The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

Unidentified First Names (filed at the end of the sequence)

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Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence

Dates of materials: 1953-1968

Volume: 59 item(s); 71 pg(s)

Scope and Content

This file contains letters to or from unknown correspondents, but only those which also contain his or her first name. The letters are arranged alphabetically by name and thereunder by date. Herein are names of those in the religious life whose first name only was known. See "Unidentified Priests and Monks" and "Unidentified Nuns and Religious Sisters" for religious whose names are unknown. All other unknown correspondents, including those simply addressed as "Friend", are under "Unidentified Correspondents."


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Related Information and Links

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
 1950/05/27 HLSfrom Willibrord, Fr. M., O.C.R. / to MertonVous me pardonnerez que je vous écris en français quoique je comprenne bien l'anglais: mais je n'ai  [previously wrongly-placed with Dom Willibrord van Dijk - received from a Trappist monk of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce in Bricquebec, Normandy, France]
 1953/03/17 HLSto Dominique, Fr., O.C.S.O. / from MertonIl est plus que temps de vous remercier de votre lettre du 16 Févier et de votre dernier  [Fr. Dominique was a Trappist monk of the Abbey of Timadeuc in France]
 1960/01/23 TLto Irene, Sr. / from MertonOn your great day of espousals with the Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God, it  [written on the day of Sr. Irene's profession to her religious order]
 1962/07/08 HLS[x]to Ralph from MertonI am grateful for your kind letter -- and am fulfilling my promise to keep sending you some small   
 1963/07/24 TAL[c]to John from MertonA brief note in immediate response will probably less from the top of the head than a longer oneYes [similar to letter in "Aiken, John" file from Merton on 1967/08/14 - possibly a draft of later letter to Aiken or an additional letter to him - <i>The Road to Joy</i>, pp. 327-328] in response to whether John's LSD experience the same as Merton's experience of God - Christian faith and Zen Satori
 1964/02/06 TAL[c]to Jacque from MertonFirst of all don't let anyone push you into a convent. If you don't want to go it is a sign youYes [handwritten note by Merton at the top: "(a young girl)" - <i>The Road to Joy</i>, p. 331] Merton advises against her going to a convent if she does not want to go and that it is a sign that it is not God's will - religious life good but not for everyone - she must appeal to conscience while open to God and those in authority
 1964/04/17 TL[c]to Lorraine from MertonYou ask how a Catholic writer can have "the greatest possible influence on his public". A seeminglyYes [physical copy moved to the "Karpowich, Lorraine" file with a copy of a signed, published version from a 1964 issue of <u>Bluprint</u> (also in <i>Witness to Freedom</i>, p. 167]
 1964/05/25 TL[c]to Jeanette from MertonThis is only a note. It is a pity you have run into a problem that affects so many people:  [high school student?] Merton responds to search for a "deeper truth" than what she has leaned in her Catholic education / Merton recommends: a good college - Webster Groves in St. Louis of Sisters of Loretto; magazines - Cross Currents, Commonweal; authors - Guardini, Rahner, Congar, De Lubac, Danielou, Barth, Brunner
 1964/08/23 TL[c]to Joan from MertonAs my correspondence is very large, I don't have time to give you much of an answer. I am sure your  <i>Seeds of the Desert</i> by René Voillaume / recommendations of places to contact - Little Brothers of Jesus of Detroit and Little Sisters of Jesus of Boston, or the Catholic Worker in New York - Dorothy Day and false perception that the Catholic Worker is Communist
 1964/10/10 TL[c]to Karen from MertonThanks for your letter, which I will try to answer at least briefly. You are apparently going  advice to someone in a crisis of faith - must "grow from the faith of a child to that of a mature Christian" / recommends: theological books by Fides Press (translation of French book <i>Initiation Theologigue</i>), Romano Guardini's books, François Mauriac's <i>What I Believe</i> / good theology rather than apologetics
 1964/10/12 TLS[x]to George from MertonIt was good to get your letter and to know that you had been thinking deeply and steadily about  interview for entry to Gethsemani with Fr. John Eudes Bamberger / on discerning God's will about a religious vocation / on offer to send Merton a copy of the Warren Report on John F. Kennedy's assassination
 1965/01/16 TL[c]to Lynda from MertonIf I don't answer your letter now I never will, because if I put it aside I will not remember what  on discerning a vocation to the religious life - contemplative monasticism at Gethsemani Abbey - women's orders and the differences - period of transition for many religious communities
 1965/02/17 TL[c]to Karen from MertonThanks for your letter. It is true that I am not in a position to give you regular direction,  having doubts or a crisis of faith and whether to receive communion
 1965/03/27 TL[c]to Elvira from MertonThanks for your nice letter, and please excuse me for waiting so long to answer it, but I have a lot  Merton cannot provide ongoing spiritual direction, but offers to send a conference on discerning a religious vocation
 1965/04/08 TL[c]to Dona Vittoria from MertonAcabo de decirle al Hno Alfonso que el deber de un hijo es de escribir a su madre, y que lo haga muy  [to the mother of a Gethsemani monk, Br. Alfonso, from Ecuador?]
 1965/04/09 TL[c]to John from MertonWhereas in the past poets were able to express their faith in simplicity and with directness,  modern religious poetry - trend in modern poetry of value "to regard religion as a problem and a source of anguish" - faith and doubt
 1965/04/27 TL[c]to William from MertonIn regard to your question about the will of God, first of all your general moral principle is that  advise on making difficult decisions and seeking God's guidance in making moral choices - feelings that something is moral in the present without knowing the end results / discourages "performing a good work in order to obtain graces for others" / discourages trying to give alms for graces for others - "too mercantile"
 1965/05/05 HCS[x]to Ralph from MertonThanks for your interesting letter of April 2. Easter has intervened and I am mowed under with mail  Merton regrets that he cannot take on spiritual direction by mail
 1965/05/16 TL[c]to Margaret from MertonI quite understand how you feel about the Mormons. I admit that I got interested in them myself once  Mormonism / the illusion of "window shopping in religion" / need to penetrate the depth of her Catholic faith before looking elsewhere - suggests St. Theresa of Avila or St. John of the Cross
 1965/06/14 TL[c]to Kenneth from MertonOften I want to answer letters like yours without being able to. It happens that I have a chance  Merton's position on the Vietnam War and the Catholic position on War from Pope John XXIII / "patriotic" realists versus pacifists / difference between opposition to the war and modern weapons on moral grounds and a "passive pacifism" / analogy between Vietnam and police brutality of non-whites in Alabama and Mississippi
 1965/06/20 TL[c]to Karen from MertonI wanted to answer your last letter before now, but ... In any case, what you say does not surprise   
 1965/06/21 (#01)TL[c]to Rose Mary from MertonThe vestment arrived this morning and was a great, very pleasant, supri[se.] I am very grateful not  vestment made by Rose Mary for novitiate chapel / "The additional scraps I am blessing and returning with strict prohibition against any suggestion that they be used as 'relics'. The Church has yet to approve the veneration of active sinners as yet far from converted. As for people who want souvenirs of sinners, well"...
 1965/06/21 (#02)TL[c]to Walter from MertonYour illness is a complicated one, since it does involve your acts in the field of morality  [seemingly advice to someone seeking treatment for an addiction]
 1965/06/25 TL[c]to Edith from MertonThanks for your letter from Washington, received today. I was going to answer the other one  [this letter was from Washington, but Merton mentions another from her from New York - Merton mentions she was about to get married - Merton sent her his drawings] vocation of marriage and of understanding the true nature of love in our modern society / Christians', even clergy's, "superficial adaptation" to "non-Christian society"]
 1965/07/23 TL[c]to Cindy from MertonThe contemplative life will never be obsolete, don't worry about that. Even if it were to be  [correspondent likely near Cleveland, Ohio, as Merton recommends visiting Sr. Anita at the Cleveland Carmel] contemplative life - continued relevance of contemplative life but problems in contemplative monasteries - discerning a contemplative vocation
 1965/10/09 TL[c]to Charleen from MertonIt was good to hear from you again after so long a time. I often think of you and keep you in my  Merton responds to her question about "sexual excitation during ecstasy and mystical prayer" / John of the Cross / Dom Eugene Boylan / the Syrian hermit Philoxenus of Mabbog (also Mabbogh, Mabbôgh, Mabbug or Mabbugh) / succubi of the Middle Ages / Merton thinks that sexual arousal during mystical prayer is a problem or sign of weakness / Dutch psychiatrist Anna Terruwe
 1965/11/01 TL[c]to Susie from MertonI will try to answer your question in a few words. It seems to me that the law of love is writtenYes [<i>Witness to Freedom</i>, p. 324] the law of love - the value of being and the "pure gift of God who is Himself pure Being" / grace to realize we our God's children in Christ / experiencing these gifts through loving God and others
 1965/11/14 TL[c]to Rita from MertonThanks for your long letter. It was a good idea to write and express your feelings exactly as theyYes [WTF, p. 324] the Second Vatican Council changes - Merton's disappointment that the Latin liturgy will be forgotten entirely but hope for spiritual renewal / Jews, Adolph Hitler and the atrocities of the Second World War - Catholics and the Holocaust - on not holding Jews accountable for Christ's death but all humankind
 1965/12/19 TL[c]to Barbara from MertonOf course since I do not know you I cannot give you the precise advice that you need. But if you  [moved from Deming file to "Unidentified First Names" - Merton's letter does not seem to respond to the one extant letter of Deming's in this message - there is no corresponding letter in the Deming-Merton file at Radcliffe]
 1966/02/16 TL[c]to Jim from MertonGlad to see the proofs. I have made a few corrections and am bouncing them right back to you.  Beckett article (not by Merton) and poems by Robert Lax published in "the Review" (no other indication of source)
 1966/06/18 TLSfrom Gerard to Fr. InnocentYesterday I received a copy of Father Louis' article on Chardin from Father Lou himself, so I want  [written from the Trappist Abbey of Westmalle in Belgium] Merton's article on Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
 1966/09/29 TL[c]to Nicholas from MertonI have been meaning to thank you for your St Paul poems and now for the other one which seems  poems by Nicholas on St. Paul and a course by Merton on St. Paul / book of 20 years prior [<i>The Seven Storey Mountain</i>?], which Merton would write differently if he did it again
 1966/10/18 TL[c]to Chris from MertonThanks for your letter and the enclosure. Can anyone make a dent in people like Fr Winfred Herbst?  Merton responds to sonnet sent to him / responds to question about whether he likes [Bob?] Dylan
 1966/11/16 (#01)TL[c]to Dolores from MertonIt was very good to hear news from you after all these years, and to read your letter. How muchYes [from New York - WTF, p. 322] Merton mentions the inadequacy of the "big movements" (social movements?) to address some of the needs that can only be accomplished by "individual contacts and gestures" / problem of [drug/alcohol?] addiction in the cities / the volatile state of the Catholic Church but hope for the future
 1966/11/16 (#02)TL[c]to Margaret Mary, Sr., O.C.D. / from MertonThanks for your kind letter of Oct. 30th and for the valuable suggestion. I would certainly like  [letter from a Carmelite nun] on suggestion that Merton should write on the Gospel of St. John - Merton does not consider himself enough of a scriptural scholar for such a book / Daniel Walsh coming to her Carmel to give a conference
 1966/11/17 (#01)TL[c]to Iala from MertonI think your writings have distinct possibilities and there is much in them that could be published.  advice for someone trying to get published - suggests sending mimeographs to a number of people for feedback, especially for spiritual writings which are hard to sell to publishers
 1966/11/17 (#02)TL[c]to Yvette from MertonMany thanks for your letter. I hope this reaches you on time, but if it does not, well, I hope  [Yvette was possibly worked with the L'Arche community] cannot arrange a separate meeting with her but she could see if she could come with Chanterelle (Merton says Chanterelle) and Joseph Jean Lanza del Vasto
 1966/12/15 TL[c]to Jim from MertonI plan to offer Mass for you sometime in the Christmas season at the request of your mom and dad.  [formerly filed in James Forest file but seemingly not correct because of content of letter - seems to be a person recently signing up for consciencious objector, non-combatant service status]
 1967/01/10 TL[c]to John from MertonYou are mistaken, I am not the Abbot of this monastery by any means! Far from it. However I can  race relations - blacks moving into white neighborhoods - unfortunate problem of white paranoia and feeling of threatened property rights - right to housing equality for blacks
 1967/01/27 TL[c]to John from MertonThanks for your letter of the 10th. I am rather concerned about your situation, and yet I am not  advice to someone considering becoming a conscientious objector / Catholic Peace Fellowship in New York
 1967/05/06 (#01)TLS[x]to Thomas, Sr. / from MertonMany thanks for your letter and for the invitation to participate in the seminar of the CRI. I wish  Merton tells Sr. Thomas he is not able to travel to a meeting in Cuernavaca, Mexico (see also item #2)
 1967/05/06 (#02)other[x]by Volkomener, Mary Theophane, Sr. F.C.S.P.ANNOUNCING THE OPENING OF THE CRI: THE COMMITMENT RESEARCH INSTITUTE  [invitation for Merton to participate in the first seminar of the Commitment Research Institute of the Centro Intercultural de Documentacion (CIDOC) in Cuernavaca, Mexico]
 1967/06/05 TL[c]to Kathy from Merton(I'm pretty sure that's your right name though you did not sign with your right name though you did  war in the Middle East - similarity to Europe at the beginning of the Second World War in 1939
 1967/06/24 TL[c]to Gerald from MertonThanks for your open letter. I don't know if Current will use it or what. Of course you are quite  Merton under censorship for political statements - compares himself to a "Marxist poet... completely cured of all desire to engage in politics" - mentions that unlike him even Yevgeny Yevtushenko can travel / realized that he is "not supposed to be a guru of anything" - feels he must stay although "it is a scandal"
 1967/09/13 TL[c]to Ruth from MertonSince you wrote me through your Pastor. Dr Hunter, I'll reply with abrief [sic] note through his   
 1967/09/25 TL[c]to Leo, Padre / from MertonI don't know whether I am learned and I am pretty sure I am not holy! But if by just listening  [this seems to be a priest in Nicaragua or somewhere in Latin America who is considering religious life - Merton recommends contacting his friend, Fr. Ernesto Cardenal, who was starting the community of Solentiname]
 1967/10/13 TL[c]to Yolanda from MertonThanks for your beautiful letter written on the Feast of St Francis at S. Giovanni Rotondo,  Yolanda sent a rosary blessed by Padre Pio / Merton would not be able "to arrange the visit [Yolanda and her friend Patricia] would like to make" at Gethsemani Abbey
 1967/10/16 TL[c]to Anne from MertonI am trying to plough through a huge pile of letters that has accumulated over the past weeks,  [same Anne from Manassas, Virginia as 1967/October/24 letter] recommendations from the New Testament / thoughts on <i>Imitation of Christ</i> by Thomas à Kempis / provides some encouragement in the face of doubts
 1967/10/24 HLSfrom Anne to MertonI have almost finished the 'Imitation' and I fail to understand why anybody, catholic or non-  [same Anne from Manassas, Virginia as 1967/October/16 letter] <i>Imitation of Christ</i> by Thomas à Kempis / asks Merton why it is wrong to despise earthly things and why would Jesus wish self-mortification / personal doubts / desire to be loved for more than her appearance / noise in modern life / the new Mass in English
 1967/11/27 (#01)TL[c]to Joanne from MertonThanks for your nice letter. I was quite touched by it. It was nice to hear something about you   
 1967/11/27 (#02)TL[c]to Rainaldo from MertonThere is a new Cistercian (Trappist) foundation being made in Brazil but I do not know where.  suggests contacting primitive contemplative Benedictine community in Recife for information on new Trappist monastery to be founded in Brazil
 1967/12/12 TL[c]to Mabel from MertonSorry I never got to answering your question. This has been a busy Fall. I don't think St Vianney   
 1968/06/29 TAL[c]to Monica from MertonFor a long time I have wanted to answer your letter, but it is just impossible for me to keep up  [writes from Indiana, Pennsylvania] Merton is not an expert on Africa but expects a "terrible slaughter and violence" - genocide in the future - hopeful that Monica might see some future rise from the ruins
 undated/01/27 TL[c]to Marie from MertonMarie, this question of loneliness is one that has no answer that is fully satisfactory.  [1st page missing] experience of loneliness - the fact of death - Christian perspectives on grace in the face of despair - avoidance of a "superficial Christian 'optimism'" / brutalities of modern life - neither Merton nor Marie have yet been "beaten to death with chains like the Negroes of Mississippi"
 undated/no/no HLSfrom Gerard, Fr. / to Merton?Explication des Armoiries de Jésus et de Ste. Marie Berchmans [-] Se blason surmonté des chiffres  [Fr. Gerard, (O.C.S.O.?) from Notre Dames des Anges in Hokkaido, Japan]
 undated/no/no HPCSfrom Gethsemani monks to MertonFrom the Brothers of  [verso: color photograph of Saigon, Vietnam - undated postcard (not sent through mail) with signatures seemingly by monks or novices of Gethsemani Abbey: Gabriel, Stanislaus, Pius V, Xavier, and an indecipherable name]
 undated/no/no TALS[x]to Florence, Sr., O.C.D. from MertonHow much he needs patience with himself. We can all suffer much, but it is so hard to suffer one's  [transferred from Sub-Section H.7, Hart Working Files, Accession 2 - nun of the same Carmelite community as Sr. Anita Wasserman (Sr. Florence's death referred to in Merton's letter to Anita Wasserman of January 1, 1962) - contains handwritten note from Wasserman to Patrick Hart]
 undated/no/no TLto Peter, Fr., O.C.S.O. from MertonI think we are just about running out of epikeia in our talking "permission". The Abbot has so far  [likely another Trappist monk of Gethsemani Abbey] possibility of Fr. Peter changing Orders, changing to another Trappist monastery, and other options if he were to stay at Gethsemani
 undated/no/no HPCSfrom Pete to Merton?if rainy. We [indecipherable] a 600 Fiat and went up to Chester (near Liverpool) to see John Kilroe  [series of postcards (not addressed and which must have been put in an envelope) depicting the French monasteries of Solesmes and La Grande Trappe - signed by Pete and traveling with a Michael, possibly former Gethsemani novices] travels in England and to monasteries in France

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