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Merton's Correspondence with:

Fr. Paul Bourne, O.C.S.O.; Fr. M. Paul Bourne, M. Paul, Fr.

Bourne, Paul, Fr., O.C.S.O.  printer

 
 

Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence
Dates of materials: 1952-1968, 1973
Volume: 83 item(s); 123 pg(s)

Scope and Content

Fr. Paul Bourne seemed to be in the difficult position of liking Merton and his works, and serving the official function as head censor for the Order, holding responsibility for objectionable works of Merton's going to publication. The two men struggle with what can and cannot be published by Merton on the topics of war, nuclear proliferation, Vietnam, and race relations. They also discuss other matters not related to Fr. Paul's work as a censor, including the monastic life, novitiate manuals, chapter meetings for the Order, changing worship to the vernacular, allowing conversation among monks, etc.

Biography

Fr. Paul Bourne was the head censor (now called "reader") of the Cistercian Order and needed to approve of Merton's writings before he received the Imprimi Potest, or permission to publish, from his Order and the Church. He was more considerably more friendly with Merton and more lenient of his works than other censors. Fr. Paul was at Our Lady of the Holy Ghost Abbey (now called the Monastery of the Holy Spirit) in Conyers, Georgia. (Source: The School of Charity, p. 168.)

Usage Guidelines and Restrictions

Please click here for general restrictions concerning Merton's correspondence.

Related Information and Links

See published letters from Merton to Bourne in The School of Charity, pp. 168-170 and 335-336. See also related information on censorship and Fr. Paul Bourne in the "Censors Reports"; the "Fox, James"; the "Sortais, Gabriel"; and the "Gillet, Ignace" files.

Series List

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

Container List

#DateFrom/ToFirst LinesPubNotes
1. 1951/02/21 HLS to Merton Your prelude to the chant afforded a sort of Laetare Sunday diversion in my Lenten reading. [see "Censors Reports" file in correspondence for physical copy] "Laudate Dominum" [sound recording] - program notes by Merton on slipcase «detailed view»
2. 1951/05/28 HLS to Merton Your pamphlet on prayer is very good. If I may offer one minor suggestion it is that you break up [see "Censors Reports" file in correspondence for physical copy] "Balanced Life of Prayer" [book/pamphlet] «detailed view»
3. 1951/09/16 TLS to Merton Enclosed you will find the document you requested for the edification or something of your friend [see "Censors Reports" file in correspondence for physical copy] "Ascent to Truth" [book] documents from Fr. Paul Bourne, O.C.S.O. - possibly sending "Reader's Report" also in this file, see "1951/no-month/no-day?" in "Ascent to Truth" «detailed view»
4. 1951/09/17 TLS to Merton An advance copy or your excellent new book, Ascent to Truth, reached us a few days ago and we are [see "Censors Reports" file in correspondence for physical copy] "Ascent to Truth" [book] censor Fr. Paul Bourne, O.C.S.O. notes that indicated corrections were not made in the published copy of book «detailed view»
5. 1952/03/17 TL[c] to Merton Your brief sketch of St. John of the Cross is very nice except for one aspect which I hope you will [see "Censors Reports" file in correspondence for signed copy - from a file kept by Dom James Fox on censorship] "Saints for Now" by Clare Boothe Luce with an essay by Merton regarding St. John of the Cross - censor's comments - concern about the Carmelite "prison incident, 'monastic incarceration'" and that, without fuller context, it would be confusing to readers and upsetting to the Carmelites - sent to Merton with note from Br. Alfred, O.C.S.O. of 1952/July/07 «detailed view»
6. 1952/05/02 (#01) TLS from Merton Could you please look over these two works of art (?) and tell me if they are too scandalously bad [see "Censors Reports" file in correspondence for physical copy] "Saints for Now" by Clare Boothe Luce with an essay by Merton regarding St. John of the Cross [essay in book] - Merton submits two black ink brush drawings of St. John of the Cross and of St. Thérèse of Lisieux - reply by Fr. Paul Bourne is written on the bottom of Merton's letter (see Item #2 of the same date) «detailed view»
7. 1952/05/02 (#02) HNS to Merton I like St John very much but if the lady is St Teresa I think you've missed her character, a round [see "Censors Reports" file in correspondence for physical copy] "Saints for Now" by Clare Boothe Luce with an essay by Merton regarding St. John of the Cross [essay in book] - censor Fr. Paul Bourne reacts to Merton's two black ink brush drawings of St. John of the Cross and of St. Thérèse of Lisieux for inclusion in the book, written on the bottom of Merton's letter (see Item #1 of the same date) «detailed view»
8. 1952/08/09 TLS to Merton As we have been directed, I address to you this critique of Father Louis' latest book, The Sign [see "Censors Reports" file in correspondence for physical copy] "Sign of Jonas" [book] - censor's comments from Fr. Paul Bourne, O.C.S.O., Holy Ghost Abbey, Conyers, Georgia «detailed view»
9. 1952/09/22 TLS to Merton In the absence of your dear Rev. Father I take the responsibility of addressing this criticism [see "Censors Reports" file in correspondence for physical copy] "Bread in the Wilderness" [book - here under original title of "Contemplation in the Liturgy"] «detailed view»
10. 1953/04/30 TLS from Merton I am rushing to you, tardily, an un-proofread article on St Bernard which has been accepted by «detailed view»
11. 1953/05/22 TALS from Merton Here is the completed draft of Tower of Babel. I am sending it as a straight poem. «detailed view»
12. 1953/10/12 HLS from Merton You will be glad to here that Harcourt Brace is bringing out the Encyclical, with one commentary - «detailed view»
13. 1953/10/29 TALS to Merton This Intro. to Doctor Mellifluus seems to me quite the best thing of this sort you have done. [see "Censors Reports" file in correspondence for physical copy] "Last of the Fathers" [book] «detailed view»
14. 1955/no/no? other[c] from Merton Silence in Heaven--- a note to the Father Censors. [-] This text was written for the Benedictine [2 copies] «detailed view»
15. 1959/01/07 HLS to Fox, James I'm really distressed at being so in arrears with the censorship. Just after Christmas I came down "Ash Wednesday" [poem] and "Easter: the New Life" [essay] «detailed view»
16. 1959/03/03 TLS to Fox, James Have just mailed a most enthusiastic endorsement of 'The Power and Meaning of Love' to Father "A Tribute to Greatness: Comment on Dr. Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak" «detailed view»
17. 1960/03/01 HLS to Fox, James First- please tell Fr. Louis to go ahead with his preface to Disputed Questions - nihil obstat. "Disputed Questions" [book] «detailed view»
18. 1960/03/05 TL[x] from Fox, James Thanks so much for your kind letter of March 1 with the Preface to DISPUTED QUESTIONS. They can go "Disputed Questions," "Carmelite Sanctity," "The Christian Life of Prayer," and "Art and Worship" «detailed view»
19. 1960/03/no? TLS  from Merton to Censors Since objections were raised to the article entitled Vocation to Solitude, the theme has been «detailed view»
20. 1960/04/09 TLS to Fox, James Have just mailed the censorship report on the two brief pieces you refer to in your recent note "Disputed Questions" [book] «detailed view»
21. 1961/04/17 TLS[x] from Fox, James We are sending you one of Father Louis', so-called 'little articles'. It is called ORIGINAL CHILD [originally filed in a collection of Censors Reports kept by James Fox - see also the "Censors Reports" file under "Original Child Bomb"] «detailed view»
22. 1961/11/30? TLS to Fox, James You are very thougthful to recall the matter of postage. Now I will be able to enter the office by [originally filed in a collection of Censors Reports kept by James Fox - see also the "Censors Reports" file under "Christian Ethics and Nuclear War" (possibly also referring to "Target Equals City" and "Peace: Christian Duties and Responsibilities")] «detailed view»
23. 1961/12/16 TLS[c] from Fox, James We received word from our Most Rev. Abbot General in regard to the article on PEACE written [originally filed in a collection of Censors Reports kept by James Fox - see also the "Censors Reports" file under "Christian Ethics and Nuclear War" (possibly also referring to "Target Equals City" and "Peace: Christian Duties and Responsibilities")] «detailed view»
24. 1962/01/03? HLS to Fox, James All under control, I trust. Did the best I could by "Peace," and now pray it will descend upon us. [originally filed in a collection of Censors Reports kept by James Fox - see also the "Censors Reports" file under "Christian Ethics and Nuclear War" (possibly also referring to "Target Equals City" and "Peace: Christian Duties and Responsibilities")] «detailed view»
25. 1962/01/12 TLS[c] from Fox, James We received your gracious note January 18 with the two manuscripts. Here we go again! I wish they [originally filed in a collection of Censors Reports kept by James Fox - see also the "Censors Reports" file under "Christian Ethics and Nuclear War" (possibly also referring to "Target Equals City" and "Peace: Christian Duties and Responsibilities")] «detailed view»
26. 1962/01/18 HLS to Fox, James Here is a returned ms of Fr. Louis - Nuclear War and Frather Jn Eudes article for the Cath. [originally filed in a collection of Censors Reports kept by James Fox - see also the "Censors Reports" file under "Christian Ethics and Nuclear War" (possibly also referring to "Target Equals City" and "Peace: Christian Duties and Responsibilities")] «detailed view»
27. 1962/01/22 (#02) TLS[c] from Fox, James We received your gracious note of January 18 with the two manuscripts. Here we go again! [originally filed in a collection of Censors Reports kept by James Fox - see also the "Censors Reports" file under "Christian Ethics and Nuclear War" (possibly also referring to "Target Equals City" and "Peace: Christian Duties and Responsibilities")] «detailed view»
28. 1962/01/22? (#01) HCS to Fox, James Two more "little articles" received and will be cared for. Notice from Rome that Fr. Louis recent [verso: reproduction of "Our Lady of Sorrows" by Luis Morales / originally filed in a collection of Censors Reports kept by James Fox - see also the "Censors Reports" file under "Christian Ethics and Nuclear War" (possibly also referring to "Target Equals City" and "Peace: Christian Duties and Responsibilities")] «detailed view»
29. 1962/01/23 TLS[c] from Fox, James We certainly are keeping the Air Mail or Postal Clerks busy these days. I just received your note [originally filed in a collection of Censors Reports kept by James Fox - see also the "Censors Reports" file under "Christian Ethics and Nuclear War" (possibly also referring to "Target Equals City" and "Peace: Christian Duties and Responsibilities")] «detailed view»
30. 1962/01/25 HLS to Fox, James Somehow, somewhere, I've mislaid the copy of Fr. Louis article on nuclear warfare. Would you be kind [originally filed by Dom James Fox in a file about censors (see "Censors Reports" and likely regarding "Christian Ethics and Nuclear War" / dated "Conversion of St. Paul" (January 25) and Fox marks replying to his letter by late January 1962] two rejected articles / Fr. Charles [English?] «detailed view»
31. 1962/02/18 HLS to Fox, James Had word from Fr. Clement that Nuclear War has been cleared for publication. Still can't find [originally filed in a collection of Censors Reports kept by James Fox - see also the "Censors Reports" file under "Christian Ethics and Nuclear War" (possibly also referring to "Target Equals City" and "Peace: Christian Duties and Responsibilities")] «detailed view»
32. 1962/02/21 TALS[c] from Fox, James I received your gracious note of Septuagesima Sunday. Don't worry about the other copy of CHRISTIAN [originally filed in a collection of Censors Reports kept by James Fox - see also the "Censors Reports" file under "Christian Ethics and Nuclear War" (possibly also referring to "Target Equals City" and "Peace: Christian Duties and Responsibilities")] «detailed view»
33. 1962/03/06 TALS[c] from Fox, James Here we come again knocking at your door just as Lent approches, with a little penance for our [originally filed in a collection of Censors Reports kept by James Fox - see also the "Censors Reports" file under "Christian Ethics and Nuclear War" (possibly also referring to "Target Equals City" and "Peace: Christian Duties and Responsibilities")] «detailed view»
34. 1962/04/28 TL[c] from Merton As you know periodically my affairs get in an awful tangle, and they are in one now: about writing, «detailed view»
35. 1963/05/01 TL[c] from Merton Here is a problem for you as Head Censor: I hope you can help me unravel it. The matter is quite «detailed view»
36. 1963/05/04? HLS to Merton First of all, I trust you to refrain from any official reference to what I might say in this letter. «detailed view»
37. 1964/01/02 HALS to Merton Judged best not to submit this to formal censorship-- as I don’t know how long it would take in this [Merton's annotation: "Re - Cold War Letters in BlRv and Cold War" - , i.e. Black Revolution and Cold War] «detailed view»
38. 1964/01/16 TL[c] from Merton Before Dom James took off for the Chapter I had a talk with him about the censorship of that section «detailed view»
39. 1964/02/01 HLS to Merton Will take care of your Notes on Art etc at once. For the records shall «detailed view»
40. 1964/03/10 TL[c] from Merton This little item here had better be sent to you I think. It has been offered by a friend to the «detailed view»
41. 1964/03/13 HLS to Merton Taking all factors into account I can't see that this little piece requires censorship. Did Dom «detailed view»
42. 1964/05/27 HLS to Merton You should have your green light for the Diaspora very soon; but meanwhile I've run thru the piece «detailed view»
43. 1964/06/03 TAL[c] from Merton Many thanks to you and Fr Charles for your good work: the approval from Rome arrived yesterday for «detailed view»
44. 1964/07/18 TAL[c] from Merton Many thanks for returning the articles. I suppose there is a new system under way. Happily the «detailed view»
45. 1964/07/27 TALS from Merton Here is the text of a preface to a book on Shaker furniture. It will certainly reach only a «detailed view»
46. 1964/07/no? HLS to Merton I don't know what's going on, censorshipwise, at the Generalate. I get no response to my reports, «detailed view»
47. 1964/08/06 HLS to Merton Since Commonweal themselves have been recently bewailing their circulation one can surely talk them «detailed view»
48. 1964/08/11 TAL[c] to Merton Thanks for your last letter and your green light on Honest to God for the Commonweal. I thought «detailed view»
49. 1964/08/24 HLS to Merton By all means go ahead with Few Questions: Fewer Answers. I read it without the slightest «detailed view»
50. 1965/01/18 (#01) TLS from Merton I am sending two copies of a preface which I wrote thinking that probably it would not have to be «detailed view»
51. 1965/01/18 (#02) TL[c] from Merton I am sending two copies of a preface which I wrote thinking that probably it would not have to be «detailed view»
52. 1965/01/18 (#03) other from Merton Forty - Three Signatures [-] an exhibit of Drawings [-] by Thomas Merton «detailed view»
53. 1965/01/18 (#04) other from Merton The Drawings of Thomas Merton [-] A NOTE BY THE ARTIST [-] Since judgments are usually based «detailed view»
54. 1965/01/18 (#05) other from Merton [photographs of Merton's art from his exhibit - many, if not all, images were inverted in photo development] «detailed view»
55. 1965/01/22 HLS to Merton Your Berrigan preface strikes me as quite conservative - for 1965 - and I see no need of censoring «detailed view»
56. 1965/01/25 HLS to Merton Mille pardons! I just picked up your brochure on the drawings and realized for the first time that «detailed view»
57. 1965/02/04? HLS to Merton Turn about is fair play - the enclosed is an article by me for you to censor. Actually, this is a «detailed view»
58. 1965/02/12 HLS to Merton Forgive this delay re your rubbings, but we have not been idle. The Museum is booked solid for a «detailed view»
59. 1965/04/15 HLS to Merton Mille pardons. Really I'm all confused. Just came across most of this on my desk and can't «detailed view»
60. 1965/10/07 HLS to Merton After getting your poem out of the file an hour ago I've now utterly lost it. No one else does such «detailed view»
61. 1965/11/22 (#01) TLS from Merton Next Spring New Directions is bringing out a paperback selection of various prose pieces of mine. «detailed view»
62. 1965/11/22 (#02) TL[c] from Merton Next Spring New Directions is bringing out a paperback selection of various prose pieces of mine. «detailed view»
63. 1966/05/15 HLS to Merton Here is your article. Fr Chas is the other censor so I'm sure its quite all right to go ahead with «detailed view»
64. 1966/11/30 HLS to Merton Always a pleasure to have a word from you. How I wish I had a valid eremitical call, but for me it «detailed view»
65. 1967/01/18 HLS to Merton Don't worry about your ms. All is under control. Have you read Dewart's Future of Belief?? «detailed view»
66. 1967/06/23 TL[c] from Merton Here is the ms of a book of poems-- or rather a mosaic of poetry and poetic prose, which New «detailed view»
67. 1967/06/28 HLS to Merton Don't fret about censorship. I've about reached the point where I consider it "inopportune", and «detailed view»
68. 1967/06/30 (#01) TLS from Merton Thanks for your kind letter. I do hope we can reach some kind of real openness on the Order as «detailed view»
69. 1967/06/30 (#02) TL[c] from Merton Thanks for your kind letter. I do hope we can reach some kind of real openness on the Order as «detailed view»
70. 1968/06/03 TL[x] from Martin, Frederick R. Father Thomas Merton has asked me to send a set of uncorrected galleys for his collection of essays, [see also the "Martin, Frederick R." file, Martin was Managing Editor of New Directions Publishing at the time of writing] sending galleys of Zen and the Birds of Appetite for censor's approval «detailed view»
71. 1968/09/03 HNS from Merton Will you please do whatever is necessary to process this new book of verse? [-] Many thanks in Xto «detailed view»
72. 1973/11/30 TLS[x] from Center to Bourne, Paul Mr. Victor Kramer at Georgia State University has requested permission to look at your «detailed view»
73. 1973/12/04 HLS to Center from Bourne, Paul As a Trappist monk of ancient vintage with no place to store things I never saved any correspondence did not retain any of Merton's correspondence but offers to donate Merton's autographed and annotated copy of the 1929 edition of The Confessions of St. Augustine «detailed view»
74. 1973/12/05 TAL[c] from Center to Bourne, Paul I have just finished a fascinating experience of going through the Thomas Merton correspondence with «detailed view»
75. undated/09/21 (#01) HLS to Merton Of course you may keep your New Yorker section intact! It was really rather priggish of me [see "Censors Reports" file in correspondence for physical copy] «detailed view»
76. undated/no/no (#02) HNS to Merton Fret not about your novel - I'm not supposed to be reading novels so how could I possibly censor it? [note on the back of a bookmark / verso: "Work is love made visible" - K. Gibran] «detailed view»
77. undated/no/no (#03) HLS to Merton There used to be an old woman around the parish at 59th St. who specialized in etiquette. "Never «detailed view»
78. undated/no/no (#04) HNS to Merton P. 17 of #7 (Eng. Mystics) is missing - we did not lose it! […] The report from Rome should come «detailed view»
79. undated/no/no (#05) HNS from Merton I presume a prayer for peace will not be stigmatized at unmonastic - anyway it is «detailed view»
80. undated/no/no (#06) HNS from Merton This pamphlet for visitors and postulants is essentially the same as the Life at Gethsemani «detailed view»
81. undated/no/no (#07)   Merton «detailed view»
82. undated/no/no (#08) HLS to Merton Thought you might like to see our new Guide. The text was not easy to write - just where to «detailed view»
83. undated/no/no (#09) other[x] from Merton Do you think they require censoring?? In Jesu f m Louis [-] By no means! fmp [signed mimeograph of "Is the World a Problem?" inscribed by Merton with a note from Paul Bourne] «detailed view»

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