Learning to Love: Exploring Solitude and Freedom, The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume Six: 1966-67: 1966-67 - Learning to Love: Exploring Solitude and Freedom v. 6

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9780060654856: Learning to Love: Exploring Solitude and Freedom, The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume Six: 1966-67: 1966-67 - Learning to Love: Exploring Solitude and Freedom v. 6

The sixth volume of Thomas Merton’s acclaimed journals is the most revealing and compulsively readable yet as the unpredictable cloistered Merton falls head over heels in love with a beautiful young nurse.

Having embraced a life of solitude in his own hermitage, Thomas Merton finds his faith tested beyond his imagination when a visit to the hospital leads to a clandestine affair of the heart. Jolted out of his comfortable routine, Merton is forced to reassess his need for love and his commitment to celibacy and the monastic vocation.

This astonishing volume traces Merton’s struggle to reconcile his unexpected love with his sacred vows while continuing to grapple with the burning social issues of the day – including racial conflicts, the war in Vietnam, and the Arab-Israeli conflict – visiting and corresponding with high-profile friends like Thich Nhat Hanh and Joan Baez, and further developing his writing career. Revealing Merton to be ‘very human’ in his chronicles of the ecstasy and torment of being in love, Learning to Love comes full circle as Merton recommits himself completely and more deeply to his vocation even as he recognizes ‘my need for love, my loneliness, my inner division, the struggle in which solitude is at once a problem and a ‘solution’. And perhaps not a perfect solution either’ (11 May, 1967).

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From the Back Cover:

This captivating sixth volume of Thomas Merton's acclaimed journals traces his struggle to reconcile an unexpected love with his monastic vows. In 'Learning to Love', Merton comes full circle as he recommits himself completely and more deeply to his vocation with a new and stronger understanding of the nature of both worldly and spiritual love.

"It has often been said that the world-renowned Trappist monk and author Thomas Merton was a man of paradox…Now, this volume of Merton's journals adds greater detail to another, and perhaps his most surprising, paradox: that this monk and Roman Catholic priest had what he called an 'affair' with a student nurse in Louisville over six months in 1966."
LEXINGTON HERALD LEADER

"Delightful…brilliant social, political and personal commentaries."
NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

"When all the journals are published, it is likely that they will take a place with the famous journals of Henry David Thoreau, G. M. Hopkins, Edmund Wilson, and perhaps be seen as an American version of St. Augustine's 'Confessions'."
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICES

About the Author:

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a Trappist monk, writer and peace activist. His spiritual classics include the bestselling The Seven Storey Mountain, New Seeds of Contemplation and The Sign of Jonas. Christine M. Bochen is professor of religious studies at Nazareth College at Rochester, New York. A founding member of the International Thomas Merton Society, she edited the fourth volume of Merton’s letters, The Courage of Truth.

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