The Thomas Merton Society
of Great Britain & Ireland

Since 1993, The Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain & Ireland has been at the forefront of exploring the life & writings of Merton and his impact on the contemporary world, with conferences, retreats and the publication of the Merton Journal.

Oakham Conference 2020

Our 2020 Residential Conference will be held at Oakham School from
Thurday 2nd April - Saturday 4th April, 2020. The theme of the conference is:

Contemplation and Fruitful Action

Due to the rapidly developing coronavirus epidemic, which has already led to a number of cancellations, we have regrettably made the decision to cancel the forthcoming Oakham Conference. Our overriding concern has been the safety of all those concerned, not only of those attending but also of the staff at the school and of the wider public. 5/3/20

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The society is delighted to announce that
Christopher Pramuk, chair of Ignatian Thought and Imagination, and associate professor of theology at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, is to be one of the keynote speakers at our 2020 Oakham conference. Among his publications are 2 books on Merton: At Play in Creation - Merton's awakening to the feminine divine & Sophia - The hidden Christ of Thomas Merton.
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The Society is also delighted to announce that Ursula King will be our second keynote speaker at our 2020 Oakham Conference. She is Professor Emerita of Theology & Religious Studies and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Bristol University. She has lectured all over the world and published numerous books and articles, especially on gender issues in religion, method and theory, Hinduism, interfaith dialogue, spirituality, and on Teilhard de Chardin.
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Attending the Conference will be the author, photographer, podcaster and filmmaker Cassidy Hall who will be presenting her latest film Day of a Stranger - an intimate portrait of Thomas Merton during his final years livings as a hermit. The film interweaves meditative images of his hermitage and suroundings with audio recordings Merton made as a hermit.
Link to Cassidy's website

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Our artist in residence will be Ernesto Lozada-Uzuriaga, writer, accomplished painter, illustrator, graphic narrative author, and an ordained Anglican priest serving in the Ecumenical Church of Christ the Cornerstone in Milton Keynes. Ernesto was born in Lima, Peru, studied Social Anthropology at San Marcos University, theology at SeminarioTeologico de Lima and trained for the ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.
Link to Ernesto's website with examples of his artwork

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Also attending and presenting papers/leading workshops will be Larry Culliford, James D'Angelo, Peter Ellis, Fiona Gardner, Gary Hall, Thomas Malewitz, Sonia Petisco Martinez, Samuel McNally-Cross, Gordon Oyer, Paul Pearson, Anthony Purvis & Emma Wallace.
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In his essay 'Contemplation in a World of Action', Merton writes that a special dimension of personal development and inner discipline is 'a necessary ground for fruitful action'. Such a contemplative attitude can seem incompatible with our busy day-to-day lives. But for Merton, this is vital if our actions are to arise from an inner ground of meaning and love. As he writes in the essay:

  He who attempts to act and do things for others or for the world without deepening his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity and capacity to love, will have nothing to give others. He will communicate to them nothing but the contagion of his own obsessions, his aggressiveness, his self-centred ambitions, his delusions about ends and means, his doctrinaire prejudices and ideas.  

For Merton our own contemplative life, whether lay or cloistered, is an expression of 'a deep and grace-inspired desire for newness of life', a life in which God can act in us and through us to deepen our capacity to understand and to serve others.

Booking Form        Social media hashtag: #merton2020

Bursaries are available for full-time students
For details email:

Conference Programmes for previous years can be found under the Resources tab at the top.
Gordon Oyer's keynote presentation, 'Thomas Merton's Journey with Social Movements',
given at the Oakham Conference in 2018 can be downloaded here.

         The Merton Collection

Over the years the Society has built up a comprehensive collection of books, journals and volumes of letters by Merton along with a wide range of critical commentaries on Merton's work as well as recordings of talks and conferences given by Merton. The collection is now housed at St Michael's Priory, Willen outside Milton Keynes, where it may be freely consulted by all.

St Michael's Priory website          Details about the Collection          Link to the Merton Collection

Dates for your diary 

Contemplation and Fruitful Action

Thursday 2nd – Saturday 4th April 2020
Oakham School, Rutland

The Society's 2020 Residential Conference. See details above.

Selected Recent Publications


Medieval Cistercian History: Initiation into the Monastic Tradition 9

Thomas Merton, ed. P O'Connell
8 May 2019

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link


Thomas Merton's Encounter with Buddhism and Beyond

Jaechan Anselmo Park
15 April 2019

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link


A Course in Desert Spirituality: 15 Sessions with the Famous Trappist Monk

Thomas Merton, ed. Jon Sweeney
15 April 2019

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link


Angelic Mistakes: The Art of Thomas Merton

Roger Lipsey pbk edition
20 Feb 2019

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link


Touched by God's Spirit - How Merton, Van Gogh, Vanier & Rembrandt influenced Henri Nouwen's heart of compassion

by Father Luke Penkett 28 March 2019

Publisher's Details       Amazon Link


On Thomas Merton

by Mary Gordon  18 Dec 2018

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link


 Silence, Joy - A Selection of Writings
by Thomas Merton

by Christopher Wait, ed. - 22 November 2018

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link

 The Significance of the Writing of
Thomas Merton - Cultivating peace

by Maryann Pasda Diedwardo
9 November 2018

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link


 Superabundantly Alive: Thomas Merton's Dance with the Feminine

by Susan McCaslin & J S Porter - 12 Nov 2018

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link

 The Waters of Siloe

by Thomas Merton - 15 October 2018

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link


 Cistercian Fathers and Forefathers:
Essays and Conferences

by  Thomas Merton & Patrick O'Connell, ed. 
15 September 2018

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link

 Spiritual Voices

by Eleanor Clitheroe & S Brooke Anderson, ed.
7 September 2018

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link


 Thomas Merton - Evil and Why We Suffer: From Purified Soul Theodicy to Zen

by  David E. Orberson - 18 June 2018

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link

 In Praise of a Useless Life: A Monk's Memoir

by Paul Quenon - 30 May 2018

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link


 Where Prayer Flourishes
Orignally published as
The Climate of Monastic Prayer

by Thomas Merton - 31 May 2018

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link


 Thomas Merton Meets the Unspeakable: Redezvous in Thailand

by Jerome Donovan - pub. 1 May 2018

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link


 What I Am Living For: Lessons for Life from the Life and Writings of Thomas Merton

by Jon M. Sweeney (editor) - pub. 30 April 2018

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link


 The Monk's Record Player: Thomas Merton, Bob Dylan and the Perilous Summer of 1966

by  Robert Hudson - pub. 30 April 2018

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link


Our Centenary Edition of The Merton Journal, Universal Vision, is an enlarged volume of 200 pages with contributors from across Europe. It explores Merton's profound legacy in a unique collection of essays and meditations; and it also includes some of Merton's own newly-discovered student articles from his time at Cambridge University in 1933-34.  

All members receive copies of the Journal. Further copies are available for £8.99 +P&P. Contact for further details.

Further recent publications can be found under the 'Publications' tab