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Archival description
Henri Nouwen fonds
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Brass plate of Saint Gennaro

Item consists of one small brass plate with the image of Saint Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples, and the inscription "prega per noi," the Italian phrase for "pray for us".

Black Orthodox rosary

Item consists of one black Orthodox rosary. The Rosary is made of knotted wool to simulate beads, with light blue thread wrapped around segments for decoration. The end of the rosary is a cross shape in the wool.

Black wooden rosary

Item consists of one black wooden rosary with metal attachments. There are two metal pendants, the first depicting the Virgin Mary, and the second is wooden crucifix with metal ends and Jesus.

Plastic beaded necklace

Item consists of one plastic beaded necklace. The beads are white and pink and brown striped.

Painted pendant necklace from El Salvador

Item consists of one painted pendant on a green string, depicting a farmer in a field and a church and volcano in the background with the inscription on verso "El Salvador C.A."

Wooden nativity set

Item consists of one nativity set. There are fourteen pieces depicting the Wise Men, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and some animals. These pieces are made of wood and are painted.

Ceramic ornament of St. Francis of Assisi and wolf

Item consists of a painted sculpture of St. Francis of Assisi with a wolf. He is wearing the brown garb of a Franciscan monk. He has his arms around the wolf, and the wolf is looking up at him. The bottom of the sculpture is covered in green felt and features a sticker with the letters "LBI".

Rubber stamps

Item consists of one set of rubber stamps for the use of Henri Nouwen. The stamps read "H.J.M. Nouwen, Piusconvict Nijmegen" and "Henri J.M. Nouwen".

Wooden card holder

Item consists of one wooden card holder. It is a block with space to hold several business cards. Likely kept on a desktop.

Dolby stereo

Item consists of one stereo system. This was Henri Nouwen's Dolby System 4 speaker system and manual recording system. Sue Mosteller says that this is the player that Nouwen used to play all of his cassettes.

Blue box

Item consists of one blue plastic case for holding papers. Nouwen used this case for his L'Arche Journal, kept from 1985 to 1986.

Collected artwork

Sub-series consists of artwork depicting Henri Nouwen and other framed images and sculptures, which may have been displayed in Nouwen's office or living space.

Sculpture of Virgin Mary with Jesus

Item consists of one carved wooden sculpture depicting the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus. Sculpture is approximately 25 cm tall. This sculpture was given to Nouwen by Frank [Last name unknown] in 1996.

Sculpture of traveller

Item consists of one carved wooden sculpture depicting a weary traveller. The man is carrying a seemingly heavy load and is barefoot, and there is a dog at his feet.

Personal effects

Sub-series consists of non-religious objects belonging to Henri Nouwen, which were not a part of the collected materials from his office. Includes: personal effects including his car keys, army uniform, and suitcases; and ornaments and crafts.

Two briefcases

File consists of two suitcases, one brown (E118) and one black (E119) with a combination lock, owned by Nouwen in the course of his life.

Car keys and other keys

File consists of keys that were used by Henri Nouwen. This includes a set of keys for Nouwen's 1990 Honda, one set for an unidentified car, a Honda key attached to a ring with a wooden tag labelled "Cambridge" and other miscellaneous keys.

Army uniform

Item consists of Nouwen's army uniform from when he served as army chaplain for the Dutch Army between 1957 and 1963.

Box 372 contains:

  • jacket
  • pants
  • 2 ties
  • hat
  • belt
  • handkerchief
  • raincoat
  • scarf
  • clerical collar

Box 373 contains:

  • wool coat
  • trench coat
  • dog tag
  • gloves
  • collar insignias

Box 374: includes a second army uniform, which likely belonged to an unknown family member of Nouwen's. There is a label stapled to the left sleeve of the jacket which reads "H.P.M. Nouwen. H.P.T.". It is unknown exactly how Nouwen was related to this person.

Coasters

Item consists of one set of coasters. The initials "H.N." are embossed on the coasters in gold ink.

Engraved wooden box

Item consists of one engraved wooden box. The engraving is a pattern of squares with triangles.

Place mat

Item consists of one turquoise woven place mat.

Napkin ring

Item consists of one wooden napkin ring. The napkin ring is painted and features an outdoor scene with "Henri Nouwen" painted in yellow paint.

Noah's Ark musical ornament

Item consists of one Noah's Ark musical ornament with "Adam Arnett, Nov. 17-1961 - Feb. 13-1996" inscribed on bottom. The song played is "It's a Small World".

Plaster sculpture

Item consists of one glazed plaster sculpture of a hand with "Michael Barret 1991" carved on bottom. Sculpture is glazed with white paint with blue and purple swatches.

Wooden acrobat toy

Item consists of one painted wooden acrobat toy on a wooden stand given to Nouwen by Joseph and Brad for Christmas. There is a handwritten note from Joseph and Brad on the wooden stand.

Painted angel ornament

Item consists of one painted wooden angel. It has many colours. The angel is blowing a horn. Label on the back indicates that the angel was purchased in El Salvador for $15.99.

Hinged wooden book stand

Item consists of one hinged wooden book stand that can collapse to be flat. The book stand is carved and features carved maple leaves.

Virgin Mary statuette

Item consists of one cream-coloured, porcelain statuette featuring the figure of the Virgin Mary praying. Statuette is approximately 19.5 cm tall. This object was a gift to Nouwen from the Flying Rodleighs. Bottom of the figure has inscription, in pen, "To: Henri. With love from the Flying Rodleighs."

Clay sculpture

Item consists of one small clay sculpture, possibly made by a member of L'Arche Daybreak. The sculpture features Nouwen with his arms around a child, whose hand is reaching towards Nouwen's open mouth. The Nouwen figure has a blue-gray glaze paint for clothing, and has glasses carved on his face.

Wooden sculpture

Item consists of one wooden sculpture, all carved from one block of dark wood. The bottom of the wood features the carved inscription 'The Remnant' and possibly a signature of the artist. The sculpture features a seated figure with its legs pulled to its chest, and one arm wrapped around the body. The other arm is resting on the floor, with its palm facing upward and cupped. The figure is sanded smooth with a finish, while the base is left rough.

Crucifix pendant

Item consists of one small metal pendant. On the front is a crucifix, with engraved figures behind Jesus, and angels above His head. The verso lists the name "Assisi" and has an engraved phrase in Latin, likely a prayer.

Commemorative coin

Item consists of one commemorative coin. The front of the coin features a raised profile of Pope Paul VI, and the Latin of his name: "Paulus VI. Pont. Max" The verso of the coin reads "Anno santo 1975. Roma" and a raise depiction of two saints and a doorway. Nouwen likely got this coin while he was in Rome.

Army socks

Item consists of one pair of olive green socks that were part of Henri Nouwen's military uniform. There is a label with 'Nouwen' sewed onto each sock.

Clerical collars

Item consists of six clerical collars, all used by Henri Nouwen.

Sailor doll

Item consists of one sailor doll with a hat with the label, "Holland-America Line". Henri Nouwen likely collected this doll while on contract as the chaplain for the Holland America Line in 1962. The doll has a soft body and a hard plastic head. The face is painted on.

String doll

Item consists of one doll made of rope. Red string is wound around each leg and arm, and green string is wound around the middle to create a waist. Green string also attaches the arms to the body. The head is a brown wooden ball. Around its neck is a yellow scarp, and the doll is wearing a brown felt hat. This item is possibly from Nouwen's time in Powhatan, Louisiana.

Religious artifacts

Sub-series consists of religious artifacts owned by Henri Nouwen but not a part of the collected materials from his office, including psalms and prayers, rosary beads, stoles, vessels, large wooden crucifix, a tabernacle, and a gold chalice.

Rosary beads

File consists of three sets of rosary beads, one made of black beads with a metal cross; one made with brown beads with a wooden cross and one made with brown beads and a wooden cross with a carving of Jesus.

Wooden rosary

Item consists of one set of rosary beads. These beads are wooden, brown, and include a wooden cross with a carving of Jesus.

Black rosary bead

Item consists of one set of rosary beads. The beads are black and include a metal icon of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus (back of the icon features a depiction of adult Jesus).

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