The Pastoral Theology of Henri Nouwen

MS/TH 3XF3/5XF5/6XF6

Henri Nouwen published over 40 books and is notably one of the most important and widely read spiritual writers in recent years in North America. He taught at Notre Dame, Yale Divinity School and Harvard Divinity School but spent the last decade of his life as the pastor of the Daybreak Community of L’Arche in Toronto. Nouwen was influenced by early pioneers in pastoral theology including Anton Boisen and Seward Hiltner. These roots allowed him to integrate spiritual ideas with their counterparts in pastoral psychology and psychology of religion. He had extensive training in the field of pastoral theology though little is written on his explicit methods of exploring pastoral theological themes. This course seeks to mine the writings of Henri Nouwen for his approach to pastoral theological exploration as it pertains to contemporary issues in the field.


  • To become familiar with the root ideas and integrative pastoral theology of Henri Nouwen’s works.
  • To explore the pastoral theological themes introduced by Henri Nouwen’s corpus.
  • To deepen resources for the expansion of pastoral theology in the 21st century.


  • To be shaped in the inner person through spiritual integration of course materials.
  • To cultivate a personal sense of mission and calling to the work of integrative pastoral theology.
  • To experience the themes and ideas expressed by Nouwen through spiritual practices.


  • To evaluate and use methods developed in the pastoral theology of Henri Nouwen.
  • To develop new themes in pastoral theology that can be used in Christian ministries.
  • (Advanced Degree Students) To gain facility in research in the field of pastoral theology by exploring Henri Nouwen’s pastoral theological approach.