Scholars visit The Thomas Merton Center
As part of the McConnell Center's "Leadership and Literature: Autobiography Series," several McConnell Scholars traveled to The Thomas Merton Center, housed at nearby Bellarmine University. Scholars met with Father George Kilcourse during their Sept. 10, 2010, visit.
Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a writer and Trappist monk at Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky. His writings include such classics as The Seven Storey Mountain, New Seeds of Contemplation and Zen and the Birds of Appetite. Merton is the author of more than 70 books that include poetry, personal journals, collections of letters, social criticism and writings on peace, justice and ecumenism.
McConnell Scholars read Merton's autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, in preparation for the visit. Merton finished the book in 1946, at age 31, five years after entering the abbey. The title refers to the mountain of Purgatory in Dante's Divine Comedy. According to TIME, Merton's autobiography was among the best-selling non-fiction books in the country in 1949. The book has been continuously in print and has been translated into more than 15 languages.
The book is on the National Review's list of the 100 best non-fiction books of the 20th century; it is also mentioned in 100 Christian Books That Changed the Century (2000) by William J. Petersen.
A McConnell Scholar's prospective: Blog by Kurtis Frizzell (Class of 2012, McLean County)