The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

ITMS 14th General Meeting

Merton 100: Living the Legacy

The Fourteenth General Meeting of the International Thomas Merton Society
June 4-7, 2015
at Bellarmine University, Louisville, Kentucky

*New* Call for Papers *New* Call for Papers *New* Call for Papers *New*

Merton 100:
Living the Legacy

The year 2015 marks the one hundredth anniversary of Thomas Merton’s birth. His life and writings are not merely historically important, but offer a prophetic witness to a vision that points a way into the future. As Merton wrote in an untitled poem, “All theology is a kind of birthday / Each one who is born /Comes into the world as a question / For which old answers / Are not sufficient…” (In the Dark Before Dawn: New Selected Poems of Thomas Merton). The centenary offers an opportunity to consider how we too might set aside easy answers and wrestle with the urgent questions of our day. The Fourteenth General Meeting of the International Thomas Merton Society will focus particularly on ways in which Merton’s life and writings challenge us to continue his legacy through ever-deepening contemplation, compassion, and unity-- a legacy in which deep prayer informs action, action on behalf of justice, and the embrace of the whole world. As Merton concludes that poem: “No one ever got born / All by himself: It takes more than one. / Every birthday / Has its own theology.”

Proposals are invited for presentations on carrying forward Merton’s life and work, particularly those related to the conference theme on topics such as (but not limited to): Merton and contemplative practice for the 21st century; Merton’s insights applied to contemporary crises; Merton and ongoing issues of social concern; Merton’s ecumenical and interreligious vision; Merton’s courage for crossing boundaries; Merton’s message for a new generation.

Session formats include:
1. Scholarly Papers designed for presentation in twenty minutes (8-10 double-spaced pages, maximum).
2. Workshops designed to involve audience participation.
3. Creative/Dramatic Presentations using music, poetry, dance or other media to provide insight into aspects of Merton’s life or work.
4. Guided Meditation/Prayer Sessions, particularly those using Merton’s own writings as a framework for prayer and meditative reflection.

Please note: Workshops, Creative/Dramatic Presentations, and Guided Meditation/Prayer Sessions should be designed for a ninety-minute session.

Proposals of no more than 250 words, and a short biographical statement (1-2 sentences), should be submitted by May 15, 2014 by e-mail attachment to:; or by mail to ITMS 2015, Thomas Merton Center, Bellarmine University, 2001 Newburg Road, Louisville, KY 40205. USA.

Plenary Speakers will include: 

James Finley

Rowan Williams

James Finley Ph.D. lived as a monk at the cloistered Trappist monastery of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, where the world-renowned monk and author, Thomas Merton, was his spiritual director.  

James Finley leads retreats and workshops throughout the United States and Canada, attracting men and women from all religious traditions who seek to live a contemplative way of life in the midst of today's busy world. He is also a clinical psychologist in private practice with his wife in Santa Monica, California.

 James Finley is the author of: Merton's Palace of Nowhere, The Contemplative Heart and Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God.

Rt. Revd. Dr. Rowan Williams

Rowan Williams

Rowan Williams, Baron Williams of Oystermouth, is an Anglican bishop, poet and theologian. He was the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury and Primate of All England, offices he held from December 2002 to December 2012. Williams was previously Bishop of Monmouth and Archbishop of Wales. He spent much of his earlier career as an academic at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford successively. Apart from Welsh, he speaks or reads nine other languages. Williams stood down as Archbishop of Canterbury on 31 December 2012 and became Master of Magdalene College at Cambridge University in January 2013. Williams is the author of numerous books including On Christian Theology (2000), Arius: Heresy and Tradition (2002), Writing in the Dust: After September 11 (2002), Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian Belief (2007), Dostoevsky: Language, Faith, and Fiction (2008), A Silent Action: Engagements with Thomas Merton (2011), and The Lion's World: A Journey into the Heart of Narnia (2013), along with countless articles, sermons and poetry.

ITMS Daggy Scholarships

Daggy Youth/Student Scholarships enable young people (ages 14-29) to participate in an International Thomas Merton Society Conference by covering the costs of registration, meals and accommodation. For further information about Daggy Scholarships and an application form go to the Daggy Scholarship Web Page.

Contact the Site Coordinator:

Paul M. Pearson
Thomas Merton Center

Bellarmine University
2001 Newburg Road
Louisville, KY 40205

Program Committee

Kathleen Deignan, CND., New Rochelle, NY (Chair)
Paul M. Pearson (Site Coordinator)
David J. Belcastro, Columbus, OH
Christine M. Bochen, Rochester, NY
James Conner, OCSO., Trappist, KY
Robert G. Grip, Mobile, AL
Judith Hardcastle, North Vancouver, BC
Joseph Madonna, Bronx, NY
Mark C. Meade, Louisville, KY
Jonathan Montaldo, Mantua, NJ
Erlinda G. Paguio, Louisville, KY
Melanie-Prejean Sullivan, Louisville, KY
Monica Weis, SSJ., Rochester, NY

Site Committee

Paul M. Pearson (Site Coordinator)
Mark C. Meade, Louisville, KY
Erlinda G. Paguio, Louisville, KY
Melanie-Prejean Sullivan, Louisville, KY





Program Committee
L to R: Melanie-Prejean Sullivan, Paul M. Pearson, Mark C. Meade. (Back Row)
 Erlinda G. Paguio, Monica Weis. (Middle Row)
Judith Hardcastle, Christine M. Bochen, Kathleen Deignan, David J. Belcastro, Jonathan Montaldo. (Front Row)