Local News
1:00 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

Louisville's Merton Institute Closing Down

A Louisville-based center that offers spiritual guidance based on the teachings of Thomas Merton will dissolve next week.

The Merton Institute for Contemplative Living will close December 31. It was founded 17 years ago, but Executive Director Vanessa Hurst says the institute does not have the financial means to continue.

Hurst says the institute’s retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Nelson County, called Bethany Spring, will remain open under the monastery’s supervision, and it will continue to provide weekly and holiday reflections to the 16-thousand people in its virtual community.

She says there was a flood of responses when the closing was announced earlier this month.

"I probably have received over 400 e-mails, and 300 of those I received probably within the first 48 hours of the notice, and just the graciousness and the beauty of those e-mails were just amazing to me. I continue to hear from people who just found out about it yesterday, too," she said.

Merton died in 1968, but many of his books on spirituality remain popular. He lived at the Nelson County monastery for nearly three decades.

The Merton Institute is not related to the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University.