The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton

A New Look at the Spiritual Inspiration of His Life, Thought, and Writing

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Format: Paperback

Publication date: September 22, 2014

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Winner of a 2015 Catholic Press Award: Biography (Third Place). 

Daniel Horan, O.F.M., popular author of Dating God and other books on Franciscan themes—and expert on the spirituality of Thomas Merton—masterfully presents the untold story of how the most popular saint in Christian history inspired the most popular spiritual writer of the twentieth century, and how together they can inspire a new generation of Christians. 

Millions of Christians and non-Christians look to Thomas Merton for spiritual wisdom and guidance, but to whom did Merton look? In The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton, Franciscan friar and author Daniel Horan shows how, both before and after he became a Trappist monk, Merton’s life was shaped by his love for St. Francis and for the Franciscan spiritual and intellectual tradition. Given recent renewed interest in St. Francis, this timely resource is both informative and practical, revealing a previously hidden side of Merton that will inspire a new generation of Christians to live richer, deeper, and more justice-minded lives of faith.

Features & Benefits:

  • Horan lucidly demonstrates that as Thomas Merton is for us today, so St. Francis was for Merton.
  • 2015 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Merton.
  • Horan currently serves on the board of directors of the International Thomas Merton Society.
  • The papacy of Pope Francis has spawned renewed interest in St. Francis.
  • Horan frequently writes and blogs for America and is a regular contributor to Give Us This Day (Liturgical Press) and the Huffington Post.

Product Details

Pages: 288

Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches

ISBN: 9781594714221

Imprint: Ave Maria Press

  • “In true Franciscan voice.”

    “We are living in a newly emerging Franciscan age as history gyres toward the magnetic spirit of the gentle, ferocious 'Poor Man.' All creation and all the impoverished are groaning to summon him to awaken us to the kinship of all beings, and begin—if we might—to set the world aright. Little wonder that Thomas Merton’s prophetic soul bore the vestiges of his original inspiration, whose mystic heart left its marks on Merton’s own. In true Franciscan voice Daniel Horan offers us a glimpse of the rich and many ways Fr. Francis was the first and lasting teacher of his Cistercian son.”

    Kathleen Deignan, C.N.D.
    Author of Thomas Merton: A Book of Hours

  • “Accessible and absorbing!”

    “Combining scholarly insight with pastoral sensitivity, Daniel Horan, O.F.M. shows in rich and fascinating detail why Francis of Assisi remained Thomas Merton’s favorite saint and how the Franciscan intellectual and spiritual tradition continued to have a profound impact on Merton’s thought even as a Cistercian, from Christology to ecology, from peacemaking to dialogue with other religious traditions. This is an accessible and absorbing exploration of a significant influence on Merton’s life and thought, particularly welcome in this new 'Age of Francis.'”                                                                            

    Patrick F. O'Connell
    Editor of The Merton Seasonal

  • “Personal and highly engaging exploration.”

    “Horan’s book is a thorough and eloquent, yet personal and highly engaging, exploration of Merton’s multilayered, multifaceted engagement with St. Francis and the Franciscan tradition.”

    Paul M. Pearson
    Director of the Thomas Merton Center

  • “What a treasure we have in young and insightful Daniel Horan!”

    “How could I not be elated? Two of my favorite human beings running side by side through one fine book: Francis and Merton! Just the chapters on Duns Scotus, 'paradise consciousness,' or peacemaking and prophecy, would make the book well worth the read! What a treasure we have in young and insightful Daniel Horan!”

    Richard Rohr, O.F.M.
    Center for Action and Contemplation
    Albuquerque, New Mexico

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