Charges of embezzlement, sex scandal at Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky

From The Louisville Courier-Journal: Nestled on 2,200 acres in the hills of Nelson County, the 166-year-old Abbey of Gethsemani is known for its peace and tranquility. But now the oldest operating monastery in America, where 42 monks live, work and pray seven times a day, is roiled by controversy. The Abbey has accused one of [Read More...]

RIP, Ned O’Gorman

This news broke while I was away this weekend. Ned O’Gorman represents part of a dying breed of social justice Catholics from the generation that counted among its heroes and contemporaries visionaries like Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. I learned this morning that his funeral will be held tonight at St. Paul the Apostle, the [Read More...]

Happy birthday, Thomas Merton

Fr. Dan Horan notes that today would have been the great writer’s 99th birthday, and quotes from Merton’s journal on his last birthday, in 1968: Clear, thin new moon appearing and disappearing between slow slate blue clouds – and the living black skeletons of the trees against the evening sky. More artillery than usual whumping [Read More...]

December 10th: Remembering Thomas Merton

December 10 looms large in the life story of Thomas Merton. He entered the Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky on December 10, 1941, and died tragically in Thailand in an electrical accident on December 10, 1968—45 years ago today. He was 53. Considering the Incarnation, he once wrote words that seem fitting for Advent: Into [Read More...]

Thomas Merton’s love life to be made into a movie

Longtime readers of the blog know that I’m a Thomas Merton fanboy.  His life and work were instrumental in my own vocation, and I once spent a memorable afternoon in his Kentucky hermitage, thinking “I can’t believe I’m HERE.” So I’ve got some mixed feelings about this news, which if handled clumsily could turn the [Read More...]

In Merton’s footsteps

Some years back, I wrote a piece for Catholic Digest on “Thomas Merton’s New York.”  The story was a pilgrimage, of sorts, visiting some of the landmarks of Merton’s life that are still standing in Manhattan. In the short video below, Fr.  James Martin takes us to two of those landmarks: the church were Merton [Read More...]

Mark Wahlberg as Thomas Merton?

Several years ago, while I was on retreat at Thomas Merton’s old monastery in Kentucky, his former secretary Br. Patrick Hart mentioned to me that some movie people were going to be dropping by for a visit.  He was bemused and thought they might be wanting to discuss a movie version of “The Seven Storey [Read More...]

“The joy of quiet”

Who doesn’t crave that, especially this time of year? It turns out, we not only crave it, we need it. From author Pico Iyer, in this Sunday’s New York Times: LAST year, I flew to Singapore to join the writer Malcolm Gladwell, the fashion designer Marc Ecko and the graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister in addressing [Read More...]

December 10, 1941: “I was enclosed in the four walls of my new freedom…”

It was 70 years ago today — December 10, 1941 — that Thomas Merton arrived at the gatehouse of the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky (pictured above much the way it looked then).  He wrote about that moment in “The Seven Storey Mountain”: “The Bardstown bus was half full, and I found [Read More...]

Deep Forest: the man who knew both Merton and Day

And he’s written about them both, too.  And now U.S. Catholic has a fascinating interview with Jim Forest, discussing Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day — two of my heroes: Few have written authoritative biographies of the 20th-century spiritual giants Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker, and Thomas Merton, the celebrated Trappist monk and writer. [Read More...]


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