First Annual Henri Nouwen Lecture to Feature Producer Kevin Burns

News Story: October 1, 2011
Kevin Burns

The first annual Henri Nouwen Lecture on Contemporary Spirituality will take place Wednesday, October 26 at 7 p.m. The Schine Auditorium on Sacred Heart’s Fairfield campus will be the venue for this event, which is part of this year’s Presidential Inaugural Lecture Series.

Titled “Listening to Henri,” the program will be presented by Kevin Burns, noted producer, editor and broadcaster. He is the producer of the CBC Radio One Ideas series, which will air Genius Born of Anguish: The Life and Legacy of Henri Nouwen next September. He has an extensive background in publishing, having commissioned and edited some 200 non-fiction titles in theology, spirituality, religion, faith and culture, history, philosophy and biography for Novalis. Besides his trade publishing background, his experience teaching at the University of Alberta for 12 years has also introduced him to the ins and outs of scholarly and academic publishing.

“It is a misnomer to call this a lecture; it will be more of a multimedia presentation,” said Dr. Michael W. Higgins, vice president for Mission and Catholic Identity for SHU and the official biographer of Henri Nouwen. “There will be film, music, atmosphere and commentary. The intimacy of the Schine Auditorium will be perfect for this event. It’s going to be a great way to launch this series.”

Going forward, Sacred Heart will continue to offer a Henri Nouwen Lecture on Contemporary Spirituality each year. The lecturers will vary, which will allow attendees to hear a different perspective on Nouwen every time they come.

Henri Nouwen was an internationally renowned priest and author, respected professor and beloved pastor. His books have sold more than 2 million copies and have been published in at least 22 languages. He was born in Nijkerk, Holland, on January 24, 1932, and felt called to the priesthood at a very young age. He was ordained in 1957 as a diocesan priest. He taught at the University of Notre Dame and at the Divinity Schools at Yale and Harvard. During his lifetime, he lived and worked with the Trappist monks in the Abbey of the Genesee, with the poor in Peru and with the L’Arche communities in France and Canada. He passed away suddenly in 1996 in Holland and is buried in King City, Ontario. His spirit lives on in the work of the Henri Nouwen Society and several other organizations that honor the values to which he dedicated his life.

The lecture is open to the public and will include a question & answer session. Dr. Higgins encourages attendees to arrive early as space in the auditorium is limited.