In this set of novitiate conferences from the late 1950s, Thomas Merton provides a vivid and detailed introduction to the traditional pattern and practices of the monastic day during the period immediately preceding the momentous changes that would be introduced in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. Combining practical instruction with spiritual and theological reflection, this fifth volume of Merton's teaching notes brings the reader into the choir and chapter room, scriptorium and cloisters of the Abbey of Gethsemani, and provides insight into the ecclesial, contemplative, paschal, and Trinitarian dimensions of Cistercian life.
Patrick F. O'Connell is professor in the departments of English and theology at Gannon University, Erie, Pennsylvania. A founding member and former president of the International Thomas Merton Society, he edits The Merton Seasonal and is coauthor (with William H. Shannon and Christine M. Bochen) of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia. He has edited four previous volumes of Thomas Merton's monastic conferences for the Monastic Wisdom series: Cassian and the Fathers; Pre-Benedictine Monasticism; An Introduction to Christian Mysticism; and The Rule of Saint Benedict.