Showing 625 results

Archival description
Henri Nouwen fonds
Print preview View:

Finding vocation in downward mobility

This item is an article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Finding Vocation in Downward Mobility’, published in ‘Leadership: A Practical Journal for Church Leaders’, Vol. XI, No. 3 , Summer 1990, pp. 60 – 61. Nouwen begins by speaking of the dilemma he has felt for much of his lifetime between being successful in the world’s sense and remaining ‘close to the heart of Jesus.’ He then writes of his years teaching at major universities and his sense then of being successful but not fulfilled. In time however, he felt a call to the l’Arche community of Daybreak, near Toronto where he was assigned to work with a very handicapped man named Adam. Nouwen describes how, over time, his fears began to be overcome and he realized that Adam was teaching him about love and about how to create true community. ‘To put it simply, Adam taught me about God’s love in a concrete way’.

Forgiveness: the name of love in a wounded world

This item is a 10 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Forgiveness: The Name of Love in a Wounded World’, published in ‘Weavings: A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life’, Vol. VII, No. 2, March/April 1992, pp. 6 – 15. The thoughts found in this article are identified as later to be found in Nouwen’s book, “The Life of the Beloved’. Nouwen begins the article by stating that in the stress and pressure of modern life he had ‘begun to wonder whether there was a single, simple word that might address the deep yearning of contemporary men and women for hope, trust, love and a vision larger than their own changing perspectives…That word is Beloved’. Nouwen goes on to describe how he began to see that word as applying to himself and to all; that it is a word of love from our ‘first love’, God. Nouwen sees self-rejection as one of the most powerful forces to be overcome in order to see ourselves as beloved. Nouwen suggests that we tend to seek our self-worth from human loves which of their nature will fail us. Nouwen goes on to describe ‘the experience of being called the Beloved is the experience of communion’, which he believes is the longing of all human hearts. ‘The treasure of communion is hidden in the ground on which we stand. That is our holy ground’. Nouwen then writes of the power of forgiveness, ‘Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly’…’we need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour…’ Finally Nouwen writes of the freedom to love that comes with awareness of being the Beloved. ‘Once we are free from the expectation of rewards, we no longer select those to whom we offer our love’.

Friendship inner quality

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Friendship inner quality’ published in the National Catholic Reporter, August 7, 1974. Nouwen begins the article by describing a visit to him from a former student in which they sat in companionable silence for a good portion of the visit. They each recognized the presence of Christ in the other and the student ended the time by saying ‘ From now on, wherever you go, or wherever I go, all the ground between us will be holy ground’. Nouwen then quotes Rainer Marie Rilke,‘ Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and border and salute each other’. Nouwen interprets this understanding in the following way, ‘It made me see that the togetherness of friends and lovers can become moments in which we can enter into a common solitude which is not restricted by time and place’. He goes on to say, ‘Only slowly I become aware of the possibility to make the human encounters of my life into moments by which my solitude grows and expands itself to embrace more people into the community of my life. It indeed is possible for all those with whom I stayed for a moment or a long time to become members of that community since by their encounter in love all the ground between us has indeed become holy ground and since those who leave can stay in the hospitable solitude of the heart’. Nouwen goes on to cite examples of the ways humans relate but which need not replace this fruitful solitude of the heart.

From The peace that is not of this world

This item is a 2 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘The Peace that is not of this World’, published in Peace Day newsletter by National Peace Day Celebrations, Inc.,Spring 1987, pp. 1 -2. Nouwen begins this item by stating, ‘Keep your eyes on the prince of peace…who is the source of all peace’. Nouwen identifies the place where peace is found then as in weakness, ‘in those places of our heart where we feel most broken, most insecure, most in agony, most afraid’. Nouwen speaks of the darkness in which many live and the Light which dispels the darkness. He ends with a story from an old Hasidic tale about determining the hour of dawn…’It is then, …when you can look into the face of human beings and you have enough light in you to recognize them as your brothers and sisters’.

From brokenness to community

Item consists of a book in which Nouwen has written the foreword, stating in part: ". . . much of what he said [at the Harvard Divinity School] radiated the same spirit as the Harvard lectures published in this book. It is a spirit of simplicity, a spirit of gratitude, a spirit of celebration, fed by a deep love for the poor."

Vanier, Jean

From magic to faith: religious growth in psychological perspective

This item consists of a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: From Magic to Faith: religious growth in psychological perspective, published in National Catholic Reporter, 27 September, 1967, p. 7. In this article Nouwen examines the growth or not, of religious maturity beginning with the new baby and ending with the adult man (sic). A. In the section covering the first five years the author identifies several stages: becoming aware that we are not the center of our world and that there are objective realities outside us that we cannot control; the formation of language in which we discover that our first words ‘give us a mysterious power over things which can in later life be part of our use of religious prayer in a magical and not mature way; a ‘third step out of the magical world is the formation of our conscience. This is formed in our contact with others and here the author relates some questions from Freud about our identification of God with our father. B. In the section covering school years 6 – 12 Nouwen identifies this time as one in which the child is exposed to a larger world, new and different values and new interests. The mature religion resulting from this he suggests will be ‘integral in nature…flexible enough to integrate all new knowledge within its frame of reference. …essential for a mature religion is the constant willingness to shift gears’. C. Here are discussed the adolescent years. These the author describes as a time of a more complicated inner and outer world with many conflicts; a time of facing and accepting or not, the shadow part of each person and the effect on the maturity of religious growth. D. This is the stage of the young adult. This is the time of leaving the family atmosphere and going away to study. ‘As we enter college we take with us many religious concepts and ideas which seemed obvious, and which we never questioned. The question is, whether or not we have the courage to put question marks behind many things; if we can allow ourselves to doubt without losing all ground.’ E. In this final section Nouwen discusses the adult man (sic). ‘One facet of adulthood which has special significance for our religious attitude is that the mature adult mind is characterized by a unifying philosophy of life’. Without this unifying philosophy Nouwen suggests that boredom may characterize life. He describes boredom as ‘the isolation of experience’…’every day seems to be just another day, indifferent, colorless and bleak’. Mature religion’s unifying power fulfills here a creative function. Nouwen states finally, ‘We started folded in our mother’s womb, one with the world in which we lived. We slowly unfolded out of the magical unity into autonomous existence in which we discovered that we were not alone but stood in a constant dialogue with our surroundings.

From resentment to gratitude

Item consists of a booklet in which Nouwen challenges seminaries to overcome negative feelings and respond to life by a positive creative ministry.

From the house of fear to the house of love

This item is a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘From the House of Fear to the House of Love’, published in World Peacemakers Inc., Washington, D.C., Fall 1985, p. 3. This article is identified as ‘a portion of three articles by Henri from a series entitled ‘The House of God: A Home amid and anxious world’ published in Sojourners Magazine, June, July and August-September, 1985. Nouwen begins the article by saying, ‘The words we most need to hear during these turbulent days are: “Do not be afraid”. These words from the Gospels are then followed by a list of some of the major fearful preoccupations of people in our time. Nouwen writes about how fear permeates so much of daily living and suggests that ‘Many of us Western people of the 20th century live in the house of fear’. He suggests that Jesus, when asked questions based in fear moved to ‘transform the question’ to a different level. Nouwen then asks, ‘Is it possible to live in the house of love and to listen to the questions raised there by the Lord of love?’ He identifies the ‘house of love’ not as a distant, hoped-for heaven but in Jesus, now, who is our home. ‘This is conversion: coming home. And this is what prayer is about: seeking our home where the Lord has built a home – in the intimacy of our own heart’. The fruits of this conversion as Nouwen sees it are: Intimacy, fecundity and ecstasy. Being in the home of Jesus is learning intimacy and trust which exclude no one; the fecundity that arises from this becomes ‘global’, for everyone. Nouwen finally, suggests that ‘complete joy is the reward of the fruitful life in the house of God. Ecstasy is this complete joy’. Nouwen completes this thought by suggesting that this joy, this fecundity can make nations less defensive and fearful and more inclusive.

Generation without fathers: Christian leadership of tomorrow

This item consists of an 8 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, Generation without Fathers: Christian Leadership of Tomorrow, published in Commonweal, June 12, 1970, pp 287 – 294. The article begins with an old Jewish story in which a young fugitive hiding in a village is handed over to soldiers by the Rabbi in order to save the people. The Rabbi is then informed that he should have met the young man and then he would have known he was handing over the Messiah. Nouwen then goes on to say as introduction, ‘We are challenged to look into the eyes of the young man and woman of today running away from our cruel ways. Perhaps just that will be enough to prevent us from handing him over to the enemy and enable us to lead him out of his hidden place into the middle of his people to redeem them from their fears.’ Nouwen then discusses what he sees are certain behavioral trends in the lives of those who are ‘in the process of becoming’. Throughout the article Nouwen quotes both from a book by David Riesman entitled The Lonely Crowd and a paper by Jeffery K. Hadden in Psychology Today, October 1969. Nouwen heads the first section of this article The Man of Tomorrow. He describes these people as the children of the lonely crowd who exhibit three characteristics: Inwardness, Fatherlessness and Convulsiveness. Nouwen uses a definition of the inward generation from the work of Hadden: ‘It is the generation which gives absolute priority to the personal and which tends in a remarkable way to withdraw into self’. In the subsection entitled Parents but no Fathers Nouwen states,‘ We are facing a generation which has parents but no fathers, a generation in which everyone who claims authority …is suspect from the very beginning’. In this generation the authority figures are ones peer group with all the tyranny that can involve. Convulsiveness is described as ‘A fundamental unhappiness with their world, a strong desire to work for change, but a deep doubt that they will do better than their parents and a nearly complete lack of any kind of vision or perspective’. In the section of this article entitled Tomorrow’s Leader, Nouwen outlines the characteristics of the Christian leader needed for today’s youth. There are three characteristics suggested: 1. The leader as the articulator of the inner events, 2) The leader as a man of compassion and 3) The leader as a contemplative critic. Each of these sections is discussed fully and summarized at the end. Nouwen states,’ The Christian leader who not only is able to articulate the movements of the Spirit but also is able to contemplate his world with a compassionate but critical eye may expect that the convulsive generation will not choose death as the ultimate desperate form of protest, but instead the new life of which he has made visible the first hopeful sign.

Giving without wanting anything in return is a great act of trust

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘ Giving without wanting anything in return is a great act of trust’, published in The Liberal, Sept. 6, 1989. The article is printed in a section that is called the Clergy Column but there are no further identifying marks. This item is also found in the chapter entitled, 'Allow yourself to be fully received' in Nouwen's 'The Inner Voice of Love". Nouwen writes, ‘Giving yourself to others without expecting anything in return is only possible when you, yourself have been fully received’. The remainder of the article speaks about the need to be free so being able to give without needing affirmation or reward from others.

God will take us back, such as we are

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘ God will take us back, such as we are’ , published in the National Catholic Reporter, July 28, 1989. This is a photocopy only and the page is not identified. This is identified as an excerpt from Nouwen’ ‘The Road to Daybreak’. Nouwen begins by stating that he has been meditating on the story of the prodigal son. He describes the sense that the younger son is selfish but all the same is welcomed back. ‘God does not require a pure heart before embracing us’. Nouwen then describes Rembrandt’s painting of the Prodigal. Nouwen concludes by saying. ‘God is standing there with open arms, waiting to embrace me…just having me back is all he desires’.

God's choice

This item is an article written by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘God’s Choice’, published in the Pioneer Christian Monthly , May 1990, p. 8. This item is a short excerpt from Nouwen’s ‘The Road to Daybreak’. Nouwen opens by saying he has been listening to an interview with Jean Vanier, the founder of l’Arche who states’ The handicapped often tell us the truth, whether we want to know it or not’. Nouwen goes on to reflect his awareness of the truth of this.

Going home

Item consists of an article featuring a talk by Nouwen. Nouwen gave this talk at Dayspring, a silent retreat center of Church of the Saviour, near Gaithersburg, MD.

Gracias!: a Latin American journal

Item consists of a book in which Nouwen wrote about his six-month stay, from October 1981 to March 1982, in Bolivia and Peru. The book has been divided into the following: Acknowledgments; Introduction, In Search of a Vocation; 1. October, The Lord of the Miracles; 2. November, New Faces and Voices; 3. December, A Land of Martyrs; 4. January, In Pablo and Sophia's House; 5. February, An Inner and Outer Struggle; 6. March, The Outlines of a Vision; Conclusion, A Call to Be Grateful.
As is stated in the back flap: "A treasure lies hidden in the soul of Latin America, a spiritual treasure to be recognized as a gift for us . . . the treasure of gratitude that can help us break through the walls of our individual and collective self-righteousness and can prevent us from destroying ourselves and our planet. "

Gratefulness, the heart of prayer: an approach to life in fullnes

Item consists of a book in which Nouwen has written the foreword, stating in part that the book "throws a ray of light in our dark world and makes us see that we can live here and now as people who can be constantly surprised and who can let an 'inch of surprise become a mile of gratefulness.'"


This item is a 1½ page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Gratitude’, published in Radix Magazine, Sep/Oct. 1983, p. 23 - 24. This item is an entry from Nouwen, Henri: Gracias: A Latin American Journal. Nouwen begins the article by stating, ‘I have been thinking about the significance of gratitude in mission work’. He suggests that gratitude has not been a strong element in the life of missionaries. Nouwen then goes on to say, ‘True missioners are people who are hunting for the divine treasure hidden in the heart of the people to whom they want to make the good news known….The great paradox of ministry therefore, is that we minister above all with our weakness, a weakness that invites us to receive from those to whom we go’. Nouwen concludes by suggesting that gratitude is not a psychological disposition but a virtue that is only a fruit of prayer, ‘This viewpoint explains why true ministers, true missionaries, are always also contemplatives’.

Guiding stars: a sampler of quilters' favorite quotations

Item consists of a book in which the following quotation on p. 63 from Nouwen is included as a favourite of Elaine Miles. "The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing, and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is the friend who cares."

Harry Nouwen op doorrels in Vlaanderen

Item consists of a photocopy of a Presbericht [Press release] featuring a description of Henri Nouwen from May 5, 1987. This includes his published books, his work in Central America, and work with L'Arche. Document features a stamp saying 'Lannoo.'

Heart speaks to heart

This item is a 2 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: ‘Heart Speaks to Heart’ published in The Catholic Leader (Australia), October 1988, pp. 13 & 18. This item is identified as part 1 of a 3 part series. Versions of this article appear in Weavings, The Journal of Christian Healing and World Vision Magazine, all in 1988. See items 1727, 1729, 1732, Box. 297. Nouwen opens by describing his move from Harvard University to the l’Arche community of Daybreak near Toronto. Nouwen speaks of the house in which he lived with 6 handicapped people and 3 assistants. ‘When there are no special crises we live together in a family…We laugh a lot, we cry a lot. Nouwen then goes on to write of his apprehension in being asked to take on some of the care of Adam Arnett who was a severely handicapped man who needed help to do everything, who suffered from grand mal seizures and who could not speak. Nouwen describes his growing sense of friendship with Adam. ‘Deep speaks to deep, spirit speaks to spirit, heart speaks to heart. I started to realise that there was a mutuality of love not based on shared knowledge or shared feelings, but on shared humanity’. Nouwen states that Adam’s parents when asked what Adam gave to them said, ‘He brought us peace…’ Nouwen writes then, that Adam’s peace is ‘first of all a peace rooted in being…Being is more important than doing…His gift is his pure being with us’. Nouwen concludes this article by recalling how much of his own identity and value seemed to be tied up with what he did. ‘Adam says to me “Peace is first of all the art of being”. I know he is right because after four months of being with Adam I am discovering in myself an inner at-homeness that I did not know before’.

Heart speaks to heart: three prayers to Jesus

Item consists of a book containing three prayers which Nouwen wrote during Holy Week while staying with the Trappists in Holland, Manitoba. Nouwen had been encouraged to write about the Sacred Heart by Madame Pauline Vanier during his stay at L'Arche in Trosly, France in 1985 and 1986.
As is stated on the front flap: ". . .Instead of writing about the Sacred Heart [Nouwen] 'began to discern in [his] own heart a real desire to speak to the heart of Jesus and be heard.'"

Henri J.M. Nouwen on prayer

This item is a ¾ page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘On Prayer’, published in Reflections, St. Luke’s Parish newsletter for Week VI of Spring, 1984, April 8 – April 14. The location of this parish is not identified. The item is identified as an excerpt from, Nouwen, Henri: With Open Hands, Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, IN., 1972. Nouwen begins by speaking of the connection between prayer and silence. He suggests however, that for many people ‘silence has become a real disturbance’. Nouwen then goes on to speak of inner silence which, he suggests, when it comes is a gift, a promise. ‘It is the silence of the ‘poor in spirit’ where you learn to see your life in its proper perspectives’. He also suggests that ‘prayer is acceptance’.Nouwen concludes the excerpt by stating, ‘Above all, praying means to be accepting toward God who is always new, always different’.

Henri Nouwen

Item consists of a book containing selections from Nouwen's best published work.

Henri Nouwen

Item consists of an article about Henri Nouwen (in the section of the magazine titled "Faces of Faith). Boers describes his meeting with Nouwen, and describes his visit at L'Arche Daybreak. Boers interviews Nouwen and asks him about his experience in Latin America and attempt to find a vocation there, his 1984 speaking tour [An Interrupted Journey], his decision to join L'Arche, and Nouwen's role at L'Arche and his feelings about the community.

Henri Nouwen fonds

  • CA ON00389 F4
  • Fonds
  • 1910 - 1997, 1964 - 1996 predominant

Fonds consists of 15 series:

  1. Manuscripts
  2. General files
  3. Calendar files
  4. Personal records
  5. Publisher files
  6. Financial files
  7. Teaching materials
  8. Nouwen’s education records and study notes
  9. Published works
  10. Video recordings of Nouwen
  11. Sound recordings
  12. Collected materials
  13. L'Arche Daybreak administrative files
  14. Ephemera and artifacts
  15. Photographs

Nouwen, Henri J.M.

Results 201 to 250 of 625