LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Oct. 19, 2009) - The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University will host a talk by scholar and author Bonnie B. Thurston, one of the founding members of the International Thomas Merton Society, on Oct. 26, 7 p.m., Hilary's in Horrigan Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Thurston's lecture will focus on the talks Merton gave between his departure from Gethsemani Abbey on Sept. 11, 1968, and his departure for Asia on Oct. 11, 1968. The talks contained Merton's last extended public remarks on prayer and have been called a sort of spiritual farewell and a grand synthesis of a life of reading, reflection and prayer. After first sketching Merton's itinerary, the talk will attend to Merton's spiritual farewell, his West Coast teachings on prayer and the practical conclusions and help that people might draw from them. Most of these talks were given to communities of religious women, including the Sisters of the Monastery of the Precious Blood, in Eagle River, north of Anchorage, Alaska; for the Sisters of the Diocese at Providence Hospital in Anchorage; and at the Cistercian Abbey, Our Lady of the Redwoods, Whitethorn, Calif.
Thurston lives in solitude near Wheeling, W.V. She previously held the William F. Orr Professorship in New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She served as the third president of the International Thomas Merton Society and has written more than 20 scholarly articles on Merton, given retreats and lectured on Merton widely in the United States, Canada, and Europe. She edited "Thomas Merton and Buddhism" and has written eleven theological books. She also has authored more than 100 articles and has contributed to reference works in New Testament, including most recently, "For God Alone: A Primer on Prayer" (University of Notre Dame Press, 2009).
Ordained in 1984, Thurston has served as co-pastor, pastor, or interim of five churches and twice in overseas ministries. Her poetry frequently appears in religious periodicals, and she has authored two volumes of verse.
Bellarmine University is an independent Catholic university offering more than 50 majors, as well as graduate degree programs and a doctor of physical therapy. Forbes.com and the Princeton Review rank Bellarmine among America’s best institutions for higher learning, and U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks Bellarmine as a top tier university.
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