Thomas Merton and the Journey to True Self

June 10, 2018 - June 13, 2018

Thomas Merton and the Journey to True Self

A Spiritual Formation Elective



L. Roger Owens, Associate Professor of Christian Spirituality and Ministry, PTS


June 10, 2018, 7:00 p.m. – June 13, 2018, 12:15 p.m.


Thomas Merton, one of the 20th Century’s greatest spiritual writers, did more than anyone to make the language of “true self” a popular way to understand the spiritual journey. This seminar will introduce participants to the life and thought of Thomas Merton, while focusing on his understanding of the spiritual journey as a movement from false self to true self. Along the way, we will look at how this journey has been taken up in wider spirituality conversations. We will also explore together how Merton applies his understanding of the true and false self to issues like racism and war. Throughout the seminar, participants will be given the space to reflect on how Merton’s account of the spiritual journey relates to their own lives.


This class is open to all regardless of their participation in the Spiritual Formation Certificate Program. If you are interested in learning more about the certificate program, please e-mail us for details at [email protected] or visit the Spiritual Formation website.


Registration / Lodging / Schedule

Registration Fee: $375 and includes refreshment breaks, Monday lunch and dinner, and Tuesday lunch. All other meals and lodging are the student’s responsibility.

Lodging: Limited lodging is available on campus. Reservations can be made by contacting our Reception Office at [email protected] or 412-924-1397.

Schedule: Download the general schedule for this class.


Please do your best to read the required books before your arrival. If you wish to be in the Spiritual Formation Certificate program, you should prepare a one-page reflection paper for each required book; these will be collected the first evening of class. If you do not plan to seek the certificate but are taking the class for personal enrichment, the reflection papers are not required but we strongly encourage you to read the texts to get as much as possible from the class time. Recommendations for additional reading are provided for those who wish to go deeper. Books can be purchased via the Seminary’s Virtual Bookstore under the Continuing Education tab.


  • Jim Forest, Living with Wisdom: A Life of Thomas Merton. Orbis; Revised edition, 2008.
  • Thomas Merton, The New Man. Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reissue edition, 1999.
  • Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation. New Directions; Reprint edition, 2007.
  • Course pack with selected essays and excerpts to be supplied.


  • Thomas Merton, The Seven Story Mountain. Mariner Books, 1999.
  • Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. Jossey-Bass, 1999.
  • Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self. Jossey-Bass, 2013.
  • James Martin, Becoming Who You Are: Insights on the True Self from Thomas Merton and Other Saints. Paulist Press; Christian Classics edition, 2006.


Call 412-924-1345 or e-mail [email protected].