Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ruth Calvert Jenkins Merton (1887-1921)

Thomas Merton's mother was an American and an artist. She died of stomach cancer when Merton was 6 years old.


  1. What a haunting photo. Where did you come across it? I've been interested in Merton for two or three years now, but due to being in school, I haven't had as much time to read and research him.

    Very nice sight. Thanks.

  2. I have seen the photo in a number of Merton books. I scanned this one from a book edited by Jonathan Montaldo called "Silence". It is a collection of prayer and drawings by Merton, and Montaldo dedicates the book to Merton's mother. Actually, reading the prayers and looking at the drawings (mostly of women), you realize what a strong drawing Merton had toward the feminine - "Lady". His priesthood is dedicated to Our Lady of Cobre (Cuba). And you sense also the presence of his own mother in all of these longings and prayers.

    Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

  3. pretty amazing description by Tom from his book "the seven storey mountain" --> My mother was an American. I have seen a picture of her as a rather slight, thin, sober little person with a serious and somewhat anxious and very sensitive face. And this corresponds with my memory of her — worried, precise, quick, critical of me, her son. Yet in the family she has always been spoken of as gay and very lighthearted. My grandmother kept great locks of Mother's red hair, after she died, and Mother's happy laughter as a boarding-school girl was what never ceased to echo in my grandmother's memory

    It seems to me, now, that Mother must have been a person full of
    insatiable dreams and of great ambition after perfection: perfection in art, in interior decoration, in dancing, in housekeeping, in raising children. Maybe that is why I remember her mostly as worried: since the imperfection of myself, her first son, had been a great deception. If this book does not prove anything else, it will certainly show that I was nobody's dream-child.

    Alan Brennan


Lax photography

Robert Lax (1915-2000), Untitled, 1970s; black and white photograph, 11 x 17 inches; Robert Lax Archives. St. Bonaventure University ...