Soul Searching: The Journey of Thomas Merton [With DVD]

Overview

In Finding Sanctuary Abbot Christopher Jamison, host of the BBC television series The Monastery, suggests the teachings of St. Benedict are a tool for everyday life for those who are religious and for those simply searching for spiritual guidance.

The Monastery involved five non-monks living the monastic life for forty days while TV cameras tracked their progress. The sight of monks responding thoughtfully and helpfully to ordinary people's ...

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2008 New in new dust jacket. Audience: General/trade. New and unmarked copy. Through interviews with leading scholars (e.g., Michael Mott, Lawrence Cunningham, Paul Elie) and ... visits to locations Merton lived (e.g., New York City, Kentucky, New Mexico, California) and excerpts from Merton's own writing, we are introduced to one of the 20th century's towering spiritual figures. 220 pages, hardcover and DVD. Liturgical Press. Helps support Christian Homeschooling family. Read more Show Less

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Overview

In Finding Sanctuary Abbot Christopher Jamison, host of the BBC television series The Monastery, suggests the teachings of St. Benedict are a tool for everyday life for those who are religious and for those simply searching for spiritual guidance.

The Monastery involved five non-monks living the monastic life for forty days while TV cameras tracked their progress. The sight of monks responding thoughtfully and helpfully to ordinary people's struggles was a surprise to millions of viewers who had presumed that monks were out of touch."

St. Benedict wrote his Rule for monastic living 500 years ago when he was abbot of Monte Cassino, the monastery that sits atop an inspiring Mountain to the East of Rome. The name, "The Rule of St. Benedict," often misleads people into thinking that Benedict wrote "a book of rules." In fact, he wrote insights for Christian living with practical suggestions for daily practice. The insights still guide people today and many of the rules have been adapted to local conditions as Benedict requested.

In every generation monastics integrate modern realities and the wisdom of the Rule in a new fusion. That fusion is the spiritual energy enabling monasteries to be places of sanctuary today as they have been for centuries. And that sanctuary can be recreated in the hearts of people of God's will. This book explains how St. Benedict's wisdom can be applied to busy modern lives, and how sanctuary, peace, and insi' can be achieved by people living inside and outside of monasteries.

Christopher Jamison is abbot of Worth Abbey, a Benedictine monastery near London. He is also president of the International Commission on Benedictine Education and sits on the Council of the alliance for International Monasticism, a body that promotes links between monasteries across the North/South divide. He is author of Finding Happiness: Monastic Steps for a Fulfilling life and was the host of the popular BBC documentary series The Monastery.

"

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

[Y]oung and old, who are looking for a spiritual guide [are encouraged] to read this book.
Pastoral Music

Soul Searching is an excellent introduction to Merton’s life and thinking. Its generous use of well-reproduced photographs, and chatty style, make it very accessible.
The Merton Journal

Merton speaks to each generation about prayer, social concern, interreligious dialogue, and the search for the true self. Soul Searching helps us meditate on this legacy, and may send many more people back to the books that Merton himself wrote.
Commonweal

Atkinson and Montaldo draw from Trappist Monk Merton’s journals, books, letters, poetry, and photos, offering readers fascinating glimpses into the man beneath his public image.
Episcopal Life

While the book would not fit into your back pocket it would grace any prayer stool, bedside locker, glove compartment, or student desk. It is a good introduction to Merton and whets the appetite for further reading.
The Furrow

Thomas Merton was a highly spiritual man who gave much comfort to many people, and Soul Searching is a read for those to who want to be inspired further.
Midwest Book Review

The book of reminiscences, like the documentary, will surely awaken interest in Merton as an outstanding cultural figure and spiritual pilgrim.
Midwest Book Review

Following the film release, Soul Searching: The Journey of Thomas Merton as a book makes a considerable contribution to Merton studies. Twenty-four well-known Merton interpreters reflect on the monk, the solitary explorer, the social critic, and the man of letters in this engaging volume, thanks to the editorial collaboration of Morgan Atkinson and Jonathan Montaldo. It can be highly recommended to all seekers of God in our troubled times.
Br. Patrick Hart, Monk of Gethsemani and Merton’s last secretary

Library Journal

Atkinson, a filmmaker and director of a forthcoming documentary on Merton, edited this book from 200 hours of unused footage that consisted mostly of interviews with what he calls the "Merton choir" of almost 30 friends, monastic colleagues, and scholars. Atkinson also uses material from Merton's journals, which were withheld until 25 years after Merton's 1968 death. The result is a wonderful mosaic of a book, revealing many aspects of a very complex man who, from age 20 to his death at 53, was a monk, literary critic, promoter of social justice, peacemaker, poet, and spiritual theologian. Atkinson is a participant observer of his subject, not through personal friendship but through personal affect: he attributes not only his conversion to Roman Catholicism but also his living "as a more fully human being" to Merton's writings. Merton lived a full human life, with contradictions, weaknesses, but also remarkable resilience, fidelity, and ability to reach out to many "others"-non-monks, non-Catholics, non-Christians, and women-and to be humble enough to be "heard." Highly recommended for public and seminary libraries. (Accompanying DVD not seen.)
—Carolyn M. Craft

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814632642
  • Publisher: Liturgical Press, The
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Morgan Atkinson has worked as a communications professional since 1975. In 1985 he established Duckworks, Inc., a production company that creates independent and commissioned work. A resident of Louisville, Kentucky, Atkinson's primary focus is programming that examines issues of community and culture. He has had seven documentaries broadcast on KET/PBS, most recently the companion DVD to this volume.

Jonathan Montaldo has served as director of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University and is a past president of the International Thomas Merton Society. His editions of Thomas Merton's works include Entering the Silence: Thomas Merton's Journals, Volume 2; The Intimate Merton: His Life from His Journals (with Patrick Hart); Dialogues with Silence: Thomas Merton's Prayers & Drawings; A Year with Thomas Merton; Thomas Merton In His Own Words; Choosing to Love the World: Thomas Merton on Contemplation; and the eight-volume series Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton (with Robert G. Toth).

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Table of Contents


Pt. 1 The Young Merton in New York 13 Pt. 2 Gethsemani 43 Pt. 3 Opening to the World 115 Pt. 4 Points West ... and East 181 Biographies 201
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 9, 2009

    Thomas Merton- A Man for All Seasons

    Thomas Merton was a writer and monk who was a man ahead of his time. He could think outside the box of the institutional church. The book accompanies a DVD. The recording has a most interesting soundtrack that sounds like original jazz, the quintessential American music. This reviewer wants to make note of the fact the one of the interviewees in the book was his 6th grade teacher in the 1960's.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    reminiscences of the influential Trappist monk Thomas Merton

    Not as overtly popular as he was in the 1960s, Thomas Merton nonetheless practiced a type of spirituality that is perennially appealing and enriching. The book of reminiscences of Merton by over 20 persons in different walks of life who knew him to varying degrees demonstrates his continuing appeal. Some of these are individuals who themselves are well-known for their interest in religion and influence. Daniel Berrigan was a '60's anti-Vietnam War activist who was a Catholic priest. Martin Marty is a noted religious scholar from the University of Chicago. Coauthor Jonathan Montaldo is a director at a retreat and author of books on Merton. Main author Atkinson is a producer who has done a documentary on Merton shown on PBS. This work of collected reminiscences is a companion to the TV program containing material left unused for it.<BR/><BR/>Merton was a (Catholic) Trappist monk with a searching interest in other religions and spiritualities. His continually growing spirituality--which he wrote about in many books, most notably The Seven Story Mountain published in 1948--was tied in with his moves to different locations and his travels. At the end of his life, he was in Asia (where he died in an accident with electricity) to study Buddhism and Zen firsthand. The material collected by Atkinson as free-ranging conversations for possible use in his documentary is organized according to "four geographical centers of Merton's adult life as lenses through which to see him." These centers are New York City; the Abbey of Gethsemini in rural Kentucky (with which Merton is most identified as a monk and writer); Louisville, Kentucky; and "points west and east" including California and Asia. Atkinson's interest is as much, if not more, a biographical portrait as spiritual one. To each of the four geographical centers, the editor/producer assigns "significant issues of Merton's life"; among these, Merton's "playboy years" when he was at Columbia University, his passing interest in communism, and his conversion to Catholicism.<BR/><BR/>The biographical emphasis does not obscure, though it limits, the quality and dimensions of the spirituality. One would want to go to Merton's books to get the full dimensions of his spirituality. The book of reminiscences, though, like the documentary, will surely awaken interest in Merton as an outstanding cultural figure and spiritual pilgrim.

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