Downtown bridge could be named after Merton

 

Trappist Father Thomas Merton, one of the most influential Catholic authors of the 20th century, is pictured in an undated photo. Devotees of the monk, who died in 1968, have planned various observances of the 100th anniversary of his birth, Jan. 31. (CNS photo/Merton Legacy Trust and the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University)

Trappist Father Thomas Merton, one of the most influential Catholic authors of the 20th century, is pictured in an undated photo. (CNS photo/Merton Legacy Trust and the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University)

Four members of the Louisville Metro Council have proposed to name the new downtown Ohio River bridge in honor of Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk from the Abbey of Gethsemani.

The councilmen — Rick Blackwell (District 12), Kelly Downard (District 16), Kevin Kramer (District 11) and Steve Magre (District 10) — are graduates of Bellarmine University, which is home to The Thomas Merton Center. The center houses the famed monk’s papers and artifacts.

In their proposal to the  Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the Metro Council members cited Pope Francis’ recent address to Congress, which celebrated Merton — along with Abraham Lincoln, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Dorothy Day — as a “promoter of peace between peoples and religions” and as “a man of dialogue.”

“Dialogue builds bridges. Surely now is the moment for Louisville to embrace this great American by naming a prominent structure in Merton’s honor,” the proposal said.

As of noon on Nov. 4, 1,421 supporters had signed the online petition — 1,500 signatures are needed to formally petition the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

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