Thomas Merton Reading Room

Located in St. Stephen School, the reading room is a rich resource for study and religious reading.

Thomas MertonWhen the McCormick Catholic Academy moved from
St. Stephen to merge with St. Mary in 2007, a wonderful library space was left behind, just waiting to be filled. The pastor, Fr. Brian Cokonougher had “his eye” on this space for that very reason. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have these empty shelves filled with religious books and other materials that would be available for the new cluster of Holy Trinity Parish?

The excellent library of the recently closed Newman Center formed the basis of this effort. Many books were donated by individuals as well. Greg Pearson, our seminarian, began sorting books, now numbering more than 2700, into categories that add up to over 30. The collection also contains DVD’s (81), VHS tapes (448), 43 Audio Tape books, (each a binder of tapes recorded by well-known religious leaders) and a large selection for children. Some CD’s and audio tapes are also housed there.

Hundreds of hours of effort went into the formation of this collection by library volunteers. It is not only well organized, “user-friendly” but is air-conditioned.

The library was dedicated by Fr. Brian and named the Thomas Merton Reading Room on Jan. 10, 2009. This was the anniversary of Thomas Merton’s death in 1968, and exactly 27 years after entering the Abbey of Gethsemani. The name is appropriate since Thomas Merton was a prolific writer about spiritual life and contemplative prayer, all showing “his great love of God,” a spiritual master that reflect the “heart of Merton that leads others to Christ.” There are many items in his section written about him and by him.

Thomas Merton’s framed portrait on the library wall was graciously sent to us, gratis from Brother Patrick Hart, OCSO, Merton’s last secretary. Plans have been made to surround the framed picture with scenes of the Abbey of Gethesmani.”