The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

ITMS 11TH General Meeting

The Eleventh General Meeting of the International Thomas Merton Society
June 11-14, 2009
at Nazareth College, Rochester, New York

Thomas Merton’s Christian faith and monastic commitment led him to explore the wisdom of other religious traditions and to develop mutually enriching relationships with people of other faiths throughout the world.  As he wrote in a letter to his Pakistani Muslim friend Abdul Aziz in 1960, “I speak to you from my heart of our obligation to study the truth in deep prayer and meditation, and bear witness to the light that comes from the All-Holy God into this world of darkness where He is not known and not remembered.  The world we live in has become an awful void, a desecrated sanctuary, reflecting outwardly the emptiness and blindness of the hearts of men who have gone crazy with their love for money and power and with pride in their technology.”  It is the common duty of all people of faith, Merton concludes, to open the eyes of others to the light of Truth (Hidden Ground of Love). The Eleventh General Meeting of the International Thomas Merton Society will focus particularly on the ways in which Merton serves as a model of creative interreligious dialogue and witnesses to its importance in building a world in which the dignity of every person is respected and nurtured.


Download the Conference Brochure as an Adobe PDF File - ITMS Conference Brochure

Plenary Speakers:

Rachel Fell McDermott Herbert Mason James Conner, OSCO Judith Simmer-Brown

Saturday Evening
Kate Campbell
  Presidential Address Abraham Joshua Heschel Roundtable Closing Liturgy
  Donald Grayston Ed Kaplan, Martin Kavka and Shaul Magid William H. Shannon


Opening Sessions:

First-Timers' Session
Robert Grip
Chapters Workshop
Michael Brennan

Merton & Photography
Tony Bannon

Tribute to John Eudes Bamberger
Morgan Atkinson
Merton & Young People
Matthew Herbst / Daniel Horan, OFM / Jeff Kiernan
Interreligous Dialogue:
The Rochester Experience



Concurrent Sessions:

Merton and Hinduism
David Belcastro
Merton and the Beat Poets
Mary Chinery / Scott Grapin
Merton, Wholeness & Healing
Jessica Funk / Timothy Shaffer
Emerging Merton Scholars
Kimberly Morey / Rob Peach
Merton & Sufi Wisdom
Patrick F. O’Connell / Erlinda G. Paguio
Merton & Spiritual Integration
Fiona Gardner / Nass Cannon
Merton & Friends
J. S. Porter / Ian MacNiven
Merton & Zen Buddhism
Mark Murray/Matthew John Cressler
Merton & Thich Nhat Hanh
William Apel / Robert King
Merton & the New Atheism
Christine M. Bochen / Walt Chura
Merton’s Rain & the Rhinoceros
Dave Odorisio / Chip Long
Merton: Interfaith Dialog
Joseph Raab / Ryan Scruggs
Merton: Beyond Silence
Roger Lipsey / Lynn Szabo
Merton’s Ecology
Deborah Kehoe / Christopher Pramuk
Merton & Social Justice
Mark C. Meade / Cristóbal Serrán-Pagán y Fuentes
Merton and Monasticism
Paul Dekar / Andrea Neuhoff
Merton and Buddhism
Tyson Anderson / James Beckman
Merton & German Thinkers
John P. Collins / David Golemboski
  Merton: Fragmentation & Dialogue
Gray Matthews / Vaughn Fayle


Workshops, Guided Prayer & Special Presentations:

Merton and the ‘I am spiritual but not religious’ generation
Ted Bergh
‘Desecrated Sanctuary’ Thomas Merton and Thomas Berry in Dialogue on Healing the Natural World
Kathleen Deignan
Studying the Truth in Prayer and Meditation:
Echo-Meditation with a Text of Thomas Merton
Detlev Cuntz
Exploring the Heart of Merton and Nature
Monica Weis
Telling Our Stories With Uncle Louie
Mark Filut, OCSO
Awakening Sacred Heart: An Experimental Method in Christian-Buddhist Contemplation
Toni Sorgi
A Zen Camera:
Meditating with the Photographs of Thomas Merton
Paul M. Pearson
‘Lightheartedness in Bearing Light’ Merton’s Humor in Interreligious Dialogue
Sylvia Maddox

Program Committee

Paul M Pearson, Louisville, KY (Chair)
Christine M. Bochen, Rochester, NY (Site Coordinator)
Jamie Fazio, Rochester, NY

Donald Grayston, Vancouver, BC. Canada
Gray Matthews, Memphis, TN
Patrick O'Connell, Erie, PA

Bonnie B. Thurston, Wheeling, WV

Monica Weis, Rochester, NY


Rochester Site Committee


Christine M. Bochen (Site Coordinator)

Jamie Fazio
Susan Nowak, SSJ.
Meghan Robinson
Muhammed Shafiq
Monica Weis, SSJ.