Merton conference will examine the ‘spiritual roots of protest’

Bellarmine University’s Thomas Merton Center will host a conference on “Pursuing the Spiritual Roots of Protest — 1964-2014” on Oct. 24 and 25.

The conference will focus on a meeting that occurred 50 years ago between Trappist monk Thomas Merton and a handful of peace activists. They gathered to “discuss the ‘spiritual roots’ that nurtured their calling and shaped their actions,” a media release from the Thomas Merton Center said. The conference will ask, “What can we learn today from a retreat of 50 years ago?”

Among the presenters at the day-long event on Oct. 25 are three people who were present for the original retreat — Jim Forest, Bob Cunnane and Tom Cornell. The list of presenters also includes people who took part in protests in the 21st century.

An evening presentation on Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. with Forest, John Dear and Cornell is free and open to the public. The subject will be “Doing Nonviolence: The Spiritual Roots of Protest.” It will be held in Frazier Hall at Bellarmine, 2001 Newburg Road.

The Oct. 24 event will feature the film “Hit and Stay,” a documentary about Catholic draft resistance in the 1960s, at 7 p.m. The screening in Frazier Hall is free and open to the public.

Registration for the conference is $75 if paid by Oct. 10 and $50 for students and Catholic Workers (include photocopy of student I.D.). After Oct. 10, the rate increases to $95. Checks payable to Merton Conference should be sent to the Thomas Merton Center, Bellarmine University, 2001 Newburg Road, Louisville Ky., 40205. For more information, visit

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