International Thomas Merton Society

    NEWSLETTER

                    Vol. 15, No. 1                                  Spring, 2008

New Merton Legacy Trustee Named

     Peggy L. Fox, President and Publisher of New Directions Publishing Company, has been named a member of the Thomas Merton Legacy Trust.  The announcement was made by Abbot Damien Thompson of the Abbey of Gethsemani.  Robert Giroux has resigned his position as an active member of the three-person Board of Trustees to become a trustee emeritus and a consultant to the Trust.  Ms. Fox will join Thomasine O’Callaghan of Louisville, KY and Anne McCormick of New York City as trustees. 

     The Merton Legacy Trust was established on November 14, 1967 to oversee Merton’s literary estate, to arrange all copyright matters, and to take responsibility for future publication of Merton’s work, with all income from his writings going to the Abbey of Gethsemani; the Trust also establishes policies regarding the collection and use of archival materials at the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University in Louisville and is generally charged with promoting public interest in Merton’s work.  The original trustees were Merton’s friend and longtime agent Naomi Burton Stone, his friend and publisher James Laughlin, founder of New Directions, and Mrs. O’Callaghan, a local friend of Merton and of the monastery.  When Mrs. Stone retired, her place was taken by Mr. Giroux, a Columbia classmate of Merton and editor of Merton’s autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain and numerous subsequent Merton works.  At the death of Mr. Laughlin, Anne McCormick, longtime secretary of the Trust, became a trustee.

     Ms. Fox was born in Cincinnati, OH and grew up near Gettysburg, PA.  She earned a B.A. in English at Wittenberg University and an M.A. in English at the University of Pennsylvania.  She left doctoral studies to join New Directions in 1975 and has served as Director of Foreign Rights, Manager of Contracts and Copyrights and Senior Editor; she became Vice-President in 1992 and has been in charge of day-to-day operations of the press since that time, becoming President and Publisher in 2004.  She lives in Piermont, NY with her husband Ian MacNiven, who is writing the authorized biography of James Laughlin.

Golemboski Honored by Bishops

     David Golemboski of Louisville, KY, a 2005 ITMS Daggy Scholar and a Young Adult Representative to the ITMS Board of Directors, received the Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops at their annual meeting in Baltimore on November 12, 2007.  The annual award, sponsored by the bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development, is presented to a young adult who demonstrates leadership in fighting poverty and injustice in the United States.  It is named for the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, former archbishop of Chicago, a leading advocate of the “seamless garment” approach to defending human life and dignity in all its forms and phases.

     Golemboski, who is currently in his first year at Harvard Divinity School, pursuing a master’s degree in theological studies, was nominated for the award for his work both in his home parish, Church of the Epiphany in Louisville, and at St. William Church, which he joined while a student at the University of Louisville.  He served as a volunteer and subsequently as associate director for CrossRoads Ministry at St. William, a retreat program that brings young people from the suburbs to the inner city to visit a variety of social agencies and to encounter the people these agencies serve.  He also helped develop a national program for young people called JusticeWalking, an intensive, year-long program that helps teens delve into the social mission of the Church through prayer, reflection and hands-on experience with marginalized people.  He has also taught English as a second language to refugees at Catholic Charities and is active in the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Interfaith Paths to Peace and JustFaith Ministries.

     Golemboski, a presenter at the ITMS Ninth General Meeting while still an undergraduate student, pointed to the importance of his discovery of Thomas Merton for the development of his religious commitments.  “One of the biggest influences for me was reading Thomas Merton in high school,” he said.  “It was a time when I was trying to figure out where I fit into my peer group and who I am as a Catholic.  That was part of determining where my life was going to go.”

Franz Jägerstätter Beatified

     Franz Jägerstätter, the Austrian farmer who was beheaded by the Nazis on August 9, 1943 for his refusal to serve in Hitler’s army in what he believed to be an unjust war, was beatified on October 26, 2007 in the cathedral of Linz, Austria, in the presence of his 94-year-old widow Franziska and his four daughters.  The service, marking the penultimate step before canonization as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, was conducted by leading members of the Austrian Catholic hierarchy whose predecessors had offered him no support in his conscientious objection.

     Thomas Merton wrote about Jägerstätter in “An Enemy of the State,” a review article on Gordon Zahn’s 1964 book In Solitary Witness: The Life and Death of Franz Jägerstätter, which first brought the obscure martyr to the world’s attention.  In his essay, originally published in Peace News in January, 1965 and included in Faith and Violence (1968), Merton praised the witness of Jägerstätter and concluded that the “real question raised by the Jägerstätter story is not merely that of the individual Catholic’s right to conscientious objection (admitted in practice even by those who completely disagreed with Jägerstätter) but the question of the church’s own mission of protest and prophecy in the gravest spiritual crisis man has ever known.”     

     Jägerstätter was born in 1907 in the tiny village of St. Radegund, Austria.  Little in his early life indicated the path to execution and sanctity that Jägerstätter would eventually take.  Best known for owning the first motorcycle in the village, Franz was not particularly pious, occasionally got into brawls, and even fathered a child out of wedlock.  While away from St. Radegund for a time in the late 1920s, he returned to the practice of his faith, a commitment that deepened after his marriage in 1936.  He served as sexton of the parish church, began reading Christian devotional materials and became a person of deep prayer. 

     Jägerstätter was opposed to Nazism from his first encounters with it, and was the only person in his village to vote against the Anschluss uniting Austria to Nazi Germany in 1938.  In early 1943, he was called up to serve in the army of the Third Reich; when he refused he was imprisoned in Linz.  He wrote of his refusal: “That we Catholics must make ourselves tools of the worst and most dangerous anti-Christian power that has ever existed is something I cannot and never will believe.”  Both before and after his imprisonment, he spoke with many priests and even his bishop, all of whom tried to persuade him to change his mind, but he remained firm.  His letters from prison to his wife and young daughters have been compared by Gordon Zahn and others to the prison letters of St. Thomas More.  Jägerstätter was eventually taken to Berlin where he was put on trial and sentenced to death for sedition.  Fr. Albert Jochmann, the prison chaplain who accompanied him to the scaffold, later declared that Jägerstätter “lived as a saint and has now died a hero.”  He added, “I can say with certainty that this simple man is the only saint I have met in my lifetime.”

Gordon C. Zahn (1918-2007)

     Sociologist, Catholic peace activist and author Gordon C. Zahn, a correspondent and later an editor of Thomas Merton, died December 9, 2007 in Milwaukee, of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.  He is best known for his 1964 book In Solitary Witness: The Life and Death of Franz Jägerstätter, which is generally credited with playing a major role in leading to Jägerstätter’s beatification, which took place shortly before Zahn’s death, as well as in increasing official Catholic support for conscientious objection.        

     Zahn, who was born in Milwaukee in 1918, was one of the few Catholic conscientious objectors to World War II and spent much of the war years at Camp Simon, a Civilian Public Service camp in New Hampshire.  After the war ended, he enrolled at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN, but his pacifism proved to be controversial there and he transferred after his freshman year to the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, where he earned his undergraduate degree.  He then went on to graduate work at The Catholic University of America, where he completed a doctorate in sociology, studying with Fr. Paul Hanley Furfey, a strong supporter of the Catholic Worker movement.  He taught at Loyola University, Chicago, and from 1965 until his retirement in 1983 at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.  He was one of the founders in 1972 of the American branch of Pax Christi, the international Catholic peace organization, and established the Pax Christi Center on Conscience and War in Cambridge, MA, which served as a resource center for issues of peacemaking, particularly conscientious objection.

     Merton began corresponding with Gordon Zahn in late 1961, inviting him to contribute to Breakthrough to Peace: Twelve Views on the Threat of Thermonuclear Extermination, a collection of articles that Merton was assembling for publication in September 1962; Zahn’s essay for the anthology was entitled “The Case for Dissent.”  The two men remained in contact throughout the rest of Merton’s life; his letters to Zahn are included in The Hidden Ground of Love.

     Zahn’s first major book, German Catholics and Hitler’s Wars (1962), which detailed how Catholic authorities in Germany provided support for the German war effort, was praised by Merton in a March 1962 Merton letter to Frank Sheed, whose firm had published the book, as “a most important and well-done job of work.”  (Merton’s notes on the book are now available in the appendix to his recently published monastic conferences, An Introduction to Christian Mysticism.)   

     While researching German Catholics and Hitler’s Wars, Zahn first came across the story of Jägerstätter, and subsequently returned to Austria to investigate it in depth.  The result was In Solitary Witness, which provided strong inspiration for the Catholic peace movement both in the United States and abroad, particularly in resisting the nuclear arms race and the Vietnam War.  Merton wrote an important review of the book, “An Enemy of the State,” included in Faith and Violence (1968).  Other significant works by Zahn include War, Conscience and Dissent (1967), a collection of articles which is cited, along with Merton’s Faith and Violence, in the U.S. bishops’ 1983 pastoral letter The Challenge of Peace as representing the tradition of Christian pacifism and non-violence, and Another Part of the War: The Camp Simon Story (1979), a memoir of his experience as a conscientious objector.   

     In 1971, Zahn edited Thomas Merton on Peace, a collection of Merton’s articles and essays, many previously unpublished, on war, peace and nonviolence, with Zahn’s own extensive introduction entitled “Original Child Monk.”  The volume was later reissued in almost identical form as The Nonviolent Alternative (1980), the title by which it is better known.

Anne E. Carr, BVM (1934-2008)

     Theologian and Merton scholar Sr. Anne Carr, BVM, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, February 11, 2008, at her home in Chicago.  Dr. Carr, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago Divinity School, was widely regarded as one of the major Christian feminist theologians in the Roman Catholic Church. 

     Anne Carr was born in Chicago on November 11, 1934, daughter of Frank J. and Dorothy Carr.  She attended local schools and graduated from Mundelein College in 1956.  While teaching in the Chicago public schools after graduation, she did graduate work in English literature at Loyola University, Chicago.  In 1958 she entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary; after profession, she earned an M.A. in Theology from Marquette University and began teaching at Mundelein, serving as acting chair of the Theology Department from 1964 to 1966.  In 1966 she began theological studies at the University of Chicago, receiving her Ph.D. in 1971.  She became undergraduate chair of the Mundelein Theology Department in 1970, and in 1973 took a two-year appointment as visiting assistant professor in the Religious Studies Department of Indiana University at Bloomington.  In 1975 Dr. Carr accepted the position of assistant dean and assistant professor of theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School, becoming associate dean and associate professor in 1977; in 1988 she was promoted to full professor.  Dr. Carr also taught as a visiting professor at Trinity College, Dublin, Boston College and Harvard Divinity School.

     In 1988, Anne Carr published A Search for Wisdom and Spirit: Thomas Merton’s Theology of the Self.  She was a plenary speaker at the Second General Meeting of the International Thomas Merton Society, held at Nazareth College, Rochester, NY in 1991; the published version of her presentation, entitled “Merton’s East-West Reflections,” received the first place award for best scholarly article from the College Theology Society in 1995.  She also served on the Advisory Board of The Merton Annual from 1993 until the time of her death.

     Dr. Carr was also the author of The Theological Method of Karl Rahner (1977) and of Transforming Grace: Christian Tradition and Women’s Experience (1988), as well as of numerous articles; she co-edited three volumes in the Concilium series on religious and theological issues pertaining to women.  She received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the Jesuit Divinity School, Berkeley, CA, in 1983, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Loyola University, Chicago in 1995, and the John Courtney Murray Award of the Catholic Theological Society of America in 1997.  She is survived by her sisters, Jeanne Horan and Patricia Zeiler, two nieces and a nephew.

Fourth and Walnut Anniversary

     The fiftieth anniversary of Thomas Merton’s “epiphany” at Fourth and Walnut Streets in Louisville will be celebrated Tuesday, March 18, 2008, at 5:30 p.m., at the Muhammad Ali Center, One Muhammad Ali Plaza, 144 N. Sixth Street, Louisville, KY  40202.  Members of the Louisville religious, civic and business communities will participate by sharing their own experiences of epiphany.  The event is sponsored by the Thomas Merton Center of Bellarmine University, the Louisville Bar Association, the Muhammad Ali Center and Interfaith Paths to Peace.  It will be followed by a brief ceremony at the site of the epiphany (now Fourth and Muhammad Ali Streets).  Coinciding with the celebration is the opening at the Muhammad Ali Center of the exhibit “A Hidden Wholeness: The Zen Photography of Thomas Merton,” which will run from March 18 until June 30.

New Editors for Annual

    David Belcastro and Gray Matthews have been named co-editors of The Merton Annual, beginning with Volume 21 (2008).  The four-year appointment was made by Donald Grayston, president of the International Thomas Merton Society, in consultation with the ITMS Publications Committee.  Retiring editor Victor A. Kramer will continue his relationship with the Annual as a member of its Editorial Board.

     The Merton Annual began publication in 1988 as an independent, refereed scholarly journal of articles, reviews and interviews on Thomas Merton and on topics of interest to Merton, under the co-editorship of Robert E. Daggy, Brother Patrick Hart, Dewey Weiss Kramer and Victor A. Kramer.  With Volume 6, Michael Downey and George Kilcourse joined Victor Kramer as co-editors, with Dr. Downey continuing in that role through Volume 10 and Fr. Kilcourse through Volume 16.  With Volume 17, the Merton Society took over primary responsibility for the journal, with Dr. Kramer continuing as editor, assisted by various guest editors.  The Annual, now published by Fons Vitae Press, is available to ITMS members at a reduced price as part of their membership.

     Professor Belcastro, chair of the Religious Studies Department of Capitol University, Columbus, OH, has been a speaker at every ITMS General Meeting, and has published widely on Merton and contemporary cultural figures.  He has been a member of the Editorial Board for the Annual, and has written the bibliographical essay and coordinated reviews for previous issues.

     Professor Matthews, a member of the Communications Department at the University of Memphis, served as the site coordinator of the ITMS Tenth General Meeting at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, and is a member of the Program Committee for the ITMS Eleventh General Meeting.  He has published on Merton in the Annual and elsewhere, and taught courses on Merton’s work for the Catholic Diocese of West Tennessee.

Merton Focus of Benedictine Meeting

     The 2008 Convention of the American Benedictine Academy, entitled “Monastic Spirituality: Expanding Merton’s Vision,” will take place August 7-10 at Mount Marty College, Yankton, SD, hosted by Sacred Heart Monastery, a community of Benedictine women in Yankton.

     Presenters at the conference include: Kathleen Deignan, CND: “Eco-Monasticism: Thomas Merton’s Vision and Challenge”; Sidney H. Griffith: “‘Sharing the Experience of the Divine Light’: Thomas Merton’s Path to Interreligious Understanding”; Dewey Weiss Kramer and Victor A. Kramer, “Merton and the Benedictine Rule: Obedience”; Beverly Lanzetta: “Mystical Union in the Global Community: Thomas Merton’s Radical Interiority”; Paul M. Pearson:  “A Hidden Wholeness: The Zen Photography of Thomas Merton.”  The conference will also include the ABA banquet, the Academy’s Presidential Address by Jacquelyn Ernster, OSB, small group discussions with the presenters, morning and evening prayer, and celebration of the Eucharist.  For further information, see: http://www.osb.org/aba/2008.

Merton Anniversary Web Page

     A web page announcing all events being organized to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the death of Thomas Merton will be set up on the www.merton.org web site.  Notice of all such events should be sent to Thomas Merton Center Director Dr. Paul M. Pearson at: pmpearson@bellarmine.edu

Merton Happenings

       On September 15, 2007, a retreat entitled “Praying with Thomas Merton,” based on reflections taken from Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation, was held at the St. Charles Pastoral Center, Romeoville, IL, sponsored by the Joliet Diocese and led by Mark Quinn, Ph.D.    

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     Joseph Marren and Kimberly Blessing presented a session entitled “One Monk’s Message: Establishing an Enlightened Ethic for the Media,” on using Thomas Merton’s work as a guide to preparing a working ethical code for journalists, at the Colloquia 2000 Series on Media Ethics, October 14-17, 2007 in Honolulu, HI. 

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     A Thomas Merton Retreat sponsored by Common Ground, an adult-education group for interfaith study and dialogue, was held October 19-23, 2007 at the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, KY, which included a visit to the Abbey of Gethsemani.  The retreat was led by Ron Miller, co-founder of the group. 

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     On October 11 and 25 and November 1, Fr. Patrick Collins presented a mini-course on Thomas Merton’s The Inner Experience at Hope College, Holland, MI.

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     On November 10, Fr. Patrick Collins led a retreat on Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen at Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, MI.

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     On November 18, Vaughn Fayle presented a concert featuring his settings of four of Thomas Merton’s poems as chamber music, performed by Lon Ellenberger, counter-tenor, with Liliana Wosko on cello and Dr. Fayle on piano, at the Immaculate Conception Parish assembly room in Chicago; the performance was preceded by a talk by the composer entitled entitled “The Singing Voices of Thomas Merton.”

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     On December 12, The Merton Institute for Contemplative Living marked the thirty-ninth anniversary of Thomas Merton’s death with a presentation by poet and monk Br. Paul Quenon, OCSO entitled “Thomas Merton and Emily Dickinson: Monks and Mystics – An American Perspective on Contemplative Living.”

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     On January 19, Dan Phillips led a retreat on “Thomas Merton, Steward of Silence” at the Penuel Ridge Retreat Center, Ashland City, TN.

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     On February 8-10, Fr. Patrick Collins directed a Merton retreat at the San Pedro Center, Winter Park, FL.

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     On February 15, Jonathan Montaldo gave a presentation entitled “Choosing to Love the World: Thomas Merton & Contemplative Living” at Saint Joan of Arc Church, Boca Raton, FL   On the following day, he directed a Bridges to Contemplative Living Retreat at the church.

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     An exhibit entitled “Thomas Merton: The Monk and His Pen” was displayed in the Durham Reading Room of the Pitts Theology Library at Emory University in Atlanta through March 10; the exhibit was planned and prepared by students in a course entitled “Thomas Merton: Contemplation and Social Criticism,” taught in the Fall 2007 semester by Aquinas Center of Theology visiting scholar Fr. John Allard, OP of Providence College.

Upcoming Events

       On Monday evenings during March and April, Fr. Patrick Collins will present a course on Thomas Merton’s spirituality at Aquinas College, Grand Rapids MI; for further information, phone: 616-632-2923; email: hennebre@aquinas.edu.

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     On March 7-9, a Lenten Silent Retreat will be held at Bethany Spring, The Merton Institute Retreat Center, New Haven, Kentucky; on March 14-16, a Palm Sunday Weekend Silent Retreat will take place at the center; on  March 19-23, a Holy Week/Easter Silent Retreat will be held at the center.  For more information, call: 502-899-1991; email: contactus@mertoninstitute.org.

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     On March 14-16, Joseph Chamberlin will lead a “Bridges to Contemplative Living Retreat” at Bon Secours Spirituality Center, Marriottsville, MD; for further information, call: 410-442-1320; email: bssc@bshsi.org; website: www.bonsecoursspiritualcenter.org.

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     On March 28-30, John King will direct a retreat on Thomas Merton at St. Scholastica Retreat Center, 1205 S. Albert Pike, Fort Smith, AR 72909; for further information, call: 479-783-1135; fax: 479-783-8138; email: retreats@StScho.org; website: www.StScho.org.

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     Bridges to Contemplative Living Retreats will be held at Bethany Spring, The Merton Institute Retreat Center, New Haven, KY on April 4-6, 28-30, May 9-11, 16-18, June 6-8, 9-11, 13-15, 16-18, 27-29.  For further information, call: 502-899-1991; email: contactus@mertoninstitute.org.

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     On April 4-6, Jonathan Montaldo will direct a retreat entitled “Choosing to Love the World: Thomas Merton & Contemplative Living” at the Jesuit Spiritual Center, Milford, OH; for further information, call: 513-248-3500; email: acucchetti@milfordspiritualcenter.org.

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     On April 7-9, 11-13, May 19-21, retreats on “Thomas Merton and Mary Oliver: Poets of the Sacred” will be held at Bethany Spring, The Merton Institute Retreat Center, New Haven, KY; for further information, call: 502-899-1991; email: contactus@mertoninstitute.org.

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     On April 25-27, Fr. Patrick Collins will lead a retreat on Thomas Merton’s The Inner Experience at the Cenacle Retreat House, Warrenville IL; for further information, call: 800-240-6702; website: http://www.cenacle.org/index.htm.

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     On May 9-11, Jonathan Montaldo will direct a retreat entitled “Choosing to Love the World: Thomas Merton & Contemplative Living” at Malvern Retreat House, Malvern, PA; for further information, call: 610-644-0400; email: amcglone@malvernretreat.com.

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      On May 16-18, Fr. Patrick Collins will direct a retreat on “The Spirituality of Thomas Merton II” at St. Benedict Center, Schuyler NE; for further information, see the Center’s website: www.benedictinemissionhouse.com/center.

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On June 9-11, a Facilitators’ Training Workshop for the Bridges to Contemplative Living Program will be held at Bethany Spring, The Merton Institute Retreat Center, New Haven, KY; for further information, call: 502-899-1991; email: contactus@mertoninstitute.org.

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     On June 9-13, Fr. Patrick Collins will direct a  Merton retreat at the Sinsinnawa Mound Center, Sinsinnawa, WI; cost is $325 ($195: commuters); for further information, call: 608-748-4411; email: center@sinsinawa.org; website: http://www.sinsinawa. org/MoundCenter/RetreatOfferings.

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    On June 20-22, Jonathan Montaldo will direct a retreat entitled “Choosing to Love the World: Thomas Merton & Contemplative Living” at Bishop Molloy Passionist Retreat House, Jamaica Estates, NY; for further information, call: 718-739-1229; website: www.bishopmolloy.org.

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    On June 28, Jim Harford will give a presentation and readings from his book Merton and Friends. This will begin at 10.00 am in the parish center of St. Rose Parish, 603 7th Avenue, Belmar. Please RSVP to Tina DeVito at the parish office 732-681-0512, ext. 491 or by e-mail to tdevito@strose.k12.nj.us.

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     John Dear, SJ will present a course entitled “Gandhi, Merton, Day and King: Prophets of Nonviolence,” July 6-11 as part of the Institute for Adult Spiritual Renewal at Loyola University, Chicago. For further information call: 312-915-7970; email: aluther@luc.edu; website: www.retreatsintl.org.

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     The Fall 2008 “Week with Thomas Merton” Elderhostel will be held October 5-10, 2008 at Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY.  For further information contact Linda Bailey at 502-452-8161; e-mail: lbailey@bellarmine.edu.

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     On September 16, James Douglass will give a presentation entitled “Resistance, Revolution and Detachment: Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Thomas Merton” at 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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    Disarming the Heart: Pathways to Peace, October 3-4, 2008 at St.Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick. Plenary speakers will be Dr. Michael W. Higgins, Ron Dart and Dr. Paul M. Pearson. Concurrent sessions by Allen Bentley, Judith Hardcastle, John S. Porter, and Lynn Szabo. The conference will conclude with a Contemplative Interfaith Gathering. Further information is available at: St. Thomas Conference or by contacting Debbie Hudson at Hudson@stu.ca or (506) 452-0645.

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     A Pilgrimage-Retreat entitled “Merton’s Search for Final Integration and Union” will be held at the Abbey of Gethsemani, Trappist, KY October 10-13, 2008, sponsored by the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Chapter of The International Thomas Merton Society.  The presenter will be ITMS Chapters Coordinator Tony Russo.  For further information, he may be contacted at: trusso@fuse.net or at 513-941-5219

Chapter News

     The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky chapter discussed Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander at its monthly meetings from September through February.  The group meets at the St. Aloysius Center at Mother of God Church in Covington, KY.  For further information contact Dan Burr at burrda@uc.edu or 513-558-5991.

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     On December 10, the Chicago Chapter commemorated the thirty-ninth anniversary of Merton’s death with a mass in the chapel of the Passionist Monastery, celebrated by Fr. Francis Cusack, CP.  On January 20, Monica Weis, SSJ gave a presentation at Dominican University entitled “Finding the Sky within You,” based on her book Gethsemani: Landscapes of Paradise, cosponsored by the Theology Department at the University.  On February 17, Mark Quinn spoke to the chapter on “Merton’s Four Mystical Experiences.”  On March 16, the group will watch a taped presentation of Sr. Joan Chittister’s talk entitled “Thomas Merton: Seeder of Radical Action.”  The chapter’s Merton Reading Group began its discussion of Merton’s Passion for Peace at its February meeting in Mercurio Hall of the Passionist Monastery, 5700 N. Harlem, Chicago; previous meetings discussed New Seeds of Contemplation and “Christian Humanism.”  For further information contact Mike Brennan: 773-447-3989; email: cc.itms@gmail.com

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     Walt Chura led a discussion on Thomas Merton’s Passion for Peace at a September 29 meeting sponsored by the Corpus Christi Chapter in New York City.  On November 17, the chapter’s annual retreat/ day of recollection, entitled “The Awakened Heart: Thomas Merton the Contemplative Activist,” was led by Fr. George Kilcourse.  On January 26, Abbot John Eudes Bamberger spoke to the group on “Thomas Merton and The Inner Experience,” cosponsored by the Center for Spiritual Development of the Archdiocese of New York.  In February the Chapter sponsored two evenings of “Lenten Lectures with Father Louis,” featuring tapes of conferences Merton gave to the novices at Gethsemani.  On April 5, Fr. Raymond Rafferty, Pastor of Corpus Christi Parish, will speak to the chapter on “Thomas Merton’s Latin American Connections.”  For further information call: 212-666-9350, or visit the website: www.corpus-christi-nyc.org/MertonSociety.htm.

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     The San Diego Chapter meets the second Thursday of each month at St. Brigid Parish in Pacific Beach, CA, for a social/chapter business meeting, and gets together for contemplative prayer on all other Thursdays.  The group is currently discussing the second half of No Man Is an Island.  At the October meeting, the group presented an introduction to Thomas Merton and contemplative prayer, with a special emphasis on newcomers who want to learn more. On November 14, chapter coordinator John Alexander spoke to a class at the University of California, San Diego as part of a special program in which members of several faith traditions explained their perspectives on contemplative/mystical practice.  The third annual SDTM Society Book Sale was held October 27-28 at St. Brigid Parish to raise funds for the upcoming chapter retreat, to be held January 30-February 1, 2009 at the Viña de Lestonnac Retreat Center in Temecula, led by Fr. William Meninger.  For further information, contact John Alexander: 858-270-2110; email: john@sandiegomerton.org.

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     The Lafayette, OR Chapter heard presentations by Tom Kinzie entitled “Reading and Writing: A Poet’s Lectio” and by Bill Apel entitled “The Merton-June Yungblut Letters and Martin Luther King, Jr.” at its August meeting.  The November meeting featured presentations by Dave Lee on “Thomas Merton: Bringing the Contemplative Spirit to Work”; Br. Mark Filut, OCSO on “Merton’s Hermitage: A Personal Experience” and Doug Speers on “Bob Lax: Merton’s Dear Friend and Dreamcatcher.”  The group meets at Bethany House, Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey in Lafayette.  For further information contact Doug Speers at dougsp@teleport.com; 503-246-0722.

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     The Thomas Merton Study Group in Shrewsbury, MA meets monthly on the third Tuesday at St. Mary’s Pastoral Center to read and discuss books by Thomas Merton.  Currently the group is discussing discussed Thomas Merton, Spiritual Master edited by Lawrence Cunningham, after having considered New Seeds of Contemplation and Peace in the Post-Christian Era.  For further information contact John Collins: 508-753-6203; email: JPColl@aol.com.

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     Mary Somerville, former ITMS Treasurer, became coordinator of the Louisville Chapter in January 2008.  The group meets on the third Monday of each month at Cor Unum Spirituality Center; for further information contact Mary Somerville: newvista@bellsouth.net.

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     On December 1, Fr. John Farrelly, OSB addressed the Washington, DC Chapter on “Thomas Merton: Contemplation and Christian Action in the World.”  Christine M. Bochen is scheduled to give a lecture to the group in April.  The chapter also sponsors a Merton Discussion Group that meets monthly.  For further information contact John Farrelly: mjfarrelly547@aol.com.

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     At its January 27 meeting, the Sacramento Chapter discussed William Apel’s Signs of Peace: The Interfaith Letters of Thomas Merton.  The chapter will hold an ecumenical day of prayer on March 15 at the Trappist Monastery at Vina, CA, and will meet on March 30 and May 18.  For further information contact John Berger: 916-482-6976; email: bergerjh@rcip.com.

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     On November 5, Jonathan Montaldo spoke on “Choosing to Love the World: Thomas Merton on Contemplative Prayer and Protest” at the Vancouver School of Theology Epiphany Chapel, part of the Thomas Merton’s Life and Thought series sponsored by the Thomas Merton Society of Canada.  On November 9, Ross Labrie spoke on “Merton on Main Street.”  On January 17, Lynn Szabo and Jens Zimmerman spoke on “Contemplation in a World of Terror: Bonhoeffer and Merton on Faith and Violence” at the Vancouver Central Library.  On February 13, Ross Labrie spoke on “Merton and Asceticism” at the Library.  On April 17, Ron Dart will speak on “Thomas Merton and the Mountains: Contemplative Cartographer.”  For further information call: 604-669-2546; email: tmsc@telus.net; website: www.merton.ca

    Send all Merton-related news to:
    Pat O’Connell
    Box 3219
    Gannon University,  Erie,  PA 16541
    Email:
oconnell001@gannon.edu

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