Thomas Merton (1915-1968)
“Love is our true destiny.”
Thomas Merton was born in France and moved to the United States during World War I with his parents. During his studies at Columbia University in New York, he turned to Catholicism and later joined the Trappist Abbey of Gethsemani, an order with a deep commitment to silence and contemplation. Merton was ordained a priest in 1949.
Merton published a collection of poems called Thirty Poems (1944), A Man in the Divided Sea (1946), Figures for an Apocalypse (1948), and an autobiography called Seven Storey Mountain (1948). He became internationally known for his writings. His early works were mainly focused on his personal spiritual journey, however, his later works touched on justice, civil rights, nonviolence, and pacifism.
He interacted with all the civil rights leaders of that time. He lived in solitude and for some time became a hermit. Yet through writing his world kept expanding and, in his final days, built bridges with the monastic traditions of other faiths. He died in Thailand on pilgrimage. Merton calls us to a deep inner stillness from which our action for justice draws on the deepest possible motivation.
You can read more about Thomas Merton at Britannica.