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University of St. Michael's College, John M. Kelly Library, Special Collections
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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 who will mourn? who will dance?

Item consists of a recording (SR141) of Nouwen reading from a manuscript about Christian healing. This was originally a speech made to the Christian Counselling Service in 1992.

Recording of Henri Nouwen on our story, our wisdom

Item consists of a recording of a speech made by Nouwen at the seventh National Catholic HIV/AIDS Ministry Conference at Loyola University, Chicago. The title of Nouwen's talk was "Our Story, Our Wisdom".

Recording of Henri Nouwen's sermon at St. Bart's NYC: 4/17/94

Item consists of a sound recording of Nouwen speaking at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in New York City. It is believed he spoke on the nature of Christian leadership. Nouwen spoke at St. James Church as well during this weekend.

Recording of Henri Nouwen on the Covenant Commission Retreat

Item consists of six audio cassettes of talks given at the Commission Covenant Retreat held in May 1994. The Retreat was for L'Arche community leadership about how members are living their covenant as part of L'Arche Community. SR145 v1: "Robert - Opening the Dialogue"; SR145 v2: "Claire - The Meaning of Human Affectivity"; SR145 v3: "Jo Lenon - Sexual Education: How to Educate"; SR145 v4: "North American Culture and the Plan of God"; SR145 v5: "Henri Nouwen - Personal Growth"; SR145 v6: "Margaret O'Donnell - The Needs in our Cities Today".

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 an interview of Henri Nouwen with Peter Modler

Item consists of a sound recording of an interview of Nouwen with Peter Modler. Nouwen speaks on his experience at the Genesee Abbey. This tape appears to be the original recording for a tape later produced by Verlag Herder entitled "Auf die Stiller Horen". The interview is in German.

Recording of Henri Nouwen on That all may worship conference

Item consists of a recording of a talk given by Nouwen at the Pathways Awareness Foundation conference "That all May Worship" held on April 22, 1996, a conference to talk about including people with mental disabilities in worship. Nouwen's talk was entitled "The Vulnerable Journey". He spoke about 1.) the vision of God (our belovedness); 2.) the way of Jesus; 3.) the work of the Spirit. Cardinal Bernadin gave the opening address. The conference took place at St. Monica Parish, Chicago.
This talk is referenced in Sabbatical Journey entry on Apr 22 where he describes his preparation and events of the day including lunch with Cardinal Bernardin.

Recording of auf die stille horen

Item consists of a sound recording (SR153) of an interview of Nouwen with Peter Modler in Freiburg, Germany. Nouwen speaks on his experience at the Genesee Abbey and being the Beloved.

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".

Collected materials

  • CA ON00389 F4-12
  • Série organique
  • [1960?]-1996; predominant 1971-1995
  • Fait partie de Henri Nouwen fonds

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

Sound recordings of Nouwen's interviews with the Flying Rodleighs

File consists of twelve audio cassettes containing the audio recordings of the interviews with The Flying Rodleigh members and Nouwen from November 1991 and May 1992. SR176 v.1 and SR176 v.2 are of Nouwen recording his thoughts and impressions regarding the Flying Rodleighs and their trapeze act.

SR176 v.1 - Flying Rodleighs Part 1 & 2
SR176 v.2 - Flying Rodleighs Part 3
SR176 v.3 - Jon -- History Jonathan
SR176 v.4 - Johan Jonas - Nov. 15/91
SR176 v.5 - Johan Jonas Interview @ Nouwen and talk with Kailene (Karlene Stevens' daughter)
SR176 v.6 - Jennifer Stevens; Lombart
SR176 v.7 - Karlene Specks [sic] About Costumes
SR176 v.8 - Karlene: History
SR176 v.9 - Rodleigh: 1st tape both sides
SR176 v.10 - Rodleigh - 2nd tape both sides
SR176 v.11 - Description of Trapeze act by Rodleigh
SR176 v.12 - Steve (2): H. Nouwen

Materials regarding Thomas Merton

  • CA ON00389 F4-12-1
  • Sous-série organique
  • [196-? - after 1972]
  • Fait partie de Henri Nouwen fonds

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.

Tapes of Thomas Merton talks

  • CA ON00389 F4-12-1-SR168, SR169, SR170, SR171, SR172, SR173, SR174
  • Dossier
  • [after 1972]
  • Fait partie de Henri Nouwen fonds

File consists of seven audio cassettes of Thomas Merton talks given to the monks and the community of the Abbey of Gethsemani and later published by Electronic Paperbacks in 1972. The seven audio cassettes, from a published collection of twelve called "The Merton Tapes", include numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, and 12.

Federation meetings

Series consists of 40 audio cassettes made during Federation meetings of L'Arche International. The communities of l’Arche belong to the International Federation of l’Arche. This is the umbrella for all l’Arche communities around the world. There is an International l’Arche Board of Directors and International Council of l’Arche that organize, raise funds, and continue to keep the dynamism of all l’Arche communities in the world.

Many meetings happen at the level of the Federation – like International Board Meetings, International Council Meetings, Zone Meetings, International Retreats, and once every six years there is an International Federation Meeting with representatives from each of the 130 communities around the world. Elections for the International Council and Board take place at the Federation Meeting, as well as a celebration of new communities and introduction to the culture where the meeting is held. People with disabilities usually attend this meeting, and find it rich with meaning, lots of celebrations, and interesting learnings.

In 2012, the Federation Meeting will take place in Atlanta, GA, and will host around 300 people from around the world. The last meeting, in 2006, was held in Calcutta, India.

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."

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.

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

Head of House Meeting 1982

File consists of 34 audio cassettes featuring recordings of talks given at a North America Head of House meeting held from November 8-14, 1982, in Châteauguay, Quebec. The first 12 cassettes are translations of the talks in English (with duplicate copies), while the last 12 are the talks as given in French.

11. Jan Risse, "Conclusion."

Item consists of 1 audio cassette featuring a recording of a talk given at a North America Head of House meeting held from November 8-14, 1982, in Châteauguay, Quebec.

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