Dr. Michael Higgins Named Authorized Biographer of Henri J.M. Nouwen

News Story: April 1, 2010
Dr. Michael Higgins
The Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust has announced that award-winning author and academic Michael W. Higgins has been named the authorized biographer of Henri J.M. Nouwen.
 
Professor Higgins is currently Senior Executive in Residence at Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Connecticut. He is past president of St. Jerome’s University in the University of Waterloo, Ontario and of St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick. A prolific and distinguished writer, Professor Higgins is the author of several books, including the award-winning Heretic Blood:  The Spiritual Geography of Thomas Merton; Stalking the Holy: The Pursuit of Saint-Making; and co-author of The Jesuit Mystique and Power and Peril: The Catholic Church at the Crossroads.
 
He has been a columnist, a radio documentary maker, a television commentator on Vatican affairs, and a regular contributor to Commonweal magazine. He was, as well, the chief advisor for the widely acclaimed TV series, Sir Peter Ustinov’s Inside the Vatican. The recipient of many awards and honors, he is currently preparing a radio documentary series on Henri Nouwen and teaching a course on Nouwen at Sacred Heart University.
 
His next major project will be the biography of Henri J.M. Nouwen, the only biographical account of Nouwen’s life and works to be authorized by The Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust. 
 
The internationally renowned priest and author, respected professor and beloved pastor Henri Nouwen (pronounced Henry Now-win) wrote over 40 books on the spiritual life. He corresponded regularly in English, Dutch, German, French and Spanish with hundreds of friends and reached out to thousands through his Eucharistic celebrations, lectures and retreats. Since his death in 1996, ever-increasing numbers of readers, writers, teachers and seekers have been guided by his literary legacy. Nouwen’s books have sold over 2 million copies and been published in over 22 languages.
 
Born in Nijkerk, Holland, on January 24, 1932, Nouwen felt called to the priesthood at a very young age. He was ordained in 1957 as a diocesan priest and studied psychology at the Catholic University of Nijmegen. In 1964 he moved to the United States to study at the Menninger Clinic. He went on to teach at the University of Notre Dame, and the Divinity Schools of Yale and Harvard. For several months during the 1970s, Nouwen lived and worked with the Trappist monks in the Abbey of the Genesee, and in the early 1980s he lived with the poor in Peru. In 1985 he was called to join L’Arche in Trosly, France, the first of over 100 communities founded by Jean Vanier where people with developmental disabilities live with assistants. A year later Nouwen came to make his home at L’Arche Daybreak near Toronto, Canada. He died suddenly on September 21st, 1996, in Holland and is buried in King City, Ontario.
 
Nouwen believed that what is most personal is most universal; he wrote, “By giving words to these intimate experiences I can make my life available to others.” His spirit lives on in the work of the Henri Nouwen Society, Henri Nouwen Stichting, the Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust, the Henri J. M. Nouwen Archives and Research Collection, and in all who live the spiritual values of communion, community and ministry, to which he dedicated his life.