FoC 044: Why We Need Silence and Thomas Merton with Dr. Greg Hillis


Sometimes the internet is a great place! Haley’s husband Daniel became Twitter friends with Dr. Gregory Hillis and then Haley met the Hillis family during last summer’s big road trip and visited the Abbey of Gethsemani (where Thomas Merton lived) with them. One minute you’re driving through beautiful Kentucky, and the next you’re eating dinner at a hermitage with monks and somebody you’re husband knows from Twitter. It’s like magic.

Dr. Hillis is our first of Christy’s fellow Canadians to join us on the podcast.  He is a historical theologian with particular expertise in patristics and joined Bellarmine’s faculty in August 2008.  In addition to  Christian spirituality, ecclesiology, sacramental theology, 19th and 20th century Roman Catholic theology, and Eastern Christian history and theology, Dr. Hillis studies Thomas Merton and we thought he would have some great insights into Merton’s work to share with you (we were right!)

In this episode we talked about Merton’s conversion, which of his writings Merton newbies should read first, why people are scared of Merton, and his emphasis on dialogue with other faith traditions. We also chatted about Wendell Berry, how the vocation of marriage is a call to generous love, how we are sacramentally connected to other Christians through baptism, and advice from Dr. Hillis about the beauty and complexities of interfaith marriage.

It’s a great episode, so grab some coffee and listen in!

Links for this episode:

Getting Started with Thomas Merton: A Reading Guide: My Unquiet Heart

Haley’s Why You Should Take Your Kids to Caves, Monasteries, and Fancy Hotels

Books we talked about:

Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

Thomas Merton: Spiritual Master, The Essential Writings

Thomas Merton: Essential Writings

The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton

The Intimate Merton: His Life from Journals

How to connect with Dr. Greg Hillis:

Come hang out with us!

You can listen to us on iTunes, and we’d love a quick rating or review. If you have an android device we’re also on Stitcher. And as always, you can find all links, show notes, upcoming guests, and listen to all episodes at Fountains of


3 thoughts on “FoC 044: Why We Need Silence and Thomas Merton with Dr. Greg Hillis”

  1. Great podcast – really enjoyed listening to this episode. It made a long coach ride – stuck in London traffic en route back to Oxford – much more bearable. I loved the Weldon Berry story.

    PS: I’ve nominated you for the

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