“Discover the literary legacy of one of the most influential spiritual writers of our generation. During his lifetime, Henri Nouwen wrote thirty-nine books that sold more than a million copies. Today, more than seven million books have been sold in more than thirty-five languages. Books based on his unpublished writings and other sources continue to be published. With his great honesty and vulnerability about his own experience of God and the spiritual life, his books continue to resonate.” 

Henri Nouwen.org

 Henri Nouwen reading room
in  St Paul’s Abbey

Laurent Nouwen, brother of Henri, chairman and founder of the Henri Nouwen foundation, a few times a guest at St. Paul’s Abbey, put the question before the Chemin Neuf Community in the middle of the Corona crisis, to arrange a “Henri Nouwen – reading room” within the Paul’s Abbey, where guests from different countries can immerse themselves in Henri’s spiritual message in an atmosphere of prayer.

“It is my wish that my brother’s books will not be used for science and studies, but will be read from prayer and thus be fruitful.”

Laurent 3 september 2021

How did it happen? The history

St. Paul’s Abbey, founded by French monks, has been a house of prayer and hospitality since 1907 with great spiritual growth (foundation and refoundation of monasteries in Egmond, Slangenburg and Vaals). The Benedictine Brothers entrusted the abbey to the Chemin Neuf Community in the summer of 2006 to continue the tradition as a house of prayer. Founded in 1973 in Lyon/France, the Chemin Neuf Community is a new Catholic community with an ecumenical vocation and has around 2000 members, men and women, married couples, and celibate brothers and sisters, with the desire to follow Jesus, poor and humble, and to serve. The Community passion is unity and reconciliation.

After their arrival at the abbey, one of the meeting rooms was soon named “Henri Nouwen room”, in memory of this Dutch priest and writer, who already encouraged many people in prayer and spiritual life in different churches and different countries.

A few years later, the community received 5 Dutch celebrities who went “looking for God in the silence”, a TV program in collaboration with the EO, Jesuits and the Chemin Neuf Community. (see the trailer)  The beautiful copy of the painting by Rembrandt’s “Prodigal Son”, which found a home in the Chapter Hall of the abbey, remained as a gift.

Many participants of all kinds of retreats have since been able to make the experience of coming “Finally Home” to the love of God the Father.

In 2019 it was the Christian band “Sela“, which was touched by a silent moment of prayer in front of the life-sized merciful Father; that is how the song “Welcome Home” was created as a beautiful addition to Henri’s book.

Laurent Nouwen came again in the summer of 2020
speaking the for the second time in the abbey
to young people from all over Europe,
who experienced a ‘corona-proof’ mini festival
“Summer in the Monastery”.

After this meeting with approximately 100 young people,
the question was there,
to create in the abbey a reading room with more than
3000 books by Henri Nouwen in different languages
and with sound recordings (retreats, lectures…) of him.
The books moved in a year later
from Concordialaan in Rotterdam to
St. Paul’s Abbey in Oosterhout.

Kader – How to come here?

The reading room is located in the heart of the monastery library near the guesthouse.
The books are available in different languages, sorted chronologically and cataloged within “Koha”, an open access cataloging system (see link )

If you want to come to the abbey for a day or a few days, please send a request via the form on the website at least one week in advance. Depending on the program in the abbey, you will receive a confirmation or a proposal for another date.

If you come, you can use the reading room, the Henri Nouwen room and the Chapter Hall and you are welcome for the prayer times with the community:

8:30 am morning prayer,
12.00, noon; Eucharist (once a month Holy Supper on Thursday, see website )
6pm-6.45pm Eucharistic Adoration/Silent Prayer.

If you want to stay for a few days, you can use a simple guest room, dining room and kitchenette of the guesthouse.

We ask you to bring bed linen and towels if possible and to clean your room upon departure.

Bring warm clothes – the abbey corridors can be cold.

We ask you to respect the life in the abbey.

Payment for your stay

€ 15.00-30.00 for a day (without meals) between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

€ 21.00-40.00 for 24h bed and breakfast (lunch and dinner at your own expense)

€ 45.00-70.00 24h full board

Transfer the money before your arrival on NL 30 RABO 012 206 8971

Money should not be an obstacle, please contact us in case of difficulties.

Henri Nouwen