The world has lost a great man. Monasticism has lost a great man. But all of us, and I say this in all simplicity of heart, have gained a saint….
As yet, I have not absorbed completely the news of his birthday in the Lord, but somehow I feel him intensely close to me these last 24 hours. If there be any communication of this type, closeness of this type, then I have to say that it is one of joy.
[Taken from a letter written by Catherine Doherty of Madonna House to Father Flavian, O.C.S.O., Abbot, Abbey of Gethsemani, on December 12, 1968, two days after Thomas Merton’s death. Catherine had received a telegram from Fr. Flavian on December 11th. Excerpt from: Compassionate Fire. The Letters of Thomas Merton & Catherine de Hueck Doherty, pg. 89, edited by Robert A. Wild, Ave Maria Press]