The published writings of the Trappist monk Thomas Merton were always censored from two sources during his lifetime. First, by Merton himself, as he certainly didn’t write everything down or share all of what he included in his drafts. He selected carefully what he considered appropriate for publication. Second, Thomas Merton was extensively censored by his religious superiors. They regularly judged that things Merton chose to write should not be made available in print. This was not infrequently a source of great frustration to Merton.
In this book, Fr. Patrick W. Collins presents an uncensored view of the life and thoughts of Thomas Merton by plumbing his correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues over the years. Merton’s personal and professional correspondence was previously published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. In this volume, Collins extracts and organizes from these sources many of the significant subjects about which Merton wrote and presents each topic chronologically. In this way, readers can easily follow the development of Merton's thoughts, feelings, intuitions, and impressions over the years on a variety of topics of concern to him.
Fr. Patrick W. Collins, PhD, is an author, preacher, musician, and former university professor. Collins is a senior priest of the Diocese of Peoria, having served that diocese in campus ministry at Bradley University, as director of the Office of Christian Worship and Music, as rector of St. Mary's Cathedral, and as chairman of Diocesan Synod Six Preparatory Commission. He was also director of campus ministry at The Catholic University of America. In addition to numerous books and articles, Fr. Collins has produced forty-five TV programs and a number of videos, among them Thomas Merton: Man, Monk, Myth with Music.