Thomas Merton Trappist Monk

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Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk, well known for his literary career. However, his conversion toward Catholicism was long and arduous. Thomas Merton was able to utilize art to bring himself closer to God, and out of his misspent youth.
Thomas Merton was born in Prades, France, and was baptized into the Anglican church. His father and mother were both artists, which had a lasting effect on Merton. When he was very young, he moved to the United States to live with his mother’s family. Unfortunately, his mother soon died from cancer when he was six years old. Grieving, he and his father traveled to Bermuda. Then they moved back to France, always worrying about money. The pattern of frequent travel would influence Merton all his life, even as a Trappist monk. He attended a series of schools, none of which were pleasant for him at first. He had not learned much French, and it was a struggle to understand his teachers.
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He taught as a Franciscan professor for a number of years before deciding to enter the most austere of monasteries, the Cistercian. Specifically, he wanted to enter the Trappist monastery. After some discernment, he was able to enter a monastery in Kentucky. All was well. Merton enjoyed the life of a monk, though he yearned to evangelize. He got his chance, on a familial scale, when his brother asked to be baptized before going off to war. Hurriedly, Merton gave him a crash course in theology for ten days, and then baptized him. Later, Merton would come into conflict with his fellow Cistercians over the issue of Merton’s evangelization. A monk was supposed to stay inside the monastery to avoid worldly temptations, but also to inspire the world in the example of Christ. Merton would travel to Asia to convert many. He died on a pilgrimage on December 10, 1968, in Bangkok, Thailand, electrocuted in the bathtub. On his many mission trips, he sought to understand and integrate other
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