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Henri Nouwen fonds
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Wisdom of emptiness

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Wisdom in Emptiness’ published in the National Catholic Reporter, October 4, 1974, p. 11. Nouwen begins the article by stating that most people need constant occupation and without it are restless and feel useless. He says ‘Being busy, active and on the move has nearly become part of our constitution’. Nouwen goes on to state ‘this is why silence is such a difficult task’. He suggests that occupation and preoccupation are our ’fearful ways to keep things the same’…’we hold on to the familiar life items which we have collected in the past’. Nouwen uses as an example of this a story by Carlos Castaneda and the story of Jesus’ exhortation that we should ‘not worry …your heavenly father knows what you need’. Nouwen concludes by saying, ‘ Conversion is an inner event that cannot be planned or organized, but needs to develop from within. Just as you cannot force a plant to grow, but can take away the weeds and stones which prevent its development, so you can… offer the space where such a conversion can take place’.

Why do you invite people for dinner?

Item consists of a manuscript of "Why do you invite people to dinner?", a sermon given by Nouwen to priests and seminarians at Moreau Seminary, University of Notre Dame, before the summer break. He writes about hospitality: that inviting someone to dinner is also an invitation to intimacy, and that so is the Eucharist.

Why I came to L'Arche

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Why I came to L’Arche’, published in Scarboro Missions, by The Scarboro Foreign Missions Society, April 1987, Vol. 68, No. 4, p. 22. Nouwen briefly discusses his journey to the L’Arche community of Daybreak at Richmond Hill, On. He describes his time at Yale and Harvard and his sense that ‘I wasn’t living fully what I was speaking about’. Nouwen speaks of his contact with Jean Vanier and his eventual decision to try to live the community life of L’Arche.

Why Are You Going to the Trappists?: An Interview with Henri Nouwen

Item consists of an interview of Henri Nouwen by Parker Rossman. Rossman asks Nouwen questions about his choice to go to a Trappist monastery while on his sabbatical from Yale Divinity School. The interview is titled "Why Are You Going to the Trappists? An Interview with Henri Nouwen."

What men really want

Item consists of a copy of a magazine article called "What men really want" by Keith Thompson. The article is an interview with Robert Bly.

Wesleyan University - April 7, 1981

File consists of a letter, from John Tivenan, confirming an invitation to celebrate a liturgy with the Wesleyan University community, Middletown, Connecticut.

Werkgroep Ark-Nederland - June 16 - 19, 1994

File consists of correspondence, mainly with Elizabeth Bezemer, and other material, regarding Nouwen's leadership at a L'Arche retreat in Holland during the first week in June of 1994. Includes a postcard and a flyer.

Weest stil, en weet...: De betekenis van het werk van Henri J.M. Nouwen voor de praktijk van het protestantse pastoraat

Item consists of a bound copy of a doctoral thesis by Annet van Lindenberg at the Theologische Universiteit van de Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland from June 1988. The thesis is titled "Weest stil, en weet... De betekenis van het werk van Henri J.M. Nouwen voor de praktijk van het protestantse pastoraat" [Be still and know ... The significance of the work of Henri J.M. Nouwen on the practice of the Protestant chaplaincy].

Weekly calendars

Sub-series consists of Nouwen’s weekly appointment calendars from 1975 to 1996. Most contain ephemeral material (including personal notes, reminders, invitations and miscellaneous information) which has been removed and placed in separate envelopes.

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s weekly calendar from 1975, while he was working at Yale University (New Haven, CT); and travelling extensively within North America.

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s weekly calendar from 1978, while he was working at Yale University (New Haven, CT); including a thirty day retreat from January to February in Lyon, France.

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s weekly calendar from 1979, while he was working at Yale University (New Haven, CT); including seven months from February 17 – August 27 spent at the Abbey of the Genesee.

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s weekly calendar from 1985, while he was working at Harvard University, and L'Arche Trosly-Breuil; including several trips to France and Boston from August to December.

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s weekly calendar from 1990, while he was living at L'Arche Daybreak (Richmond Hill, ON); including a retreat at L'Arche Trosly-Breuil (France) for a week in January.

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s weekly calendar from 1993, while he was living at L'Arche Daybreak (Richmond Hill, ON); including trips made to Holland, Germany, and Switzerland, and across North America.

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s weekly calendar from 1994, while he was living at L'Arche Daybreak (Richmond Hill, ON); including trips to Ukraine in August; and Holland in December. Also includes photocopies of the months of October to December, made prior to the original being completed; most likely in anticipation of Nouwen’s absence from Daybreak.

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s weekly calendar from 1987 while he was living at L'Arche Daybreak (Richmond Hill, ON), including trips made across North America, to France, England, and Rome.

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s weekly calendar from 1988, while he was living at L'Arche Daybreak (Richmond Hill, ON); including trips made to Holland, Winnipeg, and Montreal.

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s weekly calendar from 1995, while he was living at L'Arche Daybreak (Richmond Hill, ON); including trips to Holland in January, to Ireland and Holland in June, to Mexico in November and to Holland in December.

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s weekly calendar from 1983, while he was working at Harvard University (MA); including four months from May to August spent in Latin America.

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s two weekly calendars from 1986, while he was at L'Arche Trosly-Breuil, in France and L'Arche Daybreak (Richmond Hill, ON); including trips made across Europe and North America and a trip to Daybreak in May prior to moving there in August.

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s weekly calendar from 1996, while he was living at L'Arche Daybreak (Richmond Hill, ON); including time spent in Holland and Prague, (Czech Republic) in January; and an additional trip to Holland in September where he died suddenly.

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s weekly calendar from 1976, while he was working at Yale University (New Haven, CT); including three weeks spent in Switzerland (May – June); and thirty days from June to July spent on retreat at the Abbey of the Genesee.

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s weekly calendar from 1976, while he was working at Yale University (New Haven, CT); including three weeks spent in Switzerland (May – June); and thirty days from June to July spent on retreat at the Abbey of the Genesee.

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s weekly calendar from 1977, while he was working at Yale University (New Haven, CT).

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s weekly calendar from 1980, while he was working at Yale University (New Haven, CT); including three weeks in August spent at Laity Lodge outside San Antonio (TX).

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s four weekly calendars from 1984, while he was working at Harvard University and living in Cambridge (MA).

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s weekly calendar from 1989, while he was living at L'Arche Daybreak (Richmond Hill ON); including three weeks from July to August spent in France.

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s weekly calendar from 1991, while he was living at L'Arche Daybreak (Richmond Hill, ON); including several trips taken across North America.

Weekly calendar

File consists of Nouwen’s weekly calendar from 1992, while he was living at L'Arche Daybreak (Richmond Hill, ON); including seven weeks in February spent in France, and a trip in August to Norway, Ukraine, and England.

Week four: cost of discipleship

This item is a series of excerpts from the works of Henri Nouwen published in: ‘Renew, Season IV, Our Lady of Providence, no earlier than 1976, pp. 9 – 10, 12 – 13, 16. The first series of excerpts entitled ‘The Cost of Discipleship’ from Nouwen, Henri, With Open Hands, outlines the dangers of being a disciple who speaks truth. ‘You are Christians only so long as you look forward to a new world, so long as you constantly pose critical questions to the society you live in…so long as you stay unsatisfied with the status quo…The excerpt goes on to suggest that the one who lives like this, as Jesus lived, will be persecuted but will bring new life. The second series of excerpts from Nouwen, Henri, Out of Solitude is entitled, 'Healing of the Disciple'. In this section the focus of the excerpts is on the importance of curing and caring. Nouwen suggests that curing without caring, without entering the pain of the other ‘is as dehumanizing as a gift given with a cold heart’. The third series of excerpts is also from Out of Solitude and is entitled, 'Mission of the Disciple'. The first excerpt begins ‘Every human being has a great, yet often unknown gift to care, to be compassionate, to become present to the other, to listen, to hear and to receive’. Nouwen goes on to suggest that we do not use these gifts to their fullest because we avoid the vulnerability involved. The item concludes with Nouwen stating, ‘By honest recognition and confession of our human sameness we can participate in the care of God who came, not to the powerful but powerless, not to be different but the same, not to take our pain away but to share it. Through this participation we can open our hearts to each other and form a new community’.

Wedding sermons material

File consists of an assignment sheet by Nouwen asking students to write a five minute presentation of a wedding speech (Huwelijkspreek). File includes an assignment sheet without Nouwen's name - perhaps Nouwen received the assignment from another person. Nouwen lists his name, at Piusconvict, Nijmegen, on the assignment. Piusconvict in Nijmegen is likely a residence for priests studying at the University of Nijmegen. It is possible that Nouwen was teaching a course while living at the Piusconvict.

File also includes ten submissions of wedding speeches. Nouwen has written the last name of the student in the top right hand corner of each page. The names include:

H. v. Wijnb (Henny van Wijnbergen)
Ruud (Ruud Bunnik)
Frans
AR
[J. Aarts?]
[?]
G. Broekh (Gerard Broekhuis)
B. v. d. Hoorn (Boeb van der Hoorn)

Weavings

File consists of business correspondence concerning articles for publication, proposed themes for issues of the magazine, books for review, fees for material and upcoming meetings of the Advisory Board. Includes copies of The Extraordinary in the Ordinary, Reborn from Above and Spiritual Imperatives during a Time of Anguish.

We must trust that every true friendship has no end

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘We must trust that every true friendship has no end’, published in the Clergy Column of The Liberal, Sept. 13, 1989. This article was later published in Nouwen’s book ‘The Inner Voice of Love, the chapter entitled, ‘Be a Real Friend’. Nouwen opens by stating, ‘Many of our friendships come from our need for affection, affirmation and emotional support. But this need often makes us lean so heavily on others that they become overwhelmed by our demands and run away in fear and confusion’. Nouwen goes on to suggest that healthy friendship comes when we accept ourselves as deeply loved by God.

We have received more

This item is a 1/3 column article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘ We have received more’, published in ‘The Link and Visitor’, Vol. 62, No. 1, January 1989, p. 7. This item is an excerpt from an article published in Sojourners Magazine, July, 1985. Nouwen begins by stating, ‘People with mental handicaps are able to give much to those who are able to receive. They give their hearts’. Nouwen then goes on to describe the flourishing, fruit-bearing life the handicapped person lives when they live in a loving environment and the suffering and withdrawal when they are rejected. Nouwen concludes, ‘ They told me in many ways that I didn’t need to be afraid of my handicap, that I could also bear fruit as Jesus did when He offered His broken body to God.

We drink from our own wells

This item is a 4 page book review by Henri Nouwen published in America magazine, October 15, 1983, pp.205 – 208. Nouwen is reviewing a book by Gustavo Gutierrez entitled ‘We Drink From Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People’ and that is also the title of the review. Nouwen opens the review by noting Gutierrez’ earlier book entitled ‘A Theology of Liberation’ which he suggests ‘soon became a charter for many Latin American theologians and pastoral workers’. Nouwen then goes on to describe this new book as ‘the nuanced articulation the Christ-encounter as experienced by the poor of Latin America in their struggle to affirm their human dignity and claim their true identity as sons and daughters of God’. Nouwen then goes on to describe his own personal experience of hearing Gutierrez speak before this book was written and his sense of the effect of his spirituality on those who were working for the poor in Latin America. Nouwen quotes Gutierrez “Poverty means death” and goes on to describe what this involves, ‘This death is not only physical but mental and cultural as well. It refers to the destruction of individual persons, peoples, cultures and traditions’. Nouwen then outlines three aspects of the spirituality of liberation described in the book: 1) that it is impossible to reduce liberation theology to a political movement, 2) that it is Christ-centered and 3) that is drawn from the concrete daily experiences of the Christian communities in Latin America. Nouwen states toward the conclusion, ‘When Gustavo Gutierrez points to freedom as the goal of a spirituality of liberation, he connects the struggle of the people of Latin America with the spiritual struggle of all the great Christians throughout the centuries’. Nouwen concludes the review with a re-iteration of his own sense that the spiritual destinies of the Americas are closely linked.

Waterloo Separate School Board- April 17, 1993

File consists of correspondence, from Alan Green, and other material regarding Nouwen speaking to a small group of teachers from the Waterloo Separate School Board at Resurrection Catholic Secondary School, Kitchener, Ontario. Includes a map and a schedule for the day, Nouwen spoke on "Spirituality of Work," "Spirituality of Healing," and led a discussion. Also includes a copy of an article by Nouwen entitled "The Duet of the Holy Spirit: When Mourning and Dancing Are One," from the New Oxford Review, June 1992.

Washington L'Arche - December 16, 1992

File consists of correspondence and other material reading Nouwen speaking at the Festival Centre in Washington, D.C. about L'Arche. Includes a card from Patricia Wudel, travel itinerary and plane tickets.

Warden Woods Mennonite Church - February 24, 1991

File consists of correspondence with Muriel Bechtel, regarding Nouwen and Doug Wiebe's involvement in the adult discussion group and worship service at Warden Woods Mennonite Church, Scarborough, Ontario. Nouwen and Wiebe discussed the Daybreak community during the discussion group and Wiebe was the worship leader.

War - prayers, etc. file

File consists of poems, copies of articles, a copy of a typed letter from Nouwen to Daybreak and the Spring/Summer 1991 Commemorative edition of Newsweek and the February/March 1991 edition of Sojourners.

Walker and Company

File consists of business correspondence concerning With Open Hands as well as a 1985 Walker and Company catalogue which features the large print copy of With Open Hands.

Walk with Jesus: stations of the cross

Item consists of a book of reflections, in response to Sister Helen David's illustrations of the Stations of the Cross, written by Nouwen mainly during a three-and-a-half week stay at York Central Hospital in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Nouwen was hit by the rear view mirror of a passing van resulting in his stay at hospital. The book has been divided into the following: Acknowledgments; Preface; Introduction: I Walk With Jesus; I. Jesus is Condemned; II. Jesus Carries His Cross; III. Jesus Falls for the First Time; IV. Jesus Meets Mary; V. Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross; VI. Jesus Meets Veronica; VII. Jesus Falls for the Second Time; VIII. Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem; IX. Jesus Falls for the Third Time; X. Jesus is Stripped; XI. Jesus is Nailed to the Cross; XII. Jesus Dies on the Cross; XIII. Jesus is Taken from the Cross; XIV. Jesus is laid into the Grave; XV. Jesus Rises from the Dead; Concluding Prayer.
As is stated on the back cover: ". . . . This book of meditations by Henri Nouwen, inspired by a series of drawings by Sr. Helen David, represents traditional Stations of the Cross through the passion and suffering of the world's poor. . . . In these images Nouwen sees the ongoing passion of Christ."

Wainwright House Fall 1994 program

Item consists of the Fall 1994 program for Wainwright House (Rye, NY), highlighting Nouwen's lecture on "Prayer and Ministry" and the event "A Thanksgiving Offering: Communal Dinner with Henri Nouwen for the Benefit of Daybreak, the L'Arche Community in Toronto," both in November.

Wainwright House - October 16 - 17, 1993

File consists of correspondence and other material regarding Nouwen's participation as a speaker at Wainwright House program for clergy in New York City. Includes travel itinerary, plane tickets, and program faculty agreement.

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