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Film Producer Discusses Influence of Author and Activist Thomas Merton


Morgan Atkinson, the producer of a documentary on Thomas Merton, one of the most influential Catholic writers of the 20th century, discussed his film at Fordham University on Dec. 12.

“It was a great joy for me,” Atkinson said, “to read Merton for two years; interview people who knew so much about him; and then to make this film. But it was also a frustration because he wrote so much, and to have to choose which of his writings to use in the film was a rough process.”

The screening of the hour-long film, Soul Searching: The Journey of Thomas Merton, was sponsored by The Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies. The film, which Atkinson said will be shown nationally on PBS sometime next year, documented the Merton’s spiritual journey at the Abbey of Gethsemani, the Trappist monk monastery in Kentucky where he lived for 27 years; as well as his path in New York City, Redwoods Monastery in California, and Christ in the Desert Monastery in New Mexico.

The Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham University is an inter-disciplinary center that was established in 2001 to provide an important forum for ecumenical engagement between Catholics and believers from other faith traditions, and for the academic study of broad “faith and culture” questions in the United States.


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