Catholic Courier

Posted: May 30, 2017

Two to present at Merton conference

Sister Monica Weis, SSJ, has written extensively about Thomas Merton: She’s had three books published, the most recent one having been released in 2016.

In addition, Sister Weis is set to conduct a workshop about the famed Trappist monk at the 15th general meeting of the International Thomas Merton Society, to be held June 15-18 at St. Bonaventure University.

Sister Weis, professor emerita of English at Nazareth College, will lead “Allowing Landscape to Nudge Us to Prayer: The Power of Place.” According to Sister Weis, the workshop will consist of power-point presentations “on the different landscapes that Merton experienced in his life, and how landscape influences our imagination and prayer,” she said.

Sister Weis’ involvement in the international conference follows the release of her latest book, Thomas Merton and the Celts: A New World Opening Up, which was released last September by Pickwick Publications. The book details Merton’s intense interest in Celtic spirituality over the final four years of his life (he died in 1968 at age 53.) It is available at the Sisters of St. Joseph Gift Shop, 150 French Road, Pittsford; Sacred Heart Cathedral bookstore, 296 Flower City Park, Rochester; or by contacting Sister Weis at mweis9@naz.edu.

Other Merton books authored by Sister Weis are Gethsemani: Landscapes of Paradise (2005) and The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton (2011).

Also at the upcoming Merton conference, Christine Bochen, a religious-studies professor at Nazareth, will conduct a paper presentation, “Learning Mercy at St. Bonaventure: Merton, the Draft and the Baroness.” The session will detail Merton’s time spent in Olean in the early 1940s, just prior to his entering the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. It was during this period, Bochen noted, that Merton formulated important decisions affecting his social consciousness regarding war and racism.