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University of St. Michael's College, John M. Kelly Library, Special Collections Wilfred Watson fonds
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The spiritual life: inward disciplines

This item is a two page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Inward Disciplines: The Spiritual Life’, published by Alive now!, March/April, 1992, pp. 26-7. This item is a short excerpt from a lecture by Henri Nouwen at the Scarritt-Bennett Center, 1991. Nouwen begins by quoting from an unknown translation of Ps. 139. Nouwen then states ‘The spiritual life starts at the place where you can hear God’s voice’. Nouwen concludes this short excerpt by stating that the spiritual life also starts ‘where you dare to claim the first love’.

The spirituality of peacemaking

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘The Spirituality of Peacemaking’ published in The Lutheran, February 5, 1986, pp. 12 – 14. Nouwen writes of the peacemaker as one who prays. ‘Prayer is the beginning and the end, the source and the fruit, the core and the content, the basis and the goal of all peacemaking’. Nouwen describes peace as a divine gift which is received in prayer. It is in prayer, he suggests, that we find ourselves part of wounded humanity, one like those who create war. ‘Only when we are willing repeatedly to confess that we too have dirty hands even when we work for peace, can we fully understand the hard task of peacemaking’. Nouwen references the gospels and the words of Jesus about the prayer of the peacemaker and the receipt of the gift of love in the relationship with Jesus that comes from prayer. ‘Nothing is more important in peacemaking than that it flows from a deep and undeniable experience of love’. Nouwen concludes, ‘Prayer – living in the presence of God – is the most radical peace action we can imagine’.

The spirituality of peacemaking

This item is a 12 page article/talk by Henri Nouwen entitled The Spirituality of Peacemaking, given on the occasion of the celebration of the anniversary of the Norbertine Foundation of the Daylesford Abbey in Paoli, on November 18, 1982. Nouwen opens by suggesting that various of the Beatitudes ‘jump out’ at certain historical times. He states his sense that for this time the question is ,’how are we going to live out “blessed are the peacemakers”? Nouwen states that this is a question for all Christians and all churches. Nouwen states that he wishes to use the words of Jesus, ‘May you have peace in Me; in the world you will have trouble. I have come to conquer the world’. Nouwen goes on to say that he wishes to use these words to speak about peace in terms of prayer, resistance and community. Nouwen suggests that human beings act out neediness, woundedness, aggression and this is a barrier to peace. ‘But I say that Jesus Christ came to take us out of that interlocking world of needs…Prayer and the life of prayer is the life in which we move out of that dwelling place of needing and move towards the house of the Lord’. Nouwen follows this by suggesting that prayer gives us the ability to resist evil, to resist being overcome by suffering and death. Finally, Nouwen states that ‘it is the community that helps us to see the true meaning of prayer and resistance’. Nouwen concludes by stating that ‘we are a Eucharistic people and that is to be peacemakers’.

The spirituality of peacemaking

This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘The Spirituality of Peacemaking’ published in The Church Herald of the Reformed Church in America, Vol. XLIII, No. 17, October 3, 1986, pp. 5 -7 & 27. This article is identified as a first of two on peacemaking. Nouwen begins the article by stating, ‘A peacemaker prays. Prayer is the beginning and the end, the source and the fruit, the core and the content, the basis and the goal of all peacemaking’. Nouwen goes on to discuss the difficulty of many to find time for prayer and the very mixed motives we have even when we do good works. ‘Why is it so hard to go beyond this strange moral exchange in which every good deed has a price attached it? Why is it that our needs often spoil even the most generous gesture?’ Nouwen goes on to say that it is in prayer that we can come to know ourselves and to grow to be free from the self-deceit he speaks of. He warns of peacemaking based on fear or a need to know what others think of us. Nouwen says,’ Peacemaking is a work of love and love casts out fear’. Nouwen concludes by stating, ‘Prayer – living in the presence of God – is the most radical peace action we can imagine’.

The suffering Christ: peacemaking across the Americas

This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘The Suffering Christ’, published in The Other Side, December 1983, Issue 147, pp. 16 – 19. This article is identified as an adaptation of a talk given by Henri Nouwen during a vigil for peace and non-intervention in Central America which was held in Philadelphia, Fall 1983. Nouwen opens the article by stating, ‘As people of God we are called to know God. Yet we who live in North America will never fully know God if we ignore the way God speaks to us through the people of South America’. This theme runs through the article which asks people to become involved in the struggles and sufferings currently in Central and South America. Nouwen describes his own attempts to understand what is happening there by going himself to Nicaragua. He states that the more people he talked to, the more confused he became and the more aware of deep divisions even among Christians. He asks ‘How can one live in such a world and be faithful? How can one live in a country in which even the Christians are growing more and more suspicious of one another? How can one live in that world and find one’s own spiritual center?’ Nouwen’s answer is to look at the ‘deep truth of those words we repeat so often: “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again”. For Nouwen there is the revelation of God’s suffering in the men, women and children of Central America; Nouwen then sees that because Christ is risen ‘that Jesus has overcome death; he has overcome evil and agony. Nouwen then states, ‘“Christ will come again”. What does this mean for us today?’ His answer is that Christ will not ask us if we have been successful but what we have done to serve the least of Christ’s people. Nouwen concludes by asking, ‘Are we willing to be weak and vulnerable with those who suffer? Are we willing to sit in solidarity with them and share their sorrow, their anxiety, their agony?’.

The taste of new wine

Item consists of a book in which Nouwen has written the foreword, stating in part: "The Taste of New Wine is today as important as it was when it was first published. . . .Indeed God's spirit blows where it wants, and the renewal of the church in large part, comes from the people of God who trust in their own spiritual gifts. . . ."

The transcendent quality of prayer

This item is a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: The Transcendent Quality of Prayer, published in Faith/At/Work , March 1976, p.26. Nouwen begins the article by stating, ’Prayer reveals to us the real nature of things. It is the affirmation of life not as a possession to be grabbed and hoarded but as a gift to be shared’. Nouwen then goes on to speak of the difference between living as if people, things, ideas are to be grabbed and possessed or as if these things are received as a gift to be shared. He suggests that through prayer the latter becomes a reality to the life of the person who prays. Nouwen concludes the article in the following way, ‘Through prayer we discover that people are more than their character – that they are persons in the sense of per sonare - sounding through. When we become personas to each other, we sound through a peace greater than we ourselves can make and a love deeper and wider than we ourselves can contain. When we become persons we do indeed become transparent to each other and the Lord can speak through us to us’.

The trusting heart & the primacy of the mystical life: holy enough to walk on water

This item is a 10 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘The Trusting Heart & the Primacy of the Mystical Life’ published in the New Oxford Review, Vol. LIII, No.8, October 1986, pp.5 – 14. The article is identified as the second installment of a series of articles taken from a Nouwen diary written during his time as priest-in-residence at L’Arche, Trosley-Breuil, France. The excerpts from Nouwen’s diary in this article begin October 17, 1985 and end November 26. The first two entries focus on Pere Thomas’ response to Nouwen’s concern about his need for affection. He said Pere Thomas speaks about trust in human relationships and the ‘heart as the deepest source of the spiritual life…’ Nouwen writes of a visit from some friends and an experience at Mass with 3 handicapped men who were the altar servers. There are then more reflections on the mystical life, about the need for a new kind of religious order that will focus on peace, a new kind of ministry Nouwen sees he needs for the Assistants at L’Arche, his failure as he sees it to pray often enough for the dead. Nouwen then writes at length about the visit of his friend Jonas, with whom he had been angry when he failed to come before. He and Jonas speak about their relationship but Nouwen also notes their different perceptions of l’Arche. Nouwen offers reflections on his tendency to give from his abundance, ‘I see clearly how far I am from being like the two widows.(1Kings:17 – 26 and Mark 12: 41 – 44) I also realize that I cannot force myself to become like them. My spiritual task is to love God more each day, so that the many things that occupy my heart and mind will gradually lose their power over me’. Nouwen writes of a visit from Fr. George Strohmeyer of Erie, Pa. L’Arche and concludes this articles entries with a reflection of Abraham’s sacrifice of Issac.

The violence of everyday living

Item consists of a copy of a magazine article called "The violence of everyday living" by Paul Connolly. The article is about violence.

The way of living faith: a spirituality of liberation

Item consists of a book in which Nouwen has written the foreword, stating in part: "Segundo Galilea has not simply written a book to help Latin American Christians with their spiritual life. He has developed a Christian spirituality that gladly receives the new insight and 'passion' of the people of God learned in their long, hard journey toward freedom."

The way of the heart: desert spirituality and contemporary ministry

Item consists of a book which originated as a seminar Nouwen held at Yale Divinity School on the spirituality of the desert and then as Convocation lectures at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas and at the National Convention of Pastoral Counselors in Denver. The book has been divided into the following: Prologue; Solitude; Silence; Prayer; Epilogue; Notes.
As is stated on the back cover of the book: . . . ."Solitude shows us the way to let our behavior be shaped not by the compulsions of the world but by our new mind, the mind of Christ. Silence prevents us from being suffocated by our wordy world and teaches us to speak the Word of God. Finally, unceasing prayer gives solitude and silence their real meaning. . . . The 'way of the heart' leads us not only to a fuller encounter with God but also to a more creative relationship with our fellow human beings."

The wind is rising: prayer ways for active people handout for 1985 lecture course

  • CA ON00389 F4-7-1-2197
  • File
  • [distributed between February 19 - March 14, 1985]
  • Part of Henri Nouwen fonds

File consists of a newspaper titled "The Wind is Rising: Prayer ways for active people". Editors of this newspaper are William R. Callahan, SJ, and Francine Cardman. The publication date is given as 1978. The newspaper has been labelled as #21 and someone has written "please do not hand out - extras at the Carriage house".
A copy of this handout has not been included in the bound volume for this course.

The wounded healer: ministry in contemporary society

Item consists of a book which Nouwen wrote about being a minister in contemporary society. The book has been divided into the following: Introduction, The Four Open Doors; Chapter I: Ministry in a Dislocated World, The Search of Nuclear Man; Chapter II: Ministry for a Rootless Generation, Looking into the Fugitive's Eyes; Chapter III: Ministry to a Hopeless Man, Waiting for Tomorrow; Chapter IV: Ministry by a Lonely Minister, The Wounded Healer; Conclusion, A Forward Thrust.
As is stated on the front flap: "Noting that modern man is above all a suffering man--he is psychologically wounded by lack of hope, by loneliness, by the predicament of rootlessness--Professor Nouwen explains why the minister of today can only help others deal with these problems if he is willing to go beyond his professional role and leave himself open as a fellow human being with his own wounds and suffering."

Theatre and Company - March 14, 1992

File consists of correspondence and other material from Stuart Scardon-Watties, regarding Nouwen's attendance at the play "The Shunning" performed by Theatre and Company in Kitchener, Ontario. Includes Connie Ellis' response that Nouwen would attend on March 14th and bring three members of L'Arche Daybreak. Includes an information sheet on the play and the theatre company.

Theology degree records

Sub-series consists of materials related to Nouwen’s time pursuing his doctoral (doctoraal) degree in Theology at Nijmegen University. It appears as though Nouwen received the degree conferred upon completion of the doctoral exams although his thesis was not accepted. Note of December 18, 2013: file 319 unequivocally suggests that Nouwen pursued a degree in psychology (or to be precise in the Social Sciences) in early 1971. See also file 329, box 290 which contains a more elaborate outline of the thesis in question.

Theology diploma from Corpus Studiosorum Nobiomagensium Carolus Magnus

File consists of one theology diploma from Corpus Studiosorum Nobiomagensium Carolus Magnus. This diploma is likely Nouwen's degree from the seminary, which he received after his ordination. The diploma has a raised red wax seal with a ribbon. Diploma is dated November 5, 1957.

Theology of the word

Item consists of handwritten notes and a partial typescript of "Theology of the Word", a sermon and lecture given by Nouwen. He argues that in a culture where words are overworked, the word of God is full of power and beauty because it is alive, active and fruitful.

There's a lot of pain

This item is a two page article by Henri Nouwen entitled 'There's a lot of pain...' published in Alive Now! Novemeber-December, 1991, p. 44-45. It is the first article by Nouwen featured in this publication. The theme of this issue is ‘Loneliness’ and this article is identified as an excerpt taken from a lecture Nouwen presented at the Scarritt-Bennett Center. The article discusses the pain and brokenness of human relationships and love and heart given and shared by God.

Thirteenth Annual Connecticut Ecumenical Forum pamphlet

Item consists of one pamphlet for the Thirteenth Annual Connecticut Ecumenical Forum (West Hartford, CT) in which Nouwen was the John F. Whealon Memorial Lecturer, presenting two lectures on "Power, Powerlessness and Power: L'Arche Community" and "Three Disciplines of Spiritual Life: Solitude, Community and Ministry."

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.

Thomas Merton Award

File consists of one program for the 70th birthday celebration for Thomas Merton, including the announcement of Henri Nouwen’s receipt of the Thomas Merton Award.

Thomas Merton celebration

Item consists of multiple manuscripts and typescripts of "Thomas Merton Celebration", a talk given by Nouwen at St. Paul's Church, Columbia University, for the 10th Anniversary of Merton's death on December 10, 1978. Nouwen comments on Merton's idea that there are two illusions that deceive us: that we can know ourselves, and that we can know God. Instead, Nouwen argues that we are called to be seers, contemplatives. As the illusions are unmasked, we are free and open to see the newness and surprise of God and then we are willing to help hasten the coming of the day of the Lord. To do so we need to practice repentance and gratitude.

Thomas Merton lives!

Item consists of an article about Merton. Nouwen is one of several people interviewed. Includes a photograph of Nouwen.

Thomas Merton: A remembrance

Item consists of a copy of a newspaper article called "Thomas Merton: A remembrance" by Ron Seitz. The article is about Thomas Merton, written fifteen years after his death in 1968.

Thoughts from Henri Nouwen

This item consists of 7 pages of printed notes from a talk given by Henri Nouwen in Washington, D.C. in the Spring of 1983 to an unidentified meeting of Religious Sisters. The first section is entitled: ‘Intimacy: the Discipline of Prayer’. The section begins with questions: Where have you made your home? Where do you belong? Where do you have your address so you can be addressed? Nouwen links these questions with Jesus’ announcement that he will live in us. Nouwen discusses the need we all have to be liked, to be respected, to be successful. ‘The more compliments we get, the more we seem to need.’ Nouwen describes humanity’s struggles with this through all time, the violence and greed associated with this and then reminds us that the Good News of the Gospel can break the network. ‘To do this takes a discipline of prayer because in the WORD intimacy is nurtured and developed’. In the second section entitled: Fecundity: Discipline of Community Nouwen reminds us that we are called to be fruitful and to help others to be so as well. Nouwen sees that this discipline develops in community where we recognize God in our neighbor. The third section is entitled: Ecstasy: Discipline of Healing. Nouwen identifies ecstasy as a ‘life of joy’ and states that we have to move out of the static place. We are to move out of the place of safety and security ‘and to move to the openness of life’.

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.

Three words to guide us

Item consists of a newspaper article called "Three words to guide us" by Archbishop John Bothwell. The article is about vulnerability, gratitude and care.

Théâtre Libre

Théâtre Libre – various secondary sources; copies of photographs (mise en scène).
Two copies of (in German): Guide for the Guest Performande of Théâtre Libre in Residenz-Theater of Benno Jacobson, first volume.

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