International Thomas Merton Society


                    Vol. 9, No. 1                                  Spring, 2002


Merton Retreats Scheduled

    Seven ITMS-sponsored retreats will be held at various sites throughout the US and in Spain in the coming months.  This is the fourth time that the Merton Society has sponsored regional retreats during the year when a General Meeting is not held.  The retreats are organized by local ITMS chapters with the assistance of the ITMS Retreats Committee, chaired by Walt Chura, which supplies a list of available retreat directors.  All interested persons, both ITMS members and non-members, are invited and encouraged to participate.  As with previous retreats, the theme is taken from the preceding year’s General Meeting: this year’s theme is “Shining Like the Sun: Thomas Merton’s Transforming Vision.”  This year’s retreats, in chronological order, include:

·         On April 26-28, 2002, Jonathan Montaldo will direct a retreat in Oxford, Mississippi, sponsored by the Mississippi Chapter of the ITMS. For further information contact Rev. John Staggs, 1604 Jefferson St., Oxford, MS 38655; email:

·         On June 14-16, Virginia Ratigan and Cristobal Serran-Pagan will lead a retreat at Gethsemani Abbey for the Daggy Youth Scholars from the 2001 ITMS General Meeting.

·         On July 12-14 a retreat for presenters and scholars from the 2001 ITMS General Meeting will be held at the Abbey of Gethsemani.

·         On Sept. 6-8 Walt Chura will direct a retreat at Pyramid Life Center, sponsored by the Merton Society of the Capital Region of New York.  For further information contact Sr. Monica Murphy, Director, Pyramid Life Center, Paradox, NY 12858; phone: 518-426-4284 (before June 24); 518-585-7545 (from June 24 on).

·         On Sept. 12-15 Fernando Beltrán Llavador will coordinate a retreat at the Abadía de San Pedro de Cardeña, Burgos, Spain (tentative).  For further information contact Fernando Beltrán:; or Fr. Francisco Rafael de Pascual, OCSO:

·         On October 18-20, Walt Chura will direct a retreat at the Franciscan Center, 459 River Road, Andover, MA 01810, sponsored by the Massachusetts Chapter.  For further information contact Ed Farley, 978-453-6589; email:

On November 29-December 1, Walt Chura will direct a retreat at Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, NY.  For further information contact Br. Bede, OHC, 845-384-6660.

Bellarmine Merton Statue Dedicated

    A bronze statue of Thomas Merton was dedicated on December 9, 2001 at Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY, location of the Thomas Merton Center, the main archive of Merton’s papers.  The sculpture, by artist David Kocka, is located in a wooded area adjacent to Our Lady of the Woods Chapel on the Bellarmine campus.  It was commissioned by Lisa Sherer in honor of her late husband, Bob Sherer, a Bellarmine alumnus and trustee, who died in 1999.  The statue depicts Merton in a traditional Trappist robe and in work boots, reflecting the balance of prayer and work in Benedictine monasticism.  Its location in a wooded setting recalls the natural beauty that Merton loved as an artist and defended as an environmentalist.

     About 200 people attended the ceremony, which included a meditation entitled “Wisdom’s Invitation” by ITMS President and former Merton Center Director Jonathan Montaldo; readings of selections from Merton’s “Hagia Sophia” by David Kocka and current Merton Center Director Paul Pearson; a reading of Merton’s statement at the opening of the Bellarmine Merton Collection by university president Joseph McGowan; a reading by Jim Wayne of three Merton prayers; and musical interludes by David George, Mary McGillen and Bonnie Avery, as well as the performance of a musical setting of Merton’s poem “Evening Prayer” by tenor A. Douglas Biggs.  After the unveiling of the statue by Dr. McGowan and Mrs. Sherer, it was blessed by Abbot Damien Thompson of Gethsemani.  The dedication concluded with the singing of the “Salve, Regina” by the Schola of the Abbey of Gethsemani. 

     Inscribed on a stone near the statue is a quotation from Merton: “There is only one thing to live for: love.  And there is only one unhappiness: not to love God.” “How many times college students get off track when they get to college and they don’t hear what we want them to hear,” Mrs. Scherer said.  “But if they can go to Merton and they can see that quote and they can leave this campus knowing that we believe that the only true unhappiness is to not know God, then I think that would be the most important thing in their education.”  Abbot Damien expressed the hope that “the visibility of the statue to the students who come will arouse curiosity about the prayer life and move many to deeper commitment to their faith, which would have been Merton’s one desire.”

Merton Center News

      At the beginning of September Barbara Quigley joined the staff of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University as Assistant Archivist.  The Merton Collection held at the Center continues to grow. This year has seen the transfer to the Collection a large amount of important primary material from the Abbey of Gethsemani, materials that were not transferred after Merton’s death in 1968, as they were not with his papers but were held in the monastery archives.  A smaller collection came from the papers of Merton’s trustee James Laughlin as well as a substantial collection of letters donated by John Gaither, over sixty letters from Merton to his mother, Mimi Gaither, as well as letters to other members of his family.  The collection has also grown through the purchase of a variety of books that were missing from the collection, including a number of foreign editions, as well as the active acquisition of theses and dissertations about Merton – over 60 were acquired in 2001. The total holdings of the collection are now in excess of 45,000 items and continuing to grow.  Through a donation from the Merton Legacy Trust, a project has been initiated to have Merton’s talks to the Gethsemani community and to the novices transferred to a digital format and remastered.  This year has also seen the start of the electronic cataloging of the holdings of the Merton Center. This will be a gradual process which will take many years to complete. As this project progresses a growing amount of information about the collection will be available through the Bellarmine University Library catalog. In the last six months over 500 items have been cataloged and added to the on-line Library catalog.

Pablo Antonio Cuadra (1912-2002)

    Pablo Antonio Cuadra, a leading Nicaraguan poet and journalist who was a friend and correspondent of Thomas Merton, died January 2 in Managua. He was 89.

     Cuadra was a founder and major representative of a literary movement called Vanguard, dedicated to affirming his country’s native heritage and to pulling his country out of its provincialism and integrating it into world culture. He edited several literary journals, including El Pez y La Serpiente (The Fish and the Serpent), which was highly influential in Latin America. Cuadra won many literary honors, including the Gabriela Mistral Inter-American Cultural Prize, awarded by the Organization of American States in 1991.

     In 1954, Cuadra also became co-director of Nicaragua’s crusading newspaper La Prensa with his cousin and partner, Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, who was assassinated in 1978, evidently by supporters of Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza.  A strong opponent of the Somoza regime, Cuadra became an outspoken advocate for Nicaragua’s poor, embracing liberation theology and other intellectual currents the dictatorship considered subversive.  Unlike his cousin Ernesto Cardenal, however, he could not bring himself to support the leftist Sandinista regime, which deposed the Somozas in 1979, and for several years thereafter he lived in self-imposed exile in Costa Rica and Texas.

     Merton met Cuadra in May, 1958 when Cuadra came to visit Cardenal at Gethsemani, and they corresponded thereafter about shared literary, political and religious concerns.  Merton’s letters to Cuadra are found in The Courage for Truth.  Merton also addressed one of his most powerful pieces of social criticism to the Nicaraguan poet, entitled “A Letter to Pablo Antonio Cuadra Concerning Giants.”  He also translated a number of poems by Cuadra, which were published in Emblems of a Season of Fury, in Collected Poems, and in a bilingual edition that appeared after Merton’s death, The Jaguar and the Moon (1974).

     Cuadra is survived by his wife, Adilia, and several children and grandchildren.

Myriam Dardenne, OCSO (1920-2002)

     Mother Myriam Dardenne, OCSO, founding abbess of the Cistercian Monastery of the Redwoods, Whitethorn, California, and a close friend of Thomas Merton, died January 31, 2002 in Belgium, where she was born in 1920.  After teaching French for some years, she experienced a religious conversion and entered the Cistercian Abbey of Nazareth in Brecht in 1953; she became abbess of the community in 1960.  Two years later, she was sent to establish Our Lady of the Redwoods Abbey in northern California, the second Cistercian house for women in the United States.  She first met Merton when she stopped at Gethsemani on her way to California in 1962, and Merton twice visited the Redwoods in 1968, first in May and then in October, immediately before leaving for Asia.  Since retiring as abbess, she divided her time between Belgium and California.  In June 2001, Mother Myriam was the keynote presenter at the Seventh General Meeting of the ITMS at Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY.  An interview with her by Christine Bochen and Victor Kramer appears in The Merton Annual 14 (2001) 33-55.

Godfrey Diekmann, OSB  (1908-2001)

     Fr. Godfrey Leo Diekmann OSB, noted liturgist and teacher, peritus at Vatican Council II, and a friend and correspondent of Thomas Merton, died on February 22, 2002 at St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville. Minnesota.  Born in Roscoe, Minnesota, on April 7, 1908, he professed monastic vows in 1926 and was ordained in 1931 in Rome, where he received his doctorate at the International Benedictine College of Sant’ Anselmo, at which he completed his doctoral thesis, “On the Image of God in the Human Person according to the Writings of Tertullian” in 1933.  After a year of study at the Liturgical Institute of the Abbey of Maria Laach in Germany, he returned to St. John’s University, where he taught for more than a half century.

     He soon became assistant editor of Orate Fratres (later Worship), the premier publication of the Liturgical Movement in the United States, and took over as editor in 1938 upon the death of his mentor, Virgil Michel, OSB.  He played a central role in the drafting and implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy as a peritus during the Second Vatican Council, was the founder and long-time member of the International Committee on English in the Liturgy, a member of the Concilium for Implementing the Liturgical Reforms of Vatican II and a consultor to the American Bishops Committee on the Liturgy.  He was also a founding fellow and professor at the Ecumenical Institute for Advanced Theological Studies at Tantur, Israel, and co-founder of the Ecumenical Institute of Spirituality at St. John’s, as well as a participant in the National Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue.  He was the recipient of ten honorary degrees, the Cardinal Spellman Medal of the Catholic Theological Society of America, and the Berakah Award of the North American Academy of Liturgy.  In 1997 the Saint John’s School of Theology-Seminary honored him by establishing the Godfrey Diekmann, OSB Center for Patristics and Liturgical Studies.

     He was the author and editor of a number of books, including The Easter Vigil (1953), Come, Let Us Worship (1961) and Celebrating the Word: Ecumenical Insights (1977).  His biography, The Monk’s Tale, by Kathleen Hughes, RSCJ, was published in 1991.

     Thomas Merton wrote more than a dozen articles for Orate Fratres/Worship over the years.  Letters to Diekmann on liturgical, ecumenical and monastic topics are published in The School of Charity.

ITMS Authors

A number of ITMS members have recently published books on various topics.

George A. Kilcourse is the author of Flannery O’Connor’s Religious Imagination: A World with Everything off Balance (New York: Paulist, 2001) 320 p. [$22.95], in which he explores O’Connor’s major works against the background of her correspondence and reading to illuminate the sources of her unique yet deeply Catholic vision.

Susan McCaslin has published two recent books of poetry: Flying Wounded (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000) 81p. [$24.95], a cycle of poems on her relationship with her mother, and Common Longing: The Teresa Poems and a Canticle for Mary and Martha (Toronto: Edwin Mellen, 2001) 49 p. [$14.95], a group of meditative lyrics.

J. S. Porter has written Spirit, Book, Word: An Inquiry into Literature and Spirituality (Ottawa: Novalis, 2001) 208 p. [$19.95CAN], a series of personal essays on favorite writers, including Raymond Carver, Emily Dickinson, George Grant and Thomas Merton.

Greg Ryan has written My Happy Heart: Prayer of the Heart, with an Afterword by Laurence Freeman, OSB (Catalina, AZ: Medio Media, 2001) 32 p. [$12.95], an introduction to Christian meditation for children; a sequel, My Happy Heart Sings, with a sing-along CD, will appear in September, 2002.

Wayne Simsic is the author of Living the Wisdom of St. Francis (New York: Paulist, 2001) 144 p. [$8.95], which  focuses on “The Canticle of Brother Sun” and its insights for living a rich Christian life in harmony with all creation.              

Bonnie Thurston has written Preaching Mark (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2001) 160 p. [$18.00], which examines the major literary units of Mark’s Gospel with a focus on the lectionary readings as an aid for homily preparation.

Merton and Judaism Conference

     A two-day conference on “Thomas Merton and Judaism” was held February 17-18, 2002 at Adeth Jeshurun Synagogue in Louisville, KY, sponsored by the Thomas Merton Foundation, in cooperation with a number of local organizations.  The overall goal of the conference was to contribute to interfaith understanding by fostering knowledge of the works of Thomas Merton and his relationship with Jewish sources, thinkers, and activists, and to form a community of Jewish and Christian scholars and practitioners to reflect upon issues crucial to religions and to the world in general for the twenty-first century.

     The initial presentation by Conference Chair Edward Kaplan was entitled “Under My Catholic Skin: Thomas Merton's Opening to Judaism.” Kenote speaker James Carroll’s presentation was entitled “Merton and a Full Christian Teshuva.” (Teshuva is the word Jews use to describe the process by which repentance and forgiveness take place.)

     Other presentations included: Brenda Fitch Fairaday on “Thomas Merton’s Prophetic Voice: A Consideration of the Correspondence between Merton and Abraham Joshua Heschel”; Donald Grayston on “Merton and the Holocaust”; Lucien Miller on “Waiting for the Messiah: The Seventh Day – Reading Tales with Buber, Heschel, and Merton on Israel’s Holy Mountains”; Karl A. Plank on “Breakthrough of the Word: Thomas Merton and Martin Buber on Reading the Bible”; Mary Helene Rosenbaum on “Sharing the Promise: Merton and His Jewish Correspondents”; the conference also included a videotaped interview with Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, a friend and correspondent of Merton.

Monastic Pilgrimage

    A monastic pilgrimage experience “in the Spirit of Thomas Merton” will be held October 13-19, 2002 and again October 27-November 2, 2002, co-sponsored by the Merton Foundation, Louisville, Kentucky, the Kordes Retreat Center, Ferdinand, Indiana, the School of Theology, Saint Meinrad, Indiana and the Monastery of Our Lady of Gethsemani, Trappist, Kentucky.  The week-long pilgrimage will begin with two days at the Kordes Retreat Center, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Benedict, where participants will experience life in a monastic setting and learn how the Rule of St. Benedict can be practiced; the following two days will be spent at the St. Meinrad School of Theology and the St. Meinrad Archabbey, and will focus on the ancient form of monastic reading (“lectio divina”) and other monastic practices; participants will then travel to Louisville to visit the Cathedral of the Assumption and Fourth and Walnut Street, where Merton had his famous “epiphany,” and to hear prominent Merton scholars; the pilgrimage will end at the Abbey of Gethsemani (Thomas Merton’s monastery), where participants will learn more about Merton from those who lived and prayed with him and participate in the monastic liturgy. Each evening there will be time for contemplative dialogue to deepen the experience of the day.  Other planned activities include bus trips to Bardstown, to the Sisters of Loretto motherhouse, and to Nazareth, KY, home of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. The $850 fee includes program, materials, meals, and overnight accommodations, and ground transportation to and from pilgrimage sites.  For further information contact the Merton Foundation at (502) 899-1991 or visit the website at

Merton Happenings

On January 5-9, Fr. Patrick Collins directed a retreat on Thomas Merton at Our Lady of Mercy Parish Mission, Daly City, CA.

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On January 12, Fr. Patrick Collins directed a retreat on Thomas Merton at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, San Francisco  CA.

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On January 17-18, Fr. Patrick Collins directed a retreat on Thomas Merton at St. Anthony Church, Honolulu  HI.

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On January 26, Christopher Page presented a one-day workshop at Rolling Bay Presbyterian Church, Bainbridge Island, Washington entitled “Making Merton Accessible.”

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Lynn Szabo presented a three-session overview on Thomas Merton at Whitby’s Book Store in White Rock, British Columbia: Jan. 28, “The Seven Storey Mountain: Spiritual Mappings for the Twenty-first Century”; Feb. 4, “Thomas Merton: Poet/Mystic”; Feb. 11, “Thomas Merton: The Sounds of Silence.”

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On January 31, 2002, Thomas Merton’s birthday was celebrated by a presentation at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville, KY entitled “Merton on the Vocation of America” with Fr. George Kilcourse, sponsored by the Cathedral Heritage Foundation.

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On February 7-March 14, Fr. Patrick Collins presented Lenten study evenings on Thomas Merton at St. Theresa Church, Kihei, Maui, HI.

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On February 13-16, Fr. Patrick Collins directed a retreat on Thomas Merton at the Molokai Catholic Community, Molokai, HI.

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On February 16, Jonathan Montaldo directed a Day of Recollection entitled “Dialogues with Silence,” sponsored by the Aquinas Center at Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

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On February 22-24, Jonathan Montaldo presented a retreat for the Catholic Worker at LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

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On March 6, 13, and  20 Jonathan Montaldo presented a series of conferences on Merton and his concept of prayer as “entering the school of your own life” at the Newman Center of the University of New Orleans.

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On March 8-10, Joanne Flynn and Jonathan Montaldo presented a retreat on Thomas Merton at the Cathedral in St. Louis, MO.

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On March 15 Jonathan Montaldo directed a day of recollection for health professionals at Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY, entitled “Awakening to Kindness: the Icon of the Nurse in Thomas Merton’s Writings.”

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On March 16, Thomas Spencer presented a talk at the Greater St. Louis Chapter of the Catholic Library Association Spring Conference entitled “The Navigator as Mentor: The Friendship of Irenaeus Herscher, OFM and Thomas Merton.”  The theme of the conference was “Catholic Librarians: Navigators of Promise.”

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On March 16-21 Fr. Patrick Collins directed a mission for five parishes on Thomas Merton in Toledo, OH. 

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On March 22-28 Fr. Patrick Collins directed a Holy Week retreat focusing on the Paschal Mystery and the Journey from False to True Self in the Writings of Thomas Merton at the Weber Center, Adrian, MI.

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On January 24, 2002, Dr. Paul Pearson, director of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University, gave a lecture entitled “Geography and Place in the Work of Thomas Merton” at St. Matthew’s/Eline Library in Louisville, KY.

Upcoming Events

Phillip Thompson will be leading a one-day retreat entitled “Exploring the True and False Selves with Thomas Merton” on April 6 at the Cedarbrake Renewal Center, Belton, Texas.  For more information contact Phillip M. Thompson, St. Edward’s University, 3001 S. Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78704; email:

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On April 12 Fr. Patrick Collins will direct a retreat on Thomas Merton at Mercy Health Care Retreat Day Toledo  OH; for further information contact Fr. Collins at

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On April 13 John Collins, Thomas Del Prete and Jonathan Montaldo will present a panel discussion on Thomas Merton and the problem of evil at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA, as part of a conference on evil featuring Rene Girard.

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On April 20 and May 4 Fr. Patrick Collins will direct a retreat on Thomas Merton at the Dominican Retreat Center, Grand Rapids, MI; for further information contact Fr. Collins at 

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On April 22-26 Fr. Patrick Collins will direct a retreat on Thomas Merton at Cardinal Stritch Retreat House, Mundelein, IL; for further information contact Fr. Collins at

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On May 14, Jonathan Montalido will give a presentation at Santa Sabina Center, San Rafael, CA on “Dialogues with Silence”; for further information contact Harriet Hope, Santa Sabina Center, 25 Magnolia Avenue,San Rafael, CA 94901; email:

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On May 17-19, Fr. Patrick Collins will direct a retreat on Thomas Merton at Benedictine Retreat Center, Schuyler  NE entitled “Who are you becoming?  A Retreat with Thomas Merton”; for further information contact Fr. Collins at

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On June 7-9, Jonathan Montaldo will lead a retreat at St. Mary’s Retreat house in Elverson, PA on the topic “Thomas Merton, Islam and Nonviolence.”

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On July 7-14 Fr. Patrick Collins will direct a retreat on Thomas Merton at Our Lady of the Pines Retreat Center, Fremont  OH; for further information contact Fr. Collins at

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July 19-21 Fr. Patrick Collins will direct a retreat on Thomas Merton at Cenacle, Warrenville  IL Retreat based upon Merton’s Letters; for further information contact Fr. Collins at

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David and Debbie Belcastro will be offering two seminars in the Diocesan Summer Institute of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus, Ohio, to be held at the Josephinum Seminary in Columbus from July 15-26.  The first seminar, entitled “Thomas Merton and Peace,” will provide participants an opportunity to study Merton’s writings on peacemaking as an essential aspect of the Christian life of prayer.  The second seminar, entitled “Spiritual Formation for Peacemakers,” has been designed to provide participants an opportunity to engage in conversations on the life and work of Thomas Merton; conversations intended to contribute to their formation as persons who bear the peace of Christ in today’s troubled world.

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August 4-9 Fr. Patrick Collins will direct a retreat on “Thomas Merton: Contemplative Prayer with Psalms” at Mt. St. Joseph  Retreat House, Cincinnati, OH; for further information contact Fr. Collins at

Chapter News

 Speakers at the British Columbia ITMS chapter meetings include: Jan. 21: Sheilla Fodchuk, “The Mystical Eye of Faith”; Feb. 18: Thomas Del Prete, “Merton, Human Relatedness and Quantum Physics”; April 15: Robert Inchausti, “Thomas Merton’s American Prophecy”; May 6: David Leigh, “The Seven Storey Mountain as Modern Spiritual Autobiography” June 17: Susan McCaslin, “Holy Wisdom: Merton and Hagia Sophia.”  On March 15-16, the chapter sponsored a conference entitled Merton & Multifaith Dialogue: Transcending Religious Barriers.”  Featured plenary speakers included Bonnie Thurston, specialist on Merton and Buddhism; Sidney Griffith, Merton and Islam scholar, and Edward Kaplan,

who has explored Judaism and Merton.  Donald Grayston and Lynn Szabo also offered workshops to

complement conference activities.  For further information contact Judith Hardcastle, 705-700 Chilco Street, Vancouver, BC 604-669-2546; email:

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At its November meeting the Chicago Chapter heard University of Illinois professor Steven Fanning speak on “Thomas Merton as a Mystic,” based on his book, Mystics of the Christian Tradition.. The group discussed Merton’s personal drawings from Dialogues with Silence in January, and at the February meeting Fr. Vaughan Fayle surveyed recent Merton publications and their usefulness for Lenten reflection.  Professor Scott Alexander of the Catholic Theological Union spoke on “Merton, Islam and Sufism” at the March meeting.  “Merton and the Feminine Psyche” will be the topic of the April meeting, led by CTU professor Lindo Strozdas; Delle Chatman will lead a discusion of “Merton’s Spirituality of Writing” at the May meeting, and the chapter will hold its “Merton in the Park” picnic for its June meeting.  For further information contact Gail Wallace, 2671 Waldron Road, Kankakee,IL 60901; phone: 815-937-0556.

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At its November meeting the Cincinnati Chapter viewed and responded to the video “Women Who Knew Merton.”  The December meeting focused on passages from Merton’s journals for the month of December.  The topic of the January meeting was silence, and excerpts from a paper by Gray Matthews entitled “The Healing Silence: Thomas Merton’s Contemplative Approach to Communication” were read and discussed. On January 18-20, 2002, Jonathan Montaldo directed a retreat on Thomas Merton at Gethsemani Abbeysponsored by the chapter; 33 persons attended. February and March meetings continued on the topic of silence, with a viewing of Rev. George Kilcourse’s presentation on “Merton and Silence” featured in March.  For further information contact Tony Russo, 8087 Bridgetown Road Cleves, Ohio 45002

phone: 513-941-5219; email:

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The Nebraska Chapter of the ITMS met on December 8, 2001 at St. Benedict’s Retreat Center in Schuyler, NE.  Gigi Cannon led the group discussion on Thomas Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation.  The theme of the afternoon discussion was “How does New Seeds in Contemplation challenge me in who I am?”  The group meets every other month on the second Saturday; on Feb. 9 the group will view the video “Women Who Knew Merton”; at the April 12 meeting the video “Monks and Merton” will be shown and discussed. For further information contact Kathleen Harris, Route 1, Box 62, Genoa, NE 68640; phone: 402-993-2489; email:

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James Harford gave a talk on “Rice, Lax and Merton: The Jubilee Years” at the meeting of the New York City Chapter of the ITMS at Corpus Christi Church in Manhattan on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2001. On January 26, 2002, Jonathan Montaldo and cellist Michael Fitzpatrick presented a program entitled “Kindred Spirits: Epiphanies of Kindness in Sorrow’s Face,” commemorating Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton, at Corpus Christi Church, sponsored by the New York City Chapter in conjunction with the Henri Nouwen Society and the Center for Christian Spirituality of New York City.  For further information contact Brenda Fairaday, Corpus Christi Church, 529 W. 121st Street, New York, NY 10025; email: b.fitch.fairaday

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The newly formed Northern California-Sacramento Chapter discussed Merton’s “Letter to Pablo Antonio Cuadra Concerning Giants” at its October and November meetings.  Its March meeting was held at the Trappist Monastery at Vina, CA, where Brother Francis, OCSO spoke on Buddhism.  For further information contact John Berger, 3736 Laguan Way, Sacramento, CA 95864-2923; phone: 916-482-6976.

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On January 31, 2002, the Thomas Merton Center began a year-long celebration of its 30 years as Pittsburgh’s peace and justice center with a special program for Merton’s birthday.  Dr. Bonnie Thurston gave a presentation on “Thomas Merton, Islam and Nonviolence.”  The Merton Center presented its annual Thomas Merton Award to Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB at its annual dinner November 14, 2001.  For further information contact Molly Rush, Thomas Merton Center, 5125 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224; email:

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On January 4-6, 2002, Dorothy Hulburt and Jonathan Montaldo led a Thomas Merton retreat at San Luis Rey Mission in Oceanside, CA, sponsored by the San Diego Chapter of the ITMS; over 125 persons attended. Contact is Patricia Hulburt, 2727 De Anza Rd., San Diego, CA 92109; email: patriciahulburt

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At its Fall meeting, the Southwest Florida Chapter decided to discuss the significance of Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation in the light of the events of September 11.  Plans for a regional meeting or retreat were also discussed.  For further information contact Anne Coyle, 436 Harbor Drive South, Venice, FL 34285.

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The Thomas Merton Society of Washington sponsored a presentation on November 3 by Rev. Daniel P. Coughlin, Chaplain of the US House of Representatives, entitled “Retracing Merton’s Asian Journey,” in which Fr. Coughlin related his own experiences in India and Thailand.  For further information contact Mary K. Stanford, 5953 Searl Terrace, Bethseda, MD 20816; phone: 301-320-4778.

    Send all Merton-related news to:
    Pat O’Connell
    Box 3219
    Gannon University,  Erie,  PA 16541

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