International Thomas Merton Society


                    Vol. 10, No. 1                                  Spring, 2003

40th Anniversary of Merton Collection

       November 10, 2003 marks the fortieth anniversary of the inauguration of the Thomas Merton Collection at Bellarmine College (now University) in Louisville, KY.  This collection, approved by the college and by the Abbey of Gethsemani as well as by Merton himself, was initially housed in the Bellarmine Library’s Thomas Merton Room, dedicated a year later on November 8, 1964, and eventually led to the establishment of the Thomas Merton Studies Center as the official repository of Merton’s papers, announced on November 9, 1969.  The Thomas Merton Center, as it is now known, contains the largest collection of Merton materials in the world, with more than 45,000 items.  To commemorate this anniversary, the Merton Center is sponsoring a series of presentations during the fall of 2003, to be held in the Cralle Theater on the Bellarmine campus. 

     On Wednesday, October 22 at 7 p.m., the opening presentation will feature Belden C. Lane speaking on “Merton’s Hermitage and the Deconstruction of the Self: A Spatial Analysis.”  Dr. Lane is the Hotfelder Distinguished Professor in the Humanities in the Department of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University and the author of The Solace of Fierce Landscapes: Exploring Desert and Mountain Spirituality (1998) and Landscapes of the Sacred: Geography and Narrative in American Spirituality (1988). 

     One week later, on October 29 at 7 p.m., Parker J. Palmer will speak on “Merton, Monasticism, and Our Work in the World.”   Dr. Palmer, writer, traveling teacher, and activist on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality, and social change, serves as Senior Associate of the American Association for Higher Education and as Senior Advisor to the Fetzer Institute; his books include Let Your Life Speak (1999), The Courage to Teach (1997), The Active Life (1990), To Know As We Are Known (1983), The Company of Strangers (1981), and The Promise of Paradox (1980), which features his essay “Thomas Merton: In the Belly of a Paradox.” 

     On Wednesday November 5 at 7 p.m., Elaine Prevallet, SL will speak on “Vulnerability: The Power of Choice and the Choice of Power.”  Now based in Santa Fe, NM, Dr. Prevallet is the former director of Knobs Haven Retreat Center at the Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, KY and former chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Loretto Heights College in Denver; a frequent contributor to Weavings, A Journal of Christian Spiritual Life, she is author of Interconnections (1985), and Reflections on Simplicity (1982) and of two booklets on ecological spirituality, A Wisdom for Life and In the Service of Life

     The final event of the anniversary celebration will take place on Saturday November 8 at 2 p.m., when Riffat Hassan and Paul Knitter will give a joint presentation on “Thomas Merton’s Dialogical Legacy: Accepting the Challenge.”  Dr. Hassan, Professor of Religious Studies and Humanities at the University of Louisville, is a writer, teacher, and activist; a pioneer of feminist theology in the context of the Islamic tradition, she has also been extensively involved in inter-religious dialogue among Jews, Christians and Muslims, with a particular focus on human rights in religious traditions.  Dr. Knitter, Emeritus Professor of Theology at Xavier University, Cincinnati, has written and spoken widely on religious pluralism and inter-religious dialogue; he is author of Jesus and the Other Names: Christian Mission and Global Responsibility (1996), One Earth Many Religions: Multi-faith Dialogue and Global Responsibility (1995), and No Other Name? A Critical Survey of Christian Attitudes toward the World Religions (1985).

     In connection with the anniversary, the Merton Center is also sponsoring an exhibit of Merton’s photographs entitled “The Paradox of Place: Thomas Merton’s Photography,” which will focus on the places Merton visited in his final travels of 1968, including California, Alaska and Asia, contrasted with his photographs of the Abbey of Gethsemani and his hermitage.  The exhibit will be held in the McGrath Art Gallery on the Bellarmine campus from October 10 through November 11, 2003.

Tyson to Perform in Vancouver

    Canadian folksinger Ian Tyson is scheduled to present a concert on Thursday, June 5, 2003, the opening evening of the ITMS Eighth General Meeting at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.  Perhaps best known as one half of the celebrated 1960s folk duo Ian and Sylvia, Tyson has gone on to a successful solo career as a musical interpreter of the Canadian west, culminating in the seminal Cowboyography collection, which reached platinum status in the mid-1990s.  His album Lost Herd won the 1999 Prairie Music Award for “Outstanding Country Recording.”  His most recent CD, Live at Longview, a collection of seventeen of his favorite songs, both classics and newer offerings, was recorded in October 2001 and released to the North American public in February 2002.         

     Speaking of his touring throughout North America, Tyson comments, “I like to surround myself with the most talented musicians, so that people not directly from the ranch culture can enjoy an evening with us through the music alone.  Everyone, it seems, can relate to a song like ‘Someday Soon’ and that’s the kind of communication I strive for.”  A recipient of the Order of Canada, Tyson lives with his wife and daughter on a ranch in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains.  

     According to conference Site Coordinator Judith Hardcastle, Tyson is “a quintessential Canadian, whose love of nature dovetails perfectly with our conference theme, ‘The Hawk’s Dream: Thomas Merton’s Sacred Landscapes’.”  The concert will take place at 8:00 p.m. at the Frederick Wood Theatre on the UBC campus.

Post-Conference Lecture and Book Launch

      On Sunday, June 8, 2003, as a special post-conference addition to the ITMS Eighth General Meeting, Professor Edward K. Kaplan, PhD, Kevy and Hortense Chair in the Humanities, and Chair of the Religious Studies Program at Brandeis University, will be speaking on Abraham Joshua Heschel, the subject of his prize-winning biography, Holiness in Words: Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Poetics of Piety, and his relation to Thomas Merton.  Sponsored by Thomas Merton Society of Canada, Beth Israel Synagogue of Vancouver, and the Institute for the Humanities of Simon Fraser University, the lecture will take place at the synagogue, 4350 Oak Street, Vancouver, at 7:30 p.m.  The occasion will also mark the official publication of the volume Merton and Judaism, to be released this spring by Fons Vitae Publishing of Louisville. Edited by Beatrice Bruteau, the book contains the substance of the conference of the same name organized by Professor Kaplan and held in Louisville in the spring of 2002.  Copies of the Heschel biography and the new book will be available for purchase.  Refreshments will follow the lecture and book launch, and all are welcome.  For further information, contact Gaynor Levin (Beth Israel): 604-731-4161, or Donald Grayston (TMSC and IH/SFU): 604-291-5516; email:

Merton Annual 15 Now Available

   Volume 15 of The Merton Annual is now available to ITMS members at the special price of $14.00, as part of membership benefits.  The issue includes the reprinting of Merton’s “Ox Mountain Parable of Meng Tzu,” introduced by Paul M Pearson; an interview by Fr. George Kilcourse with Br. Paul Quenon; articles by Claire Badaracco on Merton and the Beat Poets; Virginia Bear on Merton’s multilingualism; Leonard Biallas on Merton and Basho; John Collins on Merton and Walker Percy; Gray Matthews on Merton and communication; Allan McMillan on Merton and interfaith dialogue; Jeannine Mizingou on Robert Lax; Johan Seynnaeve on Merton’s “Mens Sana in Corpore Sano”; Lynn Szabo on Cables to the Ace; along with Victor Kramer’s bibliographical survey and reviews of six books.  Checks made out to “Orca Journals” should be sent to Mary Coyne, Orca Book Services, Stanley House, 3 Fleets Lane, Poole Dorset, UK BH15 3AJ.

Philip Berrigan, 1923-2002

     Peace activist Philip Berrigan, a Merton correspondent and friend, died of cancer on December 6, 2002 at Jonah House, the resistance community he founded with his wife Elizabeth McAlister in Baltimore.  Born in Two Harbors, MN on October 5, 1923, he grew up near Syracuse, NY, fought as an infantryman in the Second World War, and graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.  He entered the Josephite order, which was dedicated to pastoral work with African-Americans, and was ordained a priest in 1955, serving in New Orleans, at the Josephite seminary in Newburgh, NY, and at St. Peter Claver Parish in inner-city Baltimore, where his funeral would be held decades later. 

     He became an outspoken advocate of racial justice in the Church and in society, and participated in numerous civil rights demonstrations, including the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march with Dr. Martin Luther King.  His growing opposition to nuclear armaments and to the Vietnam conflict led to numerous acts of civil disobedience, beginning with pouring blood on draft records in Baltimore in October 1967; eight months later, with his brother, the Jesuit Daniel Berrigan, and seven others, he participated in the burning of draft records with homemade napalm at Catonsville, MD, one of the most widely publicized acts of resistance to the Vietnam War.  After conviction and briefly going underground he was imprisoned, the first Catholic priest in the history of the United States known to have served a sentence as a political prisoner. 

     In 1973 he left the priesthood and married Elizabeth McAlister, a fellow resister and former nun, with whom he had three children, Frida, Jerry and Kate.  Jonah House, which they founded in 1973, became a center for resistance to nuclear war and in particular for the Plowshares Movement, which took its name from the call of the prophet Isaiah to beat swords into plowshares.  On Sept. 9, 1980, Philip Berrigan, his brother Daniel, and six other activists, known as the Plowshares Eight, poured blood and hammered on Mark 12A warheads at the General Electric factory in King of Prussia, PA, the first of the Plowshares actions.  Berrigan participated in five additional Plowshares protests, resulting in seven years of imprisonment.  He eventually spent more than eleven years of his life incarcerated for civil resistance to war. 

     Philip Berrigan was a participant in the November 1964 retreat at Merton’s hermitage on the Spiritual Roots of Protest, and Merton wrote the Introduction for Berrigan’s first book, No More Strangers, published in April 1965.  Merton dedicated Faith and Violence to Jim Forest and Phil Berrigan.  Merton’s ambivalent response to the Catonsville action is found in his short article “Nonviolence Does Not . . . Cannot Mean Passivity,” first published in Ave Maria magazine in September 1968 and found as “Note for Ave Maria” in The Non-Violent Alternative and A Passion for Peace.  In a September 1968 letter, Philip Berrigan asking Merton to testify at the upcoming trial of the Catonsville Nine, but by that time Merton had embarked on his Asian journey, and in a September 30 letter to Berrigan included in The Hidden Ground of Love he explained he could not be present. 

     In addition to No More Strangers, which focused on racial justice, Philip Berrigan was the author of a number of other books, including A Punishment for Peace (1969), Prison Journals of a Priest Revolutionary (1970), Widen the Prison Gates: Writing from Jails, April, 1970-December, 1972 (1973), Time’s Discipline: The Eight Beatitudes and Nuclear Resistance (1989), written with his wife Elizabeth and brother Daniel, and his autobiography, Fighting the Lamb’s War: Skirmishes with the American Empire (1996). 

     Shortly before his death, Berrigan stated, “I die with the conviction, held since 1968 and Catonsville, that nuclear weapons are the scourge of the earth; to mine for them, manufacture them, deploy them, use them, is a curse against God, the human family and the earth itself.”  In a tribute to her father at his funeral mass, celebrated by Daniel Berrigan, his daughter Kate said, “He was free in prison, and he showed us that freedom doesn’t have anything to do with where your body is or who holds the keys or who makes the rules.  It has everything to do with where your heart is.”

Sr. M. Emmanuel de Souza y Silva, 1912-2002

     Sr. Maria Emmanuel de Souza y Silva, OSB, Brazilian friend, correspondent and translator of Thomas Merton, died at the age of 90 on October 2, 2002 at her monastery in Petropolis, Brazil.  Born in Rio de Janeiro, the daughter of a Brazilian Navy officer, she was educated in schools in England and France as well as in her native country.  After a period doing social work in the Rio slums, she entered the Convent of the Virgin Mary in Petropolis, originally an independent enclosed contemplative community that joined the Benedictine Order in 1967. 

     Her extensive correspondence with Merton began with a letter requesting him to provide an English translation of the official prayer for the Brazilian Eucharistic Congress held that year;  Merton’s letters to her are found in The Hidden Ground of Love.  Sr. Maria Emmanuel was responsible for the translation of more than two dozen of Merton’s books into Portuguese, including Bread in the Wilderness, The Climate of Monastic Prayer, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, Disputed Questions, The New Man, New Seeds of Contemplation, Seasons of Celebration, Thoughts in Solitude, and Zen and the Birds of Appetite, among others, and was the inspiration behind the formation of the Brazilian chapter of the ITMS.  She was the recipient of a “Louie” as the ITMS International award winner in 1997.  According to Waldecy Gonçalves, coordinator of the Brazilian ITMS Chapter, Sr. Maria Emmanuel was in good health and good spirits right up to the time of her death.

Monica Furlong 1930-2003

  British Merton biographer Monica Furlong died of cancer on January 14, 2003 at Umberleigh, Devon, three days short of her seventy-third birthday.  Born January 17, 1930 at Kenton, Middlesex, she worked as a secretary after leaving school and eventually became a journalist, writing for The Spectator, The Guardian and The Daily Mail among other publications.  After a difficult marriage of more than twenty years, she was divorced in 1977; she was the mother of a son and daughter and has several grandchildren. 

     Raised with no particular religious upbringing, she was drawn to the Church of England and Anglo-Catholicism in early adulthood.  From 1974 to 1978 she was a Producer in the Religious Department of the BBC, and was a frequent contributor to the British Catholic weekly The Tablet.  A strong supporter of the ordination of women in the Anglican Church, she was one of eight women ejected from St. Paul’s Cathedral in London in 1980 for taking part in a silent protest on behalf of women’s ordination, which was approved by the Church of England twelve years later; she served as Moderator of the Movement for the Ordination of Women from 1982 through 1985 as well as a leader of the St. Hilda Community in London.  She became a widely published author in a number of different genres, including novels, biographies, travel, children’s books and religious books. 

     Merton: A Biography, first published in 1980 and reissued with a new preface in 1995, was the first extensive biography of the monk and attracted a good deal of attention.  Among her other books were With Love to the Church (1965), The End of Our Exploring (1973), Puritan’s Progress (1975), a biography of John Bunyan, Zen Effects (1986), a biography of Alan Watts, and Thérèse of Lisieux (1987).  Though she had been unable because of family circumstances to receive a university education, she later received honorary doctorates from Bristol University and the General Theological Seminary of New York.   

     Her friend Ruth McCurry wrote after her death, “Furlong stood in the proud Anglican tradition of women theologians and writers such as Dorothy Sayers and Rose Macaulay.  She shared with them a depth of catholic practice and original theological insight, a critical love for the Church and willingness to challenge it, as well as a private life which did not conform to everything the hierarchy wanted to regard as respectable.”

ITMS Authors

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

 Rusty Moe has recently published a new book of poetry entitled Where God Learns (Windsor, ON: Black Moss Press, 2002) [$11.95 pbk.], of which Br. Patrick Hart writes, “Out of contemplative silence, Rusty Moe’s incarnational poetry speaks to the heart.”

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     ITMS Board member Basil Pennington, OCSO recently published Seeking His Mind: 40 Meetings with Christ (Orleans, MA: Paraclete Press, 2002) [$14.95 hbd.], a practical guide to “lectio divina,” praying with the scriptures.

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     ITMS Board member Paul Quenon, OCSO has a new book of poetry, Laughter My Purgatory (Windsor, ON: Black Moss Press, 2003), which not only explores some aspects of the monastery, but also his childhood, and what led him to come to the Abbey of Gethsemani.

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     Albert J. Raboteau has recently published A Sorrowful Joy (New York: Paulist, 2002) [$6.95 pbk.], his 2000 Harold M. Wit Lecture at Harvard Divinity School, in which he tells of his own spiritual journey, bringing his African-American and Roman Catholic heritage to Orthodox Christianity.  

Merton Scholar New Archbishop

   Rowan Williams, who became Archbishop of Canterbury, the primate of the worldwide Anglican Communion, in July 2002, is among other accomplishments a scholar of the work of Thomas Merton.  Archbishop Williams was a major speaker at the Second General Conference of the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland, held at Oakham School in March 1998; his presentation, entitled “New Words for God: Contemplation and Religious Writing,” is included in the proceedings of the conference, Thomas Merton: Poet, Monk, Prophet, published by Three Peaks Press.  He also has published “A Person that Nobody Knows: A Paradoxical Tribute to Thomas Merton” on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Merton’s death, in Cistercian Studies (1978) (reprinted in the Advent 2002 issue of The Merton Journal), and “Bread in the Wilderness: The Monastic Ideal in Thomas Merton and Paul Evdokimov” in One Yet Two: Monastic Traditions East and West (1976). 

     Born in 1950, Archbishop Williams studied at both Cambridge and Oxford and taught doctrine and ethics at both universities before becoming Anglican bishop of Monmouth, Wales.  He is a highly regarded theologian and historian of Christian spirituality.  His books include Christian Spirituality: A Theological History from the New Testament to Luther and St. John of the Cross (1979), Arius: History and Tradition (1987; rev. ed. 2001), Teresa of Avila (1991), Resurrection: Interpreting the Easter Gospel (1994), A Ray of Darkness (1995), On Christian Theology (1999), Christ on Trial (2000) and Lost Icons: Reflections on Cultural Bereavement (2000).  His most recent work, Writing in the Dust: After September 11 (2002), is a meditation on the catastrophe, which he experienced  personally while preparing to speak that day at Trinity Church, two blocks from Ground Zero.

Encyclopedia Wins Award

          The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia by William H. Shannon, Christine M. Bochen and Patrick F. O’Connell (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2002) was named one of the fifty “Best Spiritual Books of 2002” by Spirituality and Health magazine.  In its citation the magazine called the Encyclopedia “the most valuable and definitive resource available on the life and work of this Trappist monk and Christian pathfinder.”  Spirituality and Health describes itself as a quarterly magazine “covering the people, practices, and ideas of today’s spiritual renaissance”; its website at provides extensive resources for spiritual development.

Merton Happenings

     On December 6, 2002,  Jonathan Montaldo spoke at the annual dinner of the Monos Community in Tulsa, OK on “Going Home to Where I Have Never Been: Thomas Merton’s Inner Journey toward Joy.”

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     On December 9, 2002, the Thomas Merton Foundation sponsored a presentation entitled “Spirituality and Civil Rights” by civil rights activist, educator and author Dr. Vincent Harding at the Clifton Center in Louisville.  The talk initiated the foundation’s 2003 theme of Thomas Merton and Racial Justice.

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     On January 30, Fr. George Kilcourse presented the annual lecture in honor of Thomas Merton’s birthday in the undercroft of the Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville; the topic was “Revisiting Thomas Merton, Peacemaker: In the Shadows of Mideast War.”

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     On January 30, Malcolm Cash presented a talk on “Thomas Merton and the Black Experience” at the Community of Reconciliation in Pittsburgh, sponsored by the Thomas Merton Center of Pittsburgh.

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     On January 31, Jonathan Montaldo gave a talk on “The Spirituality of Thomas Merton” and on February 1 led a Day of Reflection entitled “The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Pilgrimage through Themes in Thomas Merton’s Text” at St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church in Boca Raton, Florida.  He also gave a presentation at the Newman Center of Lynn University on February 2nd.  Events were sponsored by the ITMS Boca Raton Chapter, coordinated by Fr. Martin Devereaux.

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     On February 23, the Manayunk Art Center in Philadelphia sponsored a program entitled “At Home with Oneself: Thomas Merton on Living and Learning.”  Presenters included Merton biographer Jennifer Bryant, who provided an overview of Merton’s life; Msgr. Michael Doyle, discussing the Merton icon written for his parish church in Camden, NJ; Fr. John McNamee, author of Diary of a City Priest, on Merton’s influence on his life; and Dr. Virginia Ratigan, on Merton’s influence on contemporary life.

Upcoming Events

     Fr. Patrick Collins will present a four-session program on “Thomas Merton and the Inner Experience” at the Marywood Dominican Center, Grand Rapids, MI, March 27, April 10, May 1, and May 15; for further information contact  Nancy Brousseau, OP, 616-454-1241, ext. 137; email:

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     The next Merton Elderhostel at Bellarmine University will be held from Sunday April 6, 2003 until Friday April 11, 2003. For further details contact Linda Bailey: 502-452-8161; e-mail:

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     On April 25-27, 2003, a three-day retreat on Merton’s Spirituality led by Jonathan Montaldo will be held at the DeKoven Center in Racine, Wisconsin; suggested donation: $165 (deposit: $50).  For further information contact Kitty Clark at 219-464-1546; email:

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     On May 16-18, 2003, Jonathan Montaldo will lead a Merton weekend at the Santa Sabina Center, San Rafael, CA.  For further information contact Harriet Hope at 415-457-7727; email: Snta

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     On May 16-18, Fr. Patrick Collins will lead a Merton Retreat focused on “The Inner Experience” at the St. Benedict Center, Schuyler NE; for further information contact the Center at 402-352-8819; email:

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     On June 14-21 Fr. Patrick Collins will lead a retreat on “The Spirituality of Thomas Merton” at the Kordes Retreat Center, Ferdinand IN; for further information contact the Center at: 800-880-2777, ext. 2915; email:

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June 21-July 31, 2003, a desert experience of 40 days and 40 nights will be presented at Lebh Shomea House of Prayer, Sarita, TX, following the principles of St. John of the Cross and Thomas Merton.  The experience includes daily Eucharist, week of orientation, five-week scripturally-based, personalized retreat of complete silence (with certain afternoons for optional sharing), five conferences per week by Fr. Francis Kelly Nemeck, OMI and Sr. Marie Theresa Coombs, hermit, plus private conferences with director of one’s choice. All rooms and dwellings are private in an eremitical setting. For reservation/ information write: Lebh Shomea, PO Box 9, Sarita, TX 78385; phone: 361- 294-5369; email:

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    On June 22-27, Clare Ronzani of the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA will lead a retreat on “Thomas Merton – Mystic and Prophet” at the Norbertine Center for Spirituality in De Pere, WI; the cost is $325.  For further information contact the Center at 920-337-4315; email:

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     On July 6-11, Anthony Padovano will present a course on “Non-Violence, Thomas Merton & the Spiritual Life” as part of  Retreats International’s 26th annual Institute for Adult Spiritual Renewal, on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN.  For further information see the website at:; call: 800-556-4532; or email:

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     On July 7-11 Fr. Patrick Collins will lead a Merton Retreat at The Mound Center, Sinsinawa WI; for further information contact the Center at 608-748-4411; email:

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     Lawrence S. Cunningham will present a course on Thomas Merton at the School of Theology of St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN July 7-25.  The course will survey Merton’s life and writings with a special emphasis on the evolution of his understanding of the monastic charism as it aided in the development of his thinking about the contemplative life in general and the life of prayer in particular.  For further information contact Mary Beth Banken, OSB at 800-361-8318; email:

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     On July 27-August 3, Fr. Patrick Collins will lead a “Merton Uncensored” Retreat at the Villa Maria Retreat Center, Villa Maria, PA; for further information contact the Center at 724-964-8920, ext 3358; email:

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"Delving Deeper into Thomas Merton" an Elderhostel at Bellarmine University will be held from Sunday 10th August, 2003 until Friday 15th August, 2003. For further details contact Linda Bailey on (502) 452 8161 or by e-mail: or visit the Elderhostel website.

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     August 17-22, 2003, Bonnie Thurston will present a course on Thomas Merton at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary as part of the seminary’s continuing education program.  For further information contact Dr. Jim Davison at 412-362-5610.

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     The theme for the 2003 Casagrande Interfaith Institute, to be held October 24-26, 2003 at Wisdom House, Litchfield, CT, will be “Thomas Merton and Interfaith Dialogue.”  Presenters will include Ewert Cousins, Jonathan Montaldo, Sidney Griffith, Bonnie Thurston and Kathleen Deignan, CND.  Further information is available at or by phone at 860-567-3163.

Chapter News

     The reading group of the Capitol Region (Albany, NY) Chapter of the ITMS meets on the third Thursday of each month for discussion of a Merton text.  Currently the group is reading Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander.  The Chapter met to celebrate Merton’s birthday on January 30 at the Orchard Tavern in Albany; each member was encouraged to bring a favorite Merton passage or story to share with the group.  For further information contact Walt Chura at 518-456-3201; email:, or visit the chapter website at http://members.localnet. com/~xrickx/base.html.

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     The Centro Thomas Merton de Argentina, the Argentine Chapter of the ITMS, meets every two weeks to discuss Merton books in Spanish translation.  A recent meeting at the Instituto de Intercambio Cultural of Buenos Aires University included the showing of Merton: A Film Biography.  Plans are to repeat the showing several times during 2003 at the Parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Rabida, a local Catholic parish.  For further information contact Miguel Grinberg:

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     The British Columbia Merton Chapter meetings for 2003 include J. S. Porter speaking on Jan. 20 on “Thomas Merton as Public Intellectual”; on Feb. 13, novelist Rudy Wiebe spoke on “Killing Our Way to Peace”; Donald Grayston’s presentation on March 17 was entitled “Finding ‘the Great Compassion’: Thomas Merton as Transcultural Pioneer”; on April 28, Bonnie Thurston will speak on “Thomas Merton and the Theology of Prayer”; on June 16, Judith Hardcastle will give a presentation on “Thomas Merton’s Social Conscience.”  On Saturday, April 26, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Bonnie Thurston will lead a retreat day on “Desert Spirituality” at the Canadian Memorial Centre for Peace (Fireside Room); the cost is $50.00, including lunch, and pre-registration is required.  For further information contact Judith Hardcastle at 604-669-2546; email:

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     The November meeting of the Chicago Chapter of the ITMS featured “Reflections and Meditations on the Advent Season” with Fr. Vaughn Fayle, OMI.  The group’s December meeting was lunch at Graziano’s Ristorante followed by attendance at the concert of “Advent Lessons and Carols” at the Monastery of the Holy Cross, where chapter meetings are held.  Discussion at the January meeting focused on the first chapter of Love and Living, which followed a memorial mass at the monastery for John McLaughlin, a longtime chapter member who died December 23.  The February meeting continued discussion of Love and Living, and at the March meeting guest speaker Judith Hunter gave a preview of the paper on “Nature and Law in Thomas Merton” that she will be presenting at the ITMS Eighth General Meeting in Vancouver in June.  For further information contact Gail Wallace at 815-933-4355.

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     At the October meeting of the Cincinnati Chapter of the ITMS, the group decided to discuss material from A Thomas Merton Reader at its meetings during the coming year.  The November meeting focused on “Prometheus: A Meditation,” led by Dave Thaeler.  The December meeting, sparsely attended because of bad weather, featured a discussion of “The Time of the End Is the Time of No Room.” The January meeting focused once again on “The Time of the End,” along with “The Nativity Kerygma.”  The February meeting explored “The Wisdom of the Desert”; the group also hald a memorial service for longtime member Tom Moser, who died February 2.  For further information contact Tony Russo: phone: 513-941-5219; e-mail:

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    The Thomas Merton Center of Pittsburgh recently celebrated its thirtieth anniversary as Pittsburgh’s peace and justice center.  At its annual dinner on November 19, 2002, the center presented its Thomas Merton Award for 2002 to United Methodist Bishop Leontine T. C. Kelly, the first black woman to be elected bishop of any major denomination in the world, who served for eight years as San Francisco area bishop until her retirement in 1992, and has been active throughout her career in the civil rights, peace and women’s rights movements.  For further information contact Molly Rush at 412-361-3022; email:  

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     The Mississippi Chapter of the ITMS is sponsoring a retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani June 16-20, 2003, led by Dr. John H. Staggs, chapter coordinator.  For further information contact Dr. Staggs at 662-234-9537; email:

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     The Sacramento, CA Chapter meets bimonthly at the St. Francis Parish Center.  The group discussed favorite passages from Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander at the December and January meetings, and participated in a day of recollection focused on “lectio divina” at the Cistercian monastery at Vina, CA on February 15.  For further information contact John Berger: 916-482-6976; email:

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     The Washington, DC Chapter is hosting a lecture by ITMS Treasurer and Catholic University of America professor Sidney H. Griffith on “Mystics and Sufi Masters: Thomas Merton and the Christian Dialogue with Islam” on April 12, 2003 at the St. Anselm’s Abbey School auditorium in Washington.  The group also continues to meet at the abbey on the second Saturday of the month for discussion of various Merton writings.  For further information contact Mary K. Stanford: 301-320-4778; email:

    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.