International Thomas Merton Society


        Vol. 14, No. 2                                    Fall, 2007

Tenth General Meeting a Success     

“Wide Open to Heaven and Earth: Contemplation, Community, Culture” was the theme of the Tenth General Meeting of the International Thomas Merton Society, held June 7-10 at Christian Brothers University, Memphis, TN. More than 240 people attended the conference, from 39 states and 8 countries. The conference marked the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the Merton Society in June 1987.

Major presentations included the Springboard Address by Albert Raboteau, the Keynote Address by Jim Forest, and General Session addresses by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton and Joyce Hollyday. Paul M. Pearson delivered the presidential address and the closing liturgy was celebrated by Rev. James Conner, OCSO. A Roundtable on Merton and Walker Percy, moderated by John Collins, featured Huey Guagliardo, Victor A. Kramer and Patrick Samway, SJ. Entertainment was provided by musicians Kate Campbell and John Michael Talbot. The conference also included six introductory focus sessions and twenty-four concurrent sessions, workshops and performances featuring thirty-eight presenters.

The site coordinator for the general meeting was Gray Matthews. The Program Committee was chaired by Erlinda Paguio and included Christine Bochen, Paul Dekar, Dorothy Hulbert, Gray Matthews, Patrick O’Connell, ITMS President Paul Pearson and ITMS Treasurer Mary Somerville.

At the ITMS Town Meeting on Saturday afternoon of the conference, ITMS President Paul Pearson announced that the ITMS Eleventh General Meeting will take place June 11-14, 2009 at Nazareth College, Rochester, NY. Paul Pearson will chair the Program Committee and Christine Bochen will serve as Site Coordinator; other members of the committee include Jamie Fazio, ITMS President Donald Grayston, Gray Matthews, Patrick O’Connell, Bonnie Thurston, Monica Weis, SSJ and ITMS Treasurer Kristen Wisniewski

New Officers and Board

The Officers and Board of Directors of the International Thomas Merton Society for 2007-2009 were announced by outgoing president Paul M. Pearson at the Town Meeting of the ITMS Tenth General Meeting on June 9, 2007 at Christian Brothers University, Memphis, TN. In accordance with the ITMS by-laws, the officers were elected by the Board and the members of the Board by the membership at large, from a slate prepared by the ITMS nominating committee, Judith Hardcastle (chair), Edward Farley and Virginia Ratigan.

Officers are Donald Grayston, president; Robert Grip, vice-president; Kristen Wisniewski, treasurer; and Donna Kristoff, OSU, secretary. Newly elected members of the board are: James Conner, OCSO; Andrea Neuhoff; Bonnie Thurston; and Monica Weis, SSJ. Returning members are: Kathleen Deignan, CND and Lynn R. Szabo. As immediate past president, Paul Pearson will also continue to serve as a voting member of the Board.

Donald Grayston is a priest of the Anglican Church of Canada, and recently retired from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. He has served as an ITMS Board member and vice president, and is the former president of the Thomas Merton Society of Canada. He is author of Thomas Merton: The Development of a Spiritual Theologian and editor of Thomas Merton’s Rewritings.

Robert Grip, a former board member and program chair for the ITMS Fifth General Meeting, is news anchor at WALA television in Mobile, AL. He has served most recently as chair of the ITMS membership committee and has presented the “First-timers’ Session” at ITMS General Meetings.

Donna Kristoff, OSU, the director of the Cleveland Chapter of the ITMS and a former ITMS Board member, is serving her second term as secretary. She is an artist and graphic designer who has contributed logos for ITMS general meetings and writes and speaks frequently on Merton and art.

Kristen Wisniewski is a former Daggy Scholar and the webmaster for the Daggy Scholars website. She has previously served as Youth Representative to the ITMS Board and as a member of the Daggy Scholars Selection Committee.

Paul M. Pearson is director and archivist of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY, and serves as resident secretary of the ITMS. He is editor, most recently, of Seeking Paradise: The Spirit of the Shakers by Thomas Merton.

James Conner, OCSO is a monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani and former abbot of Assumption Abbey in Ava, MO. He served as fourth president of the ITMS. He has spoken and written widely on Merton, with whom he worked as Undermaster of Novices in the 1960s.

Kathleen Deignan, CND, a current member of the ITMS Board, is founder and director of the Spirituality Institute at Iona College, New Rochelle, NY and director of Schola Ministries, a liturgical music group. She is the editor of When the Trees Say Nothing: Writings on Nature by Thomas Merton (2003), and most recently of Thomas Merton: A Book of Hours (2007).

Andrea Neuhoff, a former Daggy Scholar and recent Shannon Fellow, is Assistant Dean in the Admissions Office of Reed College, her alma mater. Her undergraduate thesis: “The Unedited Thomas Merton: Autobiography to Autohagiography” won the award for the best thesis of her year and is scheduled to be published by Crossroad.

Lynn Szabo, a former Shannon Fellow, teaches English literature and creative writing at Trinity Western University in British Columbia. She is editor of In the Dark before Dawn: New Selected Poems of Thomas Merton (2005). She is a former member of the Board of the Thomas Merton Society of Canada and a current ITMS Board member.

Bonnie Thurston is a founding member, past president and former board member of the ITMS. She is an ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and formerly professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She is the editor of the recently published Merton and Buddhism (2007), author of numerous books on scripture and on spirituality, and is now living in solitude in West Virginia.

Monica Weis, a former ITMS board member, vice president, and program chair, is Professor of English and Director of the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program at Nazareth College, Rochester NY. She is author of Thomas Merton’s Gethsemani: Landscapes of Paradise (2005).

ITMS President Donald Grayston also announced that ITMS members from six countries will serve as International Advisors for 2007-2009. They are: Fernando Beltrán Llavador, Salamanca, Spain; Detlev Cuntz, Herzogenaurach, Germany; Dirk Doms, Bruges, Belgium; Fiona Gardner, Stratton-on-the-Fosse, Great Britain; Malgorzata Poks, Koszecin, Poland; and Raymond J. Schmack, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Louies Awarded

    The 2007 Thomas Merton Awards, informally known as “Louies,” were presented by outgoing ITMS President Paul M. Pearson on June 7, 2007 at the opening banquet of the ITMS Tenth General Meeting at Christian Brothers University, Memphis, TN. The award is a bronze bust of Thomas Merton created by sculptor David Kocka. The recipient of the “International” award, given to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the promotion of Merton’s writings on an international level, is Fernando Beltrán Llavador; the recipient of the “Thomas Merton” award, given to an individual who has written and published in the period since the last general meeting a work on Merton that has brought provocative insight and fresh direction to Merton studies, is Roger Lipsey; the recipient of the “Society” award, given to a member of the ITMS whose distinguished service has contributed to the aims of the Society and the furthering of its goals, is Judith Hardcastle.

Fernando Beltrán Llavador teaches at the University of Salamanca, Spain. He has been a presenter at ITMS General Meetings and at conferences of the British Merton Society, and has served as ITMS International Advisor for many years. He is the author of La Contemplación en la Acción: Thomas Merton and translator of a number of Merton works into Spanish. He was co-director of the first international Thomas Merton conference to be held in Spain, which took place in Avila October 24-26, 2006.

Roger Lipsey is the author of Angelic Mistakes: The Art of Thomas Merton (2006), the first book-length study of Merton’s calligraphies. He received a doctorate in the history of art from New York University, and is also the author of The Spiritual in Twentieth-Century Art and the editor of a four-volume collection of the writings of Ananda Coomaraswamy.

Judith Hardcastle is Program Director of the Thomas Merton Society of Canada and served as Site Coordinator of the ITMS Eighth General Meeting in Vancouver. She has organized and directed Thomas Merton Pilgrimages to Prades and to New York City, and is currently planning the Thomas Merton in Italy Pilgrimage for 2008. She is a candidate preparing for ordination in the United Church of Canada.

Shannon Fellowships Awarded

At its June meeting, the ITMS Board of Directors awarded 2007-2008 Shannon Fellowships to three scholars: William Apel, Vaughn Fayle and Ryan Scruggs. The Shannon Fellowship program was established in 1997 in honor of the founding president of the ITMS to promote scholarship on Merton and his work. Up to five annual awards, of a maximum of $750 each, are granted to scholars for research on primary-source Merton materials at the Merton Center at Bellarmine University or other archival collections. This year’s selection committee included: David Belcastro, chair, Joseph Raab, and Bonnie Thurston.

William Apel is professor of Religious Studies at Linfield College, McMinnville, OR, and author of Signs of Peace: The Interfaith Letters of Thomas Merton. His project will focus on Merton’s letters addressing issues of social justice, and will entail research at the Thomas Merton Center on unpublished correspondence to and by Merton in which issues of war, justice, poverty and race are considered.

Vaughn Fayle is professor of the Philosophy of Religion and Director of Philosophical Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago. He will research drafts of Merton’s poems at the Thomas Merton Center as part of a project to set selected Merton poetry to music for various chamber, orchestral, vocal and instrumental groups.

Ryan Scruggs is a graduate student at McGill University in Montreal, where he is focusing his studies on Thomas Merton and the Bible. He will do research at the Thomas Merton Center on unpublished mimeographs of Merton’s conferences on scripture.

The deadline for applications for Shannon Fellowships for 2008-2009 is March 15, 2008. Awards must be used between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009. Awards will be based on the quality of the proposal submitted and on the need for consulting archival materials at the site proposed. Applicants must be members of the ITMS; they may join the Society at the time of application by including a check for $25, made out to “ITMS”, along with their proposals. Current officers and Board members of the ITMS, as well as grant committee members, are not eligible for fellowships during their term of office.

Application for Shannon Fellowships must include the following:

• a detailed proposal of 500-750 words explaining the subject and goals of the applicant’s research and the rationale for consulting primary sources at the Merton collection selected by the applicant;

• a letter of recommendation from a scholar familiar with the applicant’s qualifications and research interests;

• a proposed expense budget: grants will cover costs of travel to and from collections; expenses for accommodations and food during time of research at archives; costs of photocopying;

• disclosure of any other sources of funding awarded or applied for, with amounts received or requested.

Applications are encouraged from established scholars, from researchers without academic affiliation, and from students and younger scholars, including those engaged in research for theses and dissertations.

Completed applications for fellowships should be sent to Dr. Paul M. Pearson, Director, Thomas Merton Center, Bellarmine University, 2001 Newburg Road, Louisville, KY 40205; email: The committee’s recommendations will be presented at the June, 2008 meeting of the ITMS Board of Directors, who will make the final decisions on awards, and results will be communicated to applicants shortly thereafter.

Daggy Scholarships Awarded

Nineteen young people were able to attend the ITMS Tenth General Meeting at Christian Brothers University as recipients of Daggy Youth Scholarships. These awards, in honor of the late Robert E. Daggy, long-time director of the Bellarmine University Merton Center and resident secretary and second president of the ITMS, cover all registration, room and board expenses for attendance at ITMS General Meetings, and include a year’s free ITMS membership. The selection committee for this year’s scholars included Virginia Ratigan and Cristóbal Serran-Pagán, co-chairs, Kathleen Deignan, David Odorisio and Kristin Wisniewski. This year’s recipients included:

Matthew Andrewes, a student at Goucher College, who was introduced to Merton by his Daggy Scholar professor, Cristobal Serran-Pagan y Fuentes; Matthew has been seeking readings that help him address personal/spiritual questions, issues of inner peace and prayer as well as connections to the world’s religions;

Eric Anglada, who recently moved to the Hope House Catholic Worker in Dubuque, Iowa, where he will participate in a new Catholic Worker School, after living at the St. Jude Catholic Worker in Champaign, IL for the past four years; Merton was the main influence on his joining the Catholic Church on December 10, 2006;

Jonathan Barber, who is a student at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA and is considering writing his Master’s Thesis on a comparison of Merton’s philosophy of solitude to the Zen poet, Matsuo Basho’s writings on the Zen ideal of loneliness;

Gabe Berendes, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse who plans to enter the field of medicine; he is attracted by Merton’s honesty and attunement to the realities of the world and to the new creation in the Resurrected Christ;

Matthew John Cressler, a graduate student at the Harvard Divinity School and a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, where he became interested in bringing together contemplation and action through contact with the Franciscan brothers living in community at the friary of Mt. Irenaeus;

Colin Crowley, a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire who currently works as a self-employed photographer and video producer, including work for the American Foundation for Children with AIDSs in Africa; Thomas Merton has been a guiding figure in his spiritual life for the past seven years;

Veronica Dagher, a member of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in New York City and a practitioner of centering prayer, whose interest in Merton focuses on pursuing a life of faith in the context of many great traditions;

Peter Dorsey, who has lived in a Zen Buddhist monastery and participated in a Sufi study group in Arizona and who discovered in Merton “the mystical dimensions of western religion, something I had missed in looking solely eastwards”; he has taught English at a school in the Himalayan foothills of India;

Jessica Funk, a religious studies major at Nazareth College, Rochester, NY who has discovered in Merton’s image of “le point vierge” a greater connection to and responsibility for all of humankind in recognizing the sacred indwelling presence of God in every human being;

Jeffrey Scott Gutierrez, who attended Dordt College in Sioux Center, IA and has spent time at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, MN, where he became interested first in Henri Nouwen and through him in Merton, whose insistence on the necessity of solitude in one’s life and whose interest in the relationship between Christianity and Buddhism have been influential;

Edwin Koch, a student at Gannon University, Erie, PA, and a religious education coordinator at St. Boniface Parish in Erie; a convert to Catholicism, he is particularly interested in the relationship between Eastern and Western Christianity and in Merton as a bridge between these traditions, as well as in Merton as a model for living the gospel of peace;

Kimberly J. Morey, a graduate student at the Union Theological Seminary and an alumna of Iona College, where she studied Thomas Merton with Sr. Kathleen Deignan; she is currently working on a Master of Arts thesis entitled “Thomas Merton: The War within Us and the Path to Rejoicing in Humanity”;

Jonathan M. Reid, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the History Department Ph.D. program, specializing in U.S. religious history, where he has encountered Thomas Merton’s legacy within American sacred and secular culture, especially the revitalization of the Catholic mystical tradition in the West and the rejuvenation of an active social justice legacy in American Christianity;

Jennifer Robinson, a student at Iona College, where she has discovered that Merton’s compelling need to write has inspired her own passion for writing and his ability to search within himself has encouraged her to find a stronger, deeper reason for living in her own life;

Meghan Robinson, a 2006 graduate of Nazareth College, Rochester, NY, and a student at St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry; her reading of Merton has encouraged her to take a parish position that combines music and pastoral ministries;

Jessamyn Slon, currently a student at Nazareth College, Rochester, NY where she is a religious studies major and has served as vice president of the Nazareth Campus Ministry Council, with responsibility for coordinating events which encourage dialogue and faith sharing among students from various faith backgrounds, strongly influenced by her study of Merton;

Marjorie Smith, a nursing major at Nazareth College, Rochester, NY with an increasing interest in social justice and peace issues influenced particularly by her participation in a public reading of Thomas Merton’s poem Original Child Bomb;

Jonathan Sozek, presently Faith Formation Director/Youth Minister at St. Francis de Sales Church in Loudonville, NY and also a graduate student in the philosophy department at SUNY Albany; he has recently returned to Merton’s work five years after first reading The Seven Storey Mountain;

Jingzuan Zhang (Amy), who holds a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology and a Masters of Agriculture, majoring in Crops’ Genetics and Breeding, and is presently working as assistant to the president of the Sino-American Institute for Transpersonal Studies, Dr. Cyrus Lee, who has introduced her to Thomas Merton as not only a good citizen to America, a great ecumenical theologian to the Catholic Church, a Chinese-minded scholar to China, but above all, a true man to the whole world.

TMS General Meeting Scheduled

The Seventh General Meeting of the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland will take place April 4-6, 2008 at Oakham School, Rutland, England. The theme of the conference is “The Voice of the Stranger,” taken from Merton’s essay “A Letter to Pablo Antonio Cuadra concerning Giants”: “God speaks, and God is to be heard, not only on Sinai, not only in my own heart, but in the voice of the stranger.”

Plenary speakers for the meeting will be James Conner, OCSO, David Scott and Bonnie Thurston. Concurrent session speakers include: Mario Aguilar, William Apel, Nassif Cannon, David Golemboski, Daniel Horan, Erlinda Paguio, Paul Pearson, Gosia Poks and Katharine West. Also featured will be a presentation on Merton’s photography by Anthony Bannon and a screening of the new film Soul Searching: The Journey of Thomas Merton, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker, Morgan Atkinson.

The costs will be approximately £180 for early booking by TMS or ITMS members (£190 for non-members); £190 for later bookings for members (£200 for non-members). For further information, contact Fiona Gardner, Brick Cottage, Pitcot Lane, Stratton-on-the-Fosse, Somerset, England BA3 4SX; email:

Call for Papers for TMSC Conferences

The Thomas Merton Society of Canada invites proposals for papers, workshops and creative presentations for two upcoming conferences, which have the shared theme “Disarming the Heart: Pathways to Peace.” While the theme may accommodate discussion on a variety of topics, the talks are expected to include a substantial commentary on the writings and/or life of Thomas Merton.

The first conference will take place March 7-8, 2008 in Vancouver, British Columbia at the Canadian Memorial Centre for Peace; the keynote speaker will be John Dear, SJ. The second conference will take place May 9-10, 2008 at St. Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick; the keynote speaker will be Michael Higgins.

Proposals should be submitted in 45-minute formats (30 minutes will be added for questions and discussion) and should not exceed 250 words, accompanied by a short, biographical profile. Submission deadline for proposals for both conferences is November 15, 2007. Proposals should be sent electronically to Judith Hardcastle, Program Director of the Thomas Merton Society of Canada, at

Thomas Merton in Rome

A ten-day pilgrimage program to Rome that will explore Thomas Merton’s life and thought, with a special focus on his own 1933 trip to the Holy City, will take place May 30-June 8, 2008. The pilgrimage will be led by Merton scholars Donald Grayston, Michael Higgins and Judith Hardcastle. The program includes ten nights’ accommodation, daily breakfast and hospitality, two group dinners, a charter bus trip to the Trappist monastery Tre Fontane, a morning conference/lunch with Dom Timothy Kelly, former Abbot of Gethsemani and student of Thomas Merton, four morning sessions at St. Paul’s Within the Walls and evening rooftop gatherings at the hotel.  Cost for the program is CAN$2,495 (based on double occupancy); CAN$2,820 (single). Limited space is available: 9 double rooms; 5 single rooms. For more information, contact Judith Hardcastle: phone: 604-669-2546;

Merton Note Cards Available

A set of eight Thomas Merton note cards (with envelopes), each with a quotation from Merton and a design, some in color, by Sr. Donna Kristoff, OSU (including the drawing featured on the cover of the Winter 2006 issue of The Merton Seasonal), is now available. Passages are taken from such Merton works as “Honorable Reader,” A Search for Solitude, Love and Living, New Seeds of Contemplation, The Sign of Jonas, The Road to Joy, and The School of Charity. Price of each set is $14.95; the cards can be purchased online through the Monastery Greetings web site:

ITMS Authors

A Monastic Vision for the 21st Century: Where Do We Go From Here? (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 2006) was recently edited by Brother Patrick Hart, OCSO; the book contains thirteen essays on the future of monasticism, a number of them by Merton scholars and ITMS members; contributors include John Eudes Bamberger, OCSO, Michael Casey, OCSO, Joan Chittister, OSB, Rev. Daniel P. Coughlin, Lawrence S. Cunningham, Gail Fitzpatrick, OCSO, Mary Margaret Funk, OSB, Terrence Kardong, OSB, Francis Kline, OCSO, Bp. Robert Morneau, Kathleen Norris, Miriam Pollard, OCSO and Bonnie Thurston; the Introduction is by Cistercian Abbot General Bernardo Olivera, OCSO.

Steve T. Georgiou’s new book, Mystic Street: Meditations on a Spiritual Path, with an Introduction by Brother Patrick Hart, is a series of meditations revealing the power of grace in everyday life and focusing on life as a journey of faith and wonder, an odyssey of the heart. It is published by Novalis in Canada and distributed by Twenty-Third Publications in the U.S.

Merton Happenings

On March 18, Dr. Lynn Bridgers of the University of St. Thomas, Miami gave a presentation entitled “Confronting Adversity: Learning from Teresa of Avila, Juan de la Cruz, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton” at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, in Atlanta, GA

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On April 19, John Allard, OP of Providence College presented the annual Aquinas Lecture entitled “Thomas Merton: Theologian” at the Woodruff Library of Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

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On July 28, Paul Pearson gave a presentation entitled “A Meeting of Angels: Thomas Merton and the Shakers” at the 36th Hancock Shaker Seminar, Pleasant Hill, Harrodsburg, KY.

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On August 22, David Belcastro gave a presentation entitled “Thomas Merton: Monk and Man” in connection with the exhibition “A Hidden Wholeness: The Zen Photography of Thomas Merton,” which ran through September 4 at the Martin de Porres Center, Columbus, OH.

Upcoming Events


On September 7-9, Walt Chura will lead “Thomas Merton in the Mountains,” the twelfth annual contemplative retreat at Pyramid Life Center, Paradox, NY. Cost is $120 per person. For further information, call 518-585-7545; email:; website:

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On September 21, Jonathan Montaldo will give a presentation entitled “Choosing to Love the World” at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 4700 Lowe Road, Louisville, KY, sponsored by Contemplative Outreach of Kentucky and The Merton Institute, with a workshop on “Centering Prayer & Contemplative Dialogue” scheduled at the church for the following day.

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On September 28-30, Jonathan Montaldo will lead a retreat entitled “Listening One Another into Truth: Thomas Merton & Contemplative Living” at the Dominican Retreat Center, 7103 Old Dominion Drive, McLean, VA; for further information contact the Center at 703-356-4243; email:

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“Bridges to Contemplative Living” Retreats, sponsored by the Merton Institute for Contemplative Living, will be held at the Bethany Spring Retreat Center, New Haven, KY, October 19-21, October 26-28, November 2-4, November 9-11, November 26-29, November 30-December 2, December 3-6, December 14-16, 2007. For further information contact the Institute at 502-899-1991; email:

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On October 26-28, Jonathan Montaldo will give a presentation entitled “Choosing to Love the World: Thomas Merton and Contemplative Living” at The Spiritual Life Institute, NADA Hermitage, Crestone, CO. For further information, email:

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On October 31, from 7:00-9:30 p.m., as part of the “Next Step” Program in Spirituality, Donald St. John will give a presentation entitled “Merton and the Spiritual Journey: Contemplation and Transformation” at the St. Francis Center for Renewal, Bridle Path Road, Bethlehem, PA 18018. For further information, phone: 610-867-8890; email:; website:

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On November 4, Robert Grip will given an Introduction to Thomas Merton at the “Classes between the Masses” (10 a.m.) at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 217 South Sage Avenue, Mobile, AL.

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On November 16-18, Jonathan Montaldo will direct a retreat entitled “Thomas Merton & Lectio Divina: Reading the Movements of Our Hearts” at Wisdom House Retreat & Conference Center, Litchfield, CT. For further information call: 860-567-3163; email:

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Beverly Lanzetta of the University of Arizona will speak on “Intercontemplative Dialogue: Spiritual Pluralism and Global Theosis in Thomas Merton and Bede Griffiths,” as part of the American Academy of Religion Christian Spirituality Session on “Christian Spirituality and Multiple Religious Belonging” at the AAR Annual Meeting at the University of San Diego, November 16-20, 2007.

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On November 19-23, a program entitled “Thanksgiving at Bethany Spring: Reading Thomas Merton with Jonathan Montaldo” will be held at Bethany Spring Retreat Center, New Haven, KY; for further information contact the Merton Institute for Contemplative Living: 502-899-1991; email:

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On December 21-26, a program entitled “Christmas at Bethany Spring: Reading Thomas Merton with Jonathan Montaldo” will be held at Bethany Spring Retreat Center, New Haven, KY. For further information, contact the Merton Institute for contemplative living at 502-899-1991; email:

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Saturday, January 26, 2008,  2:00 - 4:00 P.M. Father John Eudes Bamberger, OCSO will speak on Thomas Merton & The Inner Experience.  Corpus Christi Church, 529 West 121 St., Manhattan. Presented By The International Thomas Merton Society, Corpus Christi Chapter And Co-Sponsored By The Center For Spiritual Development Of The Archdiocese. For more information contact: Fr. Raymond Rafferty, pastor, Corpus Christi Church, (212) 666-9350 or Brenda Fitch Fairaday, director, ITMS Chapter (212) 865-7261.

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On January 25-27, 2008, Fr. Patrick Collins will present a Thomas Merton Spirituality Retreat sponsored by the San Diego Chapter of the ITMS. For more information contact Pat Hulbert, 5905 La Jolla Hermosa, San Diego, CA 92037; phone: 858-490-0507; email:

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February 15th and 29th, 2008 - Lenten Evenings with Father Louis. For further information contact the Corpus Christi Chapter of the  International Thomas Merton Society - Brenda Fitch Fairaday, director, ITMS Chapter (212) 865-7261.

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On February 28, 2008, Albert Raboteau will speak on “Thomas Merton and Racial Reconciliation” in Frazier Hall, Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY. The lecture, sponsored by the Bellarmine Thomas Merton Center, is free and open to the public.

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The Spring 2008 “Week with Thomas Merton” Elderhostel at Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY will be held from Sunday, March 2, through Friday, March 7, 2008. For further information contact Linda Bailey: phone – 502-452-8161; email –

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On April 4-6, 2008, Jonathan Montaldo will lead a retreat entitled “Choosing to Love the World: Thomas Merton & Contemplative Living” at the Jesuit Spiritual Center, Milford, OH. For further information contact the Center at 513-248-3500; email:

Chapter News

The Chicago chapter held a fifteenth-anniversary Pot Luck Luncheon on July 1 at the Immaculate Conception Parish Rectory Assembly. The gathering featured a slide show and panel discussion by chapter members who attended the ITMS Tenth General Meeting, who shared their thoughts on the conference. The annual chapter picnic took place August 19 at the Passionist Monastery. The Merton Reading Group continued its discussion of New Seeds of Contemplation at its June, July and August meetings, which take place the last Monday of each month at the Passionist Monastery; upcoming meetings are scheduled for September 24, October 29 and November 26. A one-day retreat for members of the chapter, led by Sr. Suzanne Zuercher, OSB, is scheduled for Sunday, September 16 at St. Scholastica Monastery, and will include mass and lunch. On Thursday, October 18, the chapter will co-sponsor a showing of the new Thomas Merton documentary, Soul Searching, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker, Morgan Atkinson, at the Crown Theater, Loyola University of Chicago, Lake Shore Campus, 6525 North Sheridan Road; the event is made possible by the Joan and Bill Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage. On Sunday, November 18, Vaughn Fayle will discuss and perform his musical settings of Merton poems. For further information, contact Mike Brennan at

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On October 17, the inauguration of the Grange Chapter of the International Thomas Merton Society will take place at The Barn at the Benedictine Grange, Dorothy Road, West Redding, Connecticut. Jonathan Montaldo will be the featured speaker. For further information, contact Kathleen Deignan at

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The Northern California ITMS Chapter has been discussing Merton’s Cold War Letters at its recent meetings. The September 30 meeting will also feature a report on the ITMS Tenth General Meeting in Memphis. For further information contact John Berger at 916-482-6976; email:

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The Thomas Merton Society of Canada’s series of free public talks in the Merton’s Life and Thought series will continue at the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library, co-sponsored by the Library. On Sept. 13, Christine Bochen will speak on “Merton’s Cold War Letters: A Call to Be Peacemakers”; on Oct. 18, the presenter will be Ron Dart on “Thomas Merton and the Mountains: Contemplative Cartographer”; on Nov. 5, Jonathan Montaldo will give a talk entitled “The World in Our Bloodstreams: Thomas Merton on Contemplative Prayer and Protest.” The Fall Retreat, with the theme “Bridges to Contemplative Living,” will take place Saturday Nov. 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at St. Francis-in-the-Wood Anglican Church in West Vancouver; the Retreat Leader will be Jonathan Montaldo. For further information contact Judith Hardcastle at 604-669-2546 or email:; website:

Send all Merton-related news to:

Pat O'Connell

Box 3219

Gannon University, Erie, PA. 16541.

The ITMS Newsletter is also available online at:

Copyright (c) The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University. All rights reserved.