Merton, Thomas

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Portrait of Thomas Merton (click to view image source)
Thomas Merton
(to view image author and license, click here)
Name
Merton, Thomas Gender: M
born on 31 January 1915 at 09:00 (= 09:00 AM )
Place Prades/Pyrénées Orientales, France, 42n38, 2e25
Timezone GMT h0e (is standard time)
Data source
Quoted BC/BR
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Steinbrecher
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_aqucol.18.gif 10°25' s_mo.18.gif s_leocol.18.gif 12°37 Asc.s_piscol.18.gif 24°25'



Biography

French-American writer, poet, monk, mystic and social critic who inspired and touched many 20th century minds and hearts. In 1941 he entered a Trappist monastery in rural Kentucky and was ordained in 1949 after eight years of silence.

His first book, "Seven Story Mountain" sold 600,000 copies in its first year, capturing readers like few books since Saint Augustine's "Confessions." Despite this, the New York Times refused to put it on its best seller list because it was a religious book. In the '60s he began to write on war, social issues, politics and racism, some 50 volumes in all. He was often hailed as a prophet, but also condemned as a blasphemer.

Merton's death was bizarre. During a six-month trip through Asia, the longest of his otherwise cloistered life, on 12/10/1968 he stepped out of a shower in a cottage near Bangkok, reached for a fan with defective wiring and was instantly electrocuted.

Harper-Collins published seven volumes of Merton's private journals, 6,000 pages that included his collected poems, his literary criticism and five volumes of letters to some 1,800 recipients. How he was able to be so voluble was a mystery to his fellow monks. Like them, Father Louis, as he was called, rose at 3:15 AM to pray the first of seven hours out of the day. He said masses, worked the fields, planted hundreds of trees and for ten years served as master to novices. An expert Latinist, he translated all the works of the 13th-century monastic masters.

The Trappists' famous rule of silence was interrupted by visitors, with whom he was a wry and whimsical talker, enjoying a sociable drink of bourbon or a beer. Yet he also craved solitude and the richness of an interior life. He wrote, "I entered the silence and knew that I was at home."

His vows were shaken to their roots in 1966. Merton met a nurse half his age and fell dizzily, recklessly in love. Six months later, he confessed to his spiritual director and agonizingly broke off the relationship. To further isolate himself, he moved to a hermitage on the monastery grounds.

Merton's personal journals reveal an alive, questioning mind, ceaselessly intrigued by contemporary events and culture. He delighted in literature and the arts, but also in jazz and even scatological humor. He was often wearied by the church's politics and endless discussions between progressive and orthodox Catholics. Continually questioning, he never took the stance of having all the answers, and he recognized in himself a profound involvement with life and the affairs of the world.

When he ventured into Asia, Merton met the Dalai Lama for the first time and the two men recognized each other as kindred spirits. Both bemoaned that they had too little time for solitude and meditation, yet each saw in the other a core of deep spirituality along with a comic sense of life.

Merton's death at 53 on 10 December 1968 in Bangkok, Thailand, seemed a cruel joke, robbing us of the wisdom of his aging, a black tragedy. But perhaps he was even in tune with this moment of receiving a 220-volt charge. His face in death was strangely at peace.

Link to Wikipedia biography

Events

  • Social : Change of Lifestyle 1941 (Entered Trappist monastery)
  • Relationship : Meet a significant person 1966 (Fell in love with a nurse)
  • Relationship : Difficult period 1966 (Gave up his lover for his religious vows)
  • Death by Accident 10 December 1968 in Bangkok (Electrocuted, age 53)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

B.R. in hand from Steinbrecher. (Monica Furlong biography gave 9:30 AM.)

Categories

  • Traits : Body : Voice/Speech (Silent for for eight years)
  • Traits : Personality : Principled strongly
  • Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Accident/Injury (Electrocuted fatally)
  • Personal : Religion/Spirituality : Western (Devout, pius)
  • Personal : Death : Unusual (Stepped out of shower, electrocuted)
  • Vocation : Religion : Ecclesiastics/ western (Trappist Monk)
  • Vocation : Writers : Religion/ Philosophy
  • Vocation : Writers : Poet
  • Vocation : Writers : Textbook/ Non-fiction (Social issues)
  • Notable : Famous : Other Famous (Considered a saint by many)
  • Notable : Book Collection : Culture Collection

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