International Thomas Merton Society


        Vol. 18, No. 1                                    Spring, 2011

Merton Featured in Inaugural

     In his inaugural address on January 3, 2011 as the fiftieth mayor of the city of Louisville, KY, Greg Fischer gave the words and witness of Thomas Merton a prominent place. After brief opening remarks expressing his gratitude and humility at being chosen for this office, Fischer stated, “Today isn’t about me; it’s about us. Today is a celebration of our community. Today is about our similarities. It's about who we are and what we can be. Just two blocks from here – at Fourth Street and Muhammad Ali (then Walnut St.) – the Trappist monk and scholar Thomas Merton had a famous epiphany, a sudden insight, as he stood amidst the hustle and bustle of what was then our city’s main shopping district. The year: 1958, the year I was born. Merton – who lived at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Bardstown – was gripped by an overpowering realization that all those bustling people were not strangers. All human beings were connected: ‘They were mine and I was theirs,’ are the words he wrote in his diary on that 1958 day. ‘We are already one,’ Merton wrote. ‘But we imagine that we are not. What we have to recover is our original unity.’ His epiphany has powerful relevance for our city today, as we stand on the cusp of a new era of leadership in a global community. We are One City. We are One Community. We are One Family. Our entire city is connected.” After discussing the many accomplishments and challenges of the city and summoning its citizens to a vision of unity, common purpose and cooperation in working to improve the lives of all residents, especially those most in need, Mayor Fischer returned to Merton in his concluding remarks: “We will be a compassionate city where we celebrate our diversity and know we are stronger for it. There will be so many volunteers that agencies won’t be able to find enough work to keep them all busy. This is the Louisville I dream about – and this is the Louisville we will create when we all join hands, and enjoy the journey, together. As Thomas Merton shared with us that day in 1958 – we are all connected. It’s a new day in Louisville, and I ask you to join me on this journey of unity, growth and possibility. We are One City. We are One Community. We are One Family.”

Matthew Kelty, OCSO (1915-2011)

     Father Matthew Kelty, OCSO, a monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani for over a half century, a novice under Thomas Merton and later Merton’s confessor, died February 18, 2011 at the age of 95. At the time of his death he was the oldest member of the community. Charles Richard Kelty Jr. was born November 25, 1915 in Boston, MA and was raised in the nearby city of Milton. After entering the Divine Word Missionaries and being ordained in 1946, he lived and worked in Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific from 1947 to 1951, then returned to the United States to edit the order’s magazine. In 1960 he entered the Abbey of Gethsemani where he was given the name Matthew. In the 1970s, he helped found an experimental religious community near Oxford, North Carolina, and in August 1972 he made a 235-mile pilgrimage on foot from his hermitage there to Washington, DC to protest the Vietnam War. He subsequently returned to New Guinea in 1973 to live as a hermit. In 1982 he came back to Gethsemani, where he served as guest house chaplain, counselor and regular preacher to retreatants from 1990 to 2006. His books, many edited by his longtime friend William O. Paulsell of Lexington Theological Seminary, include Flute Solo (1979), Sermons in a Monastery (1983), My Song Is of Mercy (1994), The Call of Wild Geese (1996), Gethsemani Homilies (2001; rev. ed. 2010), and Singing for the Kingdom (2008). He was the subject of a documentary by Morgan Atkinson entitled Poetry of a Soul: A Monk’s Story. An interview with Kelty about his relationship with Merton appears in The Merton Annual 1 (1988). He was buried February 21 following a funeral Mass celebrated by Louisville Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz.

Arthur MacDonald Allchin (1930-2010)

     Canon A. M. (Donald) Allchin, distinguished British author, ecumenist and close friend and correspondent of Thomas Merton, died peacefully on December 23, 2010 in Oxford at the age of 80.  His funeral was celebrated by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, also a close friend.  Born April 20, 1930, Allchin was educated at Westminster School in London and at Christ Church, Oxford. He was ordained an Anglican priest in 1956 and lived most of his life in Oxford, Canterbury and Bangor, Wales.  He was former director of the St. Theosevia Centre for Christian Spirituality, an ecumenical study center in Oxford, served as librarian at Pusey House, the Anglo-Catholic house of studies in Oxford and was a canon of Canterbury Cathedral.  In his later years he was honorary professor in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Bangor.  Throughout much of his life he was involved with the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius, a significant ecumenical society promoting bonds of unity between Anglicanism and Eastern Orthodoxy. In 1960, at the age of 30, he became editor of Sobornost, the fellowship’s journal, and in 1971 he became Chairman of the Council of the Fellowship. In addition to his ecumenical work with the Eastern Church, Canon Allchin was particularly interested in the traditions of Anglican monasticism and in Welsh religious poetry.  His many books include The Silent Rebellion: Anglican Religious Communities, 1845-1900 (1958), The Theology of the Religious Life: An Anglican Approach (1970), The Dynamic of Tradition (1981), The World Is a Wedding: Explorations in Christian Spirituality (1982), The Kingdom of Love and Knowledge: The Encounter Between Orthodoxy and the West (1984), Songs to Her God: Spirituality of Ann Griffiths (1987), Participation in God: A Forgotten Strand in Anglican Tradition (1988) and The Joy of All Creation: Anglican Meditation on the Place of Mary (1993).

     Thomas Merton first became aware of Allchin and his work after reading The Silent Rebellion, on which he comments favorably in Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander. They met in July 1963, when Allchin visited Gethsemani for the first time; there were two subsequent visits, including the momentous time in April 1968 when Allchin was with Merton when they learned of the assassination of Martin Luther King.  Fifteen letters from Merton to Allchin, many of them included in The Hidden Ground of Love, and nineteen from Allchin to Merton, are in the archives of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University. Allchin was a significant influence on Merton’s developing ecumenical contacts both with Anglicanism and with Eastern Orthodoxy.  He served as an International Advisor for the International Thomas Merton Society, and later was one of the founders and the first president of the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and served as the Society’s honorary president up until the time of his death.  He was a plenary speaker for the ITMS Second General Meeting in 1991, and his influential presentation, entitled “The Worship of the Whole Creation: Thomas Merton and the Eastern Fathers” was subsequently published in The Merton Annual and reprinted in Merton & Hesychasm.  His essay on Merton and Henry Vaughan was included in The World Is a Wedding, and a second important article on Merton and the Eastern Church, “Our Lives a Powerful Pentecost: Merton’s Meeting with Russian Christianity,” first appeared in The Merton Annual and was also reprinted in Merton & Hesychasm.  An interview with Allchin about Merton, “‘A Very Disciplined Person’ from Nelson County,” can be found in The Merton Annual 17 (2004).       

Frank O’Callaghan (1929-2011)

    Frank O’Callaghan, husband of long-time Merton Legacy Trustee Thomasine (Tommie) O’Callaghan and himself a close friend of Thomas Merton, died in Louisville, KY on January 12, 2011. Francis Eugene O’Callaghan was born June 28, 1929 in New Rochelle, NY, son of Marion O’Reilly and Francis E. O’Callaghan Jr. After moving to Louisville, he graduated from St. Xavier High School there in 1947, and from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ, in 1951. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Frank and Tommie O’Callaghan were married for 56 years and had seven children, 24 grandchildren and one great-grandson. Frank worked as managing director of the International Sales Department of the American Air Filter Co. until 1988, when he helped bring to Louisville Wako Electronics, where he became CEO and subsequently served as executive advisor until the time of his death.

    The O’Callaghans came to know Thomas Merton through their mutual friendship with Daniel Walsh, who had taught Tommie O’Callaghan as well as Merton. The O’Callaghans became a kind of adoptive family for Merton in the 1960s, and their home a place of relaxation and hospitality during his occasional trips to Louisville. Frank O’Callaghan famously took Merton on a shopping expedition for clothing in preparation for his trip to Asia in 1968. During Merton’s own lifetime and for the more than four decades since his death, Frank and Tommie O’Callaghan opened their home to Merton friends and scholars with unparalleled generosity, housing and feeding hundreds of visitors to Louisville over the years and sharing their own memories of their friend. Frank O’Callaghan was buried at the Abbey of Gethsemani after a funeral mass at St. Frances of Rome Church in Louisville on January 15. Donations in his memory may be sent to the Merton Institute for Contemplative Living, 2117 Payne Street, Suite 206, Louisville, KY 40206.

Thomas F. Goeckler, MM (1941-2010)

     Maryknoll Father Thomas Goekler, who was scheduled to be a presenter at the Twelfth General Meeting of the International Thomas Merton Society at Loyola University Chicago in June, 2011, died unexpectedly on November 25, 2010 at his residence in the Casa Juan Gerardi Catholic Worker House in Guatamala City, Guatamala. Son of the late Frank J. and Margaret Cox Goekler, he was born in 1941 in New Haven, CT, and was a graduate of Notre Dame High School, West Haven, CT, St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield, CT and St. Bernard Seminary, Rochester, NY; he later obtained a doctorate of ministry from Hartford Theological Seminary. Ordained for the Archdiocese of Hartford, he worked in inner-city parishes and dedicated his priestly life to accompanying the youth in poor, marginal and violent neighborhoods. He taught theology and justice at Northwest Catholic High School in Hartford and was a co-founder of the Amistad Catholic Worker in New Haven, CT. He later joined the Maryknoll Foreign Mission Society and spent the last eleven years of his life as a missioner in China, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatamala. He founded Caminando por la Paz and Jovenes en la Calle, which have led hundreds of young people out of street gangs and thousands into new homes, first in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, then in Guatamala City. He is survived by his sisters Margaret Marlowe, Woodbridge, CT; Frances Goekler-Morneau, New Haven, CT; Helen Macauley, Westerly, RI and Sr. Eleanor Goekler, SMIC, Paterson, NJ, as well as by numerous nieces and nephews, grandnieces and nephews, and a great-grandniece. The workshop on “Merton and the Marginalized” he was scheduled to facilitate at the June conference will be carried on by his co-presenters Mark Colville and Marty Shea. Donations in Father Goeckler’s memory may be sent to: Amistad Catholic Worker House, 203 Rosette Street, New Haven, CT 06519.

Merton Technology Conference

    On September 23-24, 2011, the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY will sponsor a conference entitled “Contemplation in a Technological Era: Thomas Merton’s Insight for the Twenty-First Century.” The keynote address by Albert Borgmann is entitled “Contemplation in a Technological Era: Learning from Thomas Merton.” Other speakers include: Phillip Thompson: “Questioning the Goal of Biological Immortality: Mertonian Reflections on Living Eternally”; Claire Bararacco: “Equanimity and Technology”; Daniel P. Horan, OFM: “Digital Natives and the Digital Self: The Wisdom of Thomas Merton for Millennial Spirituality and Self-Understanding”; Kathleen Deignan, CND: “‘In the Dark Night of Our Technological Barbarism’: Merton’s Light on the Matter”; Gray Matthews: “The Heart of the Fire: Thomas Merton’s Contemplative Wisdom in an Age of Technological Dominance”; Paul Dekar: “The Christian in a Technological World.” Fees, including conference registration, refreshments, lunch and conference dinner, are $75 ($85 after September 12, 2011); $50 reduced student rate (with copy of valid ID). Checks (payable to “Merton Conference”) should be sent to: Dr. Paul M Pearson, Merton Conference, Thomas Merton Center, Bellarmine University, 2001 Newburg Road, Louisville. KY. 40205. Further information on the program, the speakers, and lodging options is available at:

Asia Pilgrimage Planned

     “Thomas Merton’s Asia,” a three-week pilgrimage program to India and Sri Lanka sponsored by the Thomas Merton Society of Canada, will take place November 2-22, 2011. The pilgrimage features excellent accommodation, including the Windamere Hotel in Darjeeling where Merton stayed, local guides, and transportation through Thomas Cook, India. The program begins in New Delhi and concludes in Sri Lanka. The Indian itinerary includes visits to Agra (site of the Taj Mahal), Dharamsala (teachings with H.H. Dalai Lama), Amritsar (The Golden Temple), Bagdogra, Darjeeling (including a visit to the Mim Tea Estate, travel on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway to Sonada Monastery, and unparalleled views of the snow-clad Kanchenjunga and the Himalayas). Sri Lankan sites include Colombo, Habarana (Polonnaruwa), Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Negombo. The number of participants is limited to 12. Detailed information, including costs, will be available soon. For further information, contact TMSC program director Judith Hardcastle:

UK Conference Call for Papers

     The Ninth General Meeting and Conference of the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland will take place April 13-15, 2012 at Oakham School, Rutland, UK. The conference theme is “Raids on the Unspeakable,” based on Merton’s 1966 volume of the same title.  The book’s title, apparently adapted from T. S. Eliot’s description of poetry as “a raid on the inarticulate,” with the substitution of “the Unspeakable” emphasizing the horror of an age of apocalyptic violence, sets the tone for the collection.  Raids begins with the well-known essay “Rain & the Rhinoceros,” in which Merton writes from his hermitage about rain as an image of natural renewal, contrasted with the world of quantity and consumption and with the totalitarian demands for conformism and unquestioning obedience dramatized by the absurdist playwright Ionesco.  The book also includes reflections on writers Flannery O’Connor and Julien Green; the Christmas meditation “The Time of the End Is the Time of No Room”; the critique of intellectual detachment in “Letter to an Innocent Bystander” and the sardonic “Devout Meditation in Memory of Adolf Eichmann”; “Readings from Ibn Abbad,” the fourteenth-century Sufi; the six-part prose poem “The Early Legend”; the three “Titan” pieces “Prometheus: A Meditation,” “Atlas and the Fat Man” and the earlier version of the Atlas myth “Martin’s Predicament”; Merton’s “Message to Poets” along with his “Answers on Art and Freedom.”  The book also includes fifteen examples of Merton’s abstract calligraphies. 

     Papers responding to any of the themes contained in Raids and illuminating them in the light of the present world situation are sought for presentation at the conference.  Ideas for workshops, meditation, non-academic presentations and creative activities are also welcome.  Academic papers will be allotted 30 minutes. Workshops and dramatic, poetic, artistic and musical presentations will run for 60 minutes. Proposals should be no more than 500 words. All proposals must be submitted by July 15, 2011, and should be sent by email to: or by post to: Reuben Preston, 7 Duncton Way, Gosport, Hampshire PO13 0FD UK.   Papers selected for the conference may be published in The Merton Journal or on the TMS website; selected highlights of presentations will also be video-recorded, and all presenters will be requested to give permission to record their talks for possible inclusion in this video record.

Jubilee for Brother Paul

    Brother Paul Quenon, OCSO, a monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, former novice under Thomas Merton, and a very active member of the International Thomas Merton Society, celebrated the golden jubilee of his monastic profession on November 15, 2010, the Feast of the Dedication of the abbey church of Gethsemani. Two other members of the community, Brothers Conrad Fleischer and Simeon Malone, also celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their profession on the same day. Br. Paul has served as a member of the ITMS Board of Directors, has been a presenter at numerous ITMS General Meetings, where his photography has also been featured, and coordinates the ITMS chapter that meets at the abbey. He has also regularly helped to organize the retreats for Daggy Scholars and conference presents held biennially at Gethsemani. Br. Paul is the author of three books of poetry, Terrors of Paradise (1996), Laughter, My Purgatory (2002) and Monkswear (2008). Selections from both his poetry and his photography can be viewed at:

Pearson Honored at Bellarmine

    On February 24, Dr. Paul M. Pearson, director and archivist of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY, was among the honorees recognized for ten years of service to the university at a dinner hosted by Bellarmine President Joseph McGowan. Dr. McGowan recognized Dr. Pearson’s work as an international ambassador for Thomas Merton studies and noted his dedication to his work and to his children. Paul Pearson was invited to head the Merton Center while working at the University College, London, arriving in Louisville in 2001. His edition of A Meeting of Angels: The Correspondence of Thomas Merton with Edward Deming & Faith Andrews (Broadstone Books, 2008) was the winner of 2009 Kentucky Historical Society Kentucky History Award of Merit for State and Local History Publication. His edition of Seeking Paradise: The Spirit of the Shakers by Thomas Merton (Orbis, 2003) has recently been reissued in paperback.

Collins Awards Established

    The Shrewsbury Education Foundation has established the John P. Collins Awards for Excellence to recognize exemplary efforts of those whose work brings to life the mission of the Shrewsbury, MA public schools. The awards are named in honor of longtime ITMS member, presenter and author John P. Collins, Ph.D., who served as Shrewsbury Superintendent of Schools from 1978 to1994. The awards are given annually in five categories: Professional Educators; Paraprofessional Educators; Support Staff; Team; and Leadership.

ITMS Authors

All Is Grace: A Biography of Dorothy Day (Orbis Books; $27 pb) is the revised and updated version of Jim Forest’s life of the founder of the Catholic Worker movement, Love Is the Measure (1986). Drawing on the recently published collections of Day’s journals and letters, this lavishly illustrated biography can be considered a companion volume to Forest’s biography of Thomas Merton, Living with Wisdom. Forest was a coworker and friend of Dorothy Day during the 1960s, and it was through the Catholic Worker that he became a friend and correspondent of Merton as well.

New Spirituality Blog

    In response to the success of his new book The Psychology of Spirituality, Larry Culliford, chair of the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland, has been invited by the editors of Psychology Today magazine to contribute a regular blog on their website. The blog, entitled “'Spiritual Wisdom for Secular Times,” can be viewed at:

ITMS Authors

From many years of his personal notebook reflections, Lawrence S. Cunningham has compiled a commentary on the Church, the life of faith, and significant classic and contemporary figures, in Things Seen and Unseen: A Catholic Theologian's Notebook (Ave Maria, $20).

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     Steve Georgiou’s The Way of the Dreamcatcher: Spirit Lessons with Robert Lax is being reissued in September by Templegate Publishers; for further information see  He is also author of a new book, The Isle of Monte Cristo: Finding the Inner Treasure, spiritual reflections and meditations also drawing on his friendship with Lax (Novalis; available in the US through Twenty-Third Publications:

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Albert Haase, OFM has written This Sacred Moment: Becoming Holy Right Where You Are (Intervarsity Press, 2010; $15), drawing on his experiences as spiritual director and preacher to provide practical wisdom for becoming holy in the midst of “ordinary” life.

Merton Happenings

       On November 28-30, 2010, Donald Grayston led a retreat entitled “No Room at the Inn: An Advent Retreat with Thomas Merton” at Rivendell Retreat Centre, Bowen Island, BC.

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On December 4, J. Patrick Mahon led an Advent Retreat entitled “A Morning with Merton: Living Contemplatively in Advent” at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, Hayesville, NC.

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On January 17, 2011 Jungian analyst Robert Mercurio gave a presentation entitled “Quando un Mistico S’Innamora – La Vita Complessa di Thomas Merton” (“When a Mystic Falls in Love – The Complex Life of Thomas Merton”) at the Bibliotheque Bibli in Rome, Italy.

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On January 31, the Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville, KY hosted its seventeenth annual Thomas Merton Birthday Celebration in the Cathedral Undercroft. Rev. George Kilcourse compiled selections from Merton’s writings for the program on the topic “Thomas Merton on ‘the Prayer of the Heart.’”

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On February 5, Kathleen Deignan, CND and Roger Haight, SJ, along with representatives of major religious traditions, presented a prayer service on “Thomas Merton: Model of Interfaith Dialogue” at St. Francis Xavier parish in New York City.

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On February 15, the Fifth Annual Thomas Merton Black History Month Lecture at Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY, featured Sr. Jamie Phelps, OP speaking on “Religion and Racism: Thomas Merton’s Insights for the Twenty-First Century” at Frazier Hall on the Bellarmine campus.

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On February 16 and 23 and March 2, Mark C. Meade gave a continuing education course entitled “The Art and Spiritual Aesthetics of Thomas Merton” at the Thomas Merton Center, Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY.

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On February 25-27, a retreat entitled “Enlightenment of the Spirit: In the Footsteps of Thomas Merton” was held at St. Oswald’s Pastoral Centre, Sleights, Whitby, UK. A similar weekend is scheduled for November 25-27 at Shepherd’s Dene, the Durham/Newcastle Diocesan Retreat Centre.

Upcoming Events

    Upcoming retreats and programs at Bethany Spring, the Merton Institute for Contemplative Living Retreat Center, located in New Haven, KY just one mile form the Abbey of Gethsemani, include Lenten Bridges to Contemplative Living retreats: March 18-20, April 4-6, April 15-17; The Celtic Wheel: March 25-27; Thomas Merton and Mary Oliver: Poets of the Sacred: April 8-10; Holy Week and Easter Retreat: April 20-24; Bridges to Contemplative Living retreats: May 9-11, May 20-22, June 3-5, June 27-29, July 8-10, July 25-27; Enneagram retreat: May 13-15; directed retreats: June 13-17, July 11-15.  For further information see:

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    On March 25, Patrick F. O’Connell will give a presentation entitled “East with Ibn Battuta and Thomas Merton” at the 2011 Pennsylvania College English Association meeting in Erie, PA. 

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     The College English Association (CEA) conference March 30-April 2 in St. Petersburg, FL will include two panels on Thomas Merton.  The first, entitled “Thomas Merton: Biographical and Literary Bits,” will feature Paul M. Pearson: “A Seven Story Goldmine: The Extraordinary Success of Thomas Merton’s Autobiography”; Christine M. Bochen: “Learning to Live: Discovering the Value of ‘Unsuccess’”; Monica Weis SSJ: “Rain, Rhinoceros, and Pedagogy: Thomas Merton’s Famous Essay.” The second, entitled “A ‘Fortunate’ Meeting of Minds: Thomas Merton and . . .” will feature Deborah Kehoe: “Reversals of Fortune: Thomas Merton’s Songs of Innocence”; Avla  V. Cellini: “Ernesto Cardenal’s Good Fortune in Meeting Thomas Merton”; David Belcastro: “Voices from the Desert: Thomas Merton, Albert Camus, Czeslaw Milosz.” The International Thomas Merton Society is an affiliate organization of the CEA.

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     On April 2-3. J. Patrick Mahon will lead the Pax Christi Florida retreat, “Thomas Merton: The Spirituality of Nonviolence” at the Duncan Center in Delray Beach, FL.  For further information contact Lee Breyer: phone:  941-721-3486; email:


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     On April 9, J. Patrick Mahon will lead a day of reflection entitled “Thomas Merton: Becoming the Church We Wish to See” for Call to Action of Southwest Florida at Lamb of God Church, Estero, FL.


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    On June 26-30, Anthony Padovano will present a course entitled “Thomas Merton and Contemporary Spirituality” as part of the summer program of The Institute for Adult Spiritual Renewal at Loyola University Chicago. The course may also be taken for graduate credit through the Loyola Institute for Pastoral Studies. For further information contact the Institute at 574-855-3125; email:; website:


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    On July 18-22, Kathleen Deignan, CND will teach a course entitled “Masters of the Soul and of the Cosmos: Thomas Merton and Thomas Berry in Dialogue on Healing the Self / the Earth” at the Vancouver School of Theology on the campus of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. The course is available for audit, for certificate credit and for basic and advanced degree credit. For further information see the VST summer school web site: or contact the registrar at


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     A Merton weekend sponsored by the Mertonvrienden, the Thomas Merton Society of the Low Countries, is scheduled for October 14-16, 2011 at the Trappist Abbey of Orval, Belgium.  For further information, see


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     The Fall 2011 Thomas Merton Road Scholar [elderhostel] week will take place Sunday October 16 through Friday October 21, 2011. For further details contact Linda Bailey: phone: 502-272- 8161; email:

Chapter and Affiliate News

      The Arizona Chapter of the ITMS sponsored a retreat on March 12, 2011 entitled “Walk with Thomas Merton on His Journey Home,” led by Sr. Sarah O’Malley, OSB, at Saint Theresa Parish in Phoenix. For further information contact Duncan Macaulay: phone: 602-826-1982; email:

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     The Northern California ITMS Chapter continued its discussion of A Year with Thomas Merton at its January 30 meeting.  For further information contact John Berger: phone: 916-482-6976; email: bergerjh@rcip.clm.

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      On November 16, the Cleveland ITMS Chapter featured filmmaker Morgan Atkinson screening and discussing his latest work, Uncommon Vision: The Life and Times of John Howard Griffin. On March 2, the group attended a presentation by Br. Paul Quenon entitled “Prayer as Poetry and Play” at Baldwin-Wallace College, part of the college’s Moll Chair in Faith and Life Program.  For further information contact Sr. Donna Kristoff, OSU:

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     The Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Chapter of the ITMS is sponsoring its tenth annual Pilgrimage Retreat to the Abbey of Gethsemani, September 9-11, 2011.  The retreat, entitled “Thomas Merton and New Seeds of Contemplation,” will be led by Tony Russo, Merton scholar and former ITMS Chapters Coordinator.  The stipend for the presenter is $60 for those with email, $70 for those without email; $30 is refundable to anyone canceling by Aug. 9, 2011. A donation for room and board at The Abbey Guest House is separate and due at checkout. For further information contact Tony Russo, 8087 Bridgetown Road, Cleves, OH 45002; email:; phone:513-941-5219.

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     The Chicago ITMS Chapter celebrated a memorial Mass on December 10, 2010 commemorating the forty-second anniversary of the death of Thomas Merton; the Mass was concelebrated by Francis Cusack, CP and Vaughn Fayle, OFM and was followed by a wine and cheese reception. On January 16, Sr. Suzanne Zuercher, OSB spoke to the group on “Doing Lectio Divina with Thomas Merton”; on February 20, Marcia Whitney Schenck gave a one-woman performance about St. Thérèse of Lisieux as seen through the eyes of her sister, Sr. Agnes of Jesus. On March 20, Mark Quinn will speak on “Thomas Merton, Sophia, and Spirit.” The April meeting will feature a panel discussion by chapter members who have attended previous ITMS General Meetings discussing their experiences, in preparation for the 2011 General Meeting to be held at Loyola University in Chicago in June. On May 5, the chapter is cosponsoring a presentation by Jim Forest entitled “Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton: A Special Friendship” to be held at the Cenacle, 513 Fullerton Parkway, Chicago. The Merton Reading Group, led by Fr. Francis Cusack, CP, completed its discussion of Contemplation in a World of Action at its January meeting and began The Wisdom of the Desert at its February 28 meeting. For further information, contact Chapter Coordinator Mike Brennan: phone: 773-447-3989; email:; website:                                                                                      

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     The Wall, NJ ITMS Chapter discussed Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation at its December 15, January 19 and February 16 meetings. On March 23, April 20 and May 18 the group will discuss Merton’s The Inner Experience.  For further information contact Greg Ryan: phone: 732-681-6238; email:

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     On March 4, the Thomas Merton Society of Canada sponsored a presentation by Jonathan Montaldo entitled “Thomas Merton & Spiritual Maturity: The Contemplative as Peacemaker” at the Canadian Memorial Church & Centre for Peace.  The following day, Jonathan Montaldo led a retreat at the church entitled “Thomas Merton & Mary Oliver: The Poetry of Contemplative Prayer.”  For further information contact TMSC Community Relations Director Susan Cowan: phone: 604-669-2546; email:; website:

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On April 2, the Thomas Merton Society of Washington, DC will present a lecture by Fr. Patrick McMahon, O. Carm., Director of the Carmelitana Library at Whitefriars Hall, entitled “Disputed Questions – A Carmelite Returns the Compliment.” Fr. McMahon will explain how Merton influenced his Carmelite journey, using the story of Elisha receiving a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. The free lecture will take place at St. Anselm’s Abbey School Auditorium, 4501 South Dakota Ave., NE, and will be followed by a discussion and reception. For further information call: 202-269-2300, or email:

Send all Merton-related news to:

Pat O'Connell

Box 3219

Gannon University, Erie, PA. 16541.

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