Thomas Merton talking about the weather

Monica Weis SSJ, The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton (University Press of Kentucky), $79.95

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Trappist monk Thomas Merton wrote in his journal: “I myself am part of the weather and part of the climate and part of the place … It is certainly part of my life of prayer.”

Author and Merton scholar Sr Monica Weis, after reading Merton’s journals carefully, says she suddenly realised how profoundly weather had been shaping Merton’s spirituality over the years:

“Comments about the weather were not solely idle interjections into richer journal entries. They were not merely linguistic exercises, but a way of expressing an integral part of his inner and outer life. Weather was not some “other” to be enjoyed, ignored, or adapted to; rather, weather was somehow infused into Merton’s being.”

Weis charts a growing awareness in Merton of the importance of the natural world. From his hermitage on the grounds of Gethsemani Abbey in rural Kentucky, he carefully chronicled the weather, the progression of the seasons, the happy encounters on his daily walks.

Monica Weis share the fruits of her research into Merton’s ecological consciousness in detail in this new book.

She tags Merton’s life “an unfinished symphony,” asking his many readers to take on Merton’s task of becoming more awake, learning to look at the geography around us, reflecting on how it contributes to our identity, and discovering how, through contemplation, we are called to maintain its integrity.

Sister of St. Joseph Monica Weis is professor of English and director of the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program at Nazareth College in Kentucky.

FULL BOOK: Book review: The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton (NCR)


The Thomas Merton Centre

Weis Receives Louie Award for Her Merton Works (Nazareth College)

Click here for a 20% discount on these and other books from Church Resources and John Garrett Publishing

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