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Merton's Correspondence with:

Fr. August Thompson; Fr. August Louis Thompson, Fr. August L. Thompson

Thompson, August Louis, Fr., 1926-2019  printer


Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence
Dates of materials: 1963-1968
Volume: 22 item(s); 38 pg(s)

Scope and Content

Statements by Fr. August Thompson that spoke of racism in the south within the Roman Catholic Church may have influenced some of Merton's writings on the subject, particularly some statements made in Seeds of Destruction.


Fr. August Thompson was an African-American priest who was serving at St. Charles Church in Ferriday, Louisiana, at the time of writing to Merton. He was interviewed by John Howard Griffin for an article for Ramparts magazine about the experience of being a black Catholic priest and the effects of racism on the Catholic Church. He ran into some trouble with his bishop, Charles Pasquale Greco, of Alexandria, Louisiana. The bishop disputed many claims of institutional racism by Thompson, and was even angrier that the Church was given a bad image publicly on this issue. Thompson met Merton in 1963 and corresponded with him for a number of years.

Usage Guidelines and Restrictions

Please click here for general restrictions concerning Merton's correspondence.

Related Information and Links

See also the "Flanagan, James T." file; and see also an unabridged version of the 26 April 1968 letter published in Signs of Hope, pp. 152-3.

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

Click icons for links: ✓="Published | Library Record", ✉="Scanned" | 🗷="Scanned, Viewable Only at Merton Center"

#DateFrom/ToFirst LinesPub ✓Notes
 y/m/dMerton Scan ✉ 
1. 1963/10/16 TLS to Merton How are you? I do hope and pray that you are enjoying the graces and blessings of God. «detailed view»
2. 1963/11/26 (#01) TLS to Merton How are you at this time? I do hope and pray that you are enjoying the graces and blessings of God. «detailed view»
3. 1963/11/26 (#02) TL[c] from Greco, C. P. It is with keenest disappointment and displeasure that the current issue of "Ramparts" comes to my [from Bishop Charles Pasquale Greco of Alexandria, Louisiana, writing from Rome, Italy, to Fr. Thompson] «detailed view»
4. 1963/11/30 TL[c] from Merton Your letter reached me today and I want to try to answer it and help you out with the bishop if «detailed view»
5. 1963/12/05 (#01) TLS to Merton Thank you most sincerely for your letter of a day ago. I do hope and pray that you are enjoying «detailed view»
6. 1963/12/05 (#02) TL[c] to Greco, C. P. From Television I learned that the Bishop had returned. I do hope and pray that the Bishop enjoys [to Bishop Charles Pasquale Greco of Alexandria, Louisiana, from Fr. Thompson] «detailed view»
7. 1964/02/20 TLS to Merton I do hope and pray that you are enjoying the graces and the blessings of God. Maybe you have «detailed view»
8. 1964/02/27 TAL[c] from Merton It was good to hear from you again, I have been thinking of you a lot. I am relieved to hear that «detailed view»
9. 1967/09/01 TL[c] to Dearden, John It was my intention to be present in Kansas City, Missouri recently for the National Conference [to Archbishop John F. Dearden of Detroit, Michigan - copied to Bishop Harold Robert Perry, Fr. Louis Twomey, Fr. James Sheehan, and John Howard Griffin] «detailed view»
10. 1967/10/27 (#01) TLS to Merton How are you at this time? I do hope and pray that you are enjoying the graces and blessings of God. «detailed view»
11. 1967/10/27 (#02) TL[c] from Thomas, Norman Bishop Perry suggested that I contact you about a serious concern of ours. It certainly does not [originally send 1967/10/23 and forwarded by Thompson to Merton on the 27th - Fr. Norman P. Thomas was Director of the Urban Parish Apostolate for the Archdiocese of Detroit] «detailed view»
12. 1967/10/30 TL[c] from Merton Thanks for your letter. I am glad to hear from you again. I can see it is a problem. «detailed view»
13. 1967/11/06 TLS to Merton Thank you! Thank you so much for your letter. It is a great help to me. I am sorry «detailed view»
14. 1967/11/09 TL[c] from Merton That letter to Dearden is extremely powerful and right on the button. My feeling is that «detailed view»
15. 1968/03/20 (#01) TLS to Merton How are you at this time? I do hope and pray that you are enjoying the graces and blessings of God. «detailed view»
16. 1968/03/20 (#02) other[c] to Merton One hour conference with Bishop Charles P. Greco by Father Thompson - Tuesday, Feb. 27/68 «detailed view»
17. 1968/03/20 (#03) TL[c] to Clayton, Charles Thank you most sincerely for your letter. It was indeed an encouraging letter and I hope to answer «detailed view»
18. 1968/04/26 TL[c] from Merton As usual, I got snowed under with letters and yours got lost in the pile. About Detroit or no «detailed view»
19. 1997/05/08 (#01) TLS to Grip, Robert It is my wish and prayer that you are enjoying the graces and blessings of God. Thompson's upcoming retirement / plans to be at the June 1997 general meeting of the International Thomas Merton Society held at Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL «detailed view»
20. 1997/05/08 (#02) other to Grip, Robert Fr. August Thompson --40 years priest of Diocese of Alexandria, LA. --Interview with John Griffin some brief biographical details pertinent to Thompson's friendship with Thomas Merton and John Howard Griffin «detailed view»
21. 1997/05/08 (#03) other to Grip, Robert BiOGRAPHICAL SKETCH [-] Name -- Fr. August Thompson -Born Baldwin, Louisiana, July 7, 1926 general biographical sketch of Thompson's life from his birth until the early 1992 «detailed view»
22. 2019/08/12 other   FATHER AUGUST LOUIS THOMPSON [-] The Funeral Mass for Father August Louis Thompson will begin obituary - Avoyelles Today, 12 August 2019 «detailed view»

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