“No despair of ours can alter the reality of things,
or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there.”
– Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

We have the blessing of living during the auspicious year that marks the hundredth anniversary of Thomas Merton’s 1915 birth. Trappist monk, social activist, creative thinker, poet, photographer, naturalist, and prolific author, Merton left a legacy of spiritual guidance influencing countless people in the Christian contemplative tradition, the interfaith movement, and secular peacemaking culture.

We could not ask for a more skillful, scholarly, sensitive person with whom to approach Merton’s wisdom teachings than Kathleen Deignan, CND, President-Emerita of the International Thomas Merton Society and Professor of Religious Studies at Iona College. Many of you already know Kathleen through her exquisite books When the Trees Say Nothing, the first collection of Merton’s writings on nature, and Thomas Merton: A Book of Hours, a daily breviary for engaged contemplatives. Others know her through her uplifting repertoire of sacred songs, her lectures on classical and contemporary spirituality, or her work as founder and director of the Iona Spirituality Institute. To be with Kathleen is not only to assimilate knowledge about Thomas Merton, but also to feel that he is near in spirit and as vibrant and thoughtfully probing as ever.

In this exclusive e-course developed for Spirituality & Practice, Kathleen will draw from the rich diversity of Merton’s legacy. The course will run for four weeks, from June 22 – July 17, 2015, and will cover such themes as:

  • Awakening to Living Presence:Fostering the Contemplative Mind
  • Learning to Live in The Presence: Cultivating the Contemplative Heart
  • A Vow of Conversation: Engaging Contemplative Practice
  • Being a Gardener of Paradise: The Flowering of Contemplative Vocation

You will receive:

  • Emails on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in which Kathleen will offer passages for reflection from Merton’s writings and her own lovingly cultivated wisdom about their relevance to our lives.
  • MP3s of some of Kathleen’s resonant, celebrative chants. Visit her website, Schola Ministries, if you would like to enjoy a taste in advance.
  • Access to an online Practice Circle, a forum open 24/7 that allows you to interact with people around the world who share your desire to engage with Merton’s teachings. The Practice Circle will be guided by Kathleen and by Patricia Campbell Carlson and Mary Ann Brussat of S&P.

There is no better time than this centenary year to dig into “the reality of things” as Merton discovered them. As we do so, we will more fully discover our own place in the joyous cosmic choreography. (4 CEHs for chaplains available.)

Monday Jun, 22 – Friday Jul, 17



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