Thomas Keating

TK - St Bens

Fr. Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O. (born 7th March 1923) is a Trappist monk (Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance) and priest, known as one of architects of the Centering Prayer, a contemporary method of contemplative prayer, that emerged from St. Joseph’s Abbey, Spencer, Massachusetts, in 1975. He was born in New York City, and attended Deerfield Academy, Yale University, and Fordham University, graduating in December 1943. He is a founder of the Centering Prayer movement and of Contemplative Outreach, Ltd.

Keating entered the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance in Valley Falls, Rhode Island, in January, 1944. He was appointed Superior of St. Benedict’s Monastery, Snowmass, Colorado, in 1958, and was elected abbot of St. Joseph’s Abbey, Spencer, Massachusetts, in 1961. He returned to Snowmass after retiring as abbot of Spencer in 1981, where he established a program of ten-day intensive retreats in the practice of Centering Prayer, a contemporary form of the Christian contemplative tradition.

He is one of three architects of Centering Prayer, a contemporary method of contemplative prayer, that emerged from St. Joseph’s Abbey in 1975. William Meninger and Basil Pennington, also Cistercian monks, were the other architects. When the concept was first proposed by Father Keating, Fr. William Meninger started teaching a method based on the 14th century spiritual classic, The Cloud of Unknowing. Fr. Meninger referred to this as the Prayer of the Cloud and taught it to priests at the retreat house. Fr. Basil Pennington gave the first retreat to a lay audience in Connecticut where the participants suggested the term Centering Prayer. Since Thomas Merton had been known to use the term prior to this, it has been suggested the phrase may have originated from him.

In 1984, Fr. Thomas Keating along with Gustave Reininger and Edward Bednar, co-founded Contemplative Outreach, Ltd., an international, ecumenical spiritual network that teaches the practice of Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina, a method of prayer drawn from the Christian contemplative tradition. Contemplative Outreach provides a support system for those on the contemplative path through a wide variety of resources, workshops, and retreats.

Fr. Keating also helped found the Snowmass Interreligious Conference in 1982 and is a past president of the Temple of Understanding and of the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue among other interreligious activities.

Fr. Keating currently lives at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado, as does Fr. William Meninger.[1]


  • Crisis of Faith (1979) 
  • Finding Grace at the Center (1979)
  • Heart of the World (1981)
  • And the Word Was Made Flesh (1982)
  • Open Mind, Open Heart: The Contemplative Dimension of the Gospel (1986)
  • The Mystery of Christ: The Liturgy as Spiritual Experience (1987)
  • Heart of the World: Spiritual Catechism (1988)
  • Mystery of Christ (1988)
  • Awakenings (1990)
  • Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality: A Pathway to Growth and Healing, by Philip St Romain, illus. Intro. by Thomas Keating (1991)
  • Reawakenings (1991)
  • Invitation to Love: The Way of Christian Contemplation (1992)
  • Intimacy with God (1994)
  • Loving Search for God: Contemplative Prayer and “The Cloud of Unknowing,”, with William A. Meninger (1994)
  • Crisis of Faith, Crisis of Love (1995)
  • Active Meditations for Contemplative Prayer (1997)
  • The Kingdom of God is Like… (1997)
  • Centering Prayer in Daily Life and Ministry, co-edited with Gustave Reininger (1998)
  • The Diversity of Centering Prayer (1998)
  • The Human Condition: Contemplation and Transformation (Wit Lectures) (1999)
  • Journey to the Center: A Lenten Passage (1999)
  • The Better Part: Stages of Contemplative Living (2000)
  • Fruits and Gifts of the Spirit (2000)
  • St. Therese of Lisieux: A Transformation in Christ (2000)
  • Divine Indwelling: Centering Prayer and Its Development, with George F. Cairns, Thomas R. Ward, Sarah A. Butler, Fitzpatrick-Hopler (2001)
  • Sundays at the Magic Monastery: Homilies from the Trappists of St. Benedict’s Monastery with William Meninger, Joseph Boyle, and Theophane Boyd (2002)
  • Transformation of Suffering: Reflections on September 11 and the Wedding Feast at Cana in Galilee (2002)
  • The Daily Reader for Contemplative Living: Excerpts from the Works of Father Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O. : Sacred Scripture, and Other Spiritual Writings (2003)
  • Foundations for Centering Prayer and the Christian Contemplative Life: Open Mind, Open Heart, Invitation to Love, Mystery of Christ (2003)
  • Manifesting God (2005)
  • Active Prayer: On Retreat with Father Thomas Keating (2005)
  • Centering Prayer: On Retreat with Father Thomas Keating (2005)
  • Lectio Divina: On Retreat with Father Thomas Keating (2005)
  • Welcoming Prayer: On Retreat with Father Thomas Keating (2005)
  • “Divine Therapy and Addiction: Centering Prayer and the Twelve Steps” (2009)


  • Contemplative Prayer (Audio, 1995)
  • The Contemplative Journey (Audio, 1997)
  • The Contemplative Journey, Vol. 2 (Audio, 1997)
  • Searching for God in America (Video, 1997)
  • The Contemplative Journey (Audio CD) (2005)
  • Contemplative Prayer: Traditional Christian Meditations for Opening to Divine Union (Audio CD) (2005)


  • El Centro Del Mundo (1993)
  • Invitacion a Amar, trans. Mercedes Cesar & Maria E. Steffens (1998)
  • Misterio de Cristo ed. Maria E. Steffens (1999)
  • Mente Abierta, Corazon Abierto trans. Ilse Reissner (2001)
  • Poziv na ljubav (2002) – Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Otvorena svijest otvoreno srce – Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Kristovo otajstvo – liturgija kao duhovno iskustvo (2003) – Zagreb (Croatia)
  • Nyitott tudat, nyitott szív (2006) – Budapest