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Thomas Merton
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Religious Figure
    (January 31, 1915-December 10, 1968)
    Born in Prades, France
    Trappist monk/poet/author
    Wrote the autobiography 'The Seven Storey Mountain' (1948)
    Wrote the poetry collections 'Thirty Poems' (1944), 'The Tears of the Blind Lions' (1949), 'The Strange Islands' (1957) and 'Emblems of a Season of Fury' (1963)
    Also wrote 'Seeds of Contemplation' (1949), 'The Ascent to Truth' (1951), 'Bread in the Wilderness' (1953), 'No Man Is An Island' (1955), 'The Silent Life' (1957), 'Life and Holiness' (1963), 'Gandhi on Non-Violence' (1965), 'Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander' (1966) and 'Mystics and Zen Masters' (1967)
    Died from electric shock from a faultily-wired fan
    Namesake for the Thomas Merton Center for Peace and Social Justice and its annual Thomas Merton Award
    During his year at Cambridge, he was a heavy drinker and womanizer, and probably fathered a child out of wedlock.
    He was kept from joining the Franciscans after confessing his past behavior.
    Publication of 'The Seven Storey Mountain' was delayed a year while a censor from his order toned down the franker passages.
    He joined a monastery for solitude and ironically became a celebrity.
    He is co-subject of the tasteless joke, 'What do John Lennon and Thomas Meron have in common?' 'They were both killed by a fan.'
    Graham Greene said of 'The Seven Storey Mountain,' 'It is a rare pleasure to read an autobiography with a pattern and meaning valid for us all.'
    He was a strong supporter of the civil rights movement, calling it 'the greatest example of Christian faith in action in the social history of the United States.'
    He was a proponent of interfaith understanding, corresponding with prominent Asian spiritual figures including the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh.
    The Dalai Lama said he had a more profound understanding of Buddhism than any other Christian he knew.
    He wrote, 'Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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