Thomas Merton on Desert Spirituality

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Thomas Merton on Desert Spirituality

  • Sacred Heart University
8 Lectures (5 Discs)
Audio CD Set:

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Special Price $29.95

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Regular Price: $129.95

Special Price $29.95

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Regular Price: $129.95

Special Price $29.95

Availability: In stock.

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  1. Thomas Merton on Desert Spirituality Audio Bundle: Thomas Merton on Desert Spirituality + Ways of Prayer: A Desert Father's Wisdom - 12 CDs Total $59.95

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Audio Sample:

Travel into the sands of the desert with Thomas Merton as your guide. Merton gave these lectures in 1964 to the novice monks he taught. As you listen to Merton, you will join his students in the classroom.

In the third century, men and women journeyed into the deserts of Syria and Egypt in search of salvation in solitude. By doing so, they developed new forms of monasticism and spirituality.

Now known as the Desert Fathers and Mothers, their wisdom remains as inspirational today as ever. In this set of lectures released to the public for the first time ever, you will learn about these spiritual ancestors with Thomas Merton as your personal teacher. Under Merton’s guidance, you’ll enter the Abbey of Gethsemani to journey through centuries of spiritual history.

This set of eight of remastered conferences explore the eremitic mystics in modern-day Syria. You’ll meet such inspirational figures as St. Symeon the Stylite, St. Julian Sabas the Elder, and St. Aphraates. As you will learn from Merton, these complex monks were far ahead of their time.

As Merton says, these hermits were “humble, quiet, sensible people, with a deep knowledge of human nature” (The Wisdom of the Desert). By journeying into the desert, they found a transcendent closeness with Jesus Christ. Centuries later, we still have much to glean from their works.

When you listen to Thomas Merton in his own voice, you will open your mind and spirit to the timeless wisdom of the desert.

Photograph of Thomas Merton by Sibylle Akers. Used with [permission of the Merton Legacy Trust and the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University.

This set contains an afterword by Fr. Anthony Ciorra.

Learn about downloadable programs.

*Photo of Thomas Merton by Sibylle Akers. Used with permission of the Merton Legacy Trust & Thomas Merton Center, Bellarmine University.

Topic Titles
Topic Titles


  • The Beginnings of Desert Spirituality
  • Syrian Monasticism
  • The Syrian Monks, Part I
  • Syrian Monastic Traditions
  • St. Julian Sabas the Elder and Liturgical Prayer
  • The Syrian Monks, Part II
  • Syrian Spirituality
  • The Ascetic Life of the Desert
  • 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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Customer Reviews (0)
Superb treatment
This series offers an historical overview that is filled with insights and information demonstrating the dynamic growth of monasticism in the West. Merton refers to Eastern Christian roots but shows how these came to bear the fruit they did in Western monasticism. Equally informative in its historical rendition and presentation of the basic monastic spirit and doctrine. Highly recommended for the person who knows some and the person who knows none of the origins of monastic life in the West. Review by Raymond (Posted on 8/27/2016)
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