The Cistercians: Sages of Silence (1962)

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The Cistercians: Sages of Silence (1962)

Introductory Lecture + 7 Talks on 3 CDs
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Join one of the twentieth century’s great spiritual masters in exploring Christian history and the contemplative life.

Thomas Merton was a mystic, writer, artist, and monk of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, better known as the Trappists. In this series of conferences Merton delivered in the 1960s, he presents an insightful exploration of Cistercian history. Merton’s monastic vision shaped his profound spirituality, and he examines how the Cistercians have much to teach us today.

You will journey with Merton through the most vital events of Christian contemplative history, exploring Christian monasticism’s origins in the Desert Fathers and Mothers, who encountered God in inspiring and radical ways. Then, you will  see how monasticism flourished under St. Benedict, whose rule promoted the power of humility, work, and prayer.

Perhaps most importantly, Merton explains how the medieval Cistercians, founded at the Abbey of Cîteaux, have much to teach us about our world today. Facing the excesses of the Middle Ages, they sought lives of simplicity in order to make manifest their love of Christ. Theirs was a deeply contemplative practice, in which they gave themselves over to God completely. With Merton as your guide, you will explore such topics as Lectio Divina, the conversion of manners, and the core values of the Trappist way of life.

Merton delivers these lectures with his signature grace, wit, and wisdom. In taking Merton as your guide, you will discover what it means to dedicate yourself to the search for God.

This set includes an afterword by Fr. Anthony Ciorra.

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Topic Titles
Topic Titles


  • The Abbey of Molesme and Founding of Cîteaux
  • Writings on the Foundation of Cîteaux
  • St. Robert, Founder of Cîteaux: Interpreting the Exordium Magnum
  • The Second Abbot: St. Albéric of Cîteaux
  • The Third Abbot: St. Stephen Harding
  • The Writings of St. Stephen Harding: Carta Caritatus
  • The Spirituality of the Early Cistercians
  • Afterward by Fr. Anthony Ciorra, Ph.D.
About Your Presenter

Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk and bestselling author of such beloved works as The Seven Storey Mountain and New Seeds of Contemplation. One of the 20th century’s great mystics, Merton was also a masterful teacher who delivered powerful conferences to the novice monks at the Abbey of Gethsemani. In these conferences, Merton’s thinking moved from cloistered monastic life to issues of social justice and interreligious understanding. A spiritual sage and guide for countless men and women, Merton struggled with complex questions about God’s existence and the role of organized religion.

Those who knew him also experienced his gifts as a homilist and teacher. These special, remastered recordings are part of his spoken word legacy. They are actual recordings of Thomas Merton. By agreement with The Thomas Merton Legacy Trust, Now You Know Media has the sole right to record, master, re-master, duplicate, market, and disseminate copies of "The Merton Recordings," which are a selection of the archives housed in the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky.

Fr. Anthony Ciorra, Ph.D., is a leading expert on Catholic spirituality. He was ordained as a priest in 1973. In recognition of his ministry in the Church, Pope John Paul II awarded him the pontifical honor Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice in 1999. Fr. Ciorra was also awarded the Caritas Centennial Award in 2000 for his work in lay ministry and the Spirit of RENEW Award for his work in interreligious dialogue and ecumenism.

Fr. Ciorra's books include Everyday Mysticism (Crossroad, 1995), Beauty: A Path to God (Paulist Press, 2013), and Moral Formation in the Parish (Alba House, 1998). He is also the co-editor, with Dr. Michael W. Higgins, of Vatican II: A Universal Call to Holiness (Paulist, 2012).

Fr. Ciorra holds graduate degrees in psychology, spirituality, and pastoral theology. He earned his Ph.D. in historical theology from Fordham University.

Currently, Fr. Ciorra is Vice President for Mission and Catholic Identity and Professor of Theology at Sacred Heart University. Previously, he served as dean of the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education at Fordham University, director of the Center for Theological and Spiritual Development a...

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