Thomas Merton: the Writing Life and the Contemplative Life

Jan 16, 2015
Social Sciences, Room 122
1126 E 59th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Lawrence S. CunninghamUniversity of Notre Dame

Lawrence Cunningham (University of Notre Dame)

cosponsored by Calvert House and the Chicago Chapter of the International Thomas Merton Society

Among the most well-known spiritual figures of the 20th Century, Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was an aspiring poet and writer before his conversion and eventual entrance into a Trappist Monastery in 1941. It took time for Merton to understand that his writing was not alien to his chosen contemplative vocation but integral to it. This realization helped him to write works such as Thoughts in Solitude and New Seeds of Contemplation and deepened his spiritual development in all of its complexity. Merton helps us to understand how writing might be considered a contemplative act suitable for every state of the writer’s life.

January 31, 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of Thomas Merton’s birth.

Lawrence S. Cunningham is the John A. O’Brien Emeritus Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. A leading American scholar in the areas of systematic theology and culture, Catholic spirituality, and Catholic saints, Cunningham has edited or written over twenty-five books including Thomas Merton: Spiritual Master, An Introduction to Catholicism, and The Seven Deadly Sins: A Visitor’s Guide.