Ramï¿½n Eduardo Ruï¿½z is a professor in the history department at the University of California San Diego at La Jolla.
Thomas Merton (1915-1968) is widely acclaimed as one of the most influential spiritual masters of the twentieth century. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, he was a poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion. In 1949, he was ordained to the priesthood and given the name Father Louis. Merton wrote more than seventy books, mostly on spirituality, social justice, and a quiet pacifism, as well as scores of essays and reviews, including his best-selling autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain.