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Archival description
University of St. Michael's College, John M. Kelly Library, Special Collections
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Kanuga Conference Center- March 17 - 19, 1993

File consists of correspondence and other material regarding Nouwen's leadership at the Bowen Christian Commitment Conference, at the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Nouwen's topic was "The Beloved Community." Nouwen was accompanied to the conference by Sue Mosteller and Bill Van Buren. The conference was sponsored by the Institute in Servant Leadership. Includes correspondence regarding arrangements for the event, correspondence from participants in the event, 1992 and 1993 Kanuga Program Offerings, Kanuga pamphlets, and Institute for Servant Leadership newsletters. Also includes forms for permission to tape the event and cheque stubs for honorarium, travel, photographs and miscellaneous expenses.

Greenbelt Art Festival - August 28-29, 1992

File consists of correspondence and other material regarding Nouwen's participation at the 1992 Greenbelt Arts Festival in Northampton, England. Nouwen gave three seminars entitled "Being the Beloved," "The Life of the Beloved," and "The Discipline of the Beloved.' Includes Greenbelt Art Festival programs and daily event guide from 1991 and 1992. Includes a brochure, information sheets, forms, maps, and directions. Also includes newspaper article about Nouwen at the festival and a photograph of Nouwen bowing his head in prayer as he prepared for his talk.

Consultation on Parish Ministry Conference - January 6 - 10, 1992

File consists of correspondence, mainly with Allan Johnson, and other material regarding Nouwen's presentations at the Consultation on Parish Ministry in Orlando, Florida. The theme of the event was "The Spiritual Life of the Pastor." Also includes correspondence with Brett Webb-Mitchell discussing his work with children with disabilities and his desire to meet with Nouwen in Orlando, annotations on the letter of response confirm the meeting. Includes two pieces of writing from Webb-Mitchell "The Religious Imagination of Children with Disabilities" and "Welcome Unexpected Guests to the Banquet." Also includes travel itinerary, airline tickets for Nouwen and three other members of Daybreak, conference Guidebook and Workshop book, and a number of letters, cards, and photographs for Nouwen regarding the event.

Chicago Sunday Evening Club - September 29, 1991

File consists of correspondence and other material from David Hardin, regarding Nouwen's appearance on the Chicago Sunday Evening Club. Includes letters between Connie and Hardin making the arrangements for Nouwen's trip to Chicago. Includes Chicago Sunday Evening Club Annual Report 1989-90, newsletters, travel itinerary, airline tickets, and a speaker's information brochure. Includes a photograph of Don O'Neill who picked Nouwen up from the airport. Also includes a letter from Nouwen reflecting on his performance. A videocassette of his performance was sent to Nouwen by Hardin.

St. Stephen's Chapel - December 6, 1990

File consists of memos from Nouwen to some members of the Daybreak community, inviting them to the Annual Eucharist and Dinner of the Ansgar Foundation at St. Stephen's Chapel and the National Club in Toronto. Includes copies of the seating arrangement and notes back from Sue Mosteller and Nathan Ball suggesting who from the community should be invited to join them. Also includes a pamphlet in Dutch and a photograph of an alter with Dutch annotations on the back.

Rev. Dehnert and wife (Australia) - October 26, 1990

File consists of a letter from Rev. Dehnert, requesting to do a retreat with Nouwen or Sue Mosteller at Daybreak. Includes a copy of Nouwen's outgoing response stating that their schedules do not permit time for a retreat. Annotations on the letter indicate a dinner was confirmed for October 26th. Also includes a photograph with annotations in French on the back.

August 1985

File consists of correspondence and other material regarding Nouwen's participation in August Desert Wilderness, an event protesting nuclear testing, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Includes a copy of a letter from Jim Antal to Anne Bucher and a letter from Jim to Nouwen regarding the event. Nouwen gave a talk on August 6th. Also includes a pamphlet about the event, a postcard, and photograph of Jim and family.

Talk at St. Philips Lutheran Church - October 24, 1980

File consists of correspondence and other material regarding Nouwen's participation in a number of lectures and events in Minnesota. Correspondence, with David Williamson, regarding Nouwen's lecture given at the Colonial Church of Edina, Annual Fall Lectureship on October 23, 1980 in Edina, Minnesota. Nouwen spoke on "Solitude and Intimacy in Contemporary Society." Correspondence, from William Hulme, regarding Nouwen's lecture at Luther-Northwestern Seminaries conference "Challenge for the Ministry in the Eighties III," on October 24, 1980, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Nouwen's talk was entitled "Spirituality of Compassion," where he spoke on compassion and patience. Correspondence with, Vincent Eilers, regarding Nouwen acting as celebrant at the Serra Seminary Symposium, for St. John Vianney College Seminary and St. Paul Seminary on October 25, 1980. Nouwen spoke on "Spiritual Life in the 1980s." Includes brochures, flyers, song sheets, travel itinerary and thank you cards and letters from attendees of his talks. Also includes a news clipping on the event at the Serra Seminary Symposium and a photograph of the Colonial Church of Edina.

Illinois Synod Pastoral Conference - August, 1980

  • CA ON00389 F4-3-669
  • File
  • February 8, 1980 - November 10, 1980
  • Part of Henri Nouwen fonds

File consists of correspondence, mainly from Randy Webb and Arthur Arnold, and other material regarding Nouwen's leadership at the 1980 Illinois Synod Pastors Conference, Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois. The theme of the conference was "Prayer and Ministry." Includes slides, from Randy Webb, of Augustana College. Also includes correspondence and a newspaper clipping from Richard Holmer, regarding Nouwen speaking at the First Lutheran Church in Genesco, Illinois. Nouwen spoke on the relation of prayer and contemplative life to ministry and outreach. Also includes a photograph of Randy Webb's two sons.

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.

Postcards and icons

Sub-series consists of approximately 500 postcards and icons collected by Nouwen. The postcards are blank except for three which contain letters on the verso. Nouwen maintained the collection of postcards and icons in three plastic index card boxes. The first section contains postcards largely of a religious nature, including architecture churches, monasteries, etc. from around the world) and artwork by Van Gogh, Chagall, Rodin, Degas, Renoir, Barlach, and others, as well as postcards of New York. Also contains a photograph of a sculpture of Jesus on the cross and the three postcards with letters.
The second section contains postcards of a religious nature, including architecture (churches, monasteries, etc. from around the world) and artwork by Renoir, Van Gogh, Rodin, and others. Also contains postcards of people, flowers and nature scenes, and scenes of places from predominantly around the US.
The third section contains envelopes of icons and postcards. The envelopes are labelled "Icons", "Marthe Robin", "Archives", "Abbey of the Genesee", "Marthe Robin", "Genesee", "Rembrandt", "Check For Archives" and "Freiburg Cards". Also contains some loose cards in the back, as well as a photograph of a picture of Edith Stein in 1925 and a photograph of a church, inscribed in Dutch on the back. This box also contains icon ordination cards from the 25th anniversary of Nouwen's ordination.

Collected materials

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

Framed triptych photographs of two unidentified boys

Item consists of one frame with three photographs of unidentified boys, including one photo (left) of a blond boy age 3-5 years in a striped sweater, one photo (right) of a blond boy age 8-10 years in a brown sweater and tie, and one photo of both of these boys together with different clothing.

"An Evening of Reflections with Henri Nouwen" poster

Item consists of one poster advertising "An Evening of Reflections with Henri Nouwen", which took place on November 11, 1993 at Saint James Church (New York, NY). Two copies of the poster are autographed by Nouwen.

Bearers of the Burden

Item consists of one framed print of "Bearers of the Burden" by Vincent van Gogh. The print is black and white, possibly taken from an etching, and features workers in a field carrying bags. Visible is a religious shrine.

South American tapestry

Item consists of one woven tapestry, most likely from South America. The tapestry has an image printed on it. It has multiple scenes depicted. In the center is the a tree bearing fruit, on which Jesus is crucified. Above Him are Adam and Eve, holding a piece of fruit. Other people are harvesting the fruit for a table at which people are eating. Below the table is a priest teaching. Below him is a mountain which people are climbing, and at the base of the mountain is water in which several people are being saved from drowning. Below Jesus are soldiers and tanks, hurting civilians. To the left is a boat of people in the water. Above them is Noah and some animals, standing on a depiction of the globe.

Ink drawing of Noah's Ark

Item consists of one framed ink drawing of Noah's Ark by Brenda [Lean] with a brass plaque affixed to frame, inscribed "H.J.N. Ma Nuad 1991", which Nouwen likely received from Maynooth College (Kildare, Ireland) following his guest lecture there in 1991.

Pencil drawing of Jesus

Item consists of one pencil drawing of Jesus by [A.M.D.G.?] given to Nouwen by the Wegman family.

Photograph of the Madonna

Item consists of a photograph of a painting of a Madonna located at the Museum of Religions and Atheism (Leningrad, Soviet Union) taken by Randy Webb and given to Nouwen in March 12, 1992.

Daniel and Ezekiel prints

Item consists of a matching set of framed prints by Rita Corbin of the faces of Daniel (E108) and Ezekiel (E109) above biblical verses. The "Daniel" print features the verse Daniel 3:90. The "Ezekiel" print features the verse Ezekiel 2:6.

Print of "sunflowers"

Item consists of one print on cardboard base of "Sunflowers (Still Life: Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers)" by Vincent Van Gogh, which hung on a wall at L'Arche Daybreak.

Sundance

Item consists of one framed painting, titled "Sundance", by Richard Packo. It was signed and dated November 3, 1987. The painting depicts two First Nations faces, the moon and an eagle.

Charcoal drawing of Henri Nouwen

Item consists of one charcoal sketch of Henri Nouwen with his hands on a person kneeling before him, by an unknown artist, mounted on cardstock. The image is emulating the painting 'The Return of the Prodigal Son' by Rembrandt van Rijn, with Nouwen taking the place of the father figure.

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.

Jerusalem, old city wall, Damascus Gate

Item consists of one hanging print of an image of "Jerusalem, old city wall, Damascus Gate" tied by suede to a wooden dowel and enclosed in a cardboard sleeve with the sticker "ancient landscapes from the Holy Land".

Postcards, cards and prints

Sub-series consists of various blank postcards, greeting cards and reprints of artwork, including prints of icons, a collection of prints by Rembrandt van Rijn, and other reprints of mostly religious artwork. It is possible that Nouwen had intended to send these materials with correspondence, as there are several copies of some prints and postcards.

Assorted prints, postcards, greeting cards

File consists of various reproduction prints, blank postcards and greeting cards. These prints, postcards, and cards, include mostly religious images, but also a few geographical images. File includes some of the following:

  • one black and white print of a drawing of Jesus wearing the crown of thorns
  • one colour print of a painting with four women dressed in white. Annotation on back of print in unknown hand: "Four Women Martyrs by Sr. Marion Honors. in honor of the women who gave their lives in El Salvador."
  • one black and white photograph (13.9 cm x 9.0 cm) of an unknown priest. Annotation on back of photograph: "file: photos"
  • fifteen copies of the Trinity Icon, with no annotations
  • 1 box set containing 48 reprints of etchings by Rembrandt van Rijn [etchings are numbered and are out of order]
  • 1 box set containing 12 reprints of paintings by Aloys Schreiber, featuring historical comments [in German], and depicting country life in Germany
  • Reproductions of pieces (drawings and paintings) by Rembrandt van Rijn, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Peter Paul Rubens
  • Reprints of pages of religious books and frescoes
  • Several copies of a drawing of Pope John Paul II
  • Postcards and cards include Vincent van Gogh paintings, photographs inside churches, an airplane, Mount Saint Alphonsus (Esopus, NY), monasteries, Pope John Paul II, and other religious art (including some poems)
  • 1 Rembrandt wall calendar from 1991 containing 12 Rembrandt prints, including Return of the Prodigal Son.

Because there are several copies of some of these prints, it is possible that Nouwen intended to send some of these with correspondence.

Assorted blank postcards

File consists of various blank postcards. Subjects include churches and cloisters, landscapes, and some church figures. Included are postcards from Austria, Germany, New York City, Jerusalem, Israel, photograph postcards of the S.S. Maasdam ship of the Holland America Line, and Rome.

Honourary Doctorate of Human Letters, Earlham College

File consists of the honourary Doctor of Human Letters diploma Nouwen received from Earlham College (Richmond, IN) and the contents of a photo album, creator unknown, containing a copy of the diploma, memorabilia from the event and photographs of the campus.
Items in the photo album include: a copy of the Doctor of Human Letters diploma, the convocation citation (author unknown); a program for the convocation; a program for the Earlham College Religious Emphasis Week; a photograph of the convocation; a photograph of the Nouwen speaking at Earlham College; and five photographs taken by T. Strickland of the Earlham College campus, including one each of the ESR Community Building, Earlham Hall, Lilly Library, Carpenter Hall (1987) and one entitled "Campus Scenes, Earlham Hall" (1989).

Ephemera and artifacts

  • CA ON00389 F4-14
  • Series
  • [1957 - 1996], predominant 1980 - 1996
  • Part of Henri Nouwen fonds

Series consists of ephemera and artifacts collected by or given to Nouwen throughout his lifetime, including awards and honorary degrees, materials kept in his office and home, promotional materials, artwork, postcards, religious artifacts, and personal artifacts.

Series has been arranged in the following seven sub-series according to their function:
1.14.1. Awards and honourary degrees;
1.14.2. Contents of Nouwen's office;
1.14.3. Promotional material for lectures, workshops and special events;
1.14.4. Collected artwork;
1.14.5. Personal effects;
1.14.6. Postcards, cards and prints;
1.14.7. Religious artifacts.

Awards and honourary degrees

Sub-series consists of awards and honourary degrees bestowed upon Henri Nouwen by various academic institutions, religious and community organizations, and literary associations, including correspondence and memorabilia relating to the awards and award ceremonies.

Scrapbook 1965 -1982

  • CA ON00389 F4-9-6
  • Subseries
  • 1965 - 1975, predominant 1970 - 1972
  • Part of Henri Nouwen fonds

Sub-series consists of originals and photocopies of published articles written by Nouwen, about Nouwen, about his books, or kept by Nouwen between 1965 and 1982. A pen and ink sketch of Nouwen by Prof. Bainton during a lecture in 1972 is found at p. 35. All articles are described to the item level except for an article by A.C. Ramselaar, Nouwen's uncle, and the book reviews which are described at the file level. The book reviews include those for Intimacy, Bidden om het leven, Creative ministry, Een levende heenwijzing, and Met open handen.

Page 31 of Album 14

File consists of page 31 of Album 14. There are two photographs on the page [P8585, P8586]. Included are phots of a man and a woman, possibly Bernadette and Ben Kuypers, posing for a photo on their wedding day and seated on a couch conversing.

Page 32 of Album 14

File consists of page 32 of Album 14. There are five photographs on the page [P8587, P8588, P8589, P8590, P8591]. Anke and Peter Naus are seen with their infant children and Peter Naus' parents. Also included is a photo of a man, possibly Rene van Eyden, smiling for the camera while browsing books on a bookshelf.

Page 27 of Album 14

File consists of page 27 of Album 14. There are five photographs on the page [P8568, P8569, P8570, P8571, P8572]. Taken while on a trip to Zuschen Sauerland, Germany, between February 7-12, 1964, Henri Nouwen and an unidentified man and woman are seen walking along snow covered paths and amongst trees.

Page 29 of Album 14

File consists of page 29 of Album 14. There are four photographs on the page [P8577, P8578, P8579]. Taken in 1964, Henri Nouwen is seen dressed in a uniform at an unidentified event conversing with friends at a table and holding [candles?] while standing at the head of a table. Also included is a photo of unidentified men and women sitting and standing in formal wear.

Page 30 of Album 14

File consists of page 30 of Album 14. There are four photographs on the page [P8580, P8581, P8582, P8583, P8584]. Included are portraits of Kees Ramselaar [P8580], his son Cees [P8581], his son Tony [P8582], his daughter Maria [P8583] and his son Alout [P8584].

Page 26 of Album 14

File consists of page 26 of Album 14. There are five photographs on the page [P8563, P8564, P8565, P8566, P8567]. Taken while on a trip to Zuschen Sauerland, Germany, on February 11, 1964, an unidentified man and woman are seen walking along snow covered paths, across a field and amongst trees. The annotation on the page reads: "11 Febr 1964".

Page 28 of Album 14

File consists of page 28 of Album 14. There are four photographs on the page [P8573, P8574, P8575, P8576]. Taken while on a trip to Zuschen Sauerland, Germany, between February 7-12, 1964, the photos include shots of Henri Nouwen and an unidentified woman walking along a snow covered path; an unidentified woman and Henri Nouwen sitting at a table having a drink; and two photos glued together to create a panoramic, scenic view of the winter landscape.

Page 25 of Album 14

File consists of page 25 of Album 14. There are five photographs on the page [P8558, P8559, P8560, P8561, P8562]. Taken while on a trip to Zuschen Sauerland, Germany, between February 7-12, 1964, an unidentified man and woman are seen walking along snow covered paths and roads with scenic views of evergreen trees and rolling hills visible behind them.

Page 24 of Album 14

File consists of page 24 of Album 14. There are five photographs on the page [P8553, P8554, P8555, P8556, P8557]. Taken while on a trip to Zuschen Sauerland, Germany, between February 7-12, 1964, an unidentified man and woman are seen walking along snow covered paths and resting while stopped next to a pile of firewood.

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