About the Author

Donald P. St. John, Ph.D. is an Emeritus Professor of Religion at Moravian University, Bethlehem, PA.

As a Franciscan in the 1960s, Dr. St. John became an avid reader of the writings of Thomas Merton. In the 1970s he studied World Religions at Temple University where he earned an M.A. and at Fordham a Ph.D. in 1981 studying with Thomas Berry. Donald’s studies in the mid-1970s at Fordham sparked in him an interest in Native American Traditions and Teilhard de Chardin. Thomas Berry helped deepen his appreciation for the role that the Ecological and Cosmological processes play in forming the human religious self-understanding. “The earth is not a collection of objects,” writes Berry, “but a communion of subjects.” Don’s dissertation was on the history of the Iroquois Dream-Vision experience and he later wrote several articles on American Indigenous Traditions for The Encyclopedia of Religion (1986 & 2005 editions).

While at Moravian he founded and edited the quarterly Ecospirit: A Journal of Ecological Spirituality (1986-1993). He became Editor (1994-2007) and then Associate Editor (2007-Present) of Teilhard Studies. Donald won a Catholic Press Association Award for his co-edited book Teilhard in the Twenty-First Century: The Emerging Spirit of the Earth (2003).

St. John published articles on Thomas Merton, ecological spirituality and environmental philosophy. Donald is author of the book, Chuang Tzu’s “Crazy Wisdom” for Elders, (2019) which draws heavily upon Merton’s rendering of the work of Chuang Tzu, a Taoist/Daoist he considered a man of great wisdom (Sophia) whose inner spirit opened to the subtle energy present within the universe at all levels. Don taught a variety of courses at the college level in the areas of Asian Religions, Native American Religions, Ecology & Religion, Environmental Philosophy, Thomas Merton, etc. for 35 years. His “Tree of Life” volume draws upon most of the above areas of research and teaching as they help the reader identify not only similar areas of interest in Merton but when and how they develop throughout his life as a monk.

Contact Dr. St. John at stjohnd@moravian.edu.