A Pilgrimage to the Abbey of Gethsemani How To Develop A Spiritual Journal Process of Spiritual Growth Sitemap Spiritual Direction Workshops Merton Retreats More Thoughts with Merton in Solitude How To Develop A Spiritual Journal Process of Spiritual Growth Sitemap of Dan Phillips Works Thoughts In Solitude With Merton Thomas Merton Retreats Spiritual Direction Workshops Thomas Merton - Monk and Poet A Pilgrimage to the Abbey of Gethsemani A Pilgrimage to the Abbey of Gethsemani How To Develop A Spiritual Journal Process of Spiritual Growth Sitemap of Dan Phillips Works Spiritual Direction Workshops Merton Retreats Thoughts In Solitude With Merton


Reflector URL http://go.to/merton

Text and photography by Dan K. Phillips--E-Mail Dan

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Abbey of Gethsemani

"Let there always be quiet, dark churches in which people can
take refuge....Houses of God filled with his silent presence. There,
even when they do not know how to pray, at least they
can be still and breathe easily. ------------(New Seeds of Contemplation)






E-mail Dan Kenneth Phillips


A Comprehensive

List of Books by Thomas Merton

This list includes everything by Thomas Merton on Amazon. Most are highly discounted. A good way to stock up on Merton books.

The Abbey of Gethsemani- Place of Peace and Paradox

Dianne Aprile's 150th anniversary book of the Abbey of Gethsemani is terrific. You can order from Amazon. Price is $39.95. You can read Dan's review on the Amazon Book Site.

Running To The Mountain - Book Review

Rev. Dan K. Phillips reviews Jon Katz's new book, Running to the Mountain. This is about a modern pilgrim who carries a sack of Merton Books to an isolated mountain in New York.


This last journal by Thomas Merton is available for a 30 percent discount at Amazon Books. A good price. (click here to order). Also available for the discount are Volume 6 - Learning to Love, and Volume 5 - Dancing in the Water of Life: Seeking Peace in the Hermitage. These are the only Hardbacks left at Amazon.

The other volumes are available in paperback only: (Volume 1 - Run to the Mountain-$12.00), (Volume 2 - Entering the Silence : Becoming A Monk and Writer $12.00), (Volume 3 - A Search for Solitude: Pursuing the Monk's True Life-$12.80), and (Volume 4 - Turning Toward the World - The Pivotal Years $15.00). Another difficult book to find is Merton's Waters of Siloe available for $11.00. Advice from one who didn't take it! Get the Hardback copies while you can because they may be difficult to find later.


I have recently been reading THE CLOISTER WALK by Kathleen Norris(a protestant). It is a beautiful book describing her visit to St. John's Monastery in Collegeville, MN. She is sensitive to the meaning of worship as exhibited by the monks where she stayed. It is especially pertinent since she was originally a protestant, not a catholic. A GOOD READ! She is also the author of DAKOTA: A SPIRITUAL GEOGRAPHY.

Other excellent books for spiritual development are Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster and Timothy Jones book A Place for God: A Guide to Spiritual Retreats and Retreat Centers


Abbey of Gethsemani - A Pilgrimage -

Abbey of GethsemaniAbbey

Rev. Dan K. Phillips shares the retreat he took at the Abbey of Gethsemani.

Retreats: Spiritual Directions Page for more information.

A Visit to Thomas Merton's Grave (Includes photographs and text by Dan Phillips)


Rain and Grace


E-mail Dan Kenneth Phillips



October 17, 1996

I went to visit Thomas Mertons' grave today. I drove to New Haven (Ky), east on highway 52, and north on highway 247. The only signs indicating the monastery was near were a few road signs with only the word "Trappist" on them.

The first indication that the monastery was near was a cross on the knob of a hill. Seeing the cross brought awe, a sense of excitement, that I was finally at the place I have wanted to visit for many years.

Just a cross on a hillside to point the way. And, in reality how appropriate: a cross on a hillside. That was how Jesus left his mark: A CROSS!

This sign greets visitors to the monastery. I have great admiration for Thomas Merton. His works as a poet and a monk have had great influence on my own life. I have loved his poems. Some remind me of my own poems. Perhaps I have copied his style. I tell about my early days as a poet in my story about San Francisco. It was during this time that I first heard of Merton.

But, his journals have meant the most. I have read and reread them. As one of my professors, Glenn Hinson, said of Merton, "He speaks to my condition." Approaching the monastery, I realize that I am being transported in time to a place that I have been many times in my mind. And, I say a prayer, "Thanks Lord for the life of Thomas Merton."

E-mail Dan Kenneth Phillips

This sign has been around a long time. It tells of the founding of the Abbey of Gethsemane at this location in 1848.

For some strange reason, writers love monasteries. Robert Louis Stevenson and William "Least Heat" Moon were just a few of the writers who made stopovers at monasteries. This is the front view of the monastery.

This is a larger view of the monastery .

Brother Rafael greeted us at the monastery. He was in charge of the busy busy telephones. He took us to one of the nearby rooms and left us viewing a video of the monastery while he continued answering phones. He was a gracious host. The art production on the wall behind Brother Wayne Burns and Brother Raphael was done by Jim Cantrell, the owner of the Bardstown Art Gallery. It is excellent work!

Merton is here pictured while at Gethsemane. This was also done by Jim Cantrell.

Merton is buried at Gethsemane. He died tragically while in Bangkok, Thailand.

This statue is on top of a hill south of the monastery. Outdoor chairs surround the statue, making it easy to pray and meditate.


A monk and a prominent writer, Thomas Merton, b. Prades, France, Jan. 31, 1915, d. Dec. 10, 1968, became one of the most famous American Roman Catholics of the 20th century. As a young man Merton traveled with his artist parents (his father was a New Zealander, his mother an American) in France and studied briefly at Cambridge University, England, before he went to the United States and earned (1939) a master's degree from Columbia University. During those years he gradually changed from an agnostic to a devout Roman Catholic.

After teaching English for a while and working in a Harlem settlement house, Merton decided (1941) to become a monk, choosing the Trappist order for its discipline of silence and solitude. Within the monastery he served for years as master of students and novices. Outside it, his writing, which included poetry, meditations, and works of social criticism, brought him prominence in American letters.

His autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain (1948), became a bestseller. Merton's social criticisms burned deeply into public awareness of racism, economic injustice, and militarism.

Seeing parallels between Oriental mysticism and Western tradition, Merton gained permission to attend an ecumenical conference of Buddhist and Christian monks held in Bangkok, Thailand. While attending that meeting, he was accidentally electrocuted.


Goals of the International Thomas Merton Society

  • to encourage research, study and reading of the works of Thomas Merton
  • to promote the writing of both scholarly and popular books and articles about him
  • to assist members to explore the unique spiritual journey of Thomas Merton through shared insights
  • to promote recognition of Thomas Merton as a spiritual theologian, a social critic, a catalyst for interreligious dialogue, as an important American literary figure
  • to promote communication among members through biennial general meetings, special meetings, and various publications

    TO JOIN:

    Membership Dues $20 per year

    Dues may be forwarded to & inquiries about the Society addressed to:

    Thomas Merton Center
    Bellarmine College
    2001 Newburg Road
    Lousiville, KY 40205-0671
    Tel. (502)-452-8187


    "The things I thought were so important -- because of the effort I put into them -- have turned out to be of small value. And the things I never thought about, the things I was never able to either to measure or to expect, were the things that mattered."



    Trappists is the popular name for members of the Roman Catholic order of CISTERCIANS of the Strict Observance (O.C.S.O. or O.C.R.), which traces its beginnings back to the reforms introduced (1664) by Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rance (1626-1700) at the monastery of La Trappe near Seez, France. He stressed the penitential aspect of monasticism--little food, no meat, hard manual labor, and strict silence. Eventually these measures were adopted by other Cistercian monasteries. Expelled from France during the French Revolution, the La Trappe community survived as exiles under Dom Augustine de Lestrange. They returned to La Trappe in 1815.

    In the mid-20th century the Trappists increased in membership, particularly in the United States. One influential member was the writer Thomas MERTON. The Trappist monks and nuns, who wear a white habit with black scapular, now have about 70 abbeys worldwide. (Cyprian Davis, O.S.B.)


    There are few Merton books at the Abbey of Gethsemane. To buy his books one needs to go to Bardstown. Most, if not all, Merton books are available at the Bardstown Art Gallery. The Bardstown Art Gallery is a beautiful place. It is run by the Jim and Jeannette Cantrell. They have done beautiful art work of Thomas Merton, as well as Thomas Kelly, now the abbot at Gethsemane.

    To order here is the address and phone number. You can also order online for the Bardstown Art Gallery. This is a list of the Merton books that are available at the Gallery.

    Jeannette Cantrell, Director
    P.O. Box 417
    Bardstown, Kentucky 40004

    Phone: 502-348-6488
    FAX: 502-349-1920

    Send any comments, or suggestions, about The Abbey via E-mail to Dan Phillips.


    While searching for the bookstore, we got captured by an advertisement for the most "famous hat in America." Even the monks would appreciate a hat like this. As you can see the Rooster Run Hat can be bought at one of the stores in Bardstown.

    Here are two happy Rooster Run customers. On the left is the Right Reverend Wayne Burns, a famous preacher from Alabama. On the right is the author, "Rooster Run Phillips." I admit I now wear the hat everywhere. People always comment. It maybe the hat I was looking for earlier in the Nevada story.

    Send any comments about The Hat or The Merton Site via E-mail to Dan Phillips.


    This is a list of workshops led by Rev. Dan Kenneth Phillips including information on Thomas Merton and How to Develop A Spiritual Journal. The following are a few of the comments on the workshop.

    • I received a much deeper appreciation for solitude. Gloria Adams
    • Enjoyed journaling exercise using scripture
    • "I liked being with the group- we were from all over, yet we shared the desire to come together, to pray, to laugh, to share --we became a community of Christians, with our focus on listening to God and drawing nearer to him." Kathi Latta, Owensboro, KY
    • "I feel rejuvenated. I would like to hear more, I like your handouts to help us as we relive these two days and to broaden our spiritual journey. " Margarent Ann Moore, Nashville, TN.
    • "Dan-Great Job. Your knowledge is inspirational ! Thanks." Lynn Robinson, Nashville,TN.
    • "I love being here. I was not expecting to meet Thomas Merton in such a human loving way as presented by Rev. Phillips." Theresa DeLoria, Hermitage,Tn.
    • What I learned has made me very eager to learn/read more of Merton's writings. 'Firewatch' was inspiring and helped me discover my own spiritual journey." Fran Smolen, Bowling Green, Ky.
    • "You have a great treasure of knowledge and understanding of this very complex person and presented it well." Pat Wilson, Concord, Ky.

    Other web sites by Dan K. Phillips

  • The Spiritual Journal of Dan Phillips

    Dan's Home Page

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    Dan K. Phillips
    109 Breckenridge Road
    Franklin, TN 37067
    Phone: 615-790-7129