The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

Lemercier, Gregorio, Dom, O.S.B.

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Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence

Dates of materials: 1953-1959

Volume: 15 item(s); 37 pg(s)

Scope and Content

This small but important correspondence file from the 1950's contains discussions about views on monasticism at a time when Merton was restless at Gethsemani, yearned for more solitude, and grieved changes brought about at Gethsemani due to mechanization of the farm. The collection includes original, signed handwritten and typed letters from Lemercier.


"Dom Gregorio Lemercier was Superior of an experimental Benedictine monastery at Cuernavaca in Mexico" at the time of these letters. (Source: The School of Charity, p. 68.)

Usage Guidelines and Restrictions

Related Information and Links

See also one published letter from Merton to Lemercier in Witness to Freedom, pp. 211-214, and one in The School of Charity, pp. 68-70; see also "Batten, R. J., Fr., O.P" file for a later appraisal of Lemercier's community.

Other Finding Aids

If the person in correspondence with Merton has full text records in the Merton Center Digital Collections, there will be a numeric link to them below.

Series List

This Record Sub-Group is not divided into Series and is arranged chronologically.

Container List

SeriesDateTypeTo/FromFirst LinesPubFull TextNotes
 1953/10/16 HLSto MertonI beg you to give some of your time to the following request-- Three years ago, under unusual  asks for advice about the ethics of mechanized labor in his monastery to be able to provide for his community
 1953/10/23 TL[c]from MertonIt was a pleasure to get your letter because it was a letter from a monk, for a change.Yes Merton's response to monastic mechanization
 1954/09/26 HLSto MertonHere I am again with another request-- and the hope that you will be able to  Lemercier is asking about when Merton thinks it is appropriate to wear a habit / should habits be worn for work?
 1955/02/11 HLSto MertonI should have thanked you long ago for your letter of last October  book on St. Benedict / Fr. Engelbert in California / making a living in the monastery / list of sources of their income
 1956/02/21 HLSto MertonThank you very much for your letter, the book and the  Bread in the Wilderness / Fr. Engelbert
 1957/08/28 (#01)TLSto MertonVotre lettre du 7 août vient du m'arriver. Elle m'a fait bien grand plaisir et je vous remercie de  Contains photo, possibly of Lemercier's monastery and grounds / monastic lifestyle / Conception Abbey / Mont Cesar / Opus Dei / the Pope / Jose Torres Oceguera
 1957/08/28 (#02)other Le rapport de Maredsous a pris pour point de départ de l'étude de ce problème le fait de  an essay entitled "<u>MONACHISME LAIC</u>", possibly accompanied the 1957/08/28 letter
 1957/10/03 TL[c]from MertonIt was a joy to receive your long letter. I have read it many times and thought about its contents,  [transferred from Sub-Section H.7, Hart Working Files - no last name, "Dear Father Gregorio," seems to reply to Lemercier letter of August 28, 1957] the Divine Office in English - office as "ritualistic and theatrical" / relationship of monks and laity - monks and the question of true holiness / "Pachomian spirit" - monastery as "kolkhoz" / vacuum of postulants "incapacity to receive" / foundation in South America
 1959/05/30 HLSto MertonJe suis bien rentré au monastère, mais à mon arrivée j'ai   
 1959/06/11 HLS[x]from MertonMerci de votre bonne lettre. J'espère que vous vous portez mieux maintenant.  [photocopy found in Sub-Section H.7, "Hart Working Files" - status of original letter unknown]
 1959/10/01 HLSto MertonJe crois que vous serez content l'avoir de mes nouvelles, ou plutôt les nouvelles du monastère   
 1959/12/17 (#01)TL[c]from MertonLe P. Prieur me permet d'ecrire cette lettre en l'absence de Dom James, qui revient demain.Yes  
 1959/12/17 (#02)transcriptfrom MertonThe Reverend Father Prior has allowed me to write this letter in the absence of Dom James, whoYes copy from published book / negative answer from Rome about leaving Gethsemani signed by Cardinals Valeri and Larraona / Fr. [John] Eudes / psychiatrist Zilboorg / permission to live at a hermitage
 1960/08/12 TLSto Dr. [?]Thank you for your letter dated August 8, which arrived before I received a letter from Mr. Herbert  [addressed "Dear Doctor" (Zilboorg?) and refers to Merton in the third person as "fr. L."]
 1960/09/10 TLSto Dr. [?]J'ai bien reçu votre lettre, avec la lettre du P. Philippe. Comme je désire être trés bien compris,  [addressed "Mon cher Docteur" (Zilboorg?) and refers to Merton in the third person]

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