Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Relics Merton took to Asia


This interesting tidbit came via an email from Jim Forest:

An interesting detail about Merton's trip to Asia in 1968 is that he carried with him a number of relics of various saints. Thanks to Paul Pearson I have  this list:

St. Bede
St. Thomas of Canterbury
St. Teresa of Jesus
St. Peter Damian
St. Bruno
St. Romuald
St. Nicholas of Flue
St. Charbel

Paul writes: "Over the years a number of them were sent to him by Sr. Therese Lentfoehr, though the one of St. Charbel came from Sr. Mary Luke Tobin. (In a letter to Therese – Dec. ’65 – Merton mentions that he buried a second class relic of Charbel in the foundations of the hermitage when it was being built!)"

HT: Jim Forest and Paul Pearson

4 comments:

  1. Hello Beth!

    Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving! Really missed your posts.

    This is very interesting. To those in religious circles, relics are very important. A few years ago, in the Missionary of Charity convent in NJ, a person attended Mass who was almost blind. The sisters took down from the wall a First class relic (bone) of Mother Teresa - held it against the man's eye and said prayers. Fr. louis probably could have used a relic of Mother Teresa - but it was not to be.....

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  2. THanks, Brian, for the Thanksgiving greetings. I had a wonderful holiday and hope you did too.

    This world and life and death are all so mysterious, and relics seem to in some way touch that mystery. They are tangible. I think that I was drawn to this list of relics because of St. Charbel. I've just recently learned about him and I find it telling that Sr. Mary Luke gave him this particular relic. Merton himself must have had an affinity for the spirit of St. Charbel.

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  3. I am quite stunned to realize that TM was carrying relics of three Camaldolese-Benedictine saints at the time (if I'm thinking of the right St. Bruno. Romuald and Peter Damian are the other two.

    I wonder through whom these 3 (or 2) related saints' relics might have come?

    Would Jim Forest know?

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  4. Jim might know, Chris. Or Paul Pearson at the Merton archives at Bellarmine. This note indicates that many of the relics came from Sr. Therese Lentfoehr. There's a lot of correspondence published between Merton and Sr. Therese. Perhaps there is mention in those letters about the relics? Good luck!

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When in the soul of the serene disciple

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