Thomas Merton (1915-1968) entered the Cistercian Abbey of
Gethsemani in Kentucky, following his conversion to Catholicism and was ordained Father M. Louis in 1949. During the 1960s, he was increasingly drawn into a dialogue between Eastern and Western religions and domestic issues of war and racism. In 1968, the Dalai Lama praised Merton for having a more profound knowledge of Buddhism than any other Christian he had known. Thomas Merton is the author of the beloved classic The
Seven Storey Mountain.
Sue Monk Kidd was born in Sylvester, Georgia. During her thirties, she became deeply influenced by the work of Thomas Merton and
C. G. Jung, which would impact her writing in the years ahead. She is the author of When the Heart Waits (1990), The Dance of the
Dissident Daughter (1996), The Secret Life of Bees (2002),
which sold 4.5 million copies worldwide, The Mermaid Chair
(2005), and Firstlight (2006).