“Living Together in Joy: Thomas Merton’s Invitation to New Life”

led by Christine M. Bochen


“I hope you and I together will secretly travel our own road to joy,” Merton wrote to thank his young friend, Grace Sisson, for a drawing she had sent him.  She had entitled it “The Road to Joy.”  Merton’s life and writings illuminate the road to joy, identifying signposts along the way and inviting us to live together in joy.  

What wisdom does Merton offer us for the journey?  What does Merton have to teach us about joy?  Drawing on Merton’s life and writings, we will explore and reflect on three aspects of joy:  the joy of being human, the joy of friendship, and the joy of unity.   

Christine M. Bochen is professor of Religious Studies at Nazareth College, Rochester, NY, where she holds the William H. Shannon Chair in Catholic Studies.  A founding member and past president of the International Thomas Merton Society, she edited Courage for Truth, a volume of Merton’s letters to writers, Learning to Love, the sixth volume of Merton’s letters, and Thomas Merton: Essential Writings; co-edited Cold War Letters and Thomas Merton: A Life in Letters; and with William H. Shannon and Patrick F. O’Connell co-authored The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia.  Most recently, she edited a collection of essays entitled The Way of Mercy (Orbis, 2016).

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