ERNESTO CARDENAL MARTINEZ (born January 20, 1925) is a Nicaraguan Catholic priest, poet, and politician. He is a Liberation Theologian and the founder of the primitivist art community in the Solentiname Islands, where he lived for more than ten years (1965-1977). A member of the Nicaraguan Sandinistas, a party he has since left, he was Nicaragua's minister of culture from 1979 to 1987. THOMAS MERTON (1915-1968), a monk who lived in isolation for several years, is one of the most well-known Catholic writers of the twentieth century. He was a prolific poet, religious writer, and essayist whose diversity of work has rendered a precise definition of his life and an estimation of the significance of his career difficult. Merton was a Trappist, a member of a Roman Catholic brotherhood known for its austere lifestyle and vow of silence in which all conversation is forbidden.