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Merton's Franciscan Heart

From: Franciscan Studies
Volume 55, 1998
pp. 299-309 | 10.1353/frc.1998.0038

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Merton's Franciscan Heart
Michael Downey
St. John's Seminary
Camarillo, California


1. Worthwhile studies on this topic include James Thomas Baker, Thomas Merton: Social Critic (Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Presses, 1971); Frederic Kelly, Man Before God: Thomas Merton on Social Responsibility (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1974).

2. As but one example of Merton's sustained cultural critique see his Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1966).

3. An effort to trace the influence of Daniel C. Walsh on Thomas Merton is Robert Imperato's Merton and Walsh on the Person (New Berlin, WI: Liturgical Publications, 1987).

4. See the poem "CHEESE" [by Joyce Killer-Diller] in The Collected Poems of Thomas Merton (New York: New Directions, 1977), 799.

5. Merton's writings on St. Bernard date as early as 1948. See Thomas Merton on Saint Bernard (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1980).

6. See Marie-Dominique Chenu, "Les Catégories Affectives dans la Langue de l'Ecole," Le Coeur, vol. 29 of Etudes Carmélitaines (n.p.: Desclée De Brouwer, 1950), 123-128.

7. In addressing Amiya Chakravarty and the students at Smith College on 13 April 1967, Merton used this phrase in referring to God and to that in which all beings find their identity and uniqueness. See The Hidden Ground of Love: The Letters of Thomas Merton on Religious Experience and Social Concerns, ed. by William H. Shannon (New York: Farrar, Straus, 1985), ix.

8. Elena Malits, The Solitary Explorer: Thomas Merton's Transforming Journey (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1980), especially pp. 139ff; see also Anne E. Carr, A Search For Wisdom and Spirit: Thomas Merton's Theology of the Self (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1988).

9. "St. Bernard on Interior Simplicity," in Thomas Merton on Saint Bernard, 107-157.

10. Aelred of Rievaulx, The Mirror of Charity, trans. Elizabeth Conner, Cistercian Fathers Series, no. 17 (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1990). See the helpful introduction and notes by Charles Dumont.

11. See John Boswell's speculation about Aelred in Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980). See also Brian Patrick McGuire, Brother and Lover: Aelred of Rievaulx (New York: Crossroad, 1994). The positions of both scholars on Aelred's affective life, as well as the precise nature of his understanding of friendship, have served as a lightening rod for such scholars of Cistercian studies as Marsha Dutton and Katherine Te Pas.