Not much time has passed since we celebrated the centenary of Thomas Merton’s birth in January 2015.  However, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Merton’s death in Bangkok, Thailand, on December 10, 1968—27 years to the day from his entry to the Abbey of Gethsemani.

As Dr. Paul Pearson, Director and Archivist of  The Thomas Merton Center reflects:

“This anniversary reminds us of Thomas Merton’s remarkable output as an author in a relatively short life, having died at just 53 years of age.  It also reminds us of the immensely rich legacy Merton left behind and of how prescient his message remains.  His writings on so many subjects, including spirituality, the true and false self, racism, war, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, ecology, and interfaith dialogue, are as relevant in our world today as when he wrote them, if not more so.”

For a brief overview...

Aside from the regularly scheduled season events, members may also participate in the Chapter:

Merton Reading Group discussions on three of Merton's most important works. Learn more... 

Audio Recordings of earlier lectures. Learn more...

Events 2018 - 2019 season

SATURDAY, JANUARY 26, 2019 2:00 - 4:00 P.M.

Fr Michael Holleran on Thomas Merton's Spiritual Arc


Fr Michael Holleran will speak on Thomas Merton's Spiritual Arc, in observance of Merton's birthday. Fr Holleran is a Catholic priest, Zen Teacher, and former Carthusian monk. As parochial vicar at Notre Dame parish, he leads Centering Prayer and Meditation; he has written articles and taught classes on Merton's life and spirituality. We will also celebrate the birthday of Henri Nouwen (born Jan 26), comparing and contrasting the spiritual journeys of these two towering Catholic figures of the 20th century. Corpus Christi Church, 529 West 121st Street, Manhattan. 2:00 - 4:00 pm. Free, but please pre-register: (212) 666-9350. Reception will follow.

Saturday, April 27, 2019, 2:00 - 4:00 P.M.


“Merton in Alaska” with Kathleen Tarr

“We Are All Poets Here” speaks to the spiritual confusion of our times about Thomas Merton’s 1968 Journey to Alaska and a shared story about spiritual seeking presented by writer and instructor of creative writing, Kathleen Witkowska Tarr.  Ms. Tarr will describe in intimate details what Merton might have seen, felt, and experienced about wilderness Alaska and the people and dramatic landscapes he encountered a few short months before his tragic death.