The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

Tuesdays With Merton

A webinar series presented by the International Thomas Merton Society and the Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union on the second Tuesday of each month. Free and open to the public. Registration required.

Recordings of the webinars will be available on the Tuesdays with Merton YouTube Channel within a few days of their broadcast: Tuesdays with Merton YouTube Channel



Thomas Merton and Black Lives Matter:
Spirituality and Racial Justice for Our Time

September 8, 2020, 8 PM ET 
Available to view at: Tuesdays with Merton YouTube Channel

Dan Horan, OFM

This presentation offers a look at the shared insights and important challenges that Merton's writings on racism and racial justice and the contemporary Black Lives Matter movement offer to contemporary women and men of good will, especially those who are white. In many ways, Merton was ahead of his time as he critically analyzed the realities of systemic racism and white privilege in America during the Civil Rights movement. His writings and legacy continue to offer us spiritual grounding for the continued fight for racial justice in our own time.

Daniel P. Horan, OFM, is the Duns Scotus Chair of Spirituality at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, a columnist for National Catholic Reporter, and the author of twelve books including The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton (2014). He is currently serving his fourth term on the ITMS Board of Directors and is on the editorial board of The Merton Annual. His forthcoming books include the tentatively titled Striving Toward Authenticity: Engaging Thomas Merton on Race, Justice, and Spirituality (Orbis Books) and he is editing for publication the correspondence of Thomas Merton and Naomi Burton Stone.


“...almost as if I had a sister”: Thomas Merton & Etta Gullick

October 13, 2020, 8 PM ET REGISTER HERE

William Shannon described Merton’s correspondence with Etta Gullick as “the most charming set of all,” and yet she is little known in the United States and under-represented in studies of Merton and spirituality. After briefly introducing Mrs. Gullick, her work, and their correspondence and respective roles in priestly/monastic formation work, we will consider their exchange  on “progress” in contemplative prayer. Those zealous for homework will find  Merton’s letters to Gullick in William H. Shannon (ed.), The Hidden Ground of Love: The Letters of Thomas Merton on Religious Experience and Social Concerns (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1985).

Bonnie Thurston resigned a Chair and Professorship in New Testament to live quietly in her home state of West Virginia. She is author or editor of 22 theological works and six collections of poetry, and frequently contributes to scholarly and popular periodicals. Bonnie wrote an early doctoral dissertation on Merton and was a founding member and past president of the ITMS. She has published over 50 articles on Merton and given retreats and lectured on his ideas in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, and Europe. She edited Thomas Merton and Buddhism (2007), Hidden in the Same Mystery: Thomas Merton and Loretto (2010), and Thomas Merton on Eastern Meditation (2012) and wrote Shaped by the End You Live For: Thomas Merton’s Monastic Spirituality (2020). Her work on Merton has been translated into Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. Bonnie is an avid walker, gardener, cook, and lover of classical music.


What Does God's Gender Have to Do with It?
Merton's Awakening to the Feminine Divine

November 10, 2020, 8 PM ET

Through image, word, and poetry, this presentation explores Merton's encounter with the biblical Wisdom tradition, the prophetic remembrance of God in a feminine key. How and why should the remembrance of God as Wisdom-Sophia shape our grasp of, and response to, the crises of our times?

Christopher Pramuk is the author of Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton, and At Play in Creation: Merton's Awakening to the Feminine Divine. He holds the University Chair of Ignatian Thought and Imagination at Regis University in Denver, and currently serves as the Vice President of the International Thomas Merton Society.


Thomas Merton’s Contemplative Exercises for Entering the School of Our Lives

December 8, 2020, 8 PM ET

The volume Monastic Observances includes Merton’s notes for teaching prayer to his novices. He sketched meditation as dialoguing with the “words” spoken for them in the course of singular experiences embedded in their salvation histories. He coached invoking memories and retranslating the meanings of relationships with persons indexed to their accounts of seeking God. We tease out spiritual exercises embedded in Merton’s journals that mentor us in excavating the meaning of our interior experiences of relationships as movements that assist our destinies to have loved our “one, wild and precious" lives” (Mary Oliver). 

Jonathan Montaldo served as director of the Thomas Merton Center and as president of the ITMS. As associate director for the Merton Institute for Contemplative Living, he directed its retreat center Bethany Spring. He co-created Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton and co-edited The Intimate Merton. Other renditions of Merton’s writing include A Year with Thomas Merton, Dialogues with Silence, and Choosing to Love the World. He narrated five Merton audiobooks. A co-general editor for Fons Vitae’s Thomas Merton & series, he presents retreats based upon Merton’s legacy for mentoring our spiritual formations.


Topic: TBA

January 12, 2021, 8 PM ET

James Finley is a contemplative practitioner and clinical psychologist who helps seekers who desire to live a contemplative, whole life. Drawing from his experience as a former monk and spiritual directee of Thomas Merton, Jim offers trustworthy guidance for the spiritual journey through his website, online courses, occasional retreats, and the Center for Action and Contemplation where he serves as a core faculty member with Cynthia Bourgeault and Richard Rohr. Jim is the author of several books, including Merton’s Palace of NowhereThe Contemplative Heart, and Christian Meditation.


Created for Joy: Becoming Who We Are, Together

February 9, 2021, 8 PM ET

During these turbulent, uncertain times of pandemics – corona virus, racism, unbridled individualism – and, thankfully, of moral reckoning, Thomas Merton offers a welcome and much needed message of hope.  He reminds us that we are “created for JOY.”  In this presentation, we will consider how Merton experienced and envisioned joy, particularly the joy of being human and the joy of friendship.  For Merton, joy is both promise and vocation.  How, then inspired by Merton, might we learn to delight in the “immense joy” of being human and “together  . . . travel our own road to joy”?

Christine M. Bochen, professor emerita of religious studies at Nazareth College, Rochester, New York and a founding member and past president of the International Thomas Merton Society, has taught courses, given retreats, and spoken on Merton in a variety of venues in the United States, Canada, and abroad.  Christine is co-author, with William H. Shannon and Patrick F. O’Connell, of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia; editor of Courage for Truth, Learning to Love, and Thomas Merton: Essential Writings; and co-editor, with William H. Shannon, of Cold War Letters and Thomas Merton: A Life in Letters