Item 1628 - Reflections on compassion: convention keynote address

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Reference code

CA ON00389 1-9-1-1628

Title

Reflections on compassion: convention keynote address

Date(s)

  • [July - August 1980] (Creation)

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Extent and medium

6 p. of textual records

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(1932-1996)

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This item is a 6 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled,’ Reflections on Compassion’ which was the Keynote address at the annual assembly of the Catholic Health Association of Canada, published in the C.H.A.C. Review, July/August, 1980. Nouwen opens his talk with a quotation from the Letter to the Philippians 2: 1 – 11. In his introduction he begins by asking the people if they think they are compassionate which he suggests means ‘ to enter, with other people, where it hurts; to enter places of pain; to be there where people are suffering’. He suggests that we do not of our own accord do this and that it is God only who is compassionate. Nouwen suggests that one reason we are not compassionate is that we are too competitive. He goes on to state that God who is in no way in competition with us nevertheless became like us but not to take ’our pains away but to share them, to enter them and to become fully part of them. Nouwen asks his audience to think of those people who are most meaningful to us. Are they not the people who remain alongside us in our need? Nouwen speaks of Jesus’ powerful response of caring as described in the scriptures; a caring that comes from his ‘gut’. ‘Jesus felt the pain so deeply, he trembled so deeply that he trembled people to new life. He was moved, and out of that inner divine movement new health, cure and change came about’. Nouwen then speaks of the distinction between cure and care. Cure without care can be harmful, even violent. ‘Care broadens your vision; care makes you see around you; care makes you aware of possibilities’. Finally, Nouwen speaks of the possibility of being compassionate both in presence and absence.

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File also includes a photocopy of the article, previously item number 51-324.
Preservation photocopy available in Articles by Nouwen Access Copy Box 2.

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Publication note

Published in C.H.A.C. Review ([July - August 1980]): 4-9.

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Note

"C.H.A.C. Review 1980 July/Aug" written on top of the first page of the article.
This item contains two small black and white photos of Nouwen taken at the conference.

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Accession Number

2000 01

Location

Box 295

Previous Item Number

20-81

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