There are few more influential writers than the Trappist monk Thomas Merton. His writings continue to inspire, mentor, and impact new generations of readers. Our columnist Parker Palmer remembers when he first met Merton's words and how they continue to shape him today.
Thomas Merton is one of those monastics who continues to inspire so many. Here, the Jesuit Jim Martin reads one of his favorite passages from his book, Thoughts in Solitude.
Darkness draws out our deep-down depths. And, in the northern hemisphere, December’s darkness invites us inward. A lesson in wonder, an elegy for light, and a call to pay attention for the unbroken darkness of a December night.
Flannery O'Connor's prayer journal offers a rare glimpse into the life of a brilliant writer, colored by doubt and uncertainty, preoccupied with both magnificent grace and the mundane absurdity of everyday life.
On the first Sunday of October, pet owners flock to an unlikely place: their local churches. Across the U.S., dogs, cats, hamsters, and even birds gather to celebrate the feast day of St. Francis, otherwise known as “the blessing of the animals.”
Charles Camosy argues that only in a world dominated by our lazy binaries could Pope Francis be considered "liberal" simply because he doesn't fit into "conservative" categories.
A boy wears a tunic featuring the Virgin of Guadalupe during services in Mexico. (photo: Daniel Cristán/Flickr, cc by-nc-nd 2.0)
The administrative dashboard for SOF Observed allows us to see who has liked and reblogged our posts within the Tumblr community. It also allows us to see who “follows” our blog. Our most recent follower, 40 Days 40 Deeds, is a group of folks in four cities across the U.S. who aspire to:
“…make small changes throughout the 2010 Lenten season to encourage people to be kinder, to give more, to inconvenience themselves a little to make the world a more pleasant place to be.”
Reflections from Belfast on the opportunity of Ash Wednesday: "Lent is less for giving up, and more for making space."
The French geologist connects Dorothy Day, seismic activity, empathy, and the ability of the heart to continue to learn.
Reconciling childhood recollections with the complexity of abortion.
Our senior editor traces the atypical path of developing and producing this program and its Web elements.
Catholics of all sorts have been responding to our call for their stories. They’ve been writing to tell us about their experiences in the Catholic Church — the beauty and the pain and the hope they feel belonging to this vast and ancient tradition. We have been amazed by the depth and feeling with which these people have told us their stories. In an upcoming show in May, you’ll hear for yourself the fruit of these insightful voices.
Tom Stoppard’s new play “Rock-n-Roll” is getting mixed reviews here, but tickets are scarce, so I was thrilled when my friend Chris scored some for us. This is Stoppard’s chronicle of the intersection of pop culture and politics in then-Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution.
Stoppard, I learned from the program notes, was born in the Czech town of Zlin, where I — highly coincidentally — have a close friend, Hannah, who grew up there. Hannah, much younger than Stoppard, is a devout Catholic, for theological and political reasons (the Catholic Church was a staunch form of dissidence in parts of the East bloc).