely done he outlines in the article a number of reasons why it is valuable and offers some case-studies as evidence. Nouwen first identifies some reasons why there may be resistance in clergy to undertake note-making: 1) That the interactions are private and privileged, 2) That note-taking is a form of creativity which pastors may not see as being relevant to their work 3) That pastors may not see the relevance of what they do to the development of pastoral theology. Nouwen then discusses some values of note-making for pastors: 1) It is a professional task and one which, if the pastor is to be considered a professional among other professionals, must be done.. ‘The pastor cannot seriously claim a place on the professional team if he does not have his case-record by which he presents his work with the patient for discussion, criticism and evaluation. 2) It is a form of self-supervision. Here Nouwen quotes Russell Dick, BD, that note writing ‘is a check upon one’s work; it is a clarifying and developing process; it relieves emotional strains for the writer.’ Preceding the presentation of several case studies Nouwen states the following, ‘ One of the reasons it is so difficult to learn from experience is that the nature of the experience itself often remains obscure, ambiguous or vague. Sometimes the pastor feels happy after a visit, sometimes disappointed, sometimes sad, angry or depressed. In many ways the pastor senses vaguely that something went right or wrong, but cannot put a finger on it. Usually he does not stop to think or reflect but moves on to another experience allowing his feelings to drift into the background, unavailable as a potential source for learning. But if the pastor sits and writes the conversation as he or she remembers it, and tries to formulate personal observations of the situation and reactions to it, the cloud can vanish and the experience can become clear and visible’.

Case study notes

File consists of copies of miscellaneous loose case study notes. There are five cases represented. Each of the five original case studies features annotations by Nouwen, and each case study has been retyped with certain information removed (who conducted the case, etc.). These notes were likely prepared by Nouwen for use in one of his Pastoral Care courses either at the University of Notre Dame or Yale University.

Caring presence: reflections

This item is a 2 column article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Caring Presence’, published in SCJ News, October, 1983, Vol. 5, No. 2, p. 4. This item is an excerpt from Nouwen, Henri: Out of Solitude. Nouwen begins the article by asking, ‘What does it mean to care?’ He suggests that the word ‘care’ has often been misused and offers several examples. Nouwen goes on to say ‘… we tend to look at caring as an attitude of the strong toward the weak, of the powerful toward the powerless’. However, Nouwen suggests that real caring is when another shares our pain, touches our wounds with a ‘gentle and tender hand’. Nouwen concludes by stating, ‘To care means first of all to be present to each other…presence is a healing presence because they accept you on your terms and they encourage you to take your own life seriously…’.

Caring for the Commonweal: education for religious and public life

Item consists of a book in which Nouwen has written Chapter 5, beginning on p. 93, titled: "Theology as Doxology: Reflections on Theological Education." He stated in part: "I . . . realize that [the theological moments that God's Word really broke through to my own and my students' hearts] were indeed moments of doxology in which knowing God, loving God, and praising God became one" (p. 109).

Care: spirituality and everyday life

This item is a two page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Care’, published in Fellowship in Prayer, Vol. 38, No.6, December 1987, pp. 23 – 25. This item is a short excerpt from Henri Nouwen’s ‘Out of Solitude’. Nouwen begins by asking, ‘What does it mean to care?’ Nouwen then writes of the ambiguous ways in which the word ‘care’ is often used and the root meaning ‘Kara, which means lament’. Nouwen states, ‘Real care is not ambiguous. Real care excludes indifference and is the opposite of apathy’. Nouwen writes of different kinds of care and states, ‘The friend who cares makes it clear that whatever happens in the external world, being present to each other is what really matters. In fact, it matters more than pain, illness, or even death’.

Care cassettes

File consists of business correspondence concerning Beyond the Mirror and In the Name of Jesus. These books were read for cassettes and produced by the Xavier Society for the Blind to be used by the Care Cassette program at the Lutheran General Hospital.

Care and the elderly

Item consists of a booklet featuring Nouwen's speech "Care and The Elderly" which he delivered on June 25, 1975 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, at the biennial luncheon sponsored by The Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board of the American Baptist Churches.

Car insurance 1983 - 1994

File consists of material regarding Nouwen's car insurance. Includes correspondence, statements, claim forms, and informational pamphlets and booklets from Hunter, Rowell and Co. Limited, Guardian Insurance, CAA (Canadian Automobile Association), the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, and Honda. Also includes the original owner's manual for 1986 Honda Civic and Certificate of Title and 1983/1984 insurance statement for Nouwen's car in the United States.

Capital punishment file

File consists of a copy of an article on capital punishment called “A spiral of violence”.

Capital management (Andy McGee)

File consists of material regarding Nouwen's capital management account with McGee Capital Management Ltd (Andy McGee account manager). Includes year-end statements, annual reports and information pamphlets from Fidelity Investments, GT Global, Trimark Investments, Templeton Management, and Mackenzie Financial. Also includes a copy of the final cheque to the Estate of Henri Nouwen to close the account.

Canadian Broadcasting Center - February 26, 1981

File consists of a letter from producer Tim Bentley of the radio program Open Circuit regarding arrangements to conduct an interview with Nouwen about his book The Wounded Healer and other topics. The letter appears to be confirming arrangements, however, there is nothing to indicate that the interview did take place.

Canada customs

File consists of an invoice from Canada Customs for the import of religious books.

Canada Trust accounting

File consists of material regarding Nouwen's financial situation in 1994. Margaret Sutton collected information regarding Nouwen switching his accounting services to Canada. Includes a conversation with a tax consultant at Canada Trust, a breakdown of Nouwen's accounts in 1994, and a Summit Account Agreement booklet from Canada Trust.

Cambridge, Mass. - October 28-29, 1980

File consists of a letter of thanks from George Rupp, Dean, Harvard University, The Divinity School, regarding Nouwen's visit to the school and possible future plans.

Cambridge, Jana Kelly - February 10, 1987

File consists of correspondence and other material regarding Nouwen's participation as speaker at the St. Paul Lecture Series, St. Paul Lower Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Includes handwritten notes from Nouwen's talk "The Peace that the World does not Give."

Cambridge Trust Co. - old material

File consists of older material regarding Nouwen's Cambridge Trust retirement account. Includes correspondence, statements, forms, and informational pamphlets.

Calvinist Contact

File consists of business correspondence concerning an interview Nouwen did with a representative of Calvinist Contact Publishing Ltd. circa October 20, 1987.

Called to be hosts

This item is a 2 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: Called to be Hosts, published in Faith/At/Work, September, 1976, p 30-31. Nouwen begins the article by stating ‘The call to ministry is the call to be a host to the many strangers passing by. In this world full of strangers…we search for a hospitable place, where life can be found’. Nouwen speaks then of our ambivalent feelings towards the stranger of both fear and attraction and suggests that ‘during the last years strangers have become more subject to hostility than to hospitality’. Nouwen then goes on to speak of the way in which a minister is to offer healing hospitality to the stranger. He speaks of the need to offer a space where the stranger can grow to be himself. ‘This will come to pass only when ministry is undergirded by spirituality, that is, when the outer movement from hostility to hospitality is supported by an inner movement from property to poverty. Poverty means that my identity in the final analysis is not determined by what I can do or think, but by what God’s Spirit can do, say, and think in me.’ Nouwen concludes, ‘When poverty enables us to create a friendly space for the stranger and to convert hostility into hospitality, then the stranger might be willing to show his real face’.

Called from darkness: a Lutheran worship celebration in support of the second special session on disarmament of the United Nations at jazz vespers

This item is a 7 page talk given by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Called from Darkness’ given to a Lutheran Worship Celebration in support of the Second Special Session on Disarmament of the United Nations at Jazz Vespers, published in Sermons at St. Peter’s Church, Sunday, June 13, 1982. Nouwen identifies his intention in this talk to reflect on a ‘spirituality of peacemaking’ using three key words: prayer, resistance and community. In his discussion of prayer Nouwen first speaks of the difference between speaking out of our needs: for affection, attention, power and speaking from our relationship with God rooted in prayer. ‘Now prayer is that slow process in which we move away from that dark sticky place of our needs into the light of Christ’. Nouwen also identifies prayer as an act of resistance, ‘resistance against this needy, sucking and frightening go-around’. Nouwen then reflects on the word resistance. ‘Resistance means to say No! No! No! against all the forces of death’. Nouwen speaks about the power then of life and our resistance to it and that is our struggle not just in the big things in life but the small. Nouwen goes on to suggest that resistance is not just to say No! but even more to say yes. ‘Resistance in the deepest sense means to continuously proclaim that God is a God of the living, that God is a God of life’. Nouwen also states that ‘Resistance is prayer because it is a proclamation and a confession of the living God’. In discussing the third word ‘community’, Nouwen identifies community as the place of prayer and resistance. The person who acts towards peace with the support of community is rooted in a place of acceptance and forgiveness. Nouwen concludes the talk by saying that he believes the most important point is that ‘community is to be a Eucharistic community’.

Calendar files

Series consists of files containing correspondence and other material related to Nouwen's day to day engagements. Nouwen received dozens of invitations each month to give lectures or talks, lead retreats, preside at religious occasions, and provide spiritual direction. Requests came from a wide range of institutions, organisations and individuals, the majority having some sort of religious affiliation. Invitations from institutions included university divinity schools, seminaries, hospital pastoral departments, churches, and Christian retreat centres. Invitations from organisations included the National Catholic AIDS Network, the Ministry of Money, and the Archdiocese of Toronto. Invitations from individuals included requests for Nouwen to preside over masses, weddings, funerals, baptisms and ordinations, and those interested in personal spiritual direction. Such requests often came from priests, ministers, pastors, and chaplains. The majority of Nouwen's engagements took place in the Northeastern United States, Southern Ontario, and Holland. However, he also attended events in Illinois, Texas, California, British Columbia, Quebec, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the Ukraine. After Nouwen's move to L'Arche Daybreak in 1986, files were created to plan and document special events associated with his role as pastor. There are files regarding community meetings, community weekends, assistant workshops, visits to other L'Arche communities and meetings of the International Federation of L'Arche.
Generally, when an invitation was accepted a file was created and arranged chronologically according to the date of the event. In some cases the file contains material regarding events scheduled in the same city and in the case of 1985 material regarding an entire months schedule. However, typically the files are organised by event/engagement. In addition to the date of the event the title of the file would often include the name of a person or organisation and/or the event and/or the location of the event. A typical file consists of the initial letter of invitation describing the nature of the request, follow-up correspondence to confirm dates and other arrangements, details regarding Nouwen's role at the event, drafts of promotional material, reference material on the organization(s) involved, the event, the issue and the location, and travel documents. In some cases, the file will also contain handwritten or typed notes, copies of outgoing letters, schedules, programs, bulletins, evaluations completed by attendees, thank you letters and cards from the organiser of the events and others, newspaper clippings of the events and/or the published version of his speech or lecture. Outgoing letters only begin to be seen after 1986 and after that they are not consistent. Much of the correspondence after 1986 is further enriched by the annotations of Nouwen and his assistants Connie Ellis (1986-1992) and Kathy Christie (1992-1996) at L'Arche Daybreak. Other members of the community, including Sue Mosteller, Joe Vorstermans, Nathan Ball and Elizabeth Buckley, also contributed to the files.
The files were created between 1980 and 1996, however, the file titles themselves extend to 1998 because events were often scheduled two or more years in advance. There are no files for January 1982 to April 1985. The files from 1985 contain invitations only from March to August grouped by month. There are no files for June 1987 to May 1990. Approximately 74% of the files in the series are for June 1990 to August 1995. Their are only a small number of files for September 1995 to October 1998, this is likely because Nouwen was on sabbatical from September 1995 to September 1996. The files contain gaps and inconsistencies due to Nouwen's frequent movement between 1982 and 1986 as well as changes in Nouwen's support staff and their differing recordkeeping techniques.
This series provides an excellent overview of Nouwen's schedule of events and specific information regarding his participation at those events. Noteworthy are the handwritten and typed notes used for speaking engagements (some are unpublished) as well as copies of outgoing letters written by Nouwen.

But what then can we do

This item is a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘But what then can we do?’ published in Alive Now! November-December, 1991, p. 47. It is the second article by Nouwen featured in this publication. The first article is entitled 'There's a lot of pain...' The theme of this issue is ‘Loneliness’ and this article is identified as an excerpt from Nouwen’s ‘Reaching Out’. Nouwen begins by asking ‘But what then can we do with our essential aloneness which so often breaks into our consciousness as the experience of a desperate sense of loneliness?’ Nouwen goes on to speak of the need to convert our loneliness into a fruitful solitude.

Business meals and promotion - 1989

File consists of material regarding Nouwen's 1989 business meals and other promotional activities expenses. Includes receipts with notes and invoices arranged by month.

Business meals - 1994

File consists of material regarding Nouwen's 1994 business meals expenses. Includes invoices and receipts with notes arranged by month.

Business meals - 1993

File consists of material regarding Nouwen's 1993 business meals expenses. Includes receipts arranged by month.

Business meals - 1992

File consists of material regarding Nouwen's 1992 business meals expenses. Includes receipts arranged by month.

Bulletin of Yale University Divinity School

Item consists of one copy of the Bulletin of Yale University Divinity School, Series 67, Number 8, April 1971, which includes programs for study; there is no mention of Nouwen.

Brunnen Verlag

File consists of business correspondence concerning Nouwen's book Our Greatest Gift.


File consists of business correspondence concerning the Plough Publishing House, which was run by the Hutterian Brethren. Includes a copy of Christianity Today, March 15, 1985.

Broughton's file

File consists of Broughton’s Church Goods and Religious Articles Catalogue, Broughton’s Religious Education Resource Catalogue and Broughton’s Family Gift Guide – all three are for the 1990-1991 season.

Brothers and sisters in Christ

Item consists of a typescript of "Brothers and Sisters in Christ", a sermon given at the Abbey of the Genesee on August 12, 1979 (Nouwen stayed at the Abbey of the Genesee for six months in 1979). The sermon is regarding the sending of two monks to Brazil. Nouwen speaks of monastic life as a sign to the world that the eternal is in the temporal and that the monks sent will be a sign of that in Brazil. He argues that we are nurturing the eternal in the temporal.

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