About Our Community
We are a diverse community drawing from Merton’s experience and insight to strengthen our commitment to spiritual growth.
Our organizational focus is threefold:
- Build Community, or as Merton says, “join in the general dance”, based on our common belief in the divinity of life;
- Journey Together to support the individual spiritual development of all members regardless of where they may be on their unique path;
- Promote Dialogue, mirroring Merton’s efforts to encourage understanding among all people and religions.
We do this by gathering several times a year, around a speaker or event and in our Merton Reading Group, to facilitate learning, conversation and celebration - - always with a focus to deepen our understanding using his profound thought as a means to influence our journey.
Thomas Merton NYC is the Corpus Christi Chapter of the International Thomas Merton Society (ITMS), an international organization of over 40 Chapters dedicated to helping members explore the unique spiritual journey of Thomas Merton through shared insights (e.g. meetings, retreats, conferences, etc.). The Chapter was formed in 1999 to study the works and influence of this important thinker and is recognized throughout the ITMS as the “flagship” of all Chapters, based at Corpus Christi Church, the site of Merton’s baptism into the Catholic Church on November 16, 1938.
Mission: We seek to engage and foster a diversified and non-denominational NYC community seeking to transform the quality of their daily lives through an exploration and dialogue dedicated to:
Promoting an understanding and appreciation of the multifaceted character of Thomas Merton
Encouraging reading, study and research of the works of Thomas Merton
Recognizing Thomas Merton as an important literary figure; a spiritual theologian; a social critic; a catalyst for peace and inter-religious dialogue
Corpus Christi Church, the site of Merton’s baptism, is located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, just off Broadway at 529 West 121st Street (between Amsterdam and Broadway). As Christopher Pramuk recently noted, “Like sacred spaces all around the world, Corpus Christi is a place of deep silence and stillness; yet it also reverberates with songs of ancient remembrance and future hope.”
Events: Our Chapter meets regularly each year. The 2018/19 season begins this year on Saturday, September 22 followed by our annual retreat & Jazz Liturgy on November 3, a Memorial Mass on December 10 and concluding the season with our meeting on April 27th. These events will be held at Corpus Christi Church on West 121st Street. Tours of Corpus Christi Church are also available to all those interested either before or after our regularly scheduled meetings. To schedule a tour, please send an email, in advance, to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Audio Recordings: Members have the opportunity to enjoy listening to past talks given at Thomas Merton NYC on their computer or smartphone via a password-protected audio link.
Merton Reading Group: Members are invited to participate in exploration of Merton's thought by focusing on some of his individual writings together with other Chapter members. This may serve to help clarify his thought and deeper our understanding of his ideas, as well as to enhance our own spiritual development. Reading Group meetings are held monthly in the Rectory at Corpus Christi Church, 529 West 121st Street @ Broadway under the tutelage of long-time Chapter member, experienced spiritual director and teacher. Facilitated reading guides/questions are provided to members who elect to enroll; meeting attendance not being mandatory to participate. Learn more on our events page.
The International Thomas Merton Society
Originated in 1987 to promote a greater knowledge of the life and writings of Thomas Merton. Local Chapters of the ITMS, of which the Corpus Christi Chapter is one, are located throughout the world and reflect a wide range of personal interest and approaches to Thomas Merton. The number and variety of programs carried out by various local and regional ITMS Chapters reflect the impact that Thomas Merton has on people of all ages, creeds, economic status, and geographic location. Over 40 chapters exist in various parts of the US, along with chapters and affiliated societies around the world. A separate membership in the ITMS affords Chapter members additional benefits as outlined below.
The Society sponsors a biennial conference devoted to Merton and his work and supports the writing of general-interest and scholarly books and articles about Merton. These forums produce lively exchanges, spiritual renewal and new scholarly Merton research on an international scale. The sixteenth biennial conference, “O PEACE, BLESS THIS MAD PLACE” will be held in Santa Clara, California from 27-30 June 2019 at Santa Clara University.
The ITMS regularly awards grants to researchers and scholarships to young people. It encourages a variety of activities such as Merton retreats.
ITMS Members Benefits:
Members of the ITMS receive information on a regular basis about events connected with Thomas Merton at international, national, regional, and local levels. Members receive The Merton Seasonal quarterly (which includes the ITMS Newsletter twice a year). ITMS members can purchase The Merton Annual at a special rate. For more information or to join the ITMS, please visit: http://merton.org/ITMS