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Reading Thomas Merton & Longing for God in Haiti By: Gerard Thomas Straub



“This new book is the finest rendition of Gerard Straub’s on-a-rough-road contemplative life in action. He recounts the influence of the monk Thomas Merton on his conversion and contemplative life. Straub’s journal reflections share his whole-hearted commitment to aid the most vulnerable.”

—L’Osservatore Romano


Available on Amazon


Review from from L'Osservatore Romano


16 December 2022

A much-anticipated new book by the prolific writer and filmmaker Gerard Thomas Straub has arrived in time for the Christmas season. Mr. Straub is the author of nine books. His “The Sun & Moon Over Assisi” was named the Best Hardcover Book of the Year in 2001 by Catholic Press Association. This married, secular Franciscan lives in Port-au-Prince, Haiti where he founded a home for forty-five kids, The Santa Chiara Children’s Center. He abandoned a career as a television executive in Hollywood to write and direct over twenty documentary films that focus on global poverty. This new book is the finest rendition of his on-a-rough-road contemplative life in action. He recounts the influence of the monk Thomas Merton on his conversion and contemplative life. His journal reflections share his whole-hearted commitment to aid the most vulnerable. A review by Guerric Heckel of Mepkin Abbey invites reading this book: “The power of contemplation and action to beacon hope for our world shines out in this fascinating tale of contemplative adventures in Haiti. Merton would have been avid to read this story. Straub’s book witnesses how faith in action can triumph in hiding over despair and violence.” (Amazon, $20.00) All net profits contributed to the Santa Chiara Children’s Center. Jonathan Montaldo, editor of The Intimate Merton. -https://www.osservatoreromano.va/en/news/2022-12/ing-050/reading-thomas-merton-and-longing-for-god-in-haiti.html from L'Osservatore Romano

Review by Jonathan Montaldo



Excerpts

Oddly enough, I feel somewhat at home writing this book, while simultaneously feeling I have no right to write it because I’m so woefully unqualified to say anything of substance about Merton or prayer. However, I’m so powerfully drawn to Merton the searcher that I’m able to muster the confidence to keep writing, to keep trying to understand not only the monk but his—and my—relentless search for a deeper meaning. When Merton writes about the true or real self and the false or illusionary self, I’m better able to recognize and feel those two dimensions within me. He speaks to the deepest yearnings of my spirit, while at the same time boldly confronting the complex problems within society.

Pg 42


Without the silence, meager as it is, that I experience in my island home in Florida, I would never have survived seven years in Haiti. It resets my inner compass, shows me where I’ve strayed, shows me my uncorrected faults, and pulls me back to the true center of reality. Without silence, I’d be toast. An appreciation of silence was Merton’s gift to me . . . and you.

Pg 135



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