In 1949 a surprising title made its way onto the best-seller lists. Thomas Merton's autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, begins with this line: "On the last day of January 1915, under the sign of the Water Bearer, in a year of a great war, and down in the shadows of some French mountains on the borders of Spain, I came into the world." This month we are pleased to remember the centenary of Merton's coming into the world. Through the story of his conversion and entry into the Trappist Abbey of Gethsemani and the scores of books that followed, Merton became one of the most influential religious voices of his time. In a world crowded with noise and the manic quest for sensation and possessions, he called attention to prayer and contemplation. But increasingly he came to connect his monastic vocation to the concerns of the world—for peace, justice, and interreligious understanding. Almost fifty years since his death in 1968, his prophetic voice continues to challenge a new generation of seekers.