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Merton's Correspondence with:

Fr. Clifford Stevens; Fr. Clifford J. Stevens

Stevens, Clifford J., Fr., 1926-  printer


Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence
Dates of materials: 1967
Volume: 7 item(s); 8 pg(s)

Scope and Content

While serving as a military chaplain in the early 1960's, Fr. Stevens first sent Merton an essay on St. Stephen Harding and the early Cistercians of Citeaux. Merton did not think that Collectanea Cisterciensia would publish it, possibly because of its critical stance on the current direction of the order more than for its historical scholarship. Merton kept it for his novitiate library. Stevens later produced a book on Stephen Harding. Stephens was fan of Merton's earlier writings on theology and the contemplative life, but did not like Merton's social message. However, he was a fan of Merton's later book, Mystics and Zen Masters, which he cited as useful in dialogue while living in Japan. Merton thanks Stevens for his article praising him in the American Benedictine Review.


Fr. Clifford Stevens is a priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska, and author of a number of books on religion, religious history and morality. In the 1950's, he spent some time in seminary at the Trappist monastery of New Melleray in Iowa, but was disillusioned by changes in the order. He continued as a diocesan priest at other seminaries. During the 1960's, he served as an Air Force chaplain, writing to Merton from assignments in San Francisco, California, and from Itazuke, Japan, until 1969. After some assignments in New York and New Mexico, he has spent most of his life in Nebraska. In the 1980's, Stevens pursued his dream of founding a monastery with a purer ideal than he had seen in contemporary orders. He founded Tintern Monastery, a contemplative house of prayer, on a farm near Oakdale, Nebraska. He began with a group of previously ordained priests. Although many inquired about his monastery, few stayed, and the experiment was ended. (Source: "Clifford Stevens." Contemporary Authors Online. 2001. Thomson Gale. Bellarmine University Library. 26 May 2006 ‹›.)

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Series List

This Record Sub-Group is not divided into Series and is arranged chronologically.

Container List

#DateFrom/ToFirst LinesPub ✓Notes
 y/m/dMerton Scan ✉ 
1. 1962/12/19 TLS from Merton Thank you for sending me your essay on St Stephen Harding, and please forgive me for waiting so long «detailed view»
2. 1967/08/11 (#01) TLS from Merton Only the other day someone called my attention to the article by you in the American Benedictine «detailed view»
3. 1967/08/11 (#02) TL[c] from Merton Only the other day someone called my attention to the article by you in the American Benedictine «detailed view»
4. 1967/08/20 TLS to Merton I was rather surprised yet very pleased to receive your letter and I am happy that the article, «detailed view»
5. 1967/11/22 TLS to Merton Your book "Mystics and Zen Masters" is being read with great interest over here, and in discussing «detailed view»
6. 1968/01/08 (#01) TLS to Merton Thank you for the Christmas note. My prayers will be with you on the 13th. I hope and pray that «detailed view»
7. 1968/01/08 (#02) other to Merton For An Archbishop Going To The Council (temporarily addressed to Trappist Monks Electing [poem by Clifford Stevens, "For An Archbishop Going To The Council" and his note for Merton and the Gethsemani monks "temporarily addressed to Trappist Monks Electing and Abbot"] «detailed view»

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