We have what we seek, it is there all the time, and if we give it time, it will make itself known to us.
Through the Eyes of the Mystics
Thomas Merton was a seeker. He was born during the First World War, in 1915, in Prades in the south of France. His father was from New Zealand and his mother American. When he was six years old his mother died and his childhood was disrupted by constant moving around as his artist father sought suitable locations in which to live and paint. Later he was educated at boarding schools in France and England, studied at Cambridge and then went to America. As a young man he was confused and restless and threw himself into a wild social life, neglecting his studies. However, in America he studied at Columbia University and during this time he both frantically pursued various ideologies in the hope of finding the truth that would satisfy him, and made some strong friendships which were to have a great influence on the rest of his life. He was a man of intellectual enquiry, a relentless seeker, a man of high ideals and above all of a searing honesty. It was this honesty about himself and about life that finally led him to embrace the life of a Trappist monk. In 1938 Merton was baptized as a Catholic and the nagging religious instinct which he had become aware of during the years of his intense searching led him to join the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance in Kentucky. When Merton finally did enter the Trappist monastery of Gethsemane in Kentucky he described it as ‘the four walls of my freedom’…
Ms Kerry McCullough
Dean of Mission