By Joyce Rothermel

Bonnie B. Thurston, Thomas Merton scholar and long-time friend of the Thomas Merton Center, has authored a new book published by Liturgical Press entitled: Shaped by the End You Live For: Thomas Merton’s Monastic Spirituality. Its premise is “to understand the life and thought of Thomas Merton, one must understand him as a monk.” After introducing his vocation and entrance into the Trappist order, Bonnie’s book highlights some of his basic spiritual presuppositions. She relies primarily on Merton’s writings, surveying his thoughts on fundamental aspects of monastic formation and spirituality, particularly obedience, silence, solitude and prayer. Bonnie also addresses some of the temptations and popular misunderstandings surrounding monastic life. The book is accessible and conversational in style, suggesting how monastic spirituality is relevant today, not only for all Christians, but also for all serious spiritual seekers.

Christine M. Bochen, co-author of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia, says, “This is not just a book about Thomas Merton. It is an invitation to encounter him and delve deeply into the monastic tradition that transformed his life, informed his spirituality, and opened him to the world. Whether they are meeting Merton for the first time or seeking to deepen their understanding of an already familiar friend, readers will enjoy Bonnie Thurston’s conversational style and benefit from her singular insights into Merton and his wisdom. This is a book to savor and ponder!”

Thomas Merton readers will appreciate the inclusion at the end of the book of Thomas Merton and Monasticism: A Select Descriptive Bibliography. It invites us to continue our reading and study of this remarkable man, Thomas Merton, the namesake of The Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh.

In her acknowledgements and thanksgiving in the book, Bonnie shares, “I undertook serious study of Thomas Merton as a doctoral candidate at the University of Virginia in 1976 and wrote my dissertation on Merton…. Many of the joys and extraordinary opportunities of my life trace their origins directly to study of Thomas Merton. I have read and thought about Merton for a long time…. I am grateful to you for reading it (my book) and hope you find encouragement and sustenance from Merton’s life and monastic wisdom.”

Bonnie’s book can be ordered directly from Liturgical Press, 2950 Saint John’s Road, P.O. Box 7500, Collegeville, MN 56321, via email at or by phone: 800- 858-5450. Paperback cost is $19.95 or as an eBook, $12.99.

Joyce Rothermel is a long time follower of Thomas Merton and member of the Thomas Merton Center.

NewPeople Newspaper VOL. 50 No. 5. July/August, 2020. All rights reserved.

Categories: News

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