Are you searching for meaning and wisdom?

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By Russell Pollitt SJ

For the first time since COVID-19 hit, the Jesuit Institute South Africa
will host an in-person series of lectures known as Winter Living
Theology (WLT). The guest speaker for this event is Fr Daniel Horan,
OFM, an expert on the 20th-century mystic Thomas Merton. Fr Dan will
be visiting Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Botswana and Eswatini
during his time here. He will also preach a retreat at the Origins Retreat
Centre in the Cradle of Humankind entitled The Franciscan Heart of
Thomas Merton.

The theme for this year’s series of lectures is “Searching for Meaning:
The Wisdom of Thomas Merton for Our Times”. Thomas Merton (1915-
1968), a trappist monk, was and remains one of the most influential
Christian writers of the last century. His commentaries on politics,
racism, nonviolence, nuclear threats, the Church and contemplative life
are relevant to our context today. His autobiography Seven Storey
Mountain, still in print today, was a best-seller and the beginning of his
success as an author.

Fr Dan Horan is a 38-year-old Franciscan who is the current director of
the Center for Spirituality and professor of philosophy, religious studies
and theology at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana. He was
captivated by Thomas Merton’s work when he became a Franciscan.
He has given talks, lead retreats and presented research in Merton
studies at conferences around the world. He is preparing for the
International Thomas Merton Society’s 2023 conference taking place at
Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame.

The focus of the WLT lecture series this year, Fr Dan says, is “to engage
Merton’s life, thought and legacy, with an eye towards how he might
assist us in addressing the pressing issues of our time in Church and society. Among these key issues are nonviolence and peace-making,
interreligious and ecumenical dialogue, environmental justice, and
systemic racism.”

Fr Dan hopes that those familiar with Thomas Merton will deepen their
appreciation of his relevance and insight and that those new to Merton
will find a new source of inspiration and a new spiritual companion.
The lecture series will take place on the following dates:

19-22 July Cape Town – St Francis Xavier Seminary
26-28 July Durban – St Joseph’s Parish, Morningside
30 July Eswatini
2-4 August Johannesburg – Lumko Retreat Centre, Benoni
10 August Botswana

To book for WLT 2022 please contact the Jesuit Institute at or call 011 482 4237
Retreat at Origins Retreat Centre 5-7 August
To book for the retreat please contact the Jesuit Institute at or call
011 482 4237

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