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Henri Nouwen fonds
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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.


Series consists of draft manuscripts and typescripts of more than 150 books and articles, forewords and introductions, sermons, and talks by Henri Nouwen. The date range of the materials is from 1956 to 1996. The series contains drafts of 49 of his articles and drafts of 41 books (Nouwen published over 300 articles and 39 books in his lifetime). In addition to handwritten drafts or typescripts some files may also include loose notes (usually background reading notes), galley and print proofs, administrative papers, correspondence regarding the materials, and photographs and artwork used in the process of publication.

The materials in the Series reflect Nouwen’s general writing process: for the most part he hand-wrote his works on foolscap or in hard-back journals, often he created reading notes pertaining to the subject he was writing on, drafts were typed by an administrative assistant and then circulated to friends and other readers for comment. He saved all of the drafts, often incorporating the notes made by himself and other readers, in order to create one final work.

Common themes present in the drafts include: spirituality, love, God, psychology, theology, relationships, prayer, ministry, and Christian life. Nouwen often reflected on his own spiritual journey and experiences in his works in journal form. This writing was often deeply personal and it is for this reason that some of the manuscripts and drafts are restricted from use, including Man at the Watershed, A Spiritual Journey, Taken, Blessed, Broken, Given (parts of which were published in Life of the Beloved), The Inner Voice of Love, Adam, and Sabbatical Journey.

With exception of the sermons, most material has been published. Eight transcripts have been identified as unpublished, including a book on Anton T. Boisen based on Nouwen’s doctoral thesis, a draft of a work about Nouwen’s friend Richard Alan White, and notes for a book Nouwen began in 1991 regarding the trapeze and the spiritual life as well as some of the restricted material listed above. See file descriptions for more information on each work.

The series has been arranged into two sub-series:

    1. Books and articles
    1. Talks and sermons

Each of these sub-series has sub-sub-series, files, and items. They have been arranged chronologically.

Books and articles

Sub-series consists of draft manuscripts and typescripts of many of Nouwen's published and unpublished books and articles, including forewords, introductions and afterwords for other authors' books. The sub-series represents Nouwen's writing process, from miscellaneous notes and journal entries to galley and print proofs. Some articles contain subject matter later published in Nouwen's full-length books; links between them have been made where appropriate. The sub-series has been divided into sub-sub-series for each of Nouwen's book-length projects, as well as files.
The sub-sub-series are as follows:

  1. Book on Anton T. Boisen
  2. Intimacy
  3. With Open Hands
  4. Aging
  5. Out of Solitude
  6. Reaching Out
  7. Genesee Diary
  8. Man at the Watershed
  9. Clowning in Rome
  10. In Memoriam
  11. A Cry for Mercy
  12. Downward Mobility
  13. A Letter of Consolation
  14. Compassion
  15. Gracias! A Latin American Journal
  16. A Spirituality of Peacemaking
  17. Love in a Fearful Land: A Guatemalan Story
  18. Lifesigns
  19. Behold the Beauty of the Lord
  20. Letters to Marc about Jesus
  21. The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey
  22. Heart Speaks to Heart
  23. In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership
  24. Theology as Doxology
  25. L'Arche and the World
  26. A Spiritual Journey
  27. Mary, Mother of the Priests
  28. Taken, Blessed, Broken, Given
  29. The Life of the Beloved
  30. Show Me the Way: Readings for Each Day of Lent
  31. The Return of the Prodigal Son
  32. Circus Diary
  33. Ukrainian Diary: July 24-August 14, 1993
  34. Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Giving
  35. With Burning Hearts: A Meditation on the Eucharistic Life
  36. The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey through Anguish to Freedom
  37. Can You Drink the Cup?
  38. Ministry and Spirituality: Three Books in One
  39. Adam: God's Beloved
  40. Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith
  41. Sabbatical Journey: The Final Year
  42. Articles

Typescripts of Boisen book

File consists of manuscripts for a book on Anton T. Boisen.

Folder 1 consists of seven typed manuscripts by Nouwen on Boisen. They include:

  • Boisen and Forestry
  • Dr. William Lowe Bryan
  • Boisen and Coe (George Albert Coe (1862-1951) important contributor to religious education in the US)
  • The Symbolic Flower
  • Anton Boisen’s Relationship with Alice Batchelder
  • The Background of a Clinician
  • Boisen and Freud

Folder 2 consists of eight typed manuscripts by Nouwen on Boisen. They include:

  • The Symbolic Flower
  • Dr. William Lowe Bryan (2 copies)
  • Boisen and Freud
  • Boisen and Forestry
  • Boisen and Coe
  • The Background of a Clinician
  • Boisen (2 copies) [3-page document about Nouwen's visit with Boisen in the Elgin State hospital in August 1964]
  • Anton Boisen’s Relationship with Alice Batchelder
    Folder 2 also contains sections of The Symbolic Flower and Anton Boisen’s Relationship with Alice Batchelder, as well as handwritten notes by Nouwen entitled, Richard Cabot and Anton Boisen.

Draft of Anton T. Boisen and the study of theology through living human documents

File consists of a partial draft typescript of an unpublished book by Nouwen entitled, "Anton T. Boisen and the Study of Theology Through "Living Human Documents". Draft includes 'Preface', 'Part 1. The Case of Anton T. Boisen: General Introduction', and 'Chapter One: The Creative Experience'. This text was likely written during Nouwen's last year at the Menninger Clinic (Topeka, KS).

Drafts of Intimacy

File consists of typescripts of three chapters (seven) of Nouwen's first book, "Intimacy". The chapters included are: 'From Magic to Faith' (originally a student lecture by Nouwen) (includes three copies in Dutch, one in English); 'The Priest and His Mental Health' (one copy; English); and 'The Challenge to Love' (two copies; based on lecture notes). File also includes a typescript of an article entitled, "On the Possibility and Desirability of Love", a precursor to the chapter, 'The Challenge to Love'.

Met Open Handen - Inleiding

File consists of a manuscript of introduction of the Dutch edition of With Open Hands. It is titled "Met Open Handen : vingeroefeningen voor het gebed" [With Open Hands: Exercises for Prayer].

Drafts of Aging

File consists of two typescripts of "Aging". Draft (1) is entitled, "Aging and Ministry", by Nouwen, with Peter J. Naus and Don McNeill, with many thanks to Walter Gaffney (1971 - 1974). Draft (2) is entitled, "Aging", by Nouwen and Walter J. Gaffney (Photography by Ron P. van den Bosch) (1974).

Draft book review of Aging in America

File consists of a draft typescript of a book review by Nouwen of Bert Kruger Smith's "Aging in America" (1973), written by Nouwen while at Yale Divinity School. File also includes an original book cover for "Aging in America", annotated by Nouwen.

Draft of In memory of Gus van der Woude

File consists of a draft typescript of "In Memory of Gus van der Woude, 15 August 1975: 'Till Human Voices Wake Us', Selections From the Diary of Gus van der Woude". Includes an introduction by John S. Mogabgab. The diary is edited by Mogabgab with Henri Nouwen.

Draft of An age of genocide?

File consists of a draft typescript of a book review by Nouwen of "Genocide in Paraguay", ed. Richard Arens, entitled, "An Age of Genocide?"

Drafts of Spiritual formation in theological education

File consists of two draft typescripts entitled, "Spiritual Formation in Theological Education". In this article, Nouwen contends that the minister has to know his subject matter "by heart". He suggests that theological education does not include theological formation or formation of the heart. He suggests that ministers can be formed to ministry by Lectio Divina, by silence, and by spiritual direction - all in the service and context of community. Nouwen uses an analogy of the boy and the sculptor found in "Clowning in Rome" (1979).

Drafts of Joel and Joelito Filartiga

File consists of a draft typescript of an article entitled, "Joel and Joelito Filartiga: The Agonizing Cry of a Doctor Artist", that Nouwen wrote on the life and work of Dr. Joel Filartiga. This story, in a shortened form, appears in "Compassion" (1982), as do Filartiga's drawings.

Draft of Spiritual direction

File consists of a draft typescript of "Spiritual Direction". This text was later published in several articles, as well in booklet form. Nouwen writes that spiritual formation implies the discipline of spiritual direction. Themes include absurdity and obedience. He writes that there are three disciplines of spiritual direction: (a) the discipline of the Church, (b) the discipline of the Book, and (c) the discipline of the Heart.

Draft book review of We drink from our own wells

File consists of a draft typescript of a book review by Nouwen of Gustavo Gutiérrez's, "We Drink from Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People" (Centro de Estudios y Publicaciones, 1984), for which Nouwen also wrote the Prologue. The draft review refers to a working title, "Drinking from Your Own Well". It also contains minor corrections made in an unknown hand.

Draft of The suffering Christ

File consists of galley proofs of the article, "The Suffering Christ: Peacemaking across the Americas". Draft contains annotations and corrections in Nouwen's hand and others.

Drafts of Out of solitude

File consists of a typescript of "Three Meditations on the Christian Life", the working title for an early version of "Out of Solitude". File also includes typescripts of its three chapters, 'Out of Solitude' (two copies), 'With Care', and 'In Expectation'. These were originally lectures presented at Battell Chapel, United Church of Christ, Yale University, in 1973. Themes include care, expectation, loneliness, patience, action, usefulness, self-esteem, self-destruction, depression, self-rejection, vulnerability, inner freedom, cure, joy and sadness.

Draft of A spirituality of peacemaking

File consists of copies of galley proofs of the article, "Prayer and Resistance: A Spirituality of Peacemaking", using the working title, "A Spirituality of Peacemaking".

Drafts of Prayer and the jealous God

File consists of three draft typescripts of an article entitled, "Prayer and the Jealous God". Draft (1) is annotated by Peter Weiskel. Drafts (2) and (3) are copies of the revised edition.

Draft of The icon of the Virgin of Vladimir

File consists of a draft typescript of an article entitled, "The Icon of the Virgin of Vladimir: An Invitation to Belong to God". This article was published in Nouwen's book, "Behold the Beauty of the Lord: Praying with Icons" (1987).

Drafts of foreword to The way of the living faith

File consists of a draft manuscript and typescript of Nouwen's foreword to Segundo Galilea's book, "The Way of Living Faith: A Spirituality of Liberation" (Harper Collins, 1988). File also includes handwritten notes related to the foreword written on the verso of a letter from H. Pÿfers (dated March 5, 1986).

Draft of L'icone de la Sainte-Trinité

File consists of a draft typescript of an article entitled, "L'Icone de la Sainte-Trinité". The article appears to have been intended for publication in a larger work because it includes page numbers (pages 15 to 18), and a colour reproduction of the icon. A version of this article was published in Feu et Lumière (1986). Nouwen's writing on icons was then later published in his book, "Behold the Beauty of the Lord" (1987).

Drafts of One in Christ

File consists of notes, a draft manuscript and four draft typescripts of "One in Christ: Notes on Christian Unity". A working title was "Some Reflections on Christian Unity". Draft (2) has been corrected by a reader by the name of Tom (last name unknown). Draft (4) has been heavily annotated by Nouwen. The article is divided into three parts: 'Part I: The Oneness of Christ', 'Part II: The Wholeness of Christ' and 'Part III: Living the Oneness and Wholeness of Christ'. Part III is a discussion of Christian unity, ecumenism at L'Arche Daybreak, including the Eucharist. Annotations on Drafts (4) and (5) indicate that Connie Ellis, Nouwen's administrative assistant, typed the manuscript on May 31, 1988. This article is likely unpublished.

Drafts of The life in faith

File consists of a draft manuscript and seven draft typescripts of the article, "The Life in Faith". This paper is a reflection based on the life of Jesus. Nouwen argues that Jesus wants us to be inspired by the Holy Spirit to believe all his teaching about the Father, the Spirit, and Himself. Not only does believing help us in our lives, but it also brings immense joy to the Father. Believers find brothers and sisters in other believers. Themes include Jesus, the spiritual life and faith. It is not known if this paper has been published. Annotations on drafts (6) and (7) indicate that Connie Ellis, Nouwen's administrative assistant, typed the manuscript on June 10, 1988.

Drafts of Becoming poor before God

File consists of notes entitled, "Formation", and two draft typescripts of an article entitled, "Becoming Poor Before God: Spiritual Formation at Daybreak". Describes how the Holy Spirit works through the poor and, in relationship with others, brings them to confidence and freedom. This was a talk Nouwen gave in Fall, 1988, for Spiritual formation at L'Arche Daybreak. Sue Mosteller's name has been deleted from draft (1) as a co-author.

Drafts of Reborn from above

File consists of draft manuscripts and typescripts of an article entitled, "Reborn from Above". File includes an original manuscript; a photocopy of the manuscript with typing instructions by Nouwen; an original typescript of the manuscript, the copy-editor's draft of the typescript with corrections, and two subsequent drafts of the typescript. Annotations on draft (5) indicate that Connie Ellis, Nouwen's administrative assistant, typed the final drafts. The original file folder indicated this article was written in February, 1988. The earliest publication that has been traced is 1992, when it was published in at least three periodicals.
In this text, Nouwen describes the way to rebirth as the way of poverty, weakness, powerlessness, compassion and obscurity.

Draft of foreword to German edition of The Beatitudes

File consists of a draft typescript of a foreword by Nouwen to a German edition of "The Beatitudes" by Père Thomas Philippe. File includes a cover letter to Renata (last name unknown), of La Ferme (L'Arche Trosly-Breuil, France).

Drafts of At the beginning of a new decade

File consists of four draft typescripts of "At the Beginning of a New Decade". Draft (2) has been edited by Conrad Wieczorek and draft (3) has been edited by Dale Vree. Draft (4) contains a note regarding which publishers have been sent copies of the article. This article has been partially published as "A Sudden Trip to Lourdes" in the New Oxford Review, and as "Un Voyage Imprévu à Lourdes" in Feu et Lumière.

Drafts of God's will, acceptance of

File consists of a draft manuscript and typescript of Nouwen's submission to the Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling, entitled, "God's Will, Acceptance of".

Drafts of Notes on AIDS

File consists of a draft manuscript and four draft typescripts of an article Nouwen wrote in Trosly, France, in January 1990, entitled, "Notes About AIDS". In this article Nouwen discusses homosexuality, AIDS, and the concepts of repentance and communion. Draft (3) is the copy-edited version, edited by Conrad Wieczorek. File also includes a letter from Sr. Sue Mosteller with comments regarding the manuscript. It is likely that this manuscript has not been published.

Drafts of L'Arche in North America

File consists of a draft manuscript and four draft typescripts of "L'Arche in North America: Home, Healing and Hope" in folder (1). Folder (2) contains related correspondence between Nouwen and his administrative assistant, Kathy Christie, and Marion Hollis of L'Arche Limited (Suffolk, England).

Draft of Preparing for death

File consists of handwritten notes and a draft manuscript of the introduction to "Preparing for Death". This article is regarding death and Nouwen's second near death experience from an infection. It has been published recently in a revised edition of Nouwen's book, "Beyond the Mirror".

Drafts of Power, powerlessness and power

File consists of a draft manuscript and typescript of "Power, Powerlessness and Power", including related correspondence. Folder (1) contains a fax copy of a manuscript and typescript. Folder (2) contains faxed correspondence between Nouwen's administrative assistants, Kathy Christie and Lydia Banducci, and Marion Hollis, of L'Arche Limited (Suffolk, England) and Zizi (last name unknown). Includes a fax copy of an illustration by Zizi (last name unknown), that Nouwen intended to use with this article.

Drafts of Reaching out

File consists of typescripts of chapters from "Reaching Out". The chapters included are: 'Introduction'; (The First Movement:) 'From Loneliness to Solitude'; 'From Reaction to Response'; (The Second Movement:) 'A. From Hostility to Hospitality' (original and copy); and 'B. Hospitality and Care' (original and copy); (Chapter 5) 'II. Forms of Hospitality'; (Chapter 6) 'C. Hospitality and the Host'; (The Third Movement:) 'From Illusion to Prayer'; (Chapter 9) 'Prayer and Community'; and (Chapter 8) 'The Prayer of the Heart' (two copies).

Draft of Ukrainian journal II

File consists of a draft typescript of a journal Nouwen kept during his second trip to the Ukraine in 1994, with Nathan Ball, Cheryl Zinyk, and Sr. Sue Mosteller. This article has been partially published in the New Oxford Review.

Draft of afterword for Flowers from the ark

File consists of a draft manuscript of an afterword (entitled, "Backward") by Nouwen to Sr. Christella Buser's book, "Flowers from the Arc: True Stories from the Homes of L'Arche" (1996).

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