“With Roots in Eternity..”

During our site visit to Loyola University-Lakefront in Chicago, our program committee came up with a theme for the 2011 ITMS General Meeting: “With Roots in Eternity: Merton, the Desert and the City”.

With that in mind, we asked Sister Donna Kristoff, who is the Secretary of the ITMS and an amazing artist, to design a logo for our Chicago meeting. She came up with a number of ideas, and the ITMS Board chose the one you see.

I asked Sister Donna to explain her inspiration. She said, “The theme of the General Meeting is very expansive in scope: from Merton’s comments about Gethsemani giving him “roots in eternity” to the desert and the city. These apparent contradictions are resolved in the person of Merton whose monastic spirituality burst through the abbey walls in prophetic challenges to contemporary human crises, including urban life and technology.”

“The dominant, brushed circle is an ‘enso’. This is a calligraphic symbol for enlightenment and is associated with Zen as was Merton himself. One example of his many calligraphies is an ‘enso’. In the logo it can represent Merton’s presence and the universal expanse of having roots in eternity. The ‘heavenly’ image can also be seen reflected below as the primal, watery roots of the earth.”

“Of course, the site ‘city’ is the Chicago skyline and its reflection in Lake Michigan. It anchors the theme to the concrete present— the here and the now. The sharp, black silhouette of the city contrasts with its gray, shadowy mirror-image, inviting questions about reality, truth and social transformation—topics for discussion at the conference.”

“And yet, there is a dynamic, dancing rhythm in the water that stirs all the reflections together. Is it Merton’s creative spirit anticipating the communal energy of the ITMS Twelfth General Meeting?”


About doyoureadthomasmerton

Bob Grip was the Program Chair of the International Thomas Merton Society General Meeting at Sacred Heart University in 2013.
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