The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

ITMS 15th General Meeting

Guide to opening Sessions

Thursday, June 15 - 1.30 PM - 3.00 PM

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM

A1. First-Timers Orientation - Robert G. Grip                                                                          

Robert G. Grip is news anchor at WALA television in Mobile, AL. He has served as chair of the ITMS membership committee, 12th President of the Society and Program Chair for the 2013 Conference.

This orientation session is designed for those attending their first ITMS meeting. The session will include a brief introduction to Thomas Merton, then consider the meeting theme and offer a preview of meeting events and sessions. The orientation is an opportunity to meet other first-timers.


A2. ITMS Chapters Workshop - Donna Kristoff, OSU                 

Donna Kristoff, OSU serves as ITMS Coordinator of Chapters and is director of the Cleveland ITMS Chapter. A former ITMS Board member she is an artist and graphic designer who has created logos for ITMS conferences and writes and speaks frequently on Merton and art.  

If you are interested in discovering what ITMS chapters are doing, locating a chapter near you, or learning how you might go about founding a chapter, attend this session.


A3. Creating a Community of Merton Scholars                                                                    

Deborah Kehoe, Patrick F. O’Connell, Paul M. Pearson, Joseph Q. Raab

Deborah Kehoe teaches English as Northeast Mississippi Community College and the University of Mississippi. She is a frequent presenter at ITMS General Meetings and is Co-Editor of The Merton Annual. 

Patrick F. O’Connell ITMS founding member and former president, is editor of The Merton Seasonal, coauthor of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia, and editor of six volumes of Merton’s monastic conferences. 

Paul M. Pearson is Director and Archivist of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University, resident secretary and treasurer of the ITMS and chief of research for the Merton Legacy Trust. He is editor of Seeking Paradise: The Spirit of the Shakers.

Joseph Q. Raab is associate professor of religious studies and director of the Liberal Arts Studies Program at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan. He is co-Editor of The Merton Annual. 

This session will include a panel presentation regarding the publications of The Merton Seasonal and The Merton Annual, the process for submitting to either journal, and opportunities to discuss ways to support persons interested in Merton, contemplation and the social issues of the 21st century.


A4. Emerging Scholars                                                                                                      

a. Phillip Antilla - "Elias Becomes His Own Geography: Thomas Merton and a Theology of Place."

Phillip William Antilla, M.Div. is the pastor for Bellevue First United Methodist Church near Seattle, WA. He is also a graduate student in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Seattle University.

Contemporary research suggests there is a psychological and theological difference between "space" and "place". How might a developed theology of space and place transform our understanding of Thomas Merton? What might we be missing in our understanding of Merton when we assign a lesser role to the meaning of place?  


b. Stephanie Redekop - "'The Rebellion of the Saints': Blakean Spiritual Resistance and the Poetry of Thomas Merton."

Stephanie Redekop is a graduate student in English at Boston College. She specializes in literary negotiations of spirituality and secularism in post-1945 America .

For Thomas Merton, Romantic poet William Blake’s countercultural spirituality was "fundamentally the rebellion of the saints." This paper examines how Blake’s spiritual resistance informs Merton's own vision of a spiritually fecund reality, which impels him to invite participation in the spiritual life through a mystical poetics of silence and sacrament.


A5. Merton at St. Bonaventure

Jan Sheridan – "Seeing Through the Eyes of Thomas Merton: Overshadowed by Mercy."

Jan Sheridan, M.A. is a spiritual director and a retreat director. She is currently on the adjunct faculty at Christ the King Seminary, E. Aurora, NY

This power point presentation matches photos of scenes in New York State and St Bonaventure University with key excerpts from Merton’s spiritual autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain. Every 4 or 5 photos are followed by reflection questions to link Merton’s spiritual journey with our own. Small group discussions included.

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