Thomas Merton’s Hermitage at The Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, near Bardstown, Kentucky


Everything about this hermitage fills me with joy. There are lots of things that could have been far more perfect one way or the other – ascetically and ‘domestically.’ But it is the place God has given me after so much prayer and longing – but without my deserving it – and it is a delight. I can imagine no other joy on earth than to have a hermitage and to be at peace in it, to live in silence to think and write, to listen to the wind and to all the voices of the wood, to live in the shadow of the big cedar cross, to prepare for my death and my exodus to the heavenly country, to love my brothers and all people and to pray for the whole world and for peace and for good sense among men. So it is my place in the scheme of things and that is sufficient. Thomas Merton, Journals, February 24, 1965, V.209-10


Perhaps in no other place does Merton sum up my need for a sense of place and belonging. It cannot be simply my need alone. I believe all people have a similar basic need that very rarely gets met. – KSS+