John Samuel Tieman: Remembering Daniel Berrigan

Vox Populi

In 1995, the literary magazine River Styx invited Daniel Berrigan to St. Louis for the 2nd Annual Thomas Merton Commemoration. A three day weekend filled with this poetry, that speech, and all manner of scholarly event and spiritual dialogue. Father Berrigan, a friend of Thomas Merton, and a winner of the Lamont Poetry Prize, was the keynote speaker.

But Saturday afternoon was unplanned. Someone suggested that I, the only practicing Catholic on the River Styx board, give the priest a tour, “something religious.”

The St. Louis Cathedral seemed an appropriate place to begin that afternoon. The cathedral is one of the largest churches in the world. A crypt filled with cardinals and bishops and archbishops. The city’s religious history in towering mosaics. Berrigan was patient with my professorial tour. Then he taught me how to write a psalm.

At one of the small side altars, a little Marian chapel, there…

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