Nouwen Trust and Nouwen Archive seek Henri Nouwen-related materials
The Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust and Henri J.M. Nouwen Archive are calling on Yale Divinity School alumni to share any materials they may have related to Henri Nouwen as part of a renewed effort to keep alive the Nouwen legacy for future generations.
Nouwen taught at YDS for 10 years, beginning in 1971, and was one of the most popular professors ever to teach on Sterling Divinity Quadrangle. According to the Trust and Archive, based at the University of Toronto, the plea for Nouwen-related materials— letters, manuscripts, articles, photographs, and other audio/visual material—represents a renewal of a similar campaign that took place in 1998/99.
The project’s web site notes, “Nouwen spoke frequently about the seeds of our lives bearing fruit long after we are gone. By returning Nouwen material to the Archive you can allow Nouwen’s gift to you to bear fruit in others who are walking a similar path, or will in the future. Please join us as we strive to collect and preserve every aspect of this great spiritual teacher’s life and work.”
In 2007 YDS held a major celebration of the life and work of Nouwen, attended by about 200 admirers.
Born in Holland and ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1957, the multifaceted Nouwen taught pastoral theology at YDS until 1981. A prolific writer—he wrote close to four dozen books—he was especially well-known for his powerful celebrations of the Eucharist, the many personal friendships he cultivated, his affinity to the poor and powerless, and his connections with the peace movement.
In the book Henri Nouwen: His Life and Vision (Orbis: 2005), his time at Yale was described this way: “Although there was faculty resentment of Nouwen’s fame and his popularity among the students, Yale was a very good place for Henri Nouwen to expand and deepen his mission to America and the world. It was at Yale that Nouwen rounded out his persona as a humble seeker with a magical insight into matters of the human heart. It was at Yale that he learned to speak more openly about his own spiritual journey instead of using textbook examples and other abstractions and it was at Yale that he found the forum to speak about the civil rights movement, American foreign policy, and the many other concerns that were shaking he nation and the world.”