Thomas Merton and the Catholic Church
by Albert 1

# 1. 12/4/06 8:20 AM by Eileen Natarelli
On the campus of St. Bonaventure in Olean, NY, there is a grand design of trees and shrubbery in the back of the campus - I saw it when my daughter went to school there for a short time before she got sick.

It's called Merton's Heart and the greenery is formed in the shape of a heart, used for meditation and peaceful contemplation. Have you ever seen it?

Editor's Note: No but I'll ask if you have seen the Abbey at Piffard with Merton's Zen design adaptations.

It -would make a good feature story with the Monk's Bread business and all/

I have never been to Olean but I think it is going on my list as a friend of long years is moving there.

# 2. 9/3/13 3:34 AM by Tom Dey - Springwater, NY
I recall my parents would buy Monks Bread at Wegman's (?) in the 50s. It was unusual = VERY unusual for the time - in that a 1-lb loaf was significantly smaller that regular white bread. And it has the distinctive rectangular slices. Most notable was that it just tasted way better like it had extra natural ingredients, somewhat cake-like. Later they contracted the rights to produce to some big commercial bakery...the flavor became disappointingly bland - like those artificial "bagels" that some stores sell that are just sliced round bread merely shaped like real bagels. Then the Monks Bread got better again. I rarely remember tastes, but this one I can conjure up just by thinking about it. This may seem silly - but I always thought of it as the flavor of Honesty, even as a kid... How a bread could connote honesty of all things - especially to a kid who rarely even thought of such attributes?! Tom

Editor's Note: I know a lot of politicians who could benefit from a bread that inspired thought of honesty.

This could be an outcome of Vance Packard's 'Hidden Persuaders'

# 3. 9/3/13 7:33 AM by little john - Mount Morris, NY
thumbsup.gif Dear Albert. Thank you for reposting. I just remembered I have PTSD group at 8:30 so I'll answer more coherently later... This Thomas Merton philosophy has sort of got me intrigued as of late. And yes, there is a little Zen in his thinking which was not appreciated by all the factions in Rome...(some interesting scuttlebutt in the myths, legends, and stories about his real demise...)

Thomas Merton Writer Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O., was an Anglo-American Catholic writer and mystic. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, he was a poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion.


Born: January 31, 1915, Prades, France

Died: December 10, 1968, Bangkok, Thailand

Parents: Owen Merton, Ruth Jenkins

Siblings: John Paul Merton

Personal life and death The grave of Thomas Merton, His grave marker reads "Fr. Louis Merton, Died Dec. 10, 1968."

According to The Seven Storey Mountain, the youthful Merton loved jazz, but by the time he began his first teaching job he had forsaken all but peaceful music. Later in life, whenever he was permitted to leave Gethsemani for medical or monastic reasons, he would catch what live jazz he could, mainly in Louisville or New York.

In April 1966, Merton underwent a surgical procedure to treat debilitating back pain. While recuperating in a Louisville hospital, he fell in love with Margie Smith,[26] a student nurse assigned to his care whom he referred to in his personal diary as "M." He wrote poems to her and reflected on the relationship in "A Midsummer Diary for M." Merton struggled to maintain his vows while being deeply in love. He remained chaste, never consummating the relationship.[note 1] After ending the relationship, he recommitted himself to his vows.[27]

On December 10, 1968, Merton had gone to attend an interfaith conference between Catholic and non-Christian monks in suburban Bangkok, Thailand, intending to go on to Japan and explore Zen (a form of Buddhism). After speaking at the conference, while stepping out of his bath, it is generally concluded, he was accidentally electrocuted by an electric fan.[26] However, his associate, Dom Jean Leclercq, OSB, contends that: "We will never know exactly and with certitude... On the evening of his death, two different versions were already being put forth by the media of Thailand and of the United States. Papers in the United States only made mention of electrocution; those in Thailand spoke only of a heart attack," and notes that: "Some have begun spreading the rumor that the last moments of his life were in the presence of a statue of the Buddha. Others have suggested that he was assassinated like Martin Luther King had been."[28]

He died 27 years to the day after his entrance into the Abbey of Gethsemani in 1941.[29] His body was flown back to the United States and he is buried at Gethsemani Abbey.

Contact with Buddhism

Editor's Note: Piffard is right over the next hill for us as the crow flies. Although he may be better known for Gesthenme his presence at the Abbey of the Genesee is unmistakable..

# 4. 4/12/14 9:05 PM by little john - Mount Morris, NY
thumbsup.gif Thank you for reposting. I need to make an efffort to get up to Piffard.

I bought the book, Seven Story Mountain, but only skimmed through it. I haven't given it a thourough reading yet...

The mystic is not always appreciated in the hierarchies built on Simon Says, and the Peter Principle...

Editor's Note: Merton's spirit pervades the place. All his books are available as are transcriptions. However thebtranscriptions are spoken by others.

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