The Thomas Merton Society

of Great Britain & Ireland

Since 1993, The Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain & Ireland has been at the forefront of exploring the life & writings of Merton and his impact on the contemporary world, with conferences, retreats and the publication of the Merton Journal.

Oakham Conference 2022

on the theme 'Where is Our Hope?'

Our Residential Conference will be held at Oakham School from Thu 7th April to Sat 9th April 2022.

In his journal entry of April 15, 1965, Thomas Merton asks the question: ‘Where is our hope?’ He argues that if our hope is in a temporal and secular humanism of technological and political progress, we will be participating in the stupidity and barbarism of the despoiling of God's creation.

For Merton, ‘our hope must be in God.’ For us in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, this answer can all too easily be equated with Christian optimism.

But for the many people who live precarious lives, not even knowing where the next meal will come from, this question is meaningless - There is no hope in this world. The very structures and support that we in the affluent West take for granted are absent. The only hope can be in heaven, in the riches of the world to come, further embedding the view that they are never for the here and now.

If, for Merton, ‘the real root of Christian hope is the presence of the Risen Lord among us’ (Merton’s circular letter of Lent, 1967), how might this be worked out in our lives, in our communities, in our world?

The Conference is in an advanced stage of planning.
Full details along with a booking form will be avaiable shortly.




Dates for your diary

Beholding Paradise:
The contemplative lens of monk-photographer Thomas Merton

A webinar via Zoom with Paul Pearson and Fernando Beltrán Llavador

Friday 1 October  19:00 - 20:30 UK time

Paul will be talking about his latest book, Beholding Paradise:The Photographs of Thomas Merton.
He will, in addition, share thoughts and reflections more generally on Merton and the founding of the TMS.
We are delighted that we will also be joined by Fernando Beltrán Llavador, the Spanish translator of the book,
Las fotografías de Thomas Merton. Imagen interior del paraíso.

 Email for more details & registration       Book details from publisher

The Way of the Franciscans:
Mystic Paths for Contemporary Seekers

A Hybrid event led by Daniel P. Horan OFM held at The Meditatio Centre and on-line

Saturday 23 October 2021 Time: 10:30 am – 4.00 pm UK time

Location: The Meditatio Centre, St Mark’s, Myddelton Sq London EC1R 1XX

Booking details

The Seven Storey Mountain
An online reading group

Sunday 7 November 2021 20:00 - 21:00 UK time

The St Martin-in-the-Fields and Heartedge Reading Group will discuss Thomas Merton's
The Seven Storey Mountain with Revd Dr Sam Wells

Further details 

Oakham Residential Conference 2022

13th General meeting of the Thomas Merton Society
of Great Briain and Ireland

Held at Oakham Scool Thursday 7th April - Saturday 9th April

Details of the conference and how to book are being finalised,
and will be available on this website in the Autumn

Coronavirus Pandemic

Although for many, self-isolation means a radical change in their circumstances, Merton saw that the frenetic pace of our modern society "isolates a man in the worst way, separates him from reality in a way that is almost painless." As he wrote in 'Solitude is not separation' in New Seeds of Contemplation, "The constant din of empty words and machine noises, the endless booming of loudspeakers end by making true communication and true communion almost impossible. Each individual in the mass is insulated by thick layers of insensibility." Self-isolation gives us all a chance to slow down, to take stock, to examine our motives and values, to rediscover our shared humanity amid all the pain and heartache of this crisis.

Complete text of 'Solitude is not Separation' - used with permission of the Merton Legacy Trust

On-line resources for exploring the
life, work and legacy of Thomas Merton

Video clips:

The conclusion of Merton's final lecture delivered in Bangkok on the day he died
Where to begin with Thomas Merton? - A brief guide by Dan Horan OFM
Fr Mathew Kelty on Thomas Merton     Part 1     Part 2
Thomas Merton's Prayer - with a commentary by James Finley

Audio resources:

Recordings of Merton's lectures to his novices are available to download at Learn25. This company has taken over the distribution of the recordings previously issued by

Encountering Silence has many podcasts available by such writers and teachers as Cynthia Bourgeault, Martin Laird, Richard Rohr, James Finley and Br Paul Quenon - the last two knew Merton personally. These talks offer insights into many of the themes explored by Merton including silence and contemplation.

Turning to the Mystics, a series of podcasts by James Finley which take us deep to the heart of Merton's insights on the true self.

Blogs: Many blogs post articles and features relating to Thomas Merton's work and legacy, including those by Fiona Gardner & Jim Forest.
(For any suggestions for blogs to be included here, email:

The written word:

Merton wrote more than 50 books during his time as a Trappist monk, mostly on spirituality and social justice, along with many essays, reviews, volumes of poetry as well as extensive personal journals. A select bibliography

Links to related websites of interest:

Wikipedia article on Thomas Merton
The Thomas Merton Centre at Bellarmine University and The International Thomas Merton Society

Social Media

 The Society has a Twitter account with daily Merton quotes: @Thomas MertonGBI
The Thomas Merton Center in Louisville's Twitter account: @MertonCenter

         The Merton Collection

Over the years the Society has built up a comprehensive collection of books, journals and volumes of letters by Merton along with a wide range of critical commentaries on Merton's work as well as recordings of talks and conferences given by Merton. In recent years the collection has been housed at St Michael's Priory, Willen outside Milton Keynes. Following the Priory's closure in 2019, the collection has been moved to Turvey Abbey - though access at present to the collection is not possible.

         Details about the Collection         

Selected Recent Publications

Our Centenary Edition of The Merton Journal, Universal Vision, is an enlarged volume of 200 pages with contributors from across Europe. It explores Merton's profound legacy in a unique collection of essays and meditations; and it also includes some of Merton's own newly-discovered student articles from his time at Cambridge University in 1933-34.  

All members receive copies of the Journal. Further copies are available for £8.99 +P&P. Contact for further details.


 Shaped by the End You Live For:
Thomas Merton's Monastic Spirituality

Bonnie Thurston
22 April 2020

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link


 Guard the Human Image
for it is the Image of God

eds. Gary Hall & Detlev Cuntz
1 August 2019

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link


We Are All Poets Here

Kathleen Tarr
27 January 2018

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link


 Writing Staight with Crooked Lines:
A Memoir

Jim Forest
15 April 2020

Publisher's Details     Amazon Link

Further recent publications can be found under the 'Publications' tab