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A Morning With Henri Nouwen Barbara R. Guerin October 22, 2011 St. John Neumann Women’s Ministry 1.

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Presentation on theme: "A Morning With Henri Nouwen Barbara R. Guerin October 22, 2011 St. John Neumann Women’s Ministry 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Morning With Henri Nouwen Barbara R. Guerin October 22, 2011 St. John Neumann Women’s Ministry 1

2 Program Overview Theme 1: Tell Your Story Theme 2: Becoming the Beloved Theme 3: The Inner Voice of Love Theme 4: Coming Home 2

3 Who is Henri Nouwen? A priest, academic, psychologist, teacher, author, gifted public speaker, spiritual member, faithful correspondent and friend, wounded healer and a passionate seeker. Wrote about our contemporary longings for meaning, belonging, and intimacy and, at the same time, integrates this with a powerful vision of service and social justice. Often used the three core themes of solitude, community, and compassion to help people enter into a fresh vision of the spiritual life. Wrote over 40 books on the spiritual life. 3

4 Chronology of Henri Nouwen’s Life Born in Nijkerk, Holland, on January 24, 1932 Ordained in 1957 as a diocesan priest Studied psychology at the Catholic University of Nijmegen In 1964 he moved to the United States to study at the Menninger Clinic Taught at the University of Notre Dame, and the Divinity Schools of Yale and Harvard During the 1970s, Nouwen lived and worked with the Trappist monks in the Abbey of the Genesee In the early 1980s he lived with the poor in Peru In 1985 he was called to join L’Arche in Trosly, France A year later Nouwen came to make his home at L’Arche Daybreak near Toronto, Canada Died suddenly on September 21st, 1996, in Holland and is buried in King City, Ontario 4

5 Nouwen’s Family of Origin Nouwen's mother, Maria Huberta Helena Ramselaar ( ) is remembered as being warm, welcoming and religious. Her sudden death had a profound impact on Nouwen's life. Nouwen's father, Laurent Jean Marie Nouwen ( ), was known for his expertise in tax law. Three younger siblings: Paul, Laurent, and Laurien. Henri with his parents and younger siblings Paul, Laurent and Laurien. 5

6 Nouwen’s Childhood As a youth he experienced the Second World War. He was a good student. Expressed his desire to become a priest at age six. Henri with his father and younger brother, Paul. 6

7 Formation Years Educated by the Jesuits at the Aloysius Gymnasium at The Hague. He decided that he would not become a Jesuit priest because it required too much study. After secondary school he took one year in the minor seminary in Apeldoorn, where his uncle, Toon, was president. Studied for six years in the major seminary in Rijsenburg/Driebergen and was ordained a priest for the diocese of Utrecht on July 21st, After ordination, Nouwen was granted further study in psychology at the University of Nijmegen. He graduated as a psychologist in His maternal grandmother had a child-size altar and vestments made for him, so he could “celebrate” the Eucharist with his siblings and playmates in the attic of their home. 7

8 Menninger Clinic, Spent two years at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, in the Religion and Psychiatry Program. Hoped to introduce the combination of psychology and theology pioneered at Menninger into a religious education program in The Netherlands. Grew more politically aware during this period, participating in Martin Luther King’s great civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. 8

9 The Teaching Years, Taught psychology at the University of Notre Dame from Developed courses in pastoral theology that reflected his knowledge of psychology. In 1968 Nouwen returned to The Netherlands to teach pastoral psychology and spirituality Spent ten years ( ) at Yale Divinity School Taught at Harvard Divinity School from

10 University of Notre Dame, At the invitation of his Menninger colleague Dr. John Santos, Nouwen joined the new psychology department at Notre Dame. Taught pastoral theology, served as priest to the academic community, offered counseling and made many lasting friendships. This period launched Nouwen’s teaching career and his fruitful writing career. Lectured on the themes of depression, intimacy and love. Led to publication of his first book, Intimacy: Essays in Pastoral Psychology, in

11 Yale Divinity School, Accepted the invitation to teach with three conditions: – He would not have to write a dissertation. He would receive tenure after three years and full professorship within five years. He would be free to write without restrictions. Wrote The Wounded Healer, Reaching Out and The Way of the Heart during these years. Discovered solitude by twice spending about seven months living as a monk in the Trappist Monastery of the Genesee in New York State. He wrote about this experience in The Genesee Diary. Nouwen’s mother died during this time. He wrote compellingly about her death and the gift of her life in In Memoriam and A Letter of Consolation. 11 Henri teaching at Yale.

12 Latin America, Became interested in the political and theological developments that were so deeply affecting the poor in Central and South America. Left Yale in 1981 to spend six months discerning whether to join the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers to live with and serve the poor in Peru. Expanded his worldview and deepened his engagement with social justice. Wrote the journal iGracias! and Love in a Fearful Land, about his friend Father John Vesey’s work in Guatemala. 12 Ciudad de Dios, Lima Peru on Henri's 50th birthday.

13 Harvard Divinity School, Accepted a position at Harvard Divinity School that required him to teach only one semester per year. Allowed him to continue to travel to Latin America and to lecture in North America. Despite Nouwen’s popularity at Harvard, he was not happy there. Environment was too competitive, he yearned for community. In 1985 Nouwen resigned from Harvard and went to stay at the L’Arche community in Trosly, France. 13 Henri with Harvard Students

14 A Home in L’Arche, L'Arche, an international movement of communities that welcome people with disabilities Spent a year writing in the original L’Arche community in Trosly-Breuil, France. Accepted an invitation to become pastor for the L'Arche community of Daybreak in Richmond Hill, north of Toronto, Canada. 14 Henri with Linda Slinger

15 The Final Years After recovering from a severe depression, Nouwen began to experience perhaps his deepest fulfillment as priest, friend, author, lecturer and mentor. Gave countless talks and retreats, welcomed hundreds of people for counsel and still found time to write. En route to Russia to do a documentary about Rembrandt's painting Return of the Prodigal Son, Nouwen suffered a heart attack in The Netherlands. He died on Saturday, September 21, Henri's gravesite – St. John’s Cemetery, Yonge Street, Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, 1.5 miles north of L'Arche Daybreak.

16 Journal Activity 1: Tell Your Story Take 10 minutes to write your story. Then take 10 minutes to share your story. 16

17 Theme 2: Becoming the Beloved v00&feature=related v00&feature=related 17

18 Journal Activity 2 What does it mean to you to be taken, blessed, broken, given? 18

19 Theme 3: The Inner Voice of Love In 1987 Henri left his community and went into counseling therapy. After each counseling session he wrote a "spiritual imperative." 62 “spiritual imperatives” A private journal not intended for publication. Over the years friends urged that it be released for publication. Months before his death, he released the journal to his publisher. 19

20 The Spiritual Imperatives 20

21 Journal Activity 3 Each one of you has been randomly given one of the 62 spiritual imperatives to read and reflect on. Take 15 minutes to read and reflect on the spiritual imperative which has been given to you. 21

22 Theme 4: Coming Home Chance encounter with this painting by Rembrandt. Expounds on the spiritual roles of Father, Brother, and Son. /watch?v=fuabMEa32CA& feature=related /watch?v=fuabMEa32CA& feature=related 22

23 Journal Activity 4 Study the Rembrandt painting and write down what you see and feel. What impressed you about Nouwen’s story? What does it feel like to leave home? Have you ever felt like the prodigal son? Have you ever felt like the father? Explain the situations and your feelings. What similarities are there between you and the eldest son? Reflect on the “elder son” that lives within you. Look at the Rembrandt painting again. What do you see now that you did not see the first time? 23

24 Summary & Conclusion Henri Nouwen was perhaps the most popular spiritual writer of the late 20th century and his popularity endures today. More than seven million of his books have been sold world-wide and they have been translated into 30 languages. Both his teaching and his writing, helped make spirituality something mainstream within Roman Catholicism, within Christianity in general, and within secular society itself. To learn more visit 24


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