The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

A first for Yale: a Divinity School scholarship for Catholics

And it’s named in honor of a prominent Catholic writer and teacher, and a favorite of The Bench:

A scholarship in honor of the late Henri Nouwen, who taught at Yale Divinity School for a decade beginning in 1971, has been established through a gift of $300,000 from a University benefactor who wishes to remain anonymous.

The Henri Nouwen Scholarship will be awarded annually to a deserving YDS student, with preference given to Roman Catholics–the first such scholarship to be created at YDS. For most of the past two decades Roman Catholics have represented the second-largest denominational grouping at YDS, after Episcopalians, although the entire student population remains overwhelmingly Protestant.


In announcing the Nouwen Scholarship, Harold Attridge, the Rev. Henry L. Slack Dean of Yale Divinity School, said, “As part of our efforts to improve the scholarship aid for our students generally we have recently made efforts to target segments of our student population that have not enjoyed designated support. One such group is our Roman Catholic students, who, ever since the 1960’s, have constituted a sizeable minority of our student body.”

Attridge called Nouwen, a Catholic priest well known for his powerful celebrations of the Eucharist, “a beloved member of the YDS faculty.” The Henri Nouwen Chapel, located in the lower level of the YDS library, is named in his honor. In March 2007 the Divinity School hosted a special symposium celebrating the Nouwen legacy 10 years after his death.


Born in Holland and ordained a priest in 1957, the multifaceted Nouwen taught pastoral theology at Yale Divinity School from 1971 to 1981. A prolific writer–he wrote close to four dozen books–he is remembered for the many personal friendships he cultivated, his affinity to the poor and powerless, and his connections with the peace movement.

Check out more at the link.

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ron chandonia

posted August 3, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Many years ago, even before the days of his great fame, it was my pleasure to live in a religious community with Henri Nouwen. Back then, his masses were overflowing, and his admirers were legion. People loved to hear his words. But not so many wanted to follow his ideas to their logical conclusions–the conclusions that later led him to leave academic life and join L’Arche. His books–like the teachings of Jesus–call for radical change in our lives, like giving up worldly goods and demonstrating a real commitment to the needy. Few want to live like that.

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