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From Tok Cutoff, north side Wrangells, near Richardson (Pataky).jpg

Mountains of Contemplation

An Online Workshop on Thomas Merton
with Kathleen Tarr

Saturday, November 4
11am - 3pm PT

For most of us, wilderness and mountains stir our dreams and artistic imaginations. They open our being to unspoken spiritual realms, help us restore our lost mytho-poetic consciousness, and kindle our desires for places of pilgrimage. Thomas Merton understood the vital role exterior landscapes play in the growth and transformation of one’s interior life.


In this interactive workshop, we will visually explore some of the alpine wonders Merton saw during his sojourns in the desert Southwest, Alaska, Europe, and the Himalaya. Through short readings, informal discussion, and powerful imagery, participants will be introduced to Merton’s writings and reflections on the natural world.


As we learn more about Merton’s poetic and environmental vision, we will focus on the aura and magic of mountains for contemplatives. Participants will also be invited to share some of their own joiurney stories about sacred landscapes and the meanings and mysteries they hold.

Kathleen Tarr, long-time Alaskan, is the author of We Are All Poets Here, a well-researched, spiritual memoir that partly relates the story about how, as a non-religious woman, Thomas Merton became her wildly unexpected spiritual guide.  Kathleen served for five years as the founding Program Coordinator of the low-residency, Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Her work has appeared in a wide range of anthologies, magazines, newspapers, and literary journals. Her areas of special interest include: the history and literary culture of central and Eastern Europe; the natural world; mountaineering history; and since 1991, she has been a frequent traveler throughout Russia.


As a Merton scholar, she is a frequent speaker and teacher on Thomas Merton via conferences, community workshops, podcasts, and webinars. She was recently re-elected to the International Thomas Merton Society board and is the founder of the Alaska Chapter of the ITMS. Kathleen holds an MFA in literary nonfiction from the University of Pittsburgh. She lives and writes in Anchorage under the shadow of the Chugach Mountains. She can be reached at and at She is a founding member of St. Columba’s Inverness Contemplative Residency Program. In her day job, Kathleen works in the headquarters of Alaska's state park system.

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* Partial scholarships available

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