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From El Camino de Santiago; A Word from Jim Gravois

Jim Gravois and I entered the Society of Jesus together in 1963. I entered on the Feast of St. Ignatius on July 31st; Jim entered on August the 15th, Feast of the Assumption. We would each take our vows two … Continue reading

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From El Santiago de Compostela: Encounter with Marcelino Lebato on the Road to Navarrete

Four kilometers outside of Lograno, we encountered an open-air “office” where Marcelino Lebato was writing in a book at a picnic table desk. A box of pears and another of cookies flanked his right side, while a few items more … Continue reading

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From El Camino Santiago de Compostela: Sleeping with Strangers

One of El Camino’s most palpable blessings is the presence, even if not the intimate company, of other pilgrims. I walk through an open field landscape and can see pilgrims on the road ahead of me. Others walk past me … Continue reading

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Thomas Merton on Pilgrimage

[The following excerpts from copyrighted material are for purposes of retreat and instruction. Merton’s non-inclusive language, as grating as it is on the contemporary ear, has been transcribed as he used it. Only some of Merton’s copious footnotes have been … Continue reading

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From El Camino Santiago de Compostella: All My Stuff in One Bag

I write on our tenth day of walking the Camino. Jim and I made a decision yesterday, after having walked thirteen miles to Estella,  to rest in Estella another day. Had we kept walking, we would have missed the Iglesia de … Continue reading

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First Telegram from the Camino Santiago de Compostela

I am writing from a small village, Zariquiegui, about 7 kms west of Pamplona, where I slept last night in a Refugio offering a hundred beds. Tonight I’ll sleep in a private Refugio with eighteen beds. My fellow peregrinos are … Continue reading

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Expecting Nothing Special on the Road to Santiago de Compostela: In My Beginning is My End

Thomas Merton began his journey to Asia in September, 1968 which would end accidentally on December 10, 1968. In his personal journals he reflected on how his trip might modify his future. The following excerpts from The Intimate Merton: His … Continue reading

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Monksworks Podcast: In Rome & Discovering A Secretly Archived Version of An Old Self

A diptych of two fools: one certified by his family, the other canonized by his church. Saint Benedict Joseph Labre was a fool-for-Christ, a “holy” bum: he tried desperately and more than once, but couldn’t make it as a Trappist … Continue reading

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Monksworks Podcast May 7: Assisi—My Rooms With A View

I have been living in Assisi for three weeks, studying Italian four hours a day, walking a great deal, visiting major Franciscan watering holes, but more thoughtfully than when I visited Assisi in the past. My apartment was on the … Continue reading

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Monksworks Podcast April 28, 2012: Encounters with Cornelius

I am writing from Assisi, Italy, after being in England from May 10 – May 16th to attend the bi-annual Conference and General Meeting of the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland to which I had been invited … Continue reading

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