Morgan Atkinson is a Kentucky documentarian who has produced several wonderful programs and books about Thomas Merton and the Abbey of Gethsemani.
Now he’s planning a new documentary, “The Many Lives and Last Days of Thomas Merton,” which focuses on 1968, the last year of the monk’s life and when he met with the Dalai Lama.
If you have an interest in this great spiritual thinker of our time, please consider contributing to Morgan’s Kickstarter campaign.
I’ve known Morgan for several years through my work. Some of his other works include a program on the lives of Anna and Harlan Hubbard, a unique Kentucky couple who lived as Thoreau did but did so in the 20th century — and for some 40 years.
Other recent works include “Uncommon Vision” the story of John Howard Griffin, author of the classic “Black Like Me.” I wrote about Morgan for the magazine I edit. From the story:
Early on, the idea of community drew Atkinson. His first documentary to air on KET, A Change in Order, depicted how the once-thriving Ursuline Sisters of Louisville adapted to a diminished and aging community. It was the first of several to focus on religious life.
An interest in the life of Merton, whose writings spoke to Atkinson as an individual searching for meaning in his own life, led him to visit Gethsemani and eventually to produce The Abbey of Gethsemani and Soul Searching: The Journey of Thomas Merton.
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I am still following you from afar!
Fascinating information about Thomas Merton on the Kickstarter page. I only discovered TM in the early 2000s when I had a minor spiritual awakening, now a distant memory. Reading about him back then I was intrigued to discover his Kentucky connections and I remember reading that Bellarmine College – of all places! – holds an archive of his letters. Knowing what I know now I would love to visit the archive but, back in 1984, I knew nothing of TM … (or of anything very much… we were so young!) I would have made a donation to the project but the target has been met. You must let me know when the documentary is released.
I hope all is going well with you and your work and your family?
For the past nearly two years I’ve been living in Suffolk and working for an international conservation charity http://www.worldlandtrust.org where I am senior editor. It’s a nice job and involves plenty of news writing, which I enjoy, and some creative input into the charity’s marketing and communications strategy. The charity is affiliated with a US charity Rainforest Trust, which you may have heard of.
Wouldn’t it be great if you lived round the corner! We could go out for a coffee and a chin-wag! I reckon we could pick up pretty much exactly where we left off in the summer of ’84 and I’m certain we would have plenty to talk about. I still have some of your letters from the 1980s.
We will have that meeting one day, I’m sure of it. I will get back to the States, I just don’t know when. I often think about a second Kentucky pilgrimage.
Lots of love, Christina.
I’m so happy to hear from you, Christina! I think of you often. What a dream, to live around the corner from you!