Ideas

Genius Born of Anguish, Part 3

"The greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity or power, but self-rejection," said Henri Nouwen, Catholic priest, teacher and gay celibate. He has been called a psychologist of the soul.  Born in Holland in 1932, Nouwen wrote thirty-nine books about spirituality. He was interested in the relationship between religion and psychology and studied at the Menninger Clinic,...
Henri Nouwen. Photo courtesy of Frank Hamilton.

"The greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity or power, but self-rejection," said Henri Nouwen, Catholic priest, teacher and gay celibate. He has been called a psychologist of the soul.  Born in Holland in 1932, Nouwen wrote thirty-nine books about spirituality. He was interested in the relationship between religion and psychology and studied at the Menninger Clinic, one of the world's leading psychiatric hospitals. He taught at Notre Dame, Yale and Harvard. Concerned about people whom society had rejected, Nouwen spent the last ten years of his life working with people with intellectual disabilities at the Daybreak L'Arche community north of Toronto. A profile by Michael Higgins based on Nouwen's writings, interviews with those who knew him, and archival recordings of Nouwen himself.


Genius Born of Anguish: The Life and Legacy of Henri Nouwen by Michael Higgins and Kevin Burns is published by Novalis.


Participants in the Episode 3 (in order of appearance)

Carolyn Whitney-Brown: a Renaissance scholar who worked at L'Arche Daybreak in Toronto as an assistant in the early 1990s, along with her husband, Geoffrey.

Henri Nouwen: archive tape.

Nathan Ball: former executive director of the L'Arche Canada Foundation; was an assistant at L'Arche Daybreak in Toronto when Henri arrived in 1986.

Richard Sipe: Richard Sipe: psychotherapist and Benedictine monk; he and Henri Nouwen were trainees at the Menninger Foundation for Psychiatric Education and Research in Topeka, Kansas.

Rodleigh Stevens: trapeze artist and founder of the Flying Rodleighs; taught Henri Nouwen trapeze flying and the need for trust.

Lauren Nouwen: Henri's younger brother.

Sister Sue Mosteller: Henri Nouwen's literary executor, and a Sister of St. Joseph of Toronto.

Jean Vanier: internationally known writer and co-founder of L'Arche.


Related Websites

The Henri Nouwen Society
This is the "official home" of all things Nouwen. It contains good biographical details and links.

The Henri Nouwen Archive at the John M. Kelly Library, University of Toronto
This is the place to start for anyone wanting to know more about Nouwen's life and works.

This is a detailed "finding guide", which explains what is in the collection:

Henri Nouwen clips
Perhaps the most typical "performance" by Henri was the three-part presentation he gave at the Crystal Cathedral in California in 1992 and there are several ways to access this on YouTube:

Henri Nouwen Being the Beloved Sermon 1 of 8

Henri Nouwen Being the Beloved Sermon

Hour of Power - Netherlands

Henri Nouwen "channel"
There is a Henri Nouwen "channel" on YouTube, based in Canada. It features seven clips, including material broadcast on Salt and Light Television:

Henri Nouwen and L'Arche Daybreak

Jean Vanier's official home page

Spirituality and mental health
This is a helpful website operated by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK. It contains good resources and links.

The Association for Spirituality and Mental Health in Canada


Music Featured in Part 3

A note from the producers about the music used in the series:

What we have called The Henri Nouwen Theme in working on the programs, is heard at the opening and closing of all three episodes. Here is the reference:

Composition: Andante from the Quintet for Piano and Strings in A Minor, Opus 100
Composer: Julius Röntgen
Disc: Right Through the Bone
Track: 2
Artist/s: ARC - Artists of the Royal Conservatory - David Louis, Erika Raum, Marie Bérard, Steven Dann, Brian Epperson. All Canadian.
Label: RCA Red Seal (2007) 88697-15837-2

Here is a list of the other music used in episode 3.

Composition: Common Fields
Composer: Wolfert Brederode
Disc: Currents
Track: 1
Artist/s: Wolfert Brederode, Claudio Puntin, Mats Eilertsen, Samuel Rohrer
Label: ECM (2007) 2004 1714455

Composition:  Þau hafa sloppið undan þunga myrkursins (Trans: and they have escaped the weight of darkness)
Composer: Òlafur Arnalds
Disc:  and they have escaped the weight of darkness
Track: 9
Artist/s: Òlafur Arnalds, Margret Soffia Einarsdottir, Hallgrimur Jonas Jensson, Arndis Hulda Auðunsdottir, Þordur Guðmundur Hermannsson, Kjartan Bragason.
Label: Erased Tapes (2010) ERAT P022

Composition: Intermezzo No. 2 in A Major, Opus 118 - Andante teneramente
Composer: Johannes Brahms
Disc: Glenn Gould - and Serenity
Track: 4
Artist/s: Glenn Gould
Label: Sony Classical Legacy (2003) SK 90539

Composition:  Animali in Marcia
Composer: Gianluigi Trovesi Nonet
Disc: Round About a Midsummer's Dream
Track: 9
Artist/s: Gianluigi Trovesi Nonet
Label: SWR Jazz-Redaktion and enja records (2000) ENJ-9384 2

Composition: Se lest
Composer: Sigur Ros
Disc: Takk
Track: 5
Artist/s: Jón þór Birgisson, Kjartan Sveinsson, Georg Hólm, Orri Páll Dyrason
Label: uMusic (2005) (Geffen) 0249884523

Composition: Jan's Notebook
Composer: Max Richter (arrangement of work by Jan Sweelinck (1562-1621)
Disc: Memoryhouse
Track: 10
Artist/s: Max Richter
Label: BBC Late Junction (2002) BBCLJ30022

Composition: Canto Ostinato
Composer: Simeon Ten Holt - arranged by Josep Vicent
Disc: Drumming
Track: 4
Artist/s: Josep Vicent and the Amsterdam Percussion Group
Label: East-West Music (2011) B0067 EPVAM

Composition: Song for a Planet
Composer: Ketil Bjornstad
Disc: The Sea II
Track: 5
Artist/s: Ketil Bjornstad, David Darling, Jon Christensen, Terje Ripdal
Label: ECM (1998) 1633 78118-21633-2

Composition: Funeral lament
Composer and performer: Robert Jonas
Actuality recording by Kevin Burns of Robert Jonas on the shakuhachi flute playing the lament he composed and performed at the funeral for Henri Nouwen

Composition: Media Vita
Composer: John Sheppard
Disc: Media Vita and Other Liturgical Works
Track: 4
Artist/s: Stile Antico
Label: Harmonia Mundi USA (2010) HMU 807509

Composition: The Garden is Becoming a Robe Room from the soundtrack of "The Draughtman's Contract"
Composer: Michael Nyman
Disc: The Essential Michael Nyman Band
Track: 3
Artist/s:  Michael Nyman, Alexander Balanescu, Clare Connors, Ann Morphy, Kate Musker, Tony Hinnigen, Justin Pearson, Martin Elliott, John Harle, David Roach, Andrew Findon, Steve Sidwell, Marjorie Dunn,  Nigel Barr
Label: Decca/Argo (1992) 436 820 2
 

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