Merton, Thomas - Timeline Biography

Time Period

01-31-1915 - 12-10-1968

Description

Thomas Merton converted to Catholicism in 1938 and decided to join a Trappist (Cistercian) monastery near Louisville, Kentucky in 1941. There, he became a prolific and renowned writer beginning with his autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain (1948), which detailed his conversion from a "worldly" lifestyle. Although his superiors were suspicious of his devotion to writing, Merton continued his literary pursuits, producing more than 50 books and hundreds of articles. In the early 1960s, his writings emphasized social concerns for racial equality, economic justice, and pacifism. He was a strong supporter of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his nonviolent methods. Merton’s work also began to incorporate mysticism and Eastern philosophy, which opened up interfaith dialogue with Asian spiritual leaders like the Dalai Lama. This also aroused suspicion that he was veering too close to universalism.

Today, Merton’s work continues to impact those interested in spirituality and social justice, even among non-Catholics.

Interactive Timeline(s)

Browse Related Timeline Entries

Religious Groups

Catholicism (Western Liturgical Family): Other ARDA Links
Catholicism (Western Liturgical Family): Religious Family Tree

Photographs

Thomas Merton- Photograph of Thomas Merton by Sibylle Akers Thomas Merton- Photograph of Thomas Merton by Sibylle Akers

Thomas Merton- Flickr- painting by duckmarx (CC BY-NC-ND 2 Thomas Merton- Flickr- painting by duckmarx (CC BY-NC-ND 2

Thomas Merton hermitage- Flickr- photo by Brian Sherwood (CC BY-NC-ND 2 Thomas Merton hermitage- Flickr- photo by Brian Sherwood (CC BY-NC-ND 2

Book/Journal Source(s)

Queen, Edward, Stephen Prothero and Gardiner Shattuck, 1996.The Encyclopedia of American Religious History New York: Facts on File.
Reid, Daniel, Robert Linder, Bruce Shelley, and Harry Stout, 1990.Dictionary of Christianity in America Downers Grove, IL.

Web Source(s)

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/376458/Thomas-Merton
Thomas Merton's Encyclopedia Britannica Biography

Web Page Contributor

Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

OUR SPONSORS
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

OUR AFFILIATES

Image
Image
Image
Image