The following pages are a typed facsimile transcription of Thomas Merton's holographic journal designated #10, "The Red Diary,"in the Thomas Merton Studies Center Collection at Bellarmine College, Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to the facsimile, the transcribers have appended notes, English translations from the Greek, Latin and French, an index, a bibliography of confirmed sources used by Merton, and a page-by-page synopsis of the complete journal.
The original journal is a red-leather, day-by-day calendar journal for 1959 and thus has received its title, The Red Diary. Of the possible 365 pages for entries, Merton used only 63: his first entry appears on page 4, designated for January 3, 1959; the final entry is on page 66, designated for March 4, 1959. The remaining pages of the calendar diary are blank.
The Red Diary was obviously dated 1959 in the Thomas Merton Studies Center Collection, but there is ample evidence to prove that not all, and perhaps not any, of the entries were made by Merton in 1959. Page X (43) bears the date November, 1964. Page X (50) bears the date January 31, 1965, Merton's fiftieth birthday. An interrelated portion of the journal [pp. X(45-66)],entitled by Merton an "Office for Hermits", was begun after November, 1964 and either completed or abandoned in early 1965. It is difficult, though admittedly not impossible, to assume that, during a six year period, Merton would have filled only 63 pages in the diary. And since all the journal's entries are similar, what can be described as an anthology or florilegium of favorite passages from Merton's lectio divina, the entries in the journal are assumed to be more accurately dated 1964-65 than 1959. Given this assumption, Merton saves or finds unused a red-leather diary for 1959 which becomes another journal in the mid-sixties.
Although no personal journal entries by Merton appear in this diary it is a collection of the words of others The Red Diary reveals Merton intimately. The Red Diary is a convergence of Merton's spontaneous attractions. The quotations exhibit Merton's instinct for the essential and the luminous in his reading. And by what he selects to save Merton reveals his own interior climate. The journal section entitled an Office for Hermits is especially significant. Here Merton looks forward to his living at his hermitage full time and thus arms himself with a word from his monastic fathers, both Latin and Greek, and from the Scriptures, especially the prophetic and wisdom books. These collected "words" reflect his fears and his hopes, and more importantly they reflect his prayer, at this new and long awaited juncture in his life.
This transcription is a collaboration of friends. Dr. Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis Professor of Comparative Literature and on the faculty of the St. Ignatius Institute of the University of San Francisco, transcribed and translated the Greek, French, and Latin sections of the journal. Jonathan Montaldo transcribed the remaining sections and is responsible for the addenda to the text.
The transcription of Thomas Merton's "Red Diary" was completed under the direction of Dr. Robert E. Daggy, Director of Research for the Thomas Merton Legacy Trust and the Director of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine College. This transcription and its addenda are the property of Bellarmine College. All rights to the use of this transcription are reserved by the provisions of the Thomas Merton Legacy Trust and by Bellarmine College.
January 31, 1989