Week Five : introduction

Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton, known in his monastery as Fr. Louis, was born in southern France in 1915. The young Merton attended schools in France, England, and the United States. Follwing a conversion experince, Merton became a Catholic in 1938 and in 1941 he entered the Cistercian Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. There he was encouraged to write his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain (1948), which became a best-seller and a classic.

For the rest of his life, Merton wrote prolifically on many topics, including the contemplative life, prayer, and religious biography. He also took up controversial social and political concerns and did much to encourage conversation with Buddhism. Merton died in an accident in 1968.

Many esteem Thomas Merton as a spiritual master, a brilliant writer, a man who embodied the quest for God and for human solidarity. Since his death, many more volumes of his writing have been published.

Thomas Merton was a Benedictine. The photographs show scenes from an Australian Benedictine house near Canberra, the Jamberoo Abbey of the Community of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. The music, in a variety of styles, is from Christian monastic communities world-wide.

St Philip's Anglican Church, cnr Moorhouse and Macpherson Streets, O'Connor, ACT 2602