Life and influence of Americas celebrated best-selling contemplative monk.
Born in France, educated at Cambridge and New York, baptised as a young man, and dying in Bangkok in 1968, Merton was a gifted writer who lived through many upheavals of the 20th century. His Trappist vocation emerged from the ruins of an unsettled childhood and adolescence.
Yet from his enclosed convent in Kentucky, cut off from the world, his spiritual and autobiographical writings gripped an entire generation, and have lasted the test of time, including those writings on war and peace.
Fr Ashley Beck is Assistant Priest of the Catholic parish of Beckenhamand the representative of the Roman Catholic Bishops Conferenceon the CEWERN Management Committee.