Under the Sign of the Waterbearer

A Life of Thomas Merton

Under the Sign of the Waterbearer Synopsis

Thomas Merton, known in religion as Father Louis, was born in France, in his words "under the sign of the waterbearer," in 1915. He studied at Cambridge in England and at Columbia in New York. As a student he lived what his friends have described as a bawdy life but turned from it to become a devout Roman Catholic. As America entered World War II he entered the abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky, and for 27 years he was a Trappist monk, in the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance. During his early days there he wrote an autobiography which became the third bestselling nonfiction book of the year 1949 and went on to write more than 50 more until in 1968 he at last went back into the world to meet with monastic leaders in Asia.

Apparently Pope Francis read Metron’s works and in his address to the U.S. Congress named Merton, Dorothy Day, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King Jr. as people he hoped Americans would emulate.He had entered Gethsemani on December 10, 1941, when he was nearing his twenty-seventh birthday; and on December 10, 1968, as he was nearing his fifty-fourth birthday, he was accidentally electrocuted while attending a religious conference in Bangkok, Thailand. Many in the West consider him a saint and many in the East consider him a manifestation of the Buddha. His autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, has been compared to the Confessions of Saint Augustine No one who reads it or any other of his books is ever the same again.

The author of this play, James Thomas Baker, knew Thomas Merton and wrote the original version of the play soon after Merton's death. This completely revised and rewritten version, done as an expression of love and admiration in 2015, is to commemorate Thomas Merton's hundred birthday.

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Book Details
Pages: 125
Primary BISAC Category: PER011000
Performing Arts / Theater / General
Print ISBN-13: 9780985534233
Print ISBN-10: 0985534230
eBook ISBN: 9781311987877

Under the Sign of the Waterbearer Print Editions


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About Author James T. Baker

James T. Baker developed his passion for history and religion while in high school, during his days as a Bulldog. He is a graduate of Baylor and Florida State Universities and has for many years taught at Western Kentucky University. Throughout his career he has been a prolific writer, authoring 22 books and over 60 articles.  His articles have appeared in such places as Christian Century, Commonweal, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The American Benedictine Review. His creative talents and his unique points of view and insights have also made him a highly sought after speaker.  He has delivered addresses and papers in the United States, Italy, Korea, Taiwan, China, and other Asian countries. He often appears in a one person show-presentation of industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.  In addition to his teaching duties, James directs the Canadian Parliamentary Internship Program.

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