The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

Tuesdays With Merton

A webinar series presented by the International Thomas Merton Society, and cosponsored by the Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union, on the second Tuesday of each month. Free and open to the public. Registration required.

Recordings of the webinars will be available on the Tuesdays with Merton YouTube Channel within a few days of their broadcast: Tuesdays with Merton YouTube Channel. Audio-only versions also will be available later via podcast.

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Upcoming Tuesdays with Merton


Lessons from the Lost Coast: Exploring Thomas Merton in California.

May 14, 2024, 8 PM. EST


In 1968, Thomas Merton offered several conferences at Our Lady of the Redwoods Abbey, a Cistercian women’s community in Northern California. The material presented in these talks reveals Merton’s wide-ranging intellectual and spiritual pursuits in the final year of his life. This accessible presentation explores Merton’s pilgrimage to California’s remote and rugged “Lost Coast” and unpacks this treasure trove of previously unpublished material. Covering a variety of topics including approaches to modern consciousness, yoga, Sufism, and inter-religious dialogue, Thomas Merton in California fills a long-standing lacuna around Merton's visits to Redwoods Monastery and forms an essential bridge to the Asian journey that was to come.

David M. Odorisio, PhD, is Co-Chair and Associate Core Faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, CA. David received his MA in the History of Christian Spirituality from Saint John's University, School of Theology-Seminary (Collegeville, MN), and his PhD in East-West Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies (San Francisco, CA).  David is editor of Thomas Merton in California: The Redwoods Conferences and Letters (Liturgical Press, 2024), and Merton & Hinduism: The Yoga of the Heart (Fons Vitae, 2021) and has published in The Merton Seasonal and The Merton Annual.


Despite Everything and Because Everything Is at Stake: Bearing Witness with the Help of Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day.

September 10, 2024, 8 PM. EST

Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day championed social justice witness informed by deep contemplative practice. Their powerful example amid the crises of the 1960s can provide us with insights as we seek to respond with integrity to today’s seemingly unprecedented crises. Julie Leininger Pycior will invite your reflections on these themes as revealed in her prize-winning book Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, and the Greatest Commandment: Radical Love in Times of Crisis. She also will share how research for this book was instrumental in Pope Francis choosing Merton and Day as the two spiritual figures to spotlight in his historic address to Congress.

Julie Leininger Pycior, Professor of History Emeritus, Manhattan College, is the author of four books and has published articles in a number of journals, including The Merton Annual. She lectures widely and is regularly quoted in the media. Her PhD is from the University of Notre Dame and she is a longtime member of the Corpus Christi/New York City chapter of the International Thomas Merton Society.


Contemplative Mayhem.

October 8, 2024, 8 PM. EST

This Presentation is a thought experiment in deep responsiveness. The question of contemplation—in a world of action that is deteriorating into a frantic order of hyper-activity, brutal re-activism, and paralyzed strategies of inaction—begs for a pause to deliberately rethink and reimagine the nature of not only the practice of contemplation, but the contemplative nature of life itself.  Given a diet of crises, catastrophes, and collapses, there is a tradition of self-deadening retreat from the maddening order of noise in order to seek rest in the privileged shelter of false tranquility. Instead of an orderly evasion of grief, I think our suffering world is calling for contemplative mayhem in responsive depth .

Gray Matthews, assistant professor of Communication at the University of Memphis, Memphis TN, has served the International Thomas Merton Society as a member of the Board, co-editor of The Merton Annual, coordinator of the 2007 ITMS conference, as well as coordinator of the Memphis ITMS Chapter since 2001. Gray has been a frequent presenter at ITMS conferences and recently authored an exploratory essay on Merton and decolonial issues of contemplative concern.


Offering Christ to a Broken World: Merton’s Advent Tidings of Great Joy.

“Into this world, this demented inn, in which there is no room for him at all, Christ has come uninvited.”

December 10, 2024, 8 PM. EST

In this presentation on the anniversary of Thomas Merton’s death, iconographer Fr. Bill McNichols and theologian Christopher Pramuk reflect on the power of sacred art to quicken the hope of Advent in our hearts, and to bring the creativity and courage of love into “this demented inn,” where Christ “has come uninvited.” Their book together, All My Eyes See: The Artistic Vocation of Fr. William Hart McNichols, has been described as “incandescent,” an “intimate conversation between two soul friends,” which “not only preserves the legacy of a hidden master, but also contributes to the awakening of the world.”  

Ordained in 1979, Fr. William Hart McNichols was a member of the Society of Jesus from 1968-2002. He received a Master of Fine Arts from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, and from 1983 to 1990 he worked in AIDS hospice ministry in Manhattan, while continuing to paint and illustrating many children’s books. In 1990 he moved to Albuquerque, NM, to study with master iconographer Br. Robert Lentz; he continues to serve the people of God as a priest in northern New Mexico.

Christopher Pramuk is Regis University Chair of Ignatian Thought and Imagination, and professor of theology at Regis University, Denver, CO. A past President of the ITMS, his seven books include two award-winning studies of Thomas Merton, the first of which sparked his long friendship with Fr. Bill.

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