The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

Dodge, James, Fr. (pseud., Fr. Linus, O.C.S.O.)

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Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence

Dates of materials: circa 1942, 2001

Volume: 6 item(s); 11 pg(s)

Scope and Content

In these intramural letters, two young monks discuss whether Trappists can or should live the way of the early Cistercian fathers or whether the current observance holds true to the spirit of Benedict's rule and the Cistercian charism. The letters contain letters found in Fr. Linus' collection at Mepkin Abbey and sent to Br. Patrick Hart at Gethsemani Abbey. Photocopies were thence transferred to the Merton Center with the originals coming from Br. Patrick Hart in 2016.


According to a letter in this file from Br. Patrick Hart, O.C.S.O. dated 2001, Fr. James Dodge (known as Frater Linus while with the Trappists) was a novice with Merton in 1941-1942. He later went to Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina after its founding in 1949. After staying at Mepkin a few years, he left to become a parish priest.

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Series List

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

Container List

SeriesDateTypeTo/FromFirst LinesPubFull TextNotes
 1942/no/no? (#01)HNSfrom MertonThanks! This is what I know of these off hand. Probably others are here too. Write more later.  [photocopies previously in Section A, originals transferred from Sub-Section H.7, Accession 2 (2016)] list of books on Cistercian history
 1942/no/no? (#02)TALSfrom MertonSecond Round. Your real question is, of course: are we, today, real Cistercians? 1. If you mean,  [photocopies previously in Section A, originals transferred from Sub-Section H.7, Accession 2 (2016)] / annotated reactions by Dodge] today's not "perfect copies of the first Cistercians" but "close enough to be <u>morally identical</u> - not possible to recreate the life of the Fathers of Citeaux and it is not worth while to do so - more important to be like the first fathers in spirit and in their spiritual simplicity
 1942/no/no? (#03)TALto MertonRound Three: In a sense, yes, my real question was, are we to-day real Cistercians. But actually  [photocopies previously in Section A, originals transferred from Sub-Section H.7, Accession 2 (2016)]] is it not the Cistercian charism to live out Benedict's rule to the letter? / is a Moral Identity enough if not fully observed? / current community as bad as 12th century Cluny in regard to food, clothing and other matters of poverty / importance of silence / early Cistercian reform was first material and then spiritual
 1942/no/no? (#04)TALSfrom MertonJust to thank you for your long and erudite note and to bring the thing to a close, so as not to  [photocopies previously in Section A, originals transferred from Sub-Section H.7, Accession 2 (2016)] importance of the need for further study on this issue, duty to obey superiors, and solutions which may come from the next General Chapter / Cistercian Fathers had less to say about the externals and the internals of spiritual life
 2001/06/26 HNSto Center from Hart, PatrickFr. James Dodge (Frater Linus) was a novice with Fr. Louis Merton in 1941-1942. Fr. Dodge went  background on the letters when transferred to the Thomas Merton Center
 2001/no/no? TALS from Carr, Christian / to Patrick HartA gun and a kind word will get you more than a kind word alone! This recent photo of me is a big  sending exchange between Fr. Linus and Merton to Br. Patrick Hart

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