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University of St. Michael's College, John M. Kelly Library, Special Collections Item
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L'Arche in North America: home, healing and hope

This item is a 5-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘L’Arche in North America: Home, Healing and Hope’, published in ‘Letters of L’Arche’, No. 76, 1992, pp. 2 – 6. Nouwen is writing this at the time of the funeral of Pere Thomas Philippe, one of the founders of L’Arche. Nouwen senses that Pere Thomas’ legacy of the vision of L’Arche will continue to live, ‘he can bring a rich harvest’. Nouwen goes on to ask ‘how to be l’Arche in North America’? Nouwen sees three core words that will bear much fruit: Home, Healing and Hope. I. Home: Nouwen sees L’Arche as being home especially for the core members many of whom have experienced living in institutional places that were not ‘home’. Nouwen goes on to describe the sense of homelessness that many in North America experience: actual homelessness, but also places where people live without a welcome, places where people live in loneliness, places where people live alone together. Nouwen notes that the Assistants who come to L’Arche have and do experience this homelessness as well. Nouwen sees that home at L’Arche provides a place to be home but also to be a place of mission and a recognition that we are still journeying home. II. Healing: ‘The great paradox of L’Arche is that, while no one is cured, everyone is healed’. Nouwen speaks of the great suffering that has been experienced by the core members but also by the Assistants. All seek healing. ‘It is clear that we are all handicapped that we all need to offer each other healing by the way we live together’. III. Hope: ‘L’Arche invites people, barely respected or acknowledged by our society, to become witnesses of hope’. ‘Joy, peace, acceptance, truthfulness, the ability to welcome, to forgive and to celebrate; these are only some of the gifts handicapped people have to offer…This knowledge of the ‘gift of the poor’ has been a great inspiration in L’Arche over the years, and has made L’Arche into a true sign of hope’.

Latin America: living with the poor

This item is a two page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Latin America: Living with the poor’, published in the National Catholic Reporter, September 17, 1982, pp. 7 – 8. This item is an excerpt from Nouwen’s book, ‘Gracias: A Latin American Journal’. This article consists of five diary entries Nouwen made in his time spent in Peru and Bolivia. In his entries Nouwen struggles with the contrast of his usual life and the life of the very poor in which he is trying to be immersed. He describes visits with colleagues to a place where handicapped children are helped; visits with children whose need for physical comfort is great; the children who are without parents and in need of food; and a visit to a new library where the children and others can come and read. He comments on the great thirst these young people have for learning.

Lazarus interlude: a story of God's healing love in a moment of ministry

Item consists of a book in which Nouwen has written the introduction, stating in part that the book "says much about loneliness, fear, despair, and the deep human need for love. But it says even more about the mysterious possibility of letting these painful human experiences become gateways to the unlimited love of God."

Lessons of the heart: celebrating the rhythms of life

Item consists of a book in which Nouwen has written the foreword, stating in part: "The beauty of Lessons of the Heart is that it makes little things shine brightly. . . . [It] is a truly hopeful book, a book that opens our eyes to see the mystery of God right where we are."

Letting go of all things

This item is a 2 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘ Letting Go of All Things’, published in Sojourners magazine, May 1979, pp. 5& 6. This article is identified as a ‘response to “The Work of Prayer” a project of Sojourners to pray for peace in face of the arms race. Nouwen begins by asking what this call might mean: does it represent a failure of action? A turning to God because turning to people didn’t help much? A capitulation to quietism? A dramatic gesture? Nouwen believes not: ‘I believe that the Sojourners are discovering a dimension of prayer they did not see before…I see their call not as an invitation to retreat into a familiar piety , but as a challenge to make a radical move toward prayer as “the only necessary thing”’. Nouwen suggests prayer as a dying to self, an opening to God, is the ground from which people move out into the world of action. Nouwen concludes, ‘ When …our act of prayer remains the act from which all actions flow, we can be joyful even when our times are depressing, peaceful even when the threat of war is all around us, hopeful even when we are constantly tempted to despair.

Letting go of all things

This item is a 2 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: ’Letting Go of all things’, published in Baptist Peacemaker, Vol. V, No. 2, April 1985, pp. 1 & 5. It was previously published in Sojourners, May, 1979.
Nouwen begins by stating ‘The call to prayer is not an invitation to retreat to a familiar piety, but a challenge to make a radical move toward prayer as “the only necessary thing”’. Nouwen suggests prayer is a dying to self, a call to martyrdom, an opening to God, and is the ground from which people move out into the world of action. Nouwen quotes from a recent book by holocaust survivor Floris B. Bakels about the power prayer had for him in the camp. Nouwen writes about our ambivalence toward prayer, being drawn to it and yet resistant to it because of the demands we feel will be made by God. Nouwen concludes, ‘ When …our act of prayer remains the act from which all actions flow, we can be joyful even when our times are depressing, peaceful even when the threat of war is all around us, hopeful even when we are constantly tempted to despair’.

Liberation thinking: an evangelical assessment

Item consists of a book in which Nouwen has written Chapter 4, beginning on p. 23, titled: "Liberation: Freedom to love". The chapter represents excerpts from Nouwen's prologue to Gutierrez' book: We Drink from Our Own Wells, in which he speaks directly to several of the issues of "Venezuelian Agenda."

Liberation: freedom to love

This item is a 1 ½ page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: ‘Liberation: Freedom to Love’, published in Together by World Vision International, April-June 1985, No. 7. This item is identified as excerpts from Nouwen’s prologue to Gustavo Gutierrez’ book ‘We Drink from our own Wells’. Nouwen begins by stating, ‘The spirituality of liberation is deeply rooted in the lived experience of God’s presence in history’. Nouwen then writes that Gutierrez believes liberation theology cannot be reduced to a political movement nor is it a ‘theological rationale for a class struggle’. Nouwen states that Jesus is the center of the movement and Jesus loves both the oppressed and the oppressor. Nouwen reiterates a theme he has spoken of before that the spiritual well-being of the Americas, north and south are tied together and that the ‘inflamed’ cord of Central America that binds them together is reminding us that there is a deep spiritual crisis that involves the whole of the Americas. He concludes, ‘ In the name of millions of the nameless poor, Gustavo Gutierrez reaches out a hand to us and calls us to open our hearts again to the life-giving Spirit of Jesus…’

Life and holiness

Item consists of a book in which Nouwen has written the introduction. Nouwen states in part: "'What book do I give to someone who wants to know what being-a-Christian looks like?' This is definitely the book. It is not a book about doctrines or dogmas but about the life in Christ."

Lifesigns: intimacy, fecundity, and ecstasy in Christian perspective

Item consists of a book which Nouwen wrote about intimacy, fecundity, and ecstasy during visits to the L'Arche community in Trosly-Breuil. The book has been divided into the following: Introduction From the House of Fear to the House of Love; Part One Intimacy, Introduction, Intimacy and Fear, Intimacy and Love, Intimacy and Solidarity, Conclusion; Part Two Fecundity, Introduction, Fecundity and Fear, Fecundity and Love, Fecundity and Mission, Conclusion; Part Three Ecstasy, Introduction, Ecstasy and Fear, Ecstasy and Love, Ecstasy and a New International Order, Conclusion; Conclusion Signs of Life, A Final Prayer.
As is stated on the back flap: "Fr. Nouwen shows how, together, these three elements [intimacy, fecundity, and ecstasy] offer the essential key to a life free from the domination of fear, and filled instead with hope and love."

Listen to pain with heart

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Listen to pain with heart’, published in the National Catholic Reporter, September 6, 1974, p. 15. Nouwen begins this article by stating that ‘when my response to the world remains hanging between my mind and my hands, it remains weak and superficial….Only when my mind has descended into my heart can I expect a lasting response welling up from my innermost self’. Nouwen speaks of the solitude of the heart as the place from which effective and meaningful actions flow. ‘It is in the solitude of the heart that we can truly listen to the pains of the world because there we can recognize them as strange and unfamiliar pains but as pains which are indeed our own’. Nouwen suggests that it is from being in touch with out inner solitude that we can avoid self-righteousness and grow in compassion. Nouwen quotes several passages from the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, who speaks of the fruitfulness of solitude as a school for compassion. Nouwen concludes the article by stating ‘The paradox indeed is that the beginning of healing is in the solidarity with the pain. And in our solution-oriented society it is more important than ever to realize that wanting to alleviate pain without sharing it is like wanting to save a child from a burning house without the risk of being hurt’.

Listen to the inner voice

This item is a half-page article entitled: Listen to the Inner Voice by Henri Nouwen, published in the National Catholic Reporter, May 17, 1974. Nouwen continues his emphasis on the difference between loneliness and solitude. The article begins with Nouwen saying, “ Sometimes I wonder if the reason so many people ask support, advice and counsel from so many is not, for a large part, due to the fact that they have lost contact with their innermost self and are no longer able to listen to the voices speaking in the center of their solitude.” Nouwen uses an extensive quote from R. M. Rilke to someone who asks about his vocation as a poet. Rilke emphasizes the need to look inward, to question whether there is necessity. Nouwen goes on to say “As long as I am trying to run away from my loneliness I am constantly looking for distractions with an inexhaustible need to be entertained and kept busy. Then I become a passive victim of a world asking for my idolizing attention…but when I have converted my loneliness into solitude, the world starts losing its claim on me…”.

Living in joyful ecstasy

This item is a 5 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘, Living in Joyful Ecstasy, The House of God a Home amid an anxious World’, published in Sojourners, Vol. 14, No. 8, August/September 1985, pp. 27 – 31. This is part 3 of a three part series. Nouwen begins by stating that he does not believe ecstasy is simply for the mystical few but is in fact, for all Christian people. ‘I consider it very important to reclaim the word ‘ecstasy’ for all Christian people who strive to move from the house of fear to the house of love’. Nouwen then points to Jesus emphasis that he has come to bring joy and that all are called to remain in that joy. Nouwen moves from this introduction to a section entitled,’ Ecstasy and Fear’ and begins by stating that ‘just as fear prevents intimacy and fecundity, so too it makes ecstasy impossible’. He suggests that fear makes us cling to routine, to sameness and fear of change. Nouwen speaks of the people of L’Arche with whom he spent time and notes both the presence of routine but also the journey from fear to joy.’ If the world is a fearful place where you need all of your emotional energy just to survive, there is little capacity to move from one way of being alive to another…Where all has become fear, joy cannot be’. In the next section entitled, ‘Ecstasy and Love’ Nouwen points to the great difference between ephemeral happiness and deep joy. Deep joy is the joy of Jesus. It is a joy that holds both happiness and sorrow, good times and bad. ‘[Joy] is the solid ground from which new life can always burst forth’. In a final section entitled, ’A New International Order’ Nouwen moves on to write of the fears that are causing nations to build barriers and to fights battles rather than seek reconciliation and peace. He points to Jesus’ call to ‘the nations’ as well as to individual people. Nouwen notes the situations in Central and South America as places in which fear has brought nations almost to the brink of nuclear war. Nouwen concludes by stating, ‘The word “ecstasy” has opened a new perspective on joy as an essential element of a truly Christian spirituality. It is the constant moving away from the static places of death into the place where life can be recognized and celebrated’.

Living in the center enables us to care

This item is a report of a talk given by Henri Nouwen to the 75th Annual Catholic Health Assembly and published in ‘Health Progress’, July-August, 1990, pp. 52 -54. This item, not written by Henri Nouwen, is reporting on the talk he gave at the assembly and it is difficult at points to know what Nouwen said and what is paraphrase. Nouwen made a number of points about the healthcare worker’s need to keep close to God. He spoke of being open to the life of the spirit by looking at four gestures that recur in the scriptures: Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it. Nouwen is reported as elaborating these points and then moves on to the disciplines required ‘to train your life to care for people’. The four disciplines Nouwen elaborated were: the discipline of the mind, the discipline of the heart, the discipline of the spirit and the discipline of the body. The concluding paragraph of this article states, ‘In the end, Fr Nouwen said, “What matters is whether your true identity is a child of God”. This centering, he says, is what enables you to remain in service of life, not survival.

Living in the house of love

This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Living in the House of Love’ published in ‘Alive Now, Images of Faith’, September – October, 1991, pp. 42 – 45. This item is a revised excerpt from Nouwen’s book ‘ Behold the Beauty of the Lord’. This excerpt is a reflection on Andre Rublev’s icon ‘The Holy Trinity’..Nouwen introduces the article by stating ‘The spiritual life keeps us aware that our true house is not the house of fear…but the house of love, where God resides’. He describes this as the essence of the spiritual life and speaks about the icon as reflecting ‘the house of love’. From meditation upon this house of love we can move into the world to be present to but not to be part of, this world. Nouwen then speaks about the effect that contemplation of this icon had upon him. Nouwen also speaks of how contemplation of the icon‘reveals the inner beauty of God’ and speaks of the link between the cross and love in our world today. Finally, Nouwen concludes by saying, ‘I pray that Rublev’s icon will teach many how to live in the midst of a fearful, hateful and violent world while moving always deeper into the house of love’.

Living the questions: the spirituality of the religion teacher

This item is an 8 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled,’ Living the Questions: The Spirituality of the Religion Teacher’, published in the Union Seminary Quarterly Review, Volume XXXII, Number 1, Fall 1976 by Union Theological Seminary, New York. Nouwen outlines the purpose of this article, “ I would like to explore the spirituality of the teacher by focusing on three aspects of teaching: 1) Teaching as the affirmation of the student’s search; 2) Teaching as the giving of oneself to the student; and 3) Teaching as the disclosure of the Lord in the relationship between teacher and student.’ In 1) Nouwen suggests that the role of the teacher of religion is ‘not to offer information, advice or even guidance but to allow others to come into touch with their own struggles, pains, doubts and insecurities – in short, to affirm their lives as a quest’. In 2) Here, Nouwen suggests that the teacher must be both vulnerable and a witness. With regard to allowing the teacher to be vulnerable he says, ‘Who wants to be vulnerable and say with confidence,” I don’t know!”. To be a religion teacher calls for the courage to enter with the student into the common search.’ The teacher shares with the students their common searching humanity. In 3) Nouwen says, ‘To be a teacher is to disclose through your own person this mystery of God… To disclose the questioning Lord, therefore, requires the humble confession of our basic human ignorance and powerlessness’. Nouwen concludes by pointing out that for the reasons he has outlined, the teacher of religion may not be very popular in a success-oriented world. Raising more questions than offering answers is vital but, he suggests, a few students may listen to the voice of God and be able to follow it.

Living under God's blessing: wholeness

This item is an article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘ Living Under God’s Blessing’ published in Alive Now!, March/April 1992, p.5. This item is the first of two excerpts from Nouwen’s lecture at the Scarritt-Bennett Center, 1991. The second article is found in file 1774, Box 298. Nouwen begins by saying’ Jesus came to reveal to you that you are as much a child of God as Jesus is…’ He concludes this excerpt by stating, ‘The great call of Jesus is to put your brokenness under the blessing’.

Living with apocalypse: spiritual resources for social compassion

Item consists of a book in which Nouwen is interviewed in the chapter beginning on p. 15 titled: "A Conversation with Henri J.M. Nouwen" in which he talks about many subjects including living with the poor in Peru, divine gifts, protest, peacemakers, the mystical life, identity, and suffering.

Loneliness contagious

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: Loneliness Contagious, published in the National Catholic Reporter, May 31, 1974. In this article Nouwen speaks of loneliness as a pervasive experience in modern life. He speaks first of his own loneliness and then states “ Loneliness is one of the most universal human experiences but our contemporary western society has heightened the awareness of our loneliness to an unusual degree”. He describes the loneliness people feel in crowded subways or at parties even though the images or words of welcome seem to imply warmth and closeness. “The language with which we are surrounded suggests anything but loneliness… it is a language which reveals the desire to be close and receptive to the stranger, but which in our society sadly fails to heal the pains of our loneliness, because the real pain is felt where we can hardly allow anyone to enter”. Nouwen concludes “The roots of loneliness are very deep and cannot be touched by optimistic advertisement, substitute love images or social togetherness”.

Love in a fearful land: a Guatemalan story

Item consists of a book which Nouwen wrote about two North American parish priests who served in Guatemala -- Stanley Francis Rother and John Vesey. Three years after Stanley was murdered in Santiago Atitlan on July 28, 1981, John took his place as parish priest. "This is also a story about the mysterious presence of a faithful God in the midst of a country ravaged by violence, torture and assassination. Most of all, it is a story about prayer" (p. 10).

Love in the open hand

Item consists of a book of quotes in which Nouwen has contributed five excerpts from With Open Hands and Reaching Out : The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life regarding reaching out, pain, noise, compassion, prayer, and healing.

Love on God's terms

This item is a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Love on God’s Terms’ published in The Catholic Witness, October 22, 1976. This is an excerpt from, Nouwen, Henri: The Genesee Diary, Image Books, Doubleday & Co., Inc., Garden City, N.Y. 1976. In this article Nouwen writes about his struggles with his sense of self-worth and being lovable which he experiences in the monastery. Nouwen opens the article by stating,’ My first inclination has been, and in many ways still is, to connect love with something special in me that makes me lovable’. Nouwen struggles with his feeling that if someone is friendly and loving towards him but equally so with others, then there must be something false about that individual’s love. Nouwen goes on to state, ‘It is important for me to realize how limited, imperfect and weak my understanding of love has been…It seems that the monks know the answer: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind”’ . As Nouwen works through this dilemma for himself he concludes that, ‘As long as I am plagued by doubts about my self-worth, I keep looking for gratification from people around me and yield quickly to any type of pain, mental or physical. But when I can slowly detach myself from this need for human affirmation and discover that it is the relationship with the Lord that I find my true self, an unconditional surrender to him becomes not only possible but even the only desire, and pain inflicted by people will not touch me in the center’. With the help of the Abbot he learns that this will come about as he meditates with a commitment to listening truly to God.

Love protects aloneness

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Love protects aloneness’ published in the National Catholic Reporter, undated but possibly July or Sep. 1974. Nouwen is continuing his focus on the importance of solitude for the spiritual development of the individual. He begins, ‘By slowly converting my loneliness into a deep solitude, I create that precious space where I can distinguish the voice telling me about my inner necessity- that is, my vocation’. He follows this point by raising the question, ’How many people can claim their ideas, opinions and viewpoints as their own?’. He states that ‘frequently, we are restlessly looking for answers, going from door to door, from book to book, or from school to school, without having really listened carefully to the questions’. Nouwen points out that our society tends to pull us away from fruitful solitude and encourages seeking answers instead of listening to the questions. He suggests that in solitude we can become present to ourselves and from this we become closer to others. ‘In this solitude we encourage each other to enter into the silence of our innermost being and discover there the voice which calls us beyond the limits of human togetherness to a new communion.’

Making all things new: an invitation to the spiritual life

Item consists of a book which Nouwen wrote about the spiritual life. The book has been divided into the following: Acknowledgments; Introduction; I. "All These Other Things"; II. "His Kingdom First"; III. "Set Your Hearts"; Conclusion.
As is stated on the front flap: . . . ."If . . .we are willing to live a life of prayer and practice the disciplines of solitude and community, a new hunger will make itself known. This new hunger is the first sign of God's presence. When we remain attentive to this divine presence, we will be led always deeper into the kingdom. There, to our joyful surprise, we will discover that the power of our worries is weakening and all things are being made new."

Man and woman he made them

Item consists of a book in which Nouwen has written the foreword, stating in part his hope that when the reader finishes reading this book "[y]ou will come to a new and moving vision of God, who loved us so much that he came to dwell among us and make a true home here with us."

Vanier, Jean

Maria, madre dei sacerdoti

Item consists of a booklet featuring a homily by Nouwen on Mary for the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Cathedral Church of St. Michael, Toronto, during Marian year 1988.

Marie, mère des prêtres

Item consists of a booklet featuring a homily by Nouwen on Mary for the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Cathedral Church of St. Michael, Toronto, during Marian year 1988.

Marriage as ministry

This item is a 6 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Marriage as Ministry’, published in Notre Dame Journal of Education, Vol. 5, No. 2, Summer 1974, p. 101 – 106. Nouwen has divided this article into two parts: 1) Marriage as the binding of each other’s wounds and 2) Marriage as the healing of the suffering guest. Nouwen begins the first part by stating, ‘ What is man’s wound?...Words such as alienation, separation, isolation and loneliness have been used to indicate man’s wounded condition. I like to use the word loneliness in this context and try to understand our loneliness in the context of marriage’. Nouwen asks if ‘we are not trying to avoid a confrontation with our basic human loneliness ‘ by looking for another to fill all the loneliness of human life. He suggests that a marriage relationship is healing when the ‘love between husband and wife means a deep respect for the holy center where they are different, where they cannot reach each other, but must remain strangers’. He goes on to say that ‘many marriages are ruined because neither partner was able to fulfill the hidden hope that the other would take his or her loneliness away’. In part 2, Nouwen writes of how marriage, ‘can become a form of ministry not only to each other, but to strangers as well’, but that this is most healing when the stranger can enter into the space on their own terms, where the relationship between the couple creates ‘room for the other and…a friendly space where he can feel free to come and go, to be close and to take distance, to rest and to play, to talk and to be silent, to eat and to fast’. Nouwen suggests that in such a space each is free to recognize and own the loneliness and pain of the other which is a reality of human life. Nouwen concludes the article by saying, ‘Marriage is a ministry because marriage is where we can bind each other’s wounds with care and heal with our carefully protected wounds the many who pass us on their way. Loneliness is man’s wound.’

Mary, mother of priests

Item consists of a booklet featuring a homily by Nouwen on Mary for the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Cathedral Church of St. Michael, Toronto, during Marian year 1988.

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