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University of St. Michael's College, John M. Kelly Library, Special Collections Item
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American Church meets for Triennial General Convention: SA Primate decries budget cuts, calls for larger vision

Item consists of the first page of an article by an unknown author titled "American Church meets for Triennial General Convention." The article discusses the Convention and the Convention's program and the discussions that took place. Henri Nouwen attended and is featured with the Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning in the photograph with the article.

An invitation to joy

This item is a 5 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘An Invitation to Joy’ published in the journal ‘Praying’ by the National Catholic Reporter, May-June 1992, pp. 4 – 9. This item is identified as an excerpt from Nouwen’s ‘The Return of the Prodigal Son’. Nouwen begins the article by stating, ‘I am not used to the image of God throwing a big party’. He then goes on to identify biblical passages where God is said to be throwing banquets and rejoicing and to suggest that ‘Celebration belongs to God’s kingdom. God not only offers forgiveness, reconciliation and healing, but wants to lift up these gifts as a source of joy for all who witness them’. Nouwen writes of his own inability to see joy in a dark world but notes how Jesus sees joy and cause for celebration in very small, seemingly insignificant moments. ‘For God numbers never seem to matter’. ‘People who have come to know the joy of God do not deny the darkness but they choose not to live in it’. Nouwen concludes by saying ‘When I first saw Rembrandt’s Prodigal Son, I never could have dreamt that becoming the repentant son was only a step on the way to becoming the welcoming father. I now see that the hands that forgive, console, heal and offer a festive meal must become my own’.

Anton T. Boisen and theology through living human documents

This item consists of a 15 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: Anton T. Boisen and Theology through living human documents, published in Pastoral Psychology, Volume 19, No. 186, September 1968, p. 49 – 63. This issue of Pastoral Psychology is an Anton T. Boisen Memorial Issue and consists of 9 articles of which Henri Nouwen’s is the last. In this article Nouwen looks at Boisen’s important development of the use of the case study in the clinical training of theological students. Because this development of the case study arose out of Boisen’s confrontation with his own psychotic breakdown in 1920, Nouwen focuses much of this article on the life of Boisen, the relationships that formed his direction from his study of languages, forestry and finally, the ministry. Nouwen states: "In a way, we can say that Boisen’s own psychosis became the center of his identity…there he found his true vocation: the ministry to the mentally ill. There he found the main concepts of his most important publication, The Exploration of the Inner World and there he found the basis of his idea for the clinical training of theological students." The article has a number of headings: The Man, The Central Experience (his psychotic breakdown), The input (here Nouwen discusses some of the people who deeply influenced Boisen), The Outcome (here is discussed his development of the case method, Growth through Conflicts (the growth of the case method and evolutions which Boisen found difficult) and The Last Years (covers the years from Boisen’s retirement until his death in 1965 at the age of 89).

Article about Nouwen's feelings after attending the June 1980 Community of Communities Theological Conference

This item is a one column article by Henri Nouwen with no title but part of a larger article entitled ‘Hearing Heart to Heart, responses to a theological conference on prayer, published in Sojourners, October 1980, p.23,24. Nouwen begins by identifying his physical and emotional tiredness when he arrived at the conference but then states, ‘My week [at Woodland Park] will stick in my mind as one of the most hopeful events of my life’. Nouwen states that he does not speak of hope as optimism but the hope and trust in God who promises ‘unwavering faithfulness’. Nouwen then goes on to state that he learned from the conference that there are two essential aspects to the common life: prayer and resistance. Prayer holds the community steady and resistance is ‘an act of visible protest against the powers who are bent on waging war even at the cost of the destruction of humanity’.

Article about Nouwen's views about Yale's mission

This item is a one-half page article by Henri Nouwen included in a series entitled, Five Faculty Views of the University’s Mission, published in the Yale Alumni Magazine and Journal, November 1977, p. 10-11. Nouwen begins by asking if it isn’t preposterous to speak about the mission of Yale because mission implies being sent to serve which for missionaries involves not an upward, but a downward movement to the path of pain and suffering. For Yale students however, he suggests the path is directed upward to be successful lawyers, doctors, executives. Nouwen then goes on to say that he does not see the argument as so simple after all. Nouwen says, ‘there is little doubt that Yale is a secular institution. [But] it is also an institution in which the call to service is continually heard.’ At Yale, Nouwen points out, hundreds of students study the sacred scriptures, the sacraments of the church are received, ‘it is a center where people from the most varied religious traditions meet…it is the home where people come together to assist the poor, visit the elderly, to tutor disadvantaged youth…’. Nouwen concludes by saying,’ so there might be a mission for Yale after all: to send men and women into our society who know the world and have acquired the knowledge and the skills to fulfill a task in it, but who also realize that the value of their lives does not depend on what they have been able to acquire, but on how much they have been able to serve their fellow human beings’.

Bearing fruit in the Spirit: the gifts of God's love

This item is a 5 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: Bearing Fruit in the Spirit, The House of God a Home amid an Anxious World, published in Sojourners, July 1985, Vol. 14, No. 7, pp. 26 – 30. This is part two of a three part series. Nouwen begins the article by speaking of the life-giving quality of fecundity in a world that seldom appears to experience that. Nouwen follows this with a section entitled, Fecundity and Fear. Here Nouwen identifies sterility and productivity as possible manifestations of a fearful approach to life-giving forces and fecundity. ‘In our contemporary society, with its emphasis on accomplishment and success, we often live as if being productive is the same as being fruitful’. In this section Nouwen writes of his experience with Jean Vanier and the people of L’Arche who showed him the life-giving gift of people who appear to ‘accomplish’ little. In the next section Nouwen writes of Fecundity and Love. He identifies three aspects of the fruitful life as ‘vulnerability, gratitude and love’ and discusses each in detail. Nouwen concludes the article with the section entitled: Fecundity and Mission. Here he begins by stating, ‘When we come to experience intimacy with God as including all of humanity, it will become clear that fecundity also has a global quality’. Nouwen goes on to say, ‘One of the most compelling aspects of the Spirit of Jesus is that it always sends us forth to bring and receive the gifts of God to and from all peoples and nations’. Nouwen suggests that our world would be very different if we recognized that there is something for us to receive from others, not just to give to them. He concludes the article by saying ‘ If giving and receiving the fruits of the intimate love of God for all people were our main concern, peace would be near’.

Because of Adam

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Because of Adam’, published in The Reader’s Digest, January 1990, pp. 114 – 116. This item is condensed from an article published in Weavings, March/April 1988. Nouwen begins by stating that he has recently moved from academia to living at the l’Arche community of Daybreak with men and women who have mental disabilities. He describes being assigned to help a very severely handicapped man named Adam Arnett. Nouwen describes his daily routine with the totally helpless 25 year old man and his growing awareness that Adam was doing more for him than he for Adam. ‘This severely handicapped young man, whom outsiders sometimes describe with very hurtful words, started to become my dearest companion’. Nouwen goes on to describe the very special effect Adam has on the people with whom he lives and the peace that, because of Adam’s need, helps them to work together.

Behold the beauty of the Lord: praying with icons

Item consists of a book which Nouwen wrote about four Russian icons, which first came to his attention when he visited L'Arche in Trosly, France in the fall of 1983. The book has been divided into the following: Introduction; I. The Icon of the Holy Trinity: Living in the House of Love, Introduction, A Gentle Invitation, Where Heart Speaks to Heart, The Circle, The Cross and Liberation, Conclusion; II. The Icon of the Virgin of Vladimir: Belonging to God, Introduction, The Eyes of the Virgin, The Hands of the Virgin, The Child of the Virgin, Conclusion; III. The Icon of the Savior of Zvenigorod: Seeing Christ, Introduction, Seeing a Damaged Image, Seeing a Tender Human Face, Seeing Eyes Which Penetrate both the Heart of God and Every Human Heart, Conclusion; IV. The Icon of the Descent of the Holy Spirit: Liberating the World, Introduction, The God-within, The Community of Faith, The Liberation of the World, Conclusion; Conclusion; References.
As is stated in the introduction: "Like the painting by Chagall, [which his parents bought when they were first married and to which Nouwen has connected his mother's beauty, the icons] . . . have imprinted themselves so deeply upon my inner life that they appear every time I need comfort and consolation."

Beyond the mirror: reflections on death and life

Item consists of a book written by Nouwen about an accident he had when he was hit by the side view mirror of a passing van. The book has been divided into the following: Acknowledgments; Prologue; The Accident; The Hospital; The Surgery; Recovery; Epilogue.

Blessed

This item is a 5 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Blessed’, published in Living Prayer, Vol. 25, No.4, July-August, 1992, pp. 3 – 7. This article is identified as an excerpt from a forthcoming book by Nouwen entitled, The Life of the Beloved. Nouwen opens with two stories of blessing; one about a young man at a Bar Mitzvah being blessed by his parents and the other about a woman at the L’Arche community of Daybreak asking for a blessing. In each story Nouwen speaks of our need to be blessed, ‘To give someone a blessing is the most significant affirmation we can offer’. Nouwen goes on, ‘ We also need an ongoing blessing that allows us to hear in an ever-new way that we belong to a loving God who will never leave us alone…’ Nouwen goes on to offer two suggestions for claiming our blessedness. The first is prayer in which, over time as we learn stillness, we can ‘hear’ God’s word of blessing. The second is ‘the cultivation of presence’. In this, Nouwen suggests, we learn to be present to the blessings that come to us each day, no matter how busy or unhappy or worried. Nouwen concludes, ‘ As you and I walk the streets of the cities in which we live, we can have no illusions about the darkness…Yet all of these people yearn for a blessing. That blessing can be given only by those who have heard it themselves.’

Boisen and the case method: roots of the case method in the work of Richard Cabot

This item is a 21 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Boisen and the Case Method’, published in The Chicago Theological Seminary Register, Boisen Centennial Issue, Winter 1977, Vol. LXVII No.1. The first section entitled ‘ Roots of the Case Method in the work of Richard Cabot’, outlines Boisen’s meeting with Dr Richard C. Cabot, MD at the Andover Theological Seminary. Nouwen states, ‘The meeting of Cabot and Boisen not only made the start of the clinical training movement possible, but also offered him the model for the theology through living human documents’. Nouwen discusses Cabot’s teaching and training methods and his idea for a clinical year for theological students. Nouwen discusses Cabot’s Clinicopathological Conferences. This work and the volume which resulted from it ‘gave Boisen the clue for much of his later work: the case study method. This method moved from the theoretical learning found in seminaries to the ‘investigation of living human documents’. When Boisen moved to be Chaplain at the Worcester State Hospital he insisted that he be allowed to do research and to have ‘free access to the case records, the right to visit patients on all the wards, to attend staff meetings where the cases being discussed and to be recognized as part of the therapeutic team’. Nouwen suggests that this was the beginning of the acceptance of Chaplains as an important part of the therapeutic program for patients. Nouwen describes Boisen’s core idea for the use of the case system, ‘that certain types of mental disorder and certain types of religious experience are alike attempts at reorganization…’ Nouwen then speaks of Boisen’s limitations in his understanding and use of the case system as relating to his own personal experience of mental illness. He then outlines a case history of ‘Jonah’ that Boisen frequently used in his teaching and as a tool for training. In conclusion, Nouwen says, ‘ …his idea of training is based on the theoretical principle that theology should derive it authority not from books, but as in every science worth of its name, from observable and controllable data…[Boisen says] I wanted them to learn to read human documents as well as books’.

Border regions of faith: an anthology of religion and social change

Item consists of a book in which Nouwen has written Chapter 42, beginning on p. 347, titled: "Christ of the Americas." The article was first published in America, 102 (April 21, 1984), and reflects, in part, on his feeling that "in order to come to know the living Christ among the people in the northern part of the Americas, I had to be willing to expose myself to the way the living Christ reveals Himself in the southern part of the Americas."

Brieven aan Marc: over Jezus en de zin van het leven

Item consists of a book of seven letters; the translated title is: Letters to Marc About Jesus. Nouwen wrote this book in response to a publisher friend named Herman Pijfers, and his suggestion that Nouwen write a book in Dutch. As well, the book was written in collaboration with Marc van Campen, Nouwen's nephew, who agreed to share a 'book of letters' about the spiritual life. The book has been divided into the following: Preface; Letter 1. Jesus: the Heart of Our Existence; Letter 2. Jesus: the God Who Sets Us Free; Letter 3. Jesus: the Compassionate God; Letter 4. Jesus: the Descending God; Letter 5. Jesus: the Loving God; Letter 6. Jesus: the Hidden God; Letter 7. Listening to Jesus; Index of Biblical Quotations.

Brieven van lezers

Item consists of an article which criticizes Nouwen's article "Toekomstige parkeerplaats tussen de sterren" [according to a brief translation].

Broken

This item is a 5- page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Broken’ published in ‘Living Prayer’ by Living Prayer Inc., Barre, VT, Vol. 26, No. 2, March – April 1993, pp. 3 – 7. This item is a slightly abbreviated chapter from Nouwen’s book ‘Life of the Beloved’. Nouwen is writing this as a letter to a secular friend. Nouwen begins by saying ‘Our sufferings and pains are not simply bothersome interruptions of our lives; rather they touch us in our uniqueness…the way I am broken tells you something unique about me’. Nouwen goes on to suggest that the most painful brokenness in society is what he calls ‘inner brokenness – a brokenness of the heart’. He suggests that the reaction of many is to feel rejected, alone and cast out by God. Nouwen offers two ways we may respond to our brokenness: befriending it and second, putting it under the blessing. Nouwen suggests that though looking the brokenness in the eye and befriending it is counter-cultural because we want to move away from pain, it is the way to healing. Nouwen then goes on to write about putting brokenness under the blessing as in fact, a precondition for befriending it. ‘Then our brokenness will gradually come to be seen as an opening toward the full acceptance of ourselves as the Beloved’. Nouwen concludes with some comments about how the music of Leonard Bernstein has helped him to understand what he is now writing about.

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.

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’.

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’.

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.

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’.

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).

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…’.

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’.

Celibacy

This item is a 12 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Celibacy’, published in Pastoral Psychology, Volume 27, No. 2, Winter 1978, pp. 79 – 90. This article was first presented as a lecture at the North American College in Rome, Italy, February 10, 1978. Nouwen begins the article with an image which he uses throughout: the contrast between the crowded streets of Rome and the domes of the many churches which offer space and tranquility and rest in God. Nouwen then identifies as his intention for this article that ‘I want to look at celibacy as a witness to the inner sanctum in our own lives and in the lives of others’. He states that he wishes to do this by focusing on three areas: ‘the world in which celibacy is lived; the nature of the witness the celibate offers to this world and the way of life through which this witness is enhanced and strengthened’. With regard to the first area Nouwen points to the great stress in society on relationships, being together and other forms of personal interaction. He follows this with his search for answers to the question, ‘Can real intimacy be reached without a deep respect for that holy place within and between us, that space that should remain untouched by human hands?’ With respect to the second area of witness, Nouwen begins by describing some of the misunderstandings there are about the nature of celibacy. He goes on to state and detail his sense of what celibacy is meant to be in the world: ‘ Celibacy in its deepest sense of creating and protecting emptiness for God is an essential part of all forms of Christian life: marriage, friendship, single life and community life’. He also suggests that,’ The celibate makes his or her life into a visible witness for the priority of God in our lives, a sign to remind all people that without the inner sanctum our lives lose contact with their source and goal’. In discussing the third area of celibacy as a way of life he stresses two aspects beyond sexual abstinence: contemplative prayer and voluntary poverty. This is followed by a short conclusion and summary.

Celibate loving: encounter in three dimensions

Item consists of a book in which Nouwen contributes the chapter beginning on p. 158 titled: "Celibacy and the Holy" in which he talks in part about "celibacy as a way of life that makes us more available to our fellow human beings, that encourages us to share our gifts with many people, and that makes us more able to move freely to different places where the human needs ask most urgently for pastoral responses . . ." (p. 173).

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