It seems that March is monastery month here at Literary Traveler. With the weather starting to warm ever so slightly, there is a breath of spring in the air, which has always felt more like renewal to me than any January 1st resolution.
But with renewal also comes return, and that is exactly what William Caverlee does in our newest feature article. Caverlee writes about a trip he took almost thirty years ago to the Gethsemani Trappist monastery near the aptly named Bardstown, Kentucky. He samples life at the monastery, and finds himself a little closer to understanding the works of Thomas Merton.
Merton spent much of his life traveling, searching for a place that felt right. On December 13th, 1941, Merton was accepted into the monastery as a postulant. It is here that Merton wrote his autobiography at the age of 31. The Seven Storey Mountain went on to become one of the most important Christian books of the century, a fact that Caverlee does not dwell upon. The strongest memory Caverlee imparts centers around the friendly monks and the incongruousness of an old-world institution dropped into modern America. Yet this is the beauty of our unique culture: the comfortable mixture of old traditions, kept alive by the faithful, and the seductive pull of technology and progress.
Join us in marveling at the wonderful strangeness of the American landscape and reveling in the continual process of return and renewal by checking out Thomas Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain at the Abbey of Gethsemani.