by Emma Roorda
[Reprinted in part from The Crown]
Henri Nouwen, in the words of Professor Ken Herfst, is a man who showed the importance of the human “need to love and be loved … in a way that gives genuine hope.” It is because of Nouwen’s deep love and passion for God, others, and society that the The Henry Nouwen Society has made it their aim to extend Nouwen’s legacy, helping to broadly share and promote his deeply spiritual writings.
Last Tuesday, October 17, Redeemer’s Religion and Theology Department brilliantly teamed up with the Henry Nouwen Society to present a very moving and dramatic performance based on
the archive collection of Nouwen’s personally written letters, accessed by historian Gabrielle Earnshaw.
Earnshaw, a highly acclaimed archivist, has dedicated the last 16 years of her life to “finding the gold nuggets” of Nouwen’s ideas in order to share them with others. Through dialogue and reflection on her published conglomerative book of Nouwen’s 205 letters, Earnshaw gives light to Henri Nouwen’s main ideologies and theological insights.
Last week, Redeemer students were able to witness these reflections, paired with a stunningly emotional drama presented by actor Joe Abby-Colborne, who brought the fascinating sentimentality and wisdom of the late Henri Nouwen to new levels. In addition to the insightful presentation, talented pianist and vocalist Krystyna Higgins accompanied the dialogue with her personal musical expression of Nouwen’s letters. The overall result was spectacular.
Prior to diving headfirst into dramatic readings of the letters, written throughout Nouwen’s 64 years, Earnshaw provided the full auditorium with a concise overview of his life. This was a helpful addition to the drama-focused schedule for the evening, especially for the many young university students in attendance — an age group who would not have been alive at the time Nouwen’s writings were originally produced.
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