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Film and Discussion on Thomas Merton’s Last Days to be Held on March 6

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A showing of the documentary film, The Many Storeys and Last Days of Thomas Merton, followed by a discussion with the film’s producer, Morgan Atkinson, will be held on March 6, 3-5 pm at the Arrillaga Family Recreation Center, 700 Alma Street, Menlo Park.

This film is the story of Merton in the last year of his life, embarking on his greatest journey. It’s a story of adventure and search that takes the viewer from his home at the Abbey of Gethsemani, across America in the turbulent year of 1968 and finally to Asia for meetings with the Dalai Lama and other spiritual seekers. The purpose of the journey? As always with Merton he seeks a fuller union with God. He believed serving as a bridge between west and east was one way in which his call could be lived out. The Many Storeys and Last Days celebrates the triumph of all that was gained by his journey, reflects on the tragedy of what was lost with his death and considers why Merton’s life and work challenge us today.

The Thomas Merton Center’s Spiritual Education Committee (SEC) began a commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of Merton’s birth in January 2015 with a presentation of Atkinson’s documentary, Soul Searching, The Journey of Thomas Merton. This event was enthusiastically received by the TMC members and local community members interested in Merton’s life and legacy, and those who attended were left asking for more about this incredible monk. Interest continued to build this year when Pope Francis, during his address to Congress in September 2015, mentioned Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day as two exemplary American Catholics.

Morgan Atkinson spent years researching Thomas Merton’s work, as well as interviewing Merton friends, scholars and authorities on the spiritual life. Those interviewed for this video include: His Holiness the Dalai Lama; Richard Rohr, OFM; James Martin, SJ; Tori Murden McClure; Dr. Anthony Padovano; Br. Paul Quenon,OSCO; Kathleen Deignan, CND; Dr. James Finley; Paul Wilkes, Penny Sisto, and Dr. Paul Pearson.

A documentary producer based in Louisville, Kentucky, Atkinson’s career spans more than thirty years. He has focused on people or groups seeking meaning through a spiritual search, producing several feature-length documentaries focused on spiritual seekers: Gethsemani; Poetry of a Soul: A Monk’s Story; and Uncommon Vision: The Life and Times of John Howard Griffin—in addition to his works on Thomas Merton.

The event is open to all without charge; donations gratefully received. Ample parking is available adjacent to the Recreation Center, which is within walking distance of the Menlo Park CalTrain station. For more information contact Anna Jaklitsch,
annajak14@yahoo.com or 650-327-0978.