A1. Concurrent Papers

a. Paul Pearson - "To Be Known as You Are": Thomas Merton and the Countercultural Call of St. Benedict’s 12 Steps of Humility
St. Benedict’s chapter of his Rule, “On Humility,” would occupy a prominent place in Merton’s conferences, even saying “this is the whole of the monastic life.” Humility has many negative connotations, in our “me first” mentality. This paper will explore Merton’s writing on humility drawing lessons for us today.

Paul M Pearson is Director of the Thomas Merton Center, chief of research for the Merton Legacy Trust, and recently published Beholding Paradise: The Photography of Thomas Merton.

b. Michael Plekon - Merton: Stranger or One at Home—A Paradox and Image of Faithful Living
All his life, Merton was aware of his being an outsider. But at the same time, Merton managed or better, was graced to find himself at home, and in strikingly different places and ways. What I want to say here is that throughout his life and in his writings we find this only apparent paradox. Moreover, in this we find his witness to a biblical vision for our own lives.

Michael Plekon is Emeritus Professor, The City University of New York, Baruch College and has served as priest in both the western and eastern churches.


A2. Concurrent Papers

a. Alda Balthrop-Lewis - Why Merton took Arendt’s Defense of the Active Life as a Defense of the Contemplative Life
This presentation investigates Merton’s reading of Arendt’s The Human Condition in 1960. The talk has three parts – first, an account of The Human Condition; second, what Merton found interesting in it; and third, an explanation of how the book that Arendt wrote as a description of the dynamics of “action” was transformed, in Merton’s reading, into a “defense of contemplation.”

Alda Balthrop-Lewis is a Research Fellow in the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry at Australian Catholic University and the author of Thoreau’s Religion (Cambridge, 2021).

b. Anthony Nuccio - The Importance of Contemplation in a Broken World: Jägerstätter and Merton as Strangers in the "Post-Christian" World
In a world where Catholics and other persons of faith might feel pushed to the margins, we often look for saints and other holy figures who can guide our search for meaning. The lives of Jägerstätter and Merton offer us models of being in this “post-Christian” world.

Anthony Nuccio is a member of the Chicago chapter of ITMS and lives in the suburbs of Chicago with his wife and their two cats.


A3. Concurrent Papers

a. Dung Tran and Michael Carey - Strangers and Aliens No Longer: The Experience of Monastic Hospitality and Community in a Hybrid Graduate Leadership Education Course
A private university in the Pacific Northwest has taken graduate students to a Benedictine monastery as part of a course on "Leadership and Community" for 15 years. Presenters will offer a course overview and share how the student experience of hospitality and community contributes to more meaningful engagement with the world.

Dr. Dung Q. Tran is an Assistant Professor of Organizational Leadership in the School of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University. Working at the nexus of leadership and the Catholic and humanistic educational traditions, he is interested in how spiritual, ethical, and values-based perspectives shape organizational leadership theory and practice.

Dr. Michael R. Carey, Obl.OSB, is an Associate Professor and Chairperson of Organizational Leadership in the School of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. He has taught leadership studies at the graduate level for over 30 years.

b. Ellyn Crutcher - The "Houses of Prayer" Concept from Vision to Reality
Striking a match. The smell of sulphur and the sizzle of flame searing a matchstick: combustion. Nothing less permeated Redwoods Monastery in the final 4 days before Thomas Merton flew to Asia. Merton responded to an invitation from midwestern Mother Superior Margaret Brennan to deeply explore Vatican II's call for "houses of prayer". As hostess for the intimate gathering, Mother Myriam Dardenne cupped her hands to protect the flame ignited on the Lost Coast. All were set ablaze.

Ellyn Crutcher is a community builder, lawyer, writer, artist, trained labyrinth facilitator/builder and spiritual director. She focuses on interfaith dialogue, environmental concerns, the visual arts and education of the next generation of spiritual leaders with service on Yale Divinity School's Board of Advisors. She writes icons in the Byzantine style, combining her interest in Merton and sacred art.


A4. Concurrent Workshop

Jacqueline Chew and Jonathan Montaldo - "We Are Already One": Musical Meditation and Wisdom of Thomas Merton
Enter a contemplative world weaving together music and the spoken words of Thomas Merton. We will be guided to seek "thou inward stranger whom I have never seen" and gradually grow towards our larger humanity.

Jonathan Montaldo has narrated five audio books of Thomas Merton's for Franciscan Communications. He is a reader on Kathleen Deignan's CD: "Praying with Thomas Merton: A Book of Hours".

Jacqueline Chew's recordings are "Sweet Irrational Worship: The Niles-Merton Songs" by John Jacob Niles and "Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jesus" by Olivier Messiaen. She is a Camaldolese Benedictine oblate of New Camaldoli Hermitage, Big Sur, CA.


B1. Concurrent Papers

a. William Apel - The Strangest of the Strangers: Merton and the Hibakusha, Survivors of the A-Bomb
This paper is the telling of the story of the relationship of Thomas Merton to Hiromu Morishita. Morishita is a survivor of the Hiroshima A-Bomb (a Habakusha). In this relationship we can come to better understand how Merton cultivates friendships of peace beyond his own religion and culture. The research is based on my friendship with Morishita and Merton's letters.

William Apel is professor emeritus in religion from Linfield University in Oregon. He is the author of Signs of Peace: The Interfaith Letters of Thomas Merton.

b. Dominiek Lootens - Byzantium, Paris and Louisville: Thomas Merton, Natural Contemplation and Orthodox Pastoral Theology
Merton was a strong advocate of natural contemplation. I focus on his interpretation of Evagrius and Maximus the Confessor. Merton was well acquainted with the research of a group of Orthodox theologians working at Saint-Sergius in Paris. I bring him into dialogue with two Orthodox pastoral theologians who worked there, Kyprian Kern and Elisabeth Behr-Sigel.

Dr. Dominiek Lootens is Head of the Center for Dialogue at Campus Riedberg in Frankfurt, Germany. He is an international advisor of the ITMS.


B2. Concurrent Papers

a. Daniel Horan - From Stranger to "Sister" and "Mother": Insights from Thomas Merton’s Relationship with Naomi Burton Stone
This paper offers the first comprehensive analysis of the material contained in the extensive correspondence between Thomas Merton and Naomi Burton Stone, revealing new insights about Merton from his relationship with Burton Stone, including aspects of his business ineptitude, personal struggles, health matters, the origins and development of his books and essays, his spiritual journey and vocational discernment, his psychological states, and many other dimensions of his life.

Daniel P. Horan, OFM is the Duns Scotus Professor of Spirituality at Catholic Theological Union, where he teaches systematic theology and spirituality. He is a member of the ITMS Board of Directors and The Merton Annual editorial board, and the author of more than a dozen books including The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton and A White Catholic's Guide to Racism and Privilege.

b. Glenn Loughrey - Merton and the Aboriginal Ways of Seeing
Explores the intersection of Merton’s life experience and his search for the real self and the experience of an Australian Aboriginal searching for freedom from childhood and cross-generational trauma. Who was Merton's real self and did he ever find it?

Glenn Loughrey is an Anglican priest, Wiradjuri/English/Irish, artist and writer from Melbourne, Australia with an active interest in Merton as a mentor in faith and social justice.


B3. Emerging Scholars

a. R. Zachary Karanovich - No New Strangers: Thomas Merton on Conversion without Contempt
After a conversion experience, one is able to distinguish themselves from persons or beliefs with whom they were once identified. Conversion, then, risks exacerbating polarization and creating new strangers. Merton’s theological anthropology, spiritual and political writings, and his own life illustrate a new model of conversion through which we do not create new strangers: renunciation without resentment or conversion without contempt.

R. Zachary (Zac) Karanovich is a Ph.D. Candidate in systematic theology at Boston College. He researches in the areas of political and liberation theologies, race and bias, grace and conversion, spirituality and ecclesiology, and how these might aid in the understanding and transformation of his own context: rural Indiana.

b. Matthew Reid - Happiness: Contemplative Influence on Contemporary Culture
The Christian life is implicitly a life a radical simplicity. It is a calling that is often vastly different than the way of the world. Happiness is not a worldly goal, but an internal striving to live with humility and love. This striving is an internal conversion and a life-long commitment made at baptism--to live in the world, but not of the world.

Founder of a charity working with the poor in the Southwest, Matthew Reid has given lectures across the United States, he speaks a universal message of prayer and the importance of a meditative life.


B4. Concurrent Workshop

Christine Bochen - "Day of a Stranger": A Text for Our Day
Merton interweaves threads of contemplative wisdom and prophetic witness, inviting us to reflect on his identity and spirituality and our own, as we unpack key images: “a stranger”; “a living balance of spirits”; “Selma, Birmingham, Mississippi”; “a mind awake in the dark”; “the secret that is heard only in silence”; “great mercy”; consonantia.

Professor emerita of religious studies at Nazareth College, Christine M. Bochen is co-author of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia and has edited or co-edited a volume of Merton's journals and several collections of his letters.


C1. Concurrent Papers

a. Christopher Pramuk - She Who Dwells Among Us: Merton and Melissa Raphael on Theology After, and In, Auschwitz
Melissa Raphael’s arresting 2003 book, The Female Face of God in Auschwitz, is compared with Merton’s sophianic writings to suggest a vision of God tied to the Jewish memory of exile and suffering. In a world bereft of mercy, God is found, and is stranger no more, in “the grey face of the other.”

Christopher Pramuk is an associate professor of theology at Regis University in Denver, and currently serves as Vice President of the ITMS.

b. Kathleen Tarr - On the Necessity of Pilgrimage and Traveling with the Inward Stranger

Kathleen Tarr is a long-time Alaskan who lives and writes under the Chugach Mountains surrounding Anchorage. She is the author of We Are All Poets Here (2018)—part-memoir, part-biography—about her spiritual search involving Alaska, Russia, and Thomas Merton. Much of her research for the book involved the uncovering of new details and more historical context about Merton's trek to Alaska in 1968.


C2. Concurrent Papers

a. Fred Herron - Are We There Yet? Thomas Merton as Experience, Text and Event
The object of this discussion is to consider Thomas Merton as an experience, text and event. Our experience of Merton is rooted, in part, in our experience of his writings. At the same time, however, it seems that the transformative experience which Merton provokes cannot be accounted for sufficiently by an account of his literary output alone. There needs to be some accounting for the transformative power of an encounter with Thomas Merton as noteworthy, both personally and in a larger context. This is an understanding of Thomas Merton as an event, a noteworthy occurrence that has consequences.

Dr. Fred Herron is a member of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at St. John's University and chairperson of the Department of Religious Studies at Fontbonne Hall Academy. The author of No Abiding Place: Thomas Merton and the Search for God (University Press of America, 2005). Fred has written and spoken about the work of Thomas Merton for twenty five years.

b. Stephanie Redekop - Obliged to Speak: Thomas Merton’s Literary Essays and 1960s Crisis Discourse
This presentation examines Merton’s socially-engaged, contemplative essays of the 1960s in relation to the twentieth-century "cult of the fact.” These essays critique empiricism as a limited path to truth and an insufficient response to crisis. In so doing, they can help us to re-imagine the possibilities of fact-based public discourse.

Stephanie Redekop is an English PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on the role of facts in 1960s public discourse.


C3. Emerging Scholars

a. Emilie Grosvenor - Feminist Theological Thought and the Spirituality of Merton: Reflecting upon His Relationship with M.
This paper will tackle how feminist theological thought and the spirituality of Merton may be held in fruitful tension in 2021 by reflecting upon his relationship with M-. This feminist approach to Merton's spirituality will use theological imagination to reflect upon the absent voice of M- herself while recognizing that Thomas Merton's combination of Christian witness and mysticism continues to provide spiritual food for our own witness against the increasingly volatile social and political situations of recent years.

Emilie K Grosvenor is a PhD candidate at the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics at the University of St. Andrews. Her research focuses on the intersection of feminist theology and popular devotion as well as the history of religious communities.

b. William Simpson - "Jerked clean out of the habitual vision of things": Divided Self and Conversion of Manners in Merton’s Spiritual Autobiography
In The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) William James presents conversion in terms of unification of a divided self. This presentation will examine how Thomas Merton lived the Benedictine vow of conversion of manners (conversatio morem) through the Jamesian lens of tension and resolution and the themes of asceticism, the Catholic Renaissance, and eremitic freedom.

Bill Simpson, a retired philosophy professor, divides his time between an off-grid cabin he built in the Colorado foothills and his household west of Denver.


C4. Concurrent Workshops

a. Carol Lenox - Are We Strangers to the Birds?
In this session we will read and reflect on pieces from Thomas Merton’s writings in which his observations of the birds he encountered led him to consider his own place in the community of beings. How might his insights give us guidance in our own spiritual journey?

Carol Lenox works as an environmental researcher. She earned an MPS from Loyola University New Orleans and is developing retreat materials from Loyola's Thomas Berry Collection.

b. Jennifer Trently - Visio Divina: Using Merton’s Art to Reflect on Stranger
In this workshop, participants will be led through a practice of Visio Divina(Sacred Seeing) meditating on Merton's connection with alien and stranger with the aid of photographs.

Jennifer works as a spiritual director in Jackson, TN where she shares her home with husband and two cats.


D1. Concurrent Papers

a. Kathleen Baker - These Thickets of Symbols: A Place to Search for the Stranger
Merton’s recommendation for finding “myself different” is to advance into the symbols that already populate one’s thinking. Through immersing himself in his home landscape, deepening the his use of the spatio-temporal in his art and advocating for interreligious dialogue, Merton penetrates the thicket and describes a path to attain liberty.

Kathleen Baker is a professor of geography and director of the W.E. Upjohn Center for the Study of Geographical Change at Western Michigan University.

b. Jamal Lyksett - The Knight of Faith and Solitude: Thomas Merton’s Reading of Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling
In 1940, Merton's journals show that he was taken by his reading of Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling. In Fear and Trembling, Merton finds the God that is only encountered in silence and solitude and whose encounter is inexplicable. This paper explores Merton's reading of Kierkegaard as an early manifestation of his draw to a life of solitude and silence. Seeing the distinction between the life of resignation (that life that is still grounded in the merely ethical state of life) and the life of the knight of faith (that life that seeks a radical and free encounter with God) sets Merton on a path that goes beyond a traditional religious experience to a life of love and union with God.

Jamal Lyksett teaches Philosophy at the University of Idaho. His interests include Eastern, Continental, and Catholic thought. He lives in Moscow, Idaho with his family.


D2. Concurrent Papers

a. Mary Frances Coady - "Bring Tom to Us!": Merton and the Trappist Renewal from Penitential to Contemplative
Thomas Merton thrived within the strict penitential discipline of the Trappists in the 1940s, but from the outset his search was for a more meaningful contemplative life than he found in the monastery.

Mary Frances Coady presented her paper, “’Wild Air’: Thomas Merton and Gerard Manley Hopkins” at the ITMS 16th General Meeting. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

b. P.E. Wilson - When Solitude Becomes Overcrowded
This essay explores the phenomenon of the overcrowding of solitude that resulted from the corona virus pandemic. Time, space, and society present challenges to solitude. First, I explore how Merton objectively and subjectively confronted this phenomenon. Second, I review Merton’s attempts to gain, preserve, and expand his experience of solitude.

Paul Eddy Wilson, Ph. D., is a Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Shaw University. His research focus upon philosophy of religion, ethics, personalism, and process.


D3. Concurrent Papers

a. Christopher Fici - A Circle Whose Circumference Is Nowhere and Whose Center Is Everywhere: The Regenerative Ecological Vision of Thomas Merton

b. Alan Kolp - A Transforming Moment: A Comparison of Thomas Merton and Illia Delio’s Pivotal Experience and Its Dynamic Implications
Change is core to evolution—of our universe and of human beings. In this sense evolution is continuous formation. However, not all change is equal. There are ordinary moments and extraordinary moments. Extraordinary moments can be evolutionally transformative. This paper focuses one such transforming moment in Thomas Merton and Ilio Delio, Franciscan sister and theologian. It will be demonstrated that their transformative moments were pivotal in their lives and vocations.

Alan Kolp is Professor of Religion and holder of the Baldwin Wallace University Chair in Faith & Life. He is a Quaker and a Benedictine oblate.


D4. Concurrent Workshops

a. Eric Martin - "The Moon is Shining and the Wheels are Turning": Listening to Merton’s Jazz Meditation Today
This presentation will focus on Merton's 1967 "jazz meditation" recorded in his hermitage. This session will give background on the unrest in Louisville in 1967, Merton's relationship with jazz, and the biblical passages he chooses for interpreting the situation. With this and ample time to listen to the audio itself, we can grapple together with what it means to hear God's building and planting in Black art and protest in a post-Ferguson, post-Charlottesville era with Merton's own guidance.

Eric Martin teaches religion at UCLA and is co-editor of The Berrigan Letters. He was invited as a guest panelist on the legacy of Merton's friendship with Dan Berrigan at the 2019 ITMS Conference at Santa Clara University.

b. Paul Pynkoski - Merton as Stranger: Witness, Poetry and Protest
"Day of a Stranger" shows Merton removed from 20th century society. Yet, we see the world in his heart while at prayer. We will start with Merton, then examine the poetry of Julia Esquivel and the music of Bruce Cockburn for clues from these three poets that may enable us to speak prophetically, and creatively integrate scripture, poetry, and events in our own prayers.

Paul lives in Toronto. He is a founding member of the Voices for Peace Conference. He has contributed to The Merton Seasonal, The Merton Annual, and Orthodoxy in Dialogue.


E1. Concurrent Papers

a. Patrick O'Connell - Merton’s Strange Archipelago: Poetic Responses to a Prosaic Journey
This presentation considers structure, theme and evolution of two Merton poems, “The City after Noon” (Tears of the Blind Lions) and “How to Enter a Big City” (Strange Islands), both drawn from a much longer draft written in late 1948 after Merton’s first trip outside the monastery since entering the Cistercians in 1941.

Patrick F. O'Connell is a founding member and former president of the ITMS, co-author of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia and editor of The Merton Seasonal.

b. Robert Whalen - Noir, Hip, Beat, Cool: Thomas Merton as Outsider
My paper is an exploration of Thomas Merton's ties to the post-war, transatlantic, avant-garde, by considering Merton using the categories of noir, hip, beat, and cool.

Robert Whalen is professor of history at Queens University of Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina. Professor Whalen is especially interested in religious and cultural history. His most recent monograph is "Murder, Inc. & the Moral Life" (Fordham, 2016).


E2. Concurrent Papers

a. Elizabeth (Liz) Burkemper - Countering "Strangerness" in Late Capitalism
Zeroing in on Merton’s declaration of the world’s violence being rooted in the “rush and pressure of modern life,” I examine how the resulting inward "strangerness" might be understood and countered in our context of late capitalism: in its exacerbated noise, heightened speeds, and digitized nature.

Liz Burkemper calls rural Missouri home and currently studies religion and ecology as a master’s student at Yale Divinity School.

b. Jim Robinson - The "Age of Rosemarys": Merton's Engagement with Rosemary Radford Ruether and Rosemary Haughton
This paper attends to Thomas Merton’s interactions with the work and worlds of Rosemary Radford Ruether and Rosemary Haughton. It highlights the theological and theoretical implications, as well as the concrete contours, of these interactions. In the process, this paper illuminates Merton’s relational approach to theological insight and religious truth.

Jim is a member of the Religious Studies department at Iona College, where he is Associate Director of the Deignan Institute for Earth and Spirit.


E3. Concurrent Papers

David Odorisio - Yes to Everyone": Thomas Merton’s Radical Ecumenism and Inter-Monastic Mysticism
This paper outlines the dynamic evolution of Merton’s commitments to religious “others,” beginning with his profound “radical ecumenism,” towards an all-embracing inter-monastic mysticism. Merton’s inter-spiritual vision is paradoxically rooted in his Christian monastic commitments while remaining extraordinarily open to religious others through a “transcendent unity” that he believed was accessible to all through contemplation, love, and a heart wide open enough to say “yes to everyone.”

David Odorisio, Ph.D. serves as Director of The Retreat at Pacifica Graduate Institute (Santa Barbara, CA) and is Associate Core Faculty in their Mythological Studies program. He is the editor of Merton and Hinduism: The Yoga of the Heart (Fons Vitae, 2021).


E4. Concurrent Workshop

Judith Valente and Br. Paul Quenon - Thomas Merton and the Art of Letter-Writing
Merton's letters offer penetrating insights into the monk and the man. This workshop explores some of the most compelling letters, why letter-writing was so important to Merton and how Merton inspired a letter-writing exchange between a monk and a journalist (Brother Paul Quenon and Judith Valente) which will be published in a book out later this year. Participants will have a chance to reflect on their own favorite Merton letters and the role of letter writing in their own lives.

Paul Quenon, OCSO has been a monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani for more than 60 years and was a novice under Merton. He has written nine poetry collections and the award-winning memoir, In Praise of the Useless Life.

Judith Valente wrote for The Wall Street Journal and reported for national PBS-TV. She has authored several spirituality titles, most recently, "How to Be: A Monk and A Journalist Reflect on Living and Dying, Purpose and Prayer, Forgiveness and Friendship," with Brother Paul Quenon.


F1. Concurrent Papers

a. Marjorie Gourlay - Merton and the Refugee: Exploring a Contemplative Approach towards Hospitality to the Perceived “Other”- Syrians in Scotland
The recent arrival of Syrian refugees into Scotland through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement (VPR) Scheme has necessitated the forging of new partnerships and networks to facilitate their integration into society. By engaging with Merton's rhetoric on being (and not being) a "stranger", this paper explores how listening to the narratives of refugees in exile can contribute to a broader understanding of our shared human belonging to a "supernatural organism."

Marjorie Gourlay is a PhD candidate at the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics (CSRP) at the University of St Andrews.

b. Gordon Oyer - Imperfect Knowing: Merton's Inward Stranger in Letters with Blacks
This paper shares observations about Merton’s personal interactions in letters with four Black men. While acknowledging his many expressions of insight and wisdom about America’s racial landscape, it focuses on occasional examples of questionable assumptions that he made and from which whites of today might learn.

Gordon Oyer is the author of Pursuing the Spiritual Roots of Protest on Merton’s 1964 peacemaker retreat and Signs of Hope: Merton’s Letters on Peace, Race, Ecology (forthcoming).


F2. Concurrent Papers

a. Gary Hall - The Particularity of Strangers and the Practice of Availability: In Memory of Herman Hanekamp
In March 1958 Merton writes of a disruptive sense of connection with passing strangers in Louisville; but what actually changes? In his final journal entry of that year, Merton tells of a different kind of disruption and a different kind of neighbourly connection. Poised between these contrasting episodes, via Merton's reading of Camus, Chuang Tzu and Philip Berrigan, we consider how Merton can move readers towards compassionate, relational engagement with the particularity of one another.

Rev Dr Gary Hall is a tutor in ethics, preaching and formation at the Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham, UK. He was previously editor of The Merton Journal.

b. Gray Matthews - Unmasking the Contemplative
The motives behind “unmasking the contemplative” are to open, reopen, and keep open our conceptions of life’s contemplative elements or dimensions and thus our capacities to cultivate deeper relations with the living world. I seek to provoke critical thoughtfulness about unmasking the contemplative to free “contemplation” from our deadening manners of imposing.

Gray Matthews is an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Memphis and has served the ITMS in various capacities since 2001.


F3. Concurrent Workshop

Douglas Hertler - Merton and Me, Haunted By Intimacy: Friendship, Freedom, and the Fire of God's Love
Blazing societal tumult, rupturing relationships, is the commandment to Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself dead? Doug Hertler presents selected readings from his one-man play, Merton and Me - A Living Trinity, and invites us to reflect more deeply on the measure of intimacy and freedom that haunts our friendships with self, God, and others.

Doug Hertler/Lory is a playwright, actor/educator, retreat leader, and NYC tour guide dedicated to witnessing through his life and work the contemplative vision of Thomas Merton.


F4. Concurrent Workshops

a. Aaron Kerr and Emily Muntean - Placing Merton in Ministry and Teaching with Undergraduates
This inter-active workshop is the result of a philosophy professor and campus minister team teaching a philosophy of place course with a travel component. Student experiential learning activities are discussed in relation to resources in the Merton canon which contextualize student learning. The strange and familiar are explored as tools for contemplative education.

Aaron K. Kerr, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Gannon University where he developed a travel course called Philosophy of Place.

Emily Muntean, M.A. is Resident Campus Minister at Gannon University. In addition to her ministerial role, she frequently accompanies student service and global immersion trips.

b. Thomas Malewitz - Secret Path: Using Poetry as a Catalyst for Reconciliation in Response to National Tragedy
This presentation will examine Gord Downie's album, Secret Path, in concert with Merton's poetry as a commentary on national tragedy and the effects of isolation in search of authentic community. Specifically, themes focusing on the unity that binds all peoples will be explored, especially in relation to Canadian Truth and Reconciliation efforts.

Thomas Malewitz, Ph.D. is a secondary theology teacher and lecturer (Education and Theology). He is the author of Authenticity, Passion, and Advocacy (Wipf & Stock).