Thomas Merton

The Last of the Fathers

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A contextual portrait of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, along with Pope Pius XII’s encyclical letter on the Doctor of the Church.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a dominant figure in the history of the Catholic Church and the last of the Church Fathers, died in his monastery in Burgundy on August 20, 1153. In commemoration of the eighth centenary of his death, Pope Pius XII issued one of his most significant encyclical letters—Doctor Mellifluus—which Thomas Merton presents here, together with an introduction to the life and teachings of the great mystic.
The essence of Saint Bernard’s doctrine, Father Merton writes, is nothing else but the spiritual peace distilled in monasticism, and it is one of the purest and most authentic sources of Catholic tradition. Pius’s encyclical letter draws on that doctrine to bring the highest spiritual perfection within reach of all Christians.
Praise for The Last of the Fathers
“A study that will have to be on the shelves of all libraries and in the personal collections of all who are interested in spirituality . . .. Merton has provided an exquisite spiritual and intellectual setting for the jewel of the Encyclical [by Pope Pius XII].” —Catholic World
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96 printed pages
Original publication



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