The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

ITMS 18TH General Meeting

June 22 - 25, 2023

St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, IN

“Now the Wisdom of God, Sophia, comes forth, reaching
from ‘end to end mightily’.”
Thomas Merton, Hagia Sophia

In his poem Hagia Sophia and other writings, Thomas Merton wrote of divine wisdom, often personified as Sophia. Representing both the Holy Spirit and the mystical idea of divine wisdom, the figure of Sophia played an important role in Thomas Merton’s spirituality and writing. This mystical image represents the divine in active terms, reaching into our souls and challenging us to new ways of living, of loving our neighbors, of standing for justice. Moreover, in Sophia Merton recognized an experience of God rendered in a feminine face. The significance of the divine feminine in Merton’s life and work connects aptly to the location of our gathering in 2023. Saint Mary’s College, a Catholic women’s liberal arts college, has long been a pioneering institution in women’s higher education, and intersected with Merton’s life in important ways. Merton corresponded with members of the Saint Mary’s community, including then-President Sr. Madeleva Wolff, and it was Saint Mary’s that first published Merton’s 1948 book What is Contemplation? More generally, Merton was shaped in important ways by women in his life — from his mother to the Baronness Catherine de Hueck Doherty to his longtime literary agent Naomi Burton Stone — and through his writings and correspondence engaged in extensive dialogue with women writers.

Conference Highlights   Conference Timetable

Plenary Speakers:

Maria Clara Bingemer Simone Campbell Sophia Park Shannen Dee Williams
Women Who Helped Us Know Merton
Christine M. Bochen Kathleen Deignan Lynn Szabo Bonnie Thurston Monica Weis
  Moderated by Emma McDonald

Presidential Address:

Christopher Pramuk


Opening Sessions:

First-Timers' Session

Merton Scholarship

Emerging Scholars
  David Golemboski / Patrick F. O'Connell / Paul M. Pearson Laurin Ernst / Oliver Mesmer / Ethan Strouse

  Details of Opening Sessions

Concurrent Sessions:

Humanity and the Human Condition
Mary Frances Coady / Jason Taylor

Merton at the Redwoods
Ellyn Crutcher / Dominiek Lootens

Merton’s Prophetic Monasticism
R. Zachary Karanovich / Paul M. Pearson

Literary Explorations
Thomas Malewitz / Patrick F. O'Connell

Merton and Flannery O'Connor
Mark C. Meade/ Janie Harden Fritz

Reality, Relationality, and the Self
John Gillespie / Gray Matthews / Huili (Kathy) Stout

Merton's Influence on His Readers
Alan Kolp / Patti Sayre

Merton, Drugs, and Counterculture
Jim Robinson / David Odorisio

Merton, Poetry, and Photography
Kevin Burke / Julia Prinz

Self-Discovery, Sanctity, and Mystical Mutuality
Vaughn Fayle / Callie Tabor

Healing Divisions
Susan Mancino & Natalia Tapsak / Anne R. Pearson

The Contemplative Lens
Aaron Godlaski / Megan Way

Details of Concurrent Sessions

Workshops, Guided Prayer & Special Presentations:

Paul Quenon & Judith Valente Paul Pynkoski Bernice Marie-Daly
Jeff Kiernan Doug Hertler Vincent Pizzuto
Brian Harnetty Robert Ellsberg Jennifer Trently
William McNichols, John Dadosky,
& Christopher Pramuk
Zvony Nagy Carol Lenox
Paul Dekar Cassidy Hall Robert Hesse

Details of Concurrent Sessions

Morning Prayer:

Paul Dekar
Praying in the Way of the
Madonna House Apostolate
  Robert Hesse
Centering Prayer's Healing Effects: Interfaith Prayer Practicum, Medical Research, and Resulting Ministries

Program Committee:

David W. L. Golemboski, Sioux Falls, SD (Chair)

Daniel Horan, O.F.M., Notre Dame, IN (Site Coordinator)

Jessica Coblentz, Notre Dame, IN

Emma McDonald, Towson, MD

Mark Meade, Jeffersonville, IN

David Orberson, New Albany, IN

Christopher Pramuk, Denver, CO

Kathleen Tarr, Anchorage, AK

Judith Valente, Normal, IL

Monica Weis, S.S.J., Rochester, NY