Merton's Bridges to Contemplative Living Programme

The Janssen Spirituality Centre is pleased to be able to host the 'Thomas Merton Bridges to Contemplative Living Programme', an initiative of the Melbourne Chapter of the International Thomas Merton Society.

The Merton Bridges Programme seeks to awaken interest in contemplative living through reflecting upon the writings of Thomas Merton, the most acclaimed American mystic of the 20th century.

The Bridges to Contemplative Living series leads participants on the journey toward a more contemplative approach to life.  Each booklet has eight sessions for small group dialogue. Each session is developed around a key theme for integrating contemplative living into our everyday lives. Each follows the following format in a reflective and meditative manner:

  • Begins with a Psalm passage for reflection
  • Provides an introduction that offers continuity, context and connections between the theme of the session and the readings.
  • A reading from Thomas Merton, the heart of each session, leads us to deep places within ourselves and offers insights into the paradoxes of life
  • A second reading from another spiritual writer complements Merton’s writing. This “voice” often represents insights from another religious tradition
  • Contemplative dialogue, non-threatening, a “safe place” for open sharing and discussion, follows. The focus is on listening rather than thinking about how to respond to what we hear.
  • Ends with a prayer.

The Bridges to Contemplative Living programme follows a series of eight booklets:

Vol 1: Entering the School of Your Experience  
Vol 2: Becoming Who You Already Are   
Vol 3: Living Your Deepest Desires  
Vol 4: Discovering the Hidden Ground of Love
Vol 5: Traveling Your Road to Joy             
Vol 6: Writing Yourself into the Book of Life
Vol 7: Adjusting Your Life’s Vision
Vol 8: Seeing That Paradise Begins Now

Special Editions: Advent and Christmas (for use in the Advent Season)

                         Lent and Holy Week (for use between Ash Wednesday and Easter)

The Merton Bridges to Contemplative Living Group (first group) meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm; meetings usually last one and a half hours.  New participants are welcome at any time. 

The Merton Bridges to Contemplative Living Group (second group) meets on the first and third Wednesday of the month at 10am; meeting last one and a half hours.  New participants are welcome at any time.

The Merton Bridges to Contemplative Living Group (third group) will commence on the second and fourth Wednesday of March 2015 at 10am; meetings will usually last one and a half hours.  New participants are welcome at any time.

To contact the coordinator of the Merton Bridges Programme, please ring Dr Stewart Sharlow on 04 9017 5645  or send an email message to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.