Item 1627 - Silence, the portable cell: the word which creates communion

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CA ON00389 F4-9-1-1627


Silence, the portable cell: the word which creates communion


  • July 1980 (Creation)

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6 p. of textual records

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This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Silence, The Portable Cell’, published in Sojourners, July 1980, pp. 22, 24 – 26. This item is part two of a three part series. Nouwen begins by using examples from the writings of the Desert Fathers. He then states, ‘Silence is a way to make solitude a reality… It can be seen as a portable cell taken with us from the solitary place into the midst of our ministry. It is solitude practiced in action.’ Nouwen’s first section discusses what he calls ‘Our wordy world’ and suggests that we no longer trust another’s words because everything is talked about, not much held in silence. In the next section entitled ‘Silence’ Nouwen takes from the Desert Fathers three aspects of silence: Silence makes us pilgrims, Silence guards the fire within and Silence teaches us to speak. Nouwen’s concluding section is entitled: The Ministry of Silence and is divided into three headings: Silence and Preaching, Silence and Counseling and Silence and Organizing. Nouwen concludes by stating ‘These examples of silence in preaching, counseling and organizing are meant to illustrate how silence can determine the concrete shape of our ministry. But let us not be too literal about silence. After all, silence of the heart is much more important than silence of the mouth’.

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Access copies (2) available in Access Copies - Published Works, Articles by Nouwen, Box 1.

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Item is 2 of a series of 3 articles. See also Published works - items 1626 and 1629.

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Published in Sojourners (July 1980): 22-26.
This item is published as a chapter in Nouwen, Henri, The Way of the Heart, The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, HarperCollins, N.Y. 1981.

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2000 01


Box 295

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