Pursuing the Spiritual Roots of Protest
October 24th - 25th, 2014
You do not
need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all
going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges
offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith
Fifty years ago this fall a handful of
peace advocates gathered with the contemplative monk and writer Thomas
Merton to discuss the “spiritual roots” that nurtured their calling and
shaped their actions.
The era included the March on
Washington and calls for nuclear disarmament. It was a time when fear of
global destruction haunted everyday lives, and our country was in
turmoil over race relations, war overseas, and poverty. What can we
learn today from a retreat of 50 years ago?
Join us as together we examine this
important conversation that took place with Merton and explore its
Tom Cornell is a co-founder of the Catholic Peace
Fellowship and served over thirty-five years as its national secretary.
He is also a former member of the executive staff of the Fellowship of
Reconciliation. He is a veteran of peace and civil rights movements,
with many arrests (including Selma, Alabama, 1965) and one felony
conviction for which he served a six month sentence at Danbury F.C.I. in
1968, and was subsequently pardoned by Jimmy Carter in 1977. Tom
organized the first demonstration against the Viet Nam war in July 1963,
and the first corporate act of resistance to the Viet Nam draft, the
burning of draft cards, in 1965. He served as managing editor of The
Catholic Worker from 1962-64. With his wife, Monica, he manages the Peter
Maurin Farm in Marlboro, New York.
Bob Cunnane studied for the priesthood in Rome, and
in 1959 he was ordained as a Stigmatine priest, an order dedicated to
youth education and clergy formation. After leaving the priesthood in
1972 he became director of the
Packard Manse Ecumenical Center in Stoughton, Massachusetts, near
Boston, where he coordinated activism and outreach efforts until his
retirement in 2000.
Erica Brock has a degree in
history from Ball State University in Indiana and is a member of the
St Joseph House Catholic Worker Community in New York City. She is
actively involved in the Fast Food Forward movement in New York City and
has been involved in protests relating to Guantanamo prison, the
military use of drones, and Wall Street. She is an associate editor of
The Catholic Worker.
John Dear is an internationally
known voice for peace and nonviolence. A long time activist, popular
lecturer, and movement organizer, John is the author of 30 books and
hundreds of articles, including
Jesus the Rebel, and
The Nonviolent Life. He was recently nominated
for the Nobel Peace Prize by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Jim Forest became a close
personal friend and correspondent of Thomas Merton in the early 1960s
and, as managing editor of The Catholic Worker, he worked closely with
Dorothy Day. A founder of the Catholic Peace Fellowship, and former
General Secretary of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, he
is currently secretary of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship. Jim is the
author of many books including the Merton biography,
Living with Wisdom, and
All Is Grace: A Biography of Dorothy Day.
His latest book,
Loving Our Enemies: Reflections on the Hardest Commandment is
published by Orbis this fall.
Joe Grant is Director of Programs for
Just Faith Ministries, and is the
creator of the
Engaging Spirituality program. Joe received a Masters in Divinity
from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. A native of Scotland and
former missionary, Joe has ministered in Europe, Latin America and the
U.S, has authored books on youth ministry, and was recognized with the
National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry award for Gospel Values
of Peace and Justice.
Kelly Johnson is associate professor in the Religious
Studies department at the University of Dayton. After earning a B.A. in
theology and an M.A. in liturgical studies at the University of Notre
Dame (1986, 1987), she spent several years in a Catholic Worker
community and with the Peace People in Belfast, as well as teaching in
Poland and Tennessee. While writing for her Ph.D. and teaching at the
University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, she helped to start a Catholic
Worker house of hospitality. She is the author of
The Fear of Beggars: Stewardship and Poverty in Christian Ethics.
Gordon Oyer, reared in the
Anabaptist Mennonite tradition, learned early to question priorities
that drive Western society. His readings in nonviolence introduced him
to writings of Thomas Merton, which in turn led him to appreciate
Merton’s contemplative reflections and social critique. He is the author of
Pursuing the Spiritual Roots of Protest: Merton, Berrigan, Yoder, and
Muste at the Gethsemani Abbey Peacemaker Retreat
and past editor of Illinois Mennonite Heritage Quarterly and has written
various articles on Mennonite history. He has an MA
in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Joe Tropea is a public
historian, writer, and filmmaker. He has been making films and videos
for over a decade, he writes occasionally for City Paper, IndyReader, Baltimore
Brew, and the history blog underbelly, and is Curator of Films &
Photographs at the Maryland Historical Society.
Hit and Stay
is his feature directorial debut.
Friday 24th October
Frazier Hall, Bellarmine University
6.30 - 7.00
Free and Open to the Public
The Louisville premier of the
award winning documentary about Catholic draft board resistance in the
The filmmaker Joe Tropea will introduce the film and be
available after the showing for questions and answers.
Saturday 25th October
Hilarys, Horrigan Hall, Bellarmine University
Registration is required for the
8.30 - 5.30 events
Registration and Coffee - Hilarys, Horrigan
9.00 - 10.00
"Pursuing the Spiritual Roots of Protest: Merton, Berrigan, Yoder, and Muste
at the Gethsemani Abbey Peacemakers Retreat."
10.00 - 10.30
10.30 - 12.00
Panel Presentation and Discussion:
Tom Cornell, Bob Cunnane, Jim Forest
12.30 - 1.30
2.00 - 3.00
"In the Eye of the Storm:
Spirituality as Engagement."
3.30 - 5.00
||Panel Presentation and
Erica Brock, John Dear, Kelly Johnson.
Dinner - University Dining Hall
Free and Open to the Public
"Doing Nonviolence: The Spiritual Roots of Protest."
Presentations by Tom Cornell, John Dear and Jim Forest
Print out and send the conference Registration Form
or Register with PayPal
including conference registration,
refreshments and lunch and dinner on October 25th:
(Reduced Student/Catholic Worker Rate - please include photocopy of student ID)
registrations after 10/17/14.
Checks (payable to
Merton Conference) should be sent to:
Dr. Paul M Pearson. Merton Conference,
Thomas Merton Center, Bellarmine University,
2001 Newburg Road, Louisville KY 40205.
Local Hotel Information:
Best Western (Airport East) - 502-456-4411
Brown Hotel (Downtown)
Quality Inn and Suites (Bardstown Road) - 502-454-0451
Red Roof Inn (Airport East) - 502-456-2993
Americas Best Value Inn and Suites (Airport East) - 502-473-0000
(Downtown) - 502-585-3200
(Special rates may be available for those attending
events at Bellarmine University. Please ask when booking.)
* Laws Lodge, the conference/retreat center at Louisville Seminary does
have rooms available, all with private facilities. Bookings can be
made at: 502 992 0220.
Further information about Laws Lodge can be found on the web at:
Further information about accommodation is
Peace Fellowship -
Interfaith Paths to Peace -