Project SummaryThe Many Storeys and Last Days of Thomas Merton is a story of adventure and spiritual search from Merton's home at the Abbey of Gethsemani, across America in the turbulent year of 1968, and finally to Asia for meetings with the Dalai Lama and other spiritual seekers. Merton believed serving as a bridge between West and East was one way in which his call could be realized as a value to others. The interviews of “Many Storeys” celebrates the triumph of all that was gained by the Thomas Merton journey. It reflects on the tragedy of what was lost with his death, and considers why Merton’s life and work challenges us today.
Merton experts come to Louisville to access the valuable resources held at the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University. Merton’s home, at the Abbey of Gethsemani lay just 60 miles inside the heart of Central Kentucky. The area is prime for Merton researchers, enthusiasts, and spiritual seekers. The paradoxical nature of Merton makes him intriguing to many. He was deeply spiritual but also candid about his very bawdy, human side. Yet, Merton appealed to a wide range of people — traditional, conservative Catholics, progressive, radical Catholics, people from many religious traditions, literary sophisticates, political activists, environmentalists and more.
"Most of my adult life I have had a deep interest in Thomas Merton," said Morgan C. Atkinson. His first documentary about Merton in 2007 - Soul Searching, The Journey of Thomas Merton - had been in many ways his most “successful” documentary project to date being broadcast nationwide on PBS. 2015 marked the 100th anniversary of Merton's birth, prompting Atkinson to make his second documentary concerning Merton and his influence. When Atkinson secured an interview with the Dalai Lama in 2013, the project's solidification became clear. The final documentary was narrated by writer and National Book Award for Poetry winner Nikky Finney.