International Thomas Merton Society

NEWSLETTER

        Vol. 19, No. 1                                    Spring, 2012

Letter from ITMS President

    Dear International Merton Society Friends,
Sending you all blessings this first week of Spring from the beautiful and sorrowful mountains of Appalachia. This is my first and overdue missive to all of you in my role as President of the ITMS, and with it I wish to send encouragement for our work of keeping and promoting the wisdom legacy of our spiritual master, Thomas Merton. For the past months since the Chicago ITMS Meeting, Vice President David Belcastro and I – with the support of Merton Center Director Paul M. Pearson – have been working to restructure the Society's committees so that we may move into the future more sustainably and imaginatively. Soon we will complete the revision of our ITMS and Merton Society website, so that we will have a vibrant and user friendly communications platform for the many issues we need to stay connected about, especially as we move toward ITMS General Meeting at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield Connecticut, but also as we begin to brain-storm for Merton 100! The Centenary of his birth is 2015, so get your imaginations going! Thanks to the very generous Committee appointees for their willing service to bring our Society into a rich and creative future.
Blessings,
Kathleen Deignan, CND

Centenary Committee Formed

     ITMS President Kathleen Deignan, CND has announced the formation of a Centenary Committee in anticipation of the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Thomas Merton on January 31, 1915. The committee will consider, develop, coordinate and implement various ways of celebrating and publicizing Merton’s legacy during the anniversary year of 2015. The committee is chaired by Christine M. Bochen and includes David Belcastro, Kathleen Deignan, CND, Donald Grayston, Judith Hardcastle, Michael Higgins, Joseph Madonna, Paul M. Pearson and Monica Weis, SSJ. Suggestions for the committee can be sent to the chair at cmbochen@naz.edu

ITMS Committees Formed

      ITMS President Kathleen Deignan, CND has announced the membership of the following committees for the 2011-2013 administration:
Advancement (duties: imagine and implement ways to advance the ITMS “brand” and develop resources to support ITMS mission of promoting Merton’s legacy): Veronica Dagher (chair), Erlinda Paguio, Paul M. Pearson (ex officio), Mary Somerville;
Communication (duties: develop and implement an action plan to increase the awareness of Thomas Merton and of the International Thomas Merton Society, with an emphasis on new media as a means of reaching young people; recommend ways to improve intra-society communications): Daniel Horan, OFM (chair), Veronica Dagher, Robert Grip, Mark C. Meade (ex officio), Paul M. Pearson (ex officio), Christopher Pramuk, Matthew Vaughn;
Daggy Scholarship (duties: promote and evaluate applications for the Daggy scholarship, mentor Daggy scholars, organize events for Daggy scholars at the ITMS General Meeting, maintain contact and foster continued ITMS association with past Daggy scholars): Virginia Ratigan (chair), Jamie Fazio (co-chair), Christine Bochen, Nass Cannon, Malcolm Cash, David Golemboski, Joseph Madonna, Cristobal Serran-Pagan y Fuentes;
Education (duties: oversee promotion of the Merton legacy in scholarly, academic and teaching arenas, including Merton research, scholarship and representation in scholarly and academic societies; promote teaching Merton courses and programs; develop and supervise curriculum project; cultivate Merton scholars): Monica Weis, SSJ (chair), Patrick Cousins, SC, Thomas Del Prete, Alan Kolp, Victor Kramer, Christopher Pramuk;
Membership and Outreach (duties: develop and implement an action plan for recruiting and retaining ITMS members and leveraging the name and presence of ITMS): Michael Brennan (interim chair), Nass Cannon, Rev. Anthony Ciorra, J. Patrick Mahon, Joseph Madonna, Robert Peach, Meghan Robinson, Natalie Terry;
Publications (duties: maintain and improve efforts of the ITMS in the field of publication): Patrick F. O’Connell (chair), David Belcastro (ex officio), Donna Kristoff, OSU, Joseph Q. Raab (ex officio), Monica Weis, SSJ;
Retreats (duties: organize and coordinate efforts to conduct the 2012 scholars’ retreat): David Golemboski (co-chair), Meghan Robinson (co-chair), Edward Kaplan, Paul Quenon, OCSO;
Shannon Fellowship (duties: promote and evaluate applicants for Shannon Fellowships; recommend Fellowship applicants for ITMS Board approval): Paul M. Pearson (interim chair), Fiona Gardner, Joseph Q. Raab.

Merton in Rome Pilgrimage

    From July 3 through July 12, 2012, the Thomas Merton Society of Canada will sponsor a Thomas Merton in Rome pilgrimage, led by ITMS President Kathleen Deignan, CND and former Merton Center Director Jonathan Montaldo. During this ten-day program, the group will visit the sites that planted the initial seeds of religious conversion in Merton during his 1933 journey to Italy, including the churches of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, St. Praxed, St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran, St. Peter and St. Sabina, where he encountered Byzantine mosaics and Renaissance art and momentously, as he says, “for the first time in my life . . . began to find out something of Who this Person was that men called Christ.” It was in Rome, with its treasury of Christian art, that his conception of Christ was initially formed. Here he bought and began to read the New Testament. He also had a mysterious experience of the living presence of his father, who had died the year before, and consequently began, again for the first time, to pray. Significantly, in view of his later monastic vocation, it was also in Italy that he first visited a Trappist monastery, Tre Fontane. “And thus,” he says, “without knowing anything about it I became a pilgrim.” What began as vacation had become pilgrimage. Participants will read Merton’s accounts of his visits to these key locations, discuss the later parts of his life to which they point, and consider the essential elements of his continuing legacy as it pertains to the present time, viewed both from a North American and a European perspective. For more information about the Thomas Merton in Rome pilgrimage, contact Judith Hardcastle, Program Director, Thomas Merton Society of Canada: tmsc@telus.net; 250-344-6117.

British Merton Conference

     The Ninth General Meeting and Conference of the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland will be held April 13-15, 2012 at Oakham School, Rutland, UK, Thomas Merton’s Alma Mater. The theme of the conference is “Raids on the Unspeakable,” based on Merton’s 1966 volume of the same title, with its theme of authentic freedom and its rejection of the “hubris of affluence and power.”
Keynote speakers are:
• Rev. Dr. Liz Carmichael, research fellow at St. John’s College, Oxford University, who will give a presentation entitled “On the Compatibility of Love and Sanity”;
• Jim Forest, Merton friend, correspondent and biographer, who will speak on “Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton”;
• Jonathan Montaldo, former ITMS President and former Thomas Merton Center Director, whose talk is entitled “Thomas Merton’s Inner Journey toward Parrhesia.”
The conference also will include thirteen concurrent session presentations:
• Lars Adolfsson: “Loving the Unbearable – Merton’s View on Personhood Facing Adolf Eichmann’s Moral Universe”;
• William Apel: “Reading Raids from a Biblical/Prophetic Perspective”;
• Nassif Cannon : “The Time of the End is the Time of No Room . . . Is the Time of a New Creation . . . and Room for All”;
• Peter Ellis: “O fearful meditation”;
• Fiona Gardner: “Towards an Understanding of Thomas Merton’s Ideas on Sanity and Spiritual Sanity”;
• Donald Grayston: “Merton and Cuba: A Workshop”;
• Gary Hall: “The Child in the Rain: Meditations on Innocence, Courage and Witness in Merton’s Raids”;
• Marianne Hieb: “Noticing and Praying with the ‘Nots’ and ‘However’ in Merton’s ‘Signatures’: Notes on the Author’s Drawings”;
• Elizabeth Holmes: “Thomas Merton’s Monastic Theology in the Context of His Interreligious Dialogues”;
• Daniel P. Horan, OFM: “Raids on the Impossible: The Poetics of Nonviolence in Merton, Caputo and Hauerwas”;
• Steven P. Millies: “Sublime, Unspeakable, Mysterious: Thomas Merton and Edmund Burke”;
• Paul M. Pearson: “‘Sentinels upon the World’s Frontier’: Thomas Merton and Celtic Monasticism”;
• Gosia Poks: “The Importance of Not Being Serious: Thomas Merton’s Comic Imagination.”
The conference will also include an exhibition of artwork by the Christian artist Robert Wright, who will also introduce his work during a workshop session. Morgan Atkinson’s film Uncommon Vision: John Howard Griffin and Black Like Me, about Merton’s friend and initial biographer, best-selling author and civil rights pioneer, will be shown and discussed. The conference dinner on Friday evening will be preceded by the Donald Allchin Memorial address, given by Thomas Merton Center Director Paul M. Pearson in honor of the late Canon A. M. Allchin, friend and correspondent of Thomas Merton and guiding spirit of the TMSGBI from its foundation. A program of worship and meditation will be provided throughout the conference, culminating in celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday.
Cost of the conference is Ł220 for members of the TMSGBI/ITMS; Ł240 for non-members. For further details and a copy of the registration form, see the society website: www.thomasmertonsociety.org.uk, or contact the conference booking secretary: Karl Goswell, Kymin Cottage, Westhide, Hereford, UK HR1 3RG; bookings@thomasmertonsociety.org.uk

Merton at College English Conference

    Thomas Merton will be featured in two sessions at the Forty-Third College English Association Annual Conference, to be held March 29-31, 2012 at the Omni-Richmond Hotel in Richmond, VA. The general theme of the conference is “Borders.” The International Thomas Merton Society is an allied organization of the CEA. The sessions are coordinated and moderated by Monica Weis, SSJ, the liaison between the ITMS and the CEA.
The March 29 session, entitled “Between Intellect and Imagination: Merton, Percy, Camus, Milosz,” features the following:
• John Collins: “Literary Criticism on the Edge: Thomas Merton and the Novel”;
• Deborah Kehoe: “The Geography of Lograire: Thomas Merton’s Dream of a Common Language”;
• Michael Callaghan, CM: “‘Waiting, Wondering and Fooling Around’: The Journeys Involved in Thomas Merton’s Asian Journal.”
The March 31 session, entitled “Thomas Merton: Speaking out of Silence,” features the following:
• David Golemboski: “Form and Function in Thomas Merton’s Seeds of Destruction”;
• Paul M. Pearson: “‘Sentinels upon the World’s Frontier’: Thomas Merton and Celtic Monasticism”;
• Christine M. Bochen: “Speaking Out from Within: Merton’s Prophetic Vision of Church.”

Merton Webcast Scheduled

    On July 11 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m., ITMS Vice President David Belcastro will present a live webcast entitled “Thomas Merton on Christian Spirituality” as part of the Martin de Porres Center’s Institute for Maturing Spirituality series for spring/summer 2012. This presentation will focus on three ways in which a study of Merton’s life can inform one’s own life’s journey, with attention to the latter years where integration of various aspects of life becomes particularly important. Each of the three ways includes a “coincidence of opposites” – solitude and solidarity, learned ignorance, joy and sorrow. The Martin de Porres Center for Ministry Outreach, sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Peace in Columbus, OH, fosters the development of spirituality, education and the arts. The Institute for Maturing Spirituality, launched in 2009, offers programming targeted to adults in the second half of life; educational opportunities for those preparing to minister to older adults; and intergenerational activities to encourage communication between young people and elders. The webcast series is available to faith communities and senior residences; for further information, contact Christina Butler at 614.416.1920 or cbutler@oppeace.org

ITMS Authors

     ITMS Board member Daniel P. Horan, OFM has recently authored Dating God: Live and Love in the Way of St. Francis (Franciscan Media: $14.99; also available in audio: $23.99), which draws on the Franciscan tradition to present St. Francis of Assisi as a model for reexamining and developing concepts and practices of spirituality, prayer and relationships. James Martin, SJ has called the author “a fresh new voice in Christian spirituality.”

Sculpture Donated to Merton Center

    Artist/architect Lawrence I. Janssen has donated a bas relief sculpture of St. Bernard of Clairvaux to the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY. In creating and donating the artwork, Mr. Janssen expressed the hope that it will stimulate interest in St. Bernard’s influence on Thomas Merton’s theology and spirituality.

Electronic Merton

    An increasing number of books by and about Thomas Merton, including all seven volumes of Merton’s complete journals and all five volumes of his collected letters, are now available in electronic format for e-reading devices. A complete list of volumes currently available, which will be kept updated as more works become available in this format, can be found on the Thomas Merton Center website at: http://www.merton.org/ebook.htm.

Merton on the Web

    An entry on Thomas Merton has recently been added to the website of the Academy of American Poets, one of the most comprehensive, significant and widely consulted on-line poetry sites. The entry includes a brief biography, a description of Merton’s poetry including a quotation from Kathleen Norris, and a link to the Thomas Merton Center website. It can be accessed at http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/1283

Lax Course Offered

    The first semester-length class on Robert Lax, Thomas Merton’s close friend, is presently being offered during the Spring 2012 semester at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA. The course, entitled “Robert Lax: Poet, Mystic, Sage,” is taught by Dr. Steve T. Georgiou, author of a spiritual trilogy dealing with Lax, (The Way of the Dreamcatcher, Mystic Street and The Isle of Monte Cristo). Offered to both graduate students and the general public, the class centers on Lax’s evolution as a minimalist poet and contemplative, considers spiritual, scholastic and artistic influences on Lax, and focuses particularly on Lax as hermit, sage, mentor and peacemaker. The class also features guest lectures by John Dear, SJ, Jonathan Montaldo and Gerald Nicosia and artistic responses to Lax’s poetry by three notable artists: Jacqueline Chew (pianist), Debra Classen (painter) and Carla de Sola (dancer). Dr. Georgiou expressed the hope that this seminal course on the “Poet of Patmos” will inspire more classes in the field of Robert Lax Studies, in which the life, thought and art of this little-known contemplative will steadily reach a wider audience.

Merton Happenings

       On October 5, 2011, Thomas Merton Center Assistant Director Mark C. Meade spoke at the publication launch of Merton’s collected correspondence with Argentine author and publisher Victoria Ocampo at the American Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


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On October 30, 2011 Steven Millies gave a presentation entitled “Thomas Merton and Economic Justice” at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church in Gloverville, SC.


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On November 9, Monica Weis, SSJ, who spent the fall semester at the University of Pannonia, Hungary on a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, gave a presentation entitled “Loving Creation around Us: Thomas Merton’s Spiritual Legacy” at the Catholic School of Theology and Seminary in Veszprém, Hungary.


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On November 18-20, the Janssen Spirituality Centre near Melbourne, Australia hosted a Thomas Merton Retreat Weekend.


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On December 8, The Merton Institute for Contemplative Living sponsored a presentation entitled “Spirituality and Politics” by Fr. Daniel Coughlin, former Chaplain to the US House of Representatives, at Christ Church Cathedral, Louisville, KY.


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On January 15 and 22, 2012, Phillip Thompson gave presentations entitled “Thomas Merton’s Contemplative Insights for a Google World” as part of the Faith Matters series at Holy Cross Catholic Church, Atlanta, GA.


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In January and February, Christopher Pramuk gave a six-session reading course based on his book Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton, at St. Monica/ St. George Church, Cincinnati, OH.


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On Feb 15, Paul M Pearson gave a presentation at Iona College, New Rochelle, NY entitled “Seeking Paradise: Thomas Merton and the Shakers.”


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During March, David Belcastro offered a four-week course entitled “Thomas Merton: Monk and Man” at The Lifelong Learning Institute of Columbus State Community College, a program of continuing education for seniors.


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On March 12, Anthony Bannon, Director of the George Eastman House International Museum of Film and Photography in Rochester, NY organized a screening of two of Morgan Atkinson’s documentaries, Soul Searching, on Thomas Merton, and Uncommon Vision, on John Howard Griffin. The films were introduced by the filmmaker, with responses following the respective screenings by Christine M. Bochen and Monica Weis, SSJ.


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On March 12, a study day entitled “Lent with Thomas Merton,” based on Merton’s journals, was held at The Friary, Alnmouth, Northumberland, UK, led by Stephen Dunhill, committee member of the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland.


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On March 16, musicians Dick Sisto (vibraphone and percussion) and Chuck Marohnic (piano) gave a concert entitled “The Merton Project,” a special setting of jazz, musings and reflections on Thomas Merton as man, monk, friend and prophet, at St. John’s Presbyterian Church in New Albany, IN

 

Upcoming Events

    Upcoming programs at Bethany Spring, the retreat center of the Merton Institute for Contemplative Living in New Haven, KY, one mile from the Abbey of Gethsemani, include: April 4-8, Holy Week Retreat; April 20-22, Bridges to Contemplative Living; April 27-29, “Seeing with New Eyes: Contemplative Photography,” presented by Kim Ort; May 4-6, Private Retreat Weekend with Spiritual Direction; May 18-20, “Thomas Merton & Mary Oliver: Poets of the Sacred,” presented by Sharon Grant; May 21-23, Bridges to Contemplative Living; June 1-3, Private Retreat Weekend with Spiritual Direction; June 11-15, Directed Retreat, led by Jay Bowling; June 15-17, Bridges to Contemplative Living; June 22-24, “Love Poems to God,” presented by Sharon Grant; July 6-8, Private Retreat Weekend with Spiritual Direction; July 16-20, Directed Retreat; July 27-29, Bridges to Contemplative Living. For further information, see the Bethany Spring web site: www.bethanyspring.org/index.htm, or contact Sr. Kelly O’Mahony, Resident Director, Bethany Spring: kaomahony@mertoninstitute.org; 502-549-8277.

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     On April 10, Patrick O’Connell will give a presentation entitled “Thomas Merton’s Spiritual Teaching: Tradition and Innovation” as part of the “Curious Minds and Willing Spirits” series of the LifeWorks Erie Lifelong Learning Institute, in Erie, PA. For further information: 814-459-4132; http://www.LifeWorksErie.org.

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     On April 12, 2012, photographer and poet Paul Quenon, OCSO will give a presentation entitled “Poetry, Prayer, and the Play of God” as part of “Awakening the Heart: The Arts of Faith,” the 2012 Lecture Series of the William H. Shannon Chair in Catholic Studies at Nazareth College, Rochester, NY. A monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, former novice under Thomas Merton, and current board member of the International Thomas Merton Society, Br. Paul is the author of the poetry collections Terrors of Paradise (1996), Laughter, My Purgatory (2002), Monkswear (2008) and Afternoons with Emily (2011). The lecture, which will take place at 7 p.m. in the forum of the Otto A. Shults Community Center on the Nazareth Campus, is part of a series named in honor of Rev. William H. Shannon, founding president of the ITMS. Other distinguished speakers in the series this year include jazz pianist/composer Deanna Witkowski, author and film-maker Gerard Straub and iconographer Robert Lentz, OFM. On April 13 at 1:30 p.m., Br. Paul will also give a presentation entitled “Seeing with a Poet’s Eye: Photography as Spiritual Practice” at the Linehan Chapel in the Golisano Academic Center. For further information, contact Christine M. Bochen at 585-389-2728 or cmbochen@naz.edu.

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     On April 13-15, James Finley will direct a retreat entitled “Following the Mystics through the Narrow Gate” at the River’s Edge Retreat Center in Cleveland, OH. The fee for the weekend is $200. For further information see the Center website: http://www.riversedgecleveland.com or Dr. Finley’s website: http://contemplativeway.org/retreats/mystics.html.

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     On May 19, a study day entitled “Beyond the Shadow and the Disguise” will be held at the St. Marylebone Healing and Counselling Centre in London. This day will explore aspects of the mature spirituality found in the later writings of Thomas Merton from both a psychoanalytic and religious perspective. The film Soul Searching: The Journey of Thomas Merton (2007) will be shown and a short extract from one of Thomas Merton’s 1960s talks to the novices played. The day will be facilitated by Fiona Gardner, past chair of The Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland (2004-2008), current co-editor of The Merton Journal and UK international adviser for The International Thomas Merton Society. Cost of the day is Ł30. For further information contact the Centre: healing@stmarylebone.org; 020 7935 5066.

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     On May 22, Monica Weis, SSJ will give a presentation entitled “The Landscape of Prayer: Thomas Merton’s Interaction with Nature” at the Martin de Porres Center for Ministry Outreach in Columbus, OH. The suggested donation is $10. For further information, see the Center website: https://app.etapestry.com/cart/DominicanSistersofPeace/default/item.php?ref=3751.0.239389769.

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     On May 26, Mary L. (Bunny) Stewart will lead a quiet retreat day at St. John’s Convent (Anglican) on the topic of “Merton’s Messages for Us Today,” which will include two hour-long presentations and concluding 45-minute summary. 

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     On June 24-27, Anthony Padovano will present a course on “The Spirituality of Gandhi, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day and Martin Luther King, Jr.” in the Institute for Adult Spiritual Renewal at Loyola University, Chicago. For further information, see the Institute website: http://www.asrenewal.org/renewal/index.html.

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     Claire Badaracco will give a presentation on Thomas Merton and Victor Hammer at a conference entitled “The Power of the Word – Poetry and Prayer: Continuities and Discontinuities,” to be held June 29-30 at the University of London, organized jointly by the Institute of English Studies and Heythrop College, University of London.

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     On Sept. 28-Oct. 1, Tony Russo will direct the eleventh annual retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Chapter of The International Thomas Merton Society. The focus of the retreat will be Merton’s interest in Buddhism.  The stipend for the presenter is $70 for those with e-mail; $80 for those without e-mail. A donation for room and board at the abbey guest house is separate and due at check out. For further information, contact Tony Russo: trusso@fuse.net; 513-941-5219.

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     The Fall 2012 Merton Road Scholar (elderhostel) week will take place October 14-19, 2012 at Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY. For further information contact Linda Bailey: 502- 272-8161; e-mail: lbailey@bellarmine.edu

Chapter and Affiliate News

      On October 16, the Chicago ITMS Chapter viewed and discussed the video “Women Who Knew Merton,” a panel discussion featuring Sr. Margaret Brennan, IHM, Sr. Myriam Dardenne, OCSO, Madelyn Meatyard, Tommie O'Callaghan and Sr. Mary Luke Tobin, SL. At the November 20 meeting, Illinois Circuit Court Judge Charles Reynard gave a presentation entitled “Contemplation in Courtroom 5C”; the program also included a slide show of some of Br. Paul Quenon’s photography and Don Breitfelder performing songs appropriate to the talk. On December 10, the chapter held its annual commemorative Mass on the anniversary of Thomas Merton’s death, along with a potluck dinner and celebration of the chapter’s hosting of the ITMS Twelfth General Meeting at Loyola University in June 2011. On January 15, Michael Baxter gave a presentation entitled “Merton & the Catholic Peace Fellowship, Then and Now.” At the February meeting, the group viewed and discussed the documentary, Merton: A Film Biography. On March 18, Sr. Christine Athans, BVM, of Loyola University spoke on “Thomas Merton and Abraham Joshua Heschel: Partners in Prayer, Peace and the Interfaith Dialogue.” On April 15, Sr. Suzanne Zuercher, OSB will speak on “Merton as a Four – a Profile.” For further information, contact Chapter Coordinator Mike Brennan: 773-447-3989; www.chicagomerton.org; http://ccitms.blogspot.com.

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     On December 10, the Thomas Merton Society of Washington, DC hosted a lecture by Dr. Cristobal Serran-Pagan of Valdosta State University on Thomas Merton and the Spanish Mystics in the Reid Theater at St Anselm’s Abbey School. The monthly discussion group, which meets on the second Saturday of each month at 2:00 p.m. in the St Anselm’s Abbey guest library, is currently reading together New Seeds of Contemplation.  For further information contact Maryle Ashley: tmsociety@fastmail.fm or 202-269-2300.

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     On October 12, the Thomas Merton Society of Canada sponsored a lecture by Dianne Aprile entitled “The Abbey of Gethsemani: Place of Peace and Paradox,” based on her book of the same title, as part of the Thomas Merton’s Life & Thought Series at the Vancouver Central Library, Vancouver, BC. On March 23-24, Michael W. Higgins will direct a retreat entitled “A Spirituality of the Heart” at the Canadian Memorial Centre for Peace in Vancouver. On April 19, Christine M. Bochen will give a presentation entitled “Spiritual and Religious: Merton’s Vision for the Twenty-first Century” at the Vancouver Public Library. For further information, contact the TMSC at 604-669-2546 or tmsc@telus.net.

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     The Wall, NJ Chapter of the ITMS discussed Thomas Merton: A Life in Letters, an edited one-volume selection from Merton’s five published volumes of correspondence, at its October 19, November 16 and December 21 meetings. At its January 18, February 15 and March 21 meetings, the group discussed Merton’s Contemplation in a World of Action. At its April 18, May 16 and June 13 meetings, the group will discuss The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton by Michael Mott. On June 13, there will be a special viewing of the film Soul Searching: The Journey of Thomas Merton. For further information contact Greg Ryan: phone 732-681-6238; email: gjryan@wccm.org.

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     On December 14, the Cleveland ITMS Chapter sponsored an evening entitled “With Roots in Eternity: Taizé Prayer Celebrating the Seventieth Anniversary of Thomas Merton’s Entrance into Gethsemani at St. Malachi Church in Cleveland. At its Merton Anniversary Birthday Celebration and Meeting on January 31 in the Merici Conference Room of the Ursuline Educational Center, the chapter heard a panel discussion entitled “Merton Seminar 393: A New Generation of Merton Scholars,” made up of students from Baldwin-Wallace College sharing their research, insights and experience of Thomas Merton and Gethsemani Abbey as part of their Fall 2011 Religion Seminar directed by Dr. Alan Kolp. On March 20, the group viewed Fr. Matthew Kelty’s “Thoughts on Forgiveness.” For further information contact Sr. Donna Kristoff, OSU: 440-440-1200, ext. 314; dkristoff@ursulinesisters.org.

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     On January 31, the Capital Region (NY) ITMS Chapter held its fourteenth annual Merton Birthday Party at the historic Orchard Tavern in Albany.  The program included short readings summarizing Merton’s life journey in his own words and an invitation to all to share stories of Merton's influence on their own journeys.  For further information contact Walt Chura, SFO: 518-456-3201; wwchura@yahoo.com.  

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     At its January 29 meeting, the Northern California ITMS Chapter discussed The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton. On March 25, the group spent the day at the Trappist Monastery at Vina, where Fr. Paul Jerome gave a presentation on Merton’s The Waters of Siloe. The next meeting of the chapter is scheduled for May 22. For further information contact John Berger, 916-482-6976; bergerjh@rcip.clm.   

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     The Corpus Christi (NYC) Chapter of the ITMS discussed sections of Thomas Merton’s Disputed Questions on March 16 and essays from Merton’s Love and Living on March 22 as part of its annual Lenten Evenings with Father Louis series. On April 28, Michael W. Higgins will give a presentation entitled “The Silent One and the Poetics of Unity: Making Sense of Merton’s Geography of Lograire” at Corpus Christi Church, 529 West 121 Street in Manhattan. Further information on the chapter and its activities is available at www.corpus-christi-nyc.org/MertonSociety.htm; email: bfitch.fairaday@verizon.net

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     The Columbus, OH Thomas Merton Study Group meets on the third Monday of each month at the Martin De Porres Center for vespers in the Dominican Motherhouse chapel, followed by discussion of Merton readings; the group is currently discussing Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton by Christopher Pramuk. For further information contact David Belcastro: dbelcast@capital.edu.

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     On December 17, the Italian Thomas Merton Society (Associazione Thomas Merton Italia) held its first general meeting at the Centro Francescano di Accoglienza Domus Pacis – Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi. For further information see the Society website: www.thomasmerton.eu/controller/home.php

Send all Merton-related news to:

Pat O'Connell

Box 3219

Gannon University, Erie, PA. 16541.

Email:oconnell001@gannon.edu

The ITMS Newsletter is also available online at:

www.merton.org/ITMS

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