Thomas Merton: A Familiar Stranger at Frazier Museum
Opening to the public on January 31st, on what would have been Thomas Merton’s 101st birthday, the Frazier History Museum, in partnership with Bellarmine University, presents Thomas Merton: A Familiar Stranger. This thought-provoking exhibit is an exploration into the influence and legacy of one of America’s most widely read spiritual writers.
Visitors will learn more about Merton’s 27 years as a Trappist Monk at Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey, near Bardstown, Kentucky, and his epiphany at 4th and Walnut streets in Louisville. It was March 18th of 1958 when Merton redefined himself with a greater focus on social justice:
“I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers….There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.” - Thomas Merton.
The exhibit will display photographs taken by Merton himself, photographs of the spiritual leader taken by Kentucky photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard, and photographs taken by Courier-Journal photographers during the civil rights movement in Louisville. Also on display will be artifacts and personal clothing, including a jean jacket, robes and monastic wear. Visitors will read correspondence between Merton and Coretta Scott King and hear voice recordings of Merton speaking about Martin Luther King, Jr’s death.
In an address to congress in September 24th of this year, Pope Francis named Thomas Merton as one of four Americans who had an influence on him. With this compelling exhibit, Thomas Merton: A Familiar Stranger, visitors will learn more about the man the Pope called, “a promoter of peace between peoples and religions.”
About the Frazier History Museum: The Frazier History Museum is located at 829 West Main Street on Louisville’s downtown “Museum Row. The Frazier is home for the heart of Kentucky, bringing history to life for visitors through exhibits, artifacts and live performances every day. Frazier is open Monday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5:00 p.m.
For more information call 502-753-5663 or visit fraziermuseum.org.