Creating a Foundation for Peace: THE THOMAS MERTON PRISON PROJECT

Prison-Prayer 2The Woodbourne Correctional Facility in upstate New York has been the inspiration for The Thomas Merton Prison Project. While working in the prison for an electrical contractor, the foundation’s founder Lawrence Birney, a student of Merton’s writings for forty years, has had a first-hand view of prison life and the daily difficulties both inmates and correction officers face. The environment presents a challenging opportunity to present Merton’s work, and those of other spiritual leaders, with the eventual aim of expanding the program to other prison communities.

Thomas Merton’s writings, in particular The Seven Storey Mountain, have inspired millions worldwide. In addition, there are a number of contemporary works which are dedicated to furthering his interfaith message of global understanding and peace.

The Pure Vision Foundation, through its pilot program, The Thomas Merton Prison Project, would like to provide these works to New York State correctional facilities as well as prison facilities throughout  the United States. Books by various spiritual authors such as the Dalai Lama, Muhammad Ali, Rodger Kamenetz, Paramahansa Yogananda, and Andrew Harvey which inspire and support spiritual reflection, will also be provided through the program.

“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.”  – Thomas Merton

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