The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

ITMS 15TH General Meeting


The Fifteenth General Meeting of the International Thomas Merton Society
was held at St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, New York from June 15-18, 2017

Conference Photographs

Thomas Merton‘s experience of the God of Mercy was the basis of his many conversions. The spirit and landscape of St. Bonaventure helped Merton to focus and clarify what he was to do with such great Mercy, namely to follow God’s call to the monastery at Gethsemani. At the end of The Sign of Jonas, Merton imagines God speaking to him: “I have always overshadowed Jonas with My mercy … Have you had sight of Me, Jonas My child? Mercy within mercy within mercy. I have forgiven the universe without end, because I have never known sin.” In the years that followed, the “endless, infinite mercy of God” shaped his vision and witness in the areas of contemplation, spirituality, social issues, interreligious dialogue, racism, war and non-violence. The Fifteenth General Meeting will focus particularly on the ways in which Mercy informed Merton’s pilgrimage, contemplation, and witness, and invites us to consider how we might live Mercy in our own lives. As Merton wrote in his journal: “mercy, always, in everything, mercy.”    

Download the Conference Brochure as an Adobe PDF File - ITMS Conference Brochure

Conference Timetable

Plenary Speakers:

M. Shawn Copeland Luke Timothy Johnson Michael N. McGregor Scott Russell Sanders
  Robert Lax: In His Own Words  
“Why Should I Buy a Bed When All That I Want Is Sleep?” - a film by Nicolas Humbert & Werner Penzel   Robert Lax's Psalm
with spoken word, dance and piano
Christine Bachich and Jacqueline Chew

Presidential Address
Michael W. Higgins
Six Contemplative Poems of Thomas Merton
James D'Angelo / Scott Dispensa


Opening Sessions:

First-Timers' Session
Robert Grip

Chapters Workshop
Donna Kristoff, OSU

Merton Scholarship
Deborah Kehoe, Patrick O'Connell, Paul Pearson and Joseph Raab

Merton at St. Bonaventure
Jan Sheridan

Emerging Scholars
Phillip Antilla / Stephanine Redekop

Guide to Opening Sessions


Concurrent Sessions:

Merton and the Carmelite Tradition
Alan Kolp / Cristóbal Serrán-Pagán
Merton at St. Bonaventure
Christine M. Bochen / Mary Frances Coady
Merton and Inter-Religious Pilgrimage
Leslie D. Alldritt / Edward K. Kaplan
Merton and Contemplative Life
Patrick F. O'Connell / Bonnie Thurston
Prophetic Voices
David Golemboski / Gordon Oyer
Merton, Mercy and Wisdom
June-Ann Greeley / Jonathan Sozek
Merton: Revelation and Redemption
Daniel P. Horan / Ryan Scruggs
Merton and Foolish Mercy
Nass Cannon / Michael Plekon
Merton and Archaic Wisdom
Robert Toth / Deborah Kehoe
Merton and Merciful Praxis
Dominiek Lootens / Anna Pfaff
Merton and Formation for Mercy
Christopher Fici / Jonathan Montaldo
Merton, Mysticism and Mercy
Paul R. Dekar / Kathleen Deignan
Merton and Literary Figures
Andrew Belfield / Tom Stewart
Merton and Artistic Expressions
Jon Sweeney / Robert Whalen
Communication and Communion
William Apel

Guide to Concurrent Sessions and Workshops


Workshops, Guided Prayer & Special Presentations:

The Enlightened Teacher: An Inquiry into a Contemplative Curriculum
William Meyer
In Pursuit of Silence:
A Documentary Film
Cassidy Hall 
Overshadowed by Mercy: Thomas Merton and Pope Francis on Experiencing and Sharing God’s Mercy
Paul M Pearson
Merton and the Merciful Gaze as a Creative Act
Marianne Hieb
Merton at St. Bonaventure
Paul J. Spaeth
Merton’s Love of the Natural World and His Sense of the Sacred: A Meditation
Morgan Atkinson
Spirituality of Thomas Merton and Robert Lax through Movement and Music
Jacqueline Chew / Christine Bachich
… saturated with the dew of mercy …  Bernard, to his beloved son, Thomas
Kevin Burns
A Muslim/Christian Peace Pilgrimage with Thomas Merton
Sahar Alsahlani / Mark C. Meade
Allowing Landscape to Nudge Us to Prayer: The Power of Place
Monica Weis

Conversion of Place: Geographic Change in Merton’s America

Kathleen Baker

Merton, the Catholic Peace Fellowship and Peacemaking as an Apostolic Work of Mercy
Maria Surat
Merton’s Death Seen from the Homegrounds
Paul Quenon


Sturgeon Bay Sunset: A Prayer Service of Silence, Music, and Words Inspired by Christopher Pramuk and Thomas Merton
Jeffrey Kiernan

Contact the Site Coordinator for further information:
Julianne E. Wallace
P. O. Box 845
Reading, PA 19607

Program Committee

David J. Belcastro, Columbus, OH (C0-chair)

Paul M. Pearson, Louisville, KY (Co-chair)

Julianne E. Wallace, St. Bonaventure, NY (Site Coordinator)

Christine M. Bochen, Rochester, NY

Margaret Carney, OSF., St. Bonaventure, NY

Michael W. Higgins, Bridgeport, CT

Joseph Q. Raab, Adrian, MI

Paul Spaeth, St. Bonaventure, NY

Monica Weis, SSJ., Rochester, NY

St. Bonaventure Site Committee

Julianne E. Wallace (Site Coordinator)  

Paul Spaeth, St. Bonaventure, NY