"The peculiar grace of a Shaker chair is due to the fact that it was made by someone capable of believing that an angel might come and sit on it."--Thomas Merton
"Thomas Merton, with his Cistercian instinct for religious purity, simplicity, and the sacramental value of work, was, as this illuminating volume shows, the natural dialogue partner with the Shakers and their artful work."--Lawrence S. Cunningham, author, Thomas Merton and the Monastic Vision
"His delight in the Shakers and his admiration for the noble simplicity of their life and work shine through the pages of this very readable book."--William H. Shannon, author, Silent Lamp: The Thomas Merton Story
"Through this beautiful and inspiring volume the American soul is laid bare to challenge us . . . to dance to a more joyful and worthy tune."--M. Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O.
In these essays, talks, and a stunning selection of his own photographs, Thomas Merton hauntingly evokes the spirituality of a uniquely American sect. Largely remembered today for a legacy of extraordinary craftsmanship, the Shakers espoused a way of life, as Merton shows, with surprising relevance for today. In their approach to work as a form of worship, in their practice of community, their simplicity and rejection of violence, and their profound witness to the Kingdom of God, Merton finds lessons for all Christians.
Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O., who died in 1968, was a Trappist monk and one of the great spiritual writers of the twentieth century.
Paul M. Pearson is director and archivist of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine College, Louisville, Kentucky.