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Schedule of Events

See below for the schedule, or click the button to download a PDF version.


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Join us in the lobby of the Center for Innovation and Growth for check-in, registration, conversation and some light refreshments.
Opening remarks by Alan Kolp, professor of Spirituality and Faith and Life Chair at Baldwin Wallace University.

Thomas Merton: the Man and his Times

Join the Rev. Tom Snyder for an exploration of the world that shaped, and was shaped by, Thomas Merton. Born in the midst of one war and dying during another, Thomas Merton’s 53-year life spanned “the best of times and the worst of times” of the 20th century. Writer, artist, scholar, social critic, mentor, monastic, contemplative, mystic, this complex seeker left the world for the seclusion of the cloistered life, from where he then proceeded to engage the world. His God-drenched spirit and intellect engaged the issues of monasticism, contemplation, literature, social justice, war and peace, nonviolence, civil rights, Eastern religions, ecumenism and the renewal of the Roman Catholic Church. The five decades since his untimely death have been a consistent exploration of his life, spirituality, thought and continuing impact.

Contemplative Spirituality: Method and Meaning

Thomas Merton was a contemplative and through his writings showed other people how to become contemplative. He called contemplation the highest expression of human life. As he says, “it is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being.” This session focuses on the nature of contemplative spirituality and how normal, busy people can learn to live contemplatively. Living contemplatively can be transformative! Professor Alan Kolp and several students from his Contemplative Spirituality class lead you in this exploration of how to live contemplatively in your own life.

Retire to the lobby for conversation and refreshments.

Social Justice Panel and Participation

A panel discussion featuring Pastor Jim Thornton, Laura Dunson, and Josh Daum exploring the life and works of Thomas Merton as they apply to social justice, and what that might mean for us in our modern context.

Lunch in the lobby, 'refectory-style.' Join your colleagues around tables for food and fellowship, and enjoy conversation about the morning's experience.

Monastic Life: History and Contemporary Implications

Sister Donna Kristoff of the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland presents a look at the roots and basic elements of monasticism through the lens of Thomas Merton. By nature, he was not fitted for the life of a monk; and yet, he was above all a 'monk' for 27 years. As Father Louis, he immersed himself in living, studying, teaching and writing about Christian monasticism as a valid and distinct form of life always in need of reform. He sought daily to clarify for himself and his Cistercian community the authentic meaning and purpose of real monastic life, creatively stretching its reach and influence into our contemporary society.

Living Monastically in Modern, Secular Times

Join the Reverend Rachel McDonald for an exploration of what it may mean to live monastically, even amid the hustle and bustle of daily secular life.

Reconvene in the lobby for a guided conversation to tie the day's events together.
Closing remarks and benediction from Alan Kolp, professor of Spirituality and Faith and Life Chair at Baldwin Wallace University.