The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

Concurrent Sessions - 18th General Meeting

guide to concurrent Sessions

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Opening Sessions - Thursday, June 22 - 1.00 PM - 2.15 PM

Friday Morning Prayer - Friday, June 23 - 7:30 AM - 8:30 AM

Session 1 - Friday, June 23 - 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM

Film Screenings - Friday, June 23 - 12 PM - 2 PM

Session 2 - Friday, June 23 - 2:15 PM -  3:45 PM

Saturday Morning Prayer - Saturday, June 24 - 7:30 AM - 8:30 AM

Session 3 - Saturday, June 24 - 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM

Session 4 - Saturday, June 24 - 1:30 PM -  2:45 PM    

1:00 PM - 2:15 PM

1. First Timers' Orientation Session


2. Creating a Community of Merton Scholars


3. Emerging Scholars Panel

Laurin Ernst - "'Sing about me, I'm dying of thirst.': Kendrick Lamar through the Lenses of Thomas Merton and Johann Baptist Metz."

Oliver Mesmer - "Interspirituality, Contemplation, and Social Action: The Practices of Thomas Merton and Thich Nhat Hanh as Guide Stars for Present-Day Communities of Faith."

Ethan Strouse - "Sacramental Listening: Exploring the Church as Feminist, Sacramental, and Synodal."


7:30 AM - 8:30 AM

Morning Prayer
Paul Dekar, "Praying in the Way of the Madonna House Apostolate."
After a brief introduction to Catherine Doherty, this session draws on music, prayers and videos of the Madonna House Apostolate, founded by Catherine and Eddy Doherty in Combermere, Ontario in 1947 and supported by Thomas Merton who met Doherty in 1941, worked briefly with her in Harlem, wrote of that experience in The Secular Journal and subsequently corresponded with her.

10:30 AM – 11:45 AM


1.  Humanity and the Human Condition

a.  Mary Frances Coady – "Waking from a Dream of Separateness’: Thomas Merton and Caryll Houselander."

b.  Jason Taylor – "Merton’s Use of Arendt’s Human Condition in Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander."


2.  Merton at the Redwoods

a. Ellyn Crutcher – "Merton’s 1968 Retreat at Redwoods Lets ‘Some Fresh Air In."

b. Dominiek Lootens – "Gracie M. Jones and Thomas Merton at the Redwoods: Spirituality and Ecowomanism."


3. Merton’s Prophetic Monasticism

a. R. Zachary Karanovich – "Thomas Merton, Rosemary Radford Ruether, and Misunderstanding Monasticism."

b. Paul M. Pearson – "From One Wise Master to Another: St. Benedict’s Influence on Thomas Merton’s Prophetic Spirituality."


4.  Workshop 1

Brother Paul Quenon & Judith Valente – "'Like Hugging An Angel:' Merton, Emily Dickinson & Mary Oliver."


5. Workshop 2

Paul Pynkoski - "Merton and Levertov: Art, Poetry, and Contemplation."


6. Meditation

Bernice Marie-Daly - "She Who Is."


12 PM – 2 PM

FILM SCREENINGS: Day of a Stranger, Directed by Cassidy Hall and Produced by Patrick Shen
Director Cassidy Hall will present three screenings of Day of a Stranger (running time ~35 minutes):
•Screening 1- 12:00 pm
•Screening 2- 12:40 pm
•Screening 3-  1:20 pm
the same film offering at each of the three options above

2:15 PM – 3:45 PM


1.  Literary Explorations

a. Thomas Malewitz – "My Argument with the Gestapo: Exploring Merton’s Traumatic and Imaginative Narrative Through the Lens of Magical Realism."

b. Patrick F. O’Connell - "'A Character and Beauty of Its Own': Merton and the Wisdom of Chartres."


2. Merton and Flannery O’Connor

a. Mark Meade – "An Unpublished Merton Poem on Flannery O’Connor’s 'Good Country People' and Christian Existentialism in Her Fiction."

b. Janie Harden Fritz – "Flannery O’Connor and Thomas Merton: Dialogic Spirituality."


3.  Reality, Relationality, and the Self

a. John Gillespie – "A Hidden Wholeness: Merton, Rilke, and the Reconceptualization of the Divine."

b. Gray Matthews - "Dialogue with Reality: Reimagining the Contemplative."

c. Huili (Kathy) Stout – "Merton's Sophia and the Chinese Tao: A Dance of Two Names."


4.  Workshop

Jeff Kiernan – "A Mighty Hunger in My Soul: A Prayer Service of Silence, Music and Words Inspired by the Correspondence of Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton."


5. Creative Presentation

Doug Hertler - "Merton and Me, A Living Trinity."


6. Meditation

Vincent Pizzuto - "Wisdom's Born In Secret: The Birth of the Divine Feminine in Everything."


7:30 AM - 8:30 AM

Morning Prayer
Robert Hesse, "Centering Prayer's Healing Effects - Interfaith Prayer Practicum, Medical Research, and Resulting Ministries"
Centering Prayer (CP) guidelines taught then practiced as interfaith Oneness Prayer (OP) in silence, where there is no dogma. Current medical research on interfaith healing effects of OP covering several diseases and ending with a dramatic video of a Parkinson's patient being taught CP while in a seizure.

10:30 AM – 11:45 AM


1.  Merton's Influence on His Readers

a.  Alan Kolp "The Mertonian Influence on Ilia Delio: From Monk to a Dancing Star."

b.  Patti Sayre – "Alone Together: The Solitary Ties that Bind Thomas Merton and Elena Malits."


2.  Merton, Drugs, and Counterculture

a. Jim Robinson "Both 'Hippie Monk' and Distanced Critic: Thomas Merton and the 1960's Counterculture."

b. David Odorisio – "'Not Drugs but Night': Thomas Merton on LSD and the Psychology of Religious Experience."


3. Merton, Poetry, and Photography

a. Kevin Burke – "The Beginning of Wisdom: Theological Assonance between Merton and Levertov."

b. Julia Prinz  – "Sophia Reaching: What Do You See?: A Study in the Photography of Thomas Merton."


4. Workshop 1

Brian Harnetty – "Words and Silences: From the Thomas Merton Hermitage Tapes."


5. Workshop 2

Robert Ellsberg "'It's the Direction that Matters': How Sister Wendy Beckett Changed Her Mind about Merton."


6.  Meditation

Jennifer Trently – "Creative Response to Merton's Hagia Sophia."


1:30 PM – 2:45 PM


1.  Self-Discovery, Sanctity, and Mystical Mutuality

a.  Vaughn Fayle – "Merton, Weil and Duncan: Sophia's Mystical Mutuality that Displaces Us."

b. Callie Tabor – "'Fully Functioning' in Holiness: Women and Sainthood in Conversation with Thomas Merton and Sr. Thea Bowman."


2.  Healing Divisions

a. Susan Mancino and Natalia Tapsak – "Dialogic Welcome in Communities of Difference: Lessons from Day and Merton."

b. Anne R. Pearson – "Solutions to Systemic Racism: Thomas Merton in Conversation with Women of Colour."


3.  The Contemplative Lens

a. Aaron Godlaski – "Neither This, Nor That: Merton's Non-Dual Communion with Nature."

b. Megan Way – "Supply, Demand and the Sacred: Applying Thomas Merton's Wisdom to the Principles of Economics."


4. Workshop

William Hart McNichols, John Dadosky, & Christopher Pramuk – "Icons as Living Portals to the Divine Feminine."


5. Creative Presentation

Zvony Nagy - "A Book of Hours." (Solo Piano Composition)


6. Meditation

Carol Lenox - "Reflections on Rachel Carson’s Influence on Thomas Merton."


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