The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

ITMS Introduction and Membership

The ITMS came into being in 1987 to promote a greater knowledge of the life and writings of Thomas Merton, one of the most influential religious figures of our time. The Society sponsors biennial conferences devoted to Merton and his work and supports the writing of general-interest and scholarly books and articles about Merton. In addition the ITMS awards regular grants to researchers and scholarships to youth. It encourages a variety of activities such as Merton retreats. Local Chapters and Affiliates of the ITMS across the world reflect a wide range of personal interest and approaches to Thomas Merton.

Randy Browning portrait of Thomas Merton
Gift to the Merton Center by
Elizabeth Griffin Bonazzi and Robert Bonazzi

  • To encourage research, study and reading of the works of Thomas Merton.

  • To promote the writing of both scholarly and popular books and articles about Merton.

  • To assist members in exploring the unique spiritual journey of Thomas Merton through shared insights.

  • To promote recognition of Thomas Merton as a spiritual theologian, a social critic, a catalyst for inter-religious dialogue, and as an important American literary figure.

  • To encourage and assist in the formation of local and regional chapters of the ITMS.

  • To promote communication among members through biennial general meetings, special meetings and various publications.

  • To assist in the designing of graduate and undergraduate courses on Thomas Merton in various disciplines of study.


ITMS Bylaws


Members of the ITMS receive information on a continuing basis about events connected with Thomas Merton at international, national, regional, and local levels. Members receive The Merton Seasonal quarterly (which includes the Newsletter of the ITMS twice a year). Members can also purchase The Merton Annual at a special rate. Both publications contain articles and updated bibliographies giving members access to the most recent thinking about Merton. Members are entitled to reduced rates for General Meetings and have access to the rich collection of Merton manuscripts, photos, drawings, and memorabilia at the Thomas Merton Center in the W.L. Lyons Brown Library at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky.


Details about how to join the ITMS.



The ITMS holds a General Meeting every other year. These forums produce lively exchanges, spiritual renewal and new scholarly Merton research on an international scale. The sixteenth general meeting was held in Santa Clara, California from 27-30 June 2019 at St. Clara University, the seventeenth general meeting was held virtually from 23-26 June 2021, and the eighteenth general meeting will be held in Notre Dame, Indiana from 22-25 June 2023 at Saint Mary's College.



In the year following an ITMS General Meeting, meeting presenters and Daggy Scholars (recipients of a scholarship for young adults) are invited to Gethsemani for a retreat based on the theme of the past conference.