Mercy Center






Fr. Thomas Hand, S.J. ("Hando") founded the East-West Meditation Program at Mercy Center in 1985, after having lived nearly 30 years in Japan. During his time in Japan, Fr. Hand taught haiku poetry, and studied Zen meditation with Yamada Koun Rosh, who encouraged Western students to learn Zen as a way of deepening their Judeo-Christian faith. Hando's groundbreaking work laid a strong foundation for the continuity of the Program.

After Hando's retirement, Fr. Greg Mayers, C.Ss.R, a Redemptorist priest, award-winning author, retreat leader and Zen teacher, was invited to direct the East-West program. From 2005 to 2019, under his leadership, hundreds of retreat participants and zen students came to a deeper experience of reality.

Today, the East-West Program is blessed with a diverse group of experienced leaders and teachers. Wednesday meditation is led by Sr. Judy Cannon and Center Day by Margaret Gainer. Retreat teachers Nona Strong, The Rev. Alice Cabotaje and Tony Tackitt have received transmission as Authentic Zen teachers in the Empty Cloud lineage of Br. Willigis Jäger, OSB, Roshi.

The East-West program honors all faith traditions, and encourages meditative practices that lead to a deeper experience of Reality.




The East-West program has recorded and archived many retreat talks given by Fr. Greg Mayers and Fr. Thomas Hand. Audio, video, photos and PDFs are all copyrighted materials and may not be reposted or redistributed without prior permission.


East-West Meditation Talks

East-West Meditation Spiritual Talks

Recorded spiritual talks by East-West teachers, meditation leader Sr. Judy Cannon, and Center Day leader Margaret Gainer are available to listen and download.

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Fr. Greg Mayers



videos  sesshin and retreat talks | read/listen to what is kensho?




audio library | videos | hando letters | read crossing over together






This summer, Fr. Gregory Mayers, C.Ss.R, former director of the Mercy Center East-West Meditation program, relocated to a Redemptorist residence near St. Louis, Missouri.


When Fr. Greg came to Mercy Center in 2005, the program, founded by Fr. Thomas Hand, S.J., had been in existence for more than 20 years. Fr. Greg's willingness to take on the responsibilities of director and resident teacher at that critical time allowed the program to continue and flourish. Under his leadership, the program accomplished transformative work in the lives of retreat participants, Center Day attendees, Wednesday evening meditators, and the staff and Sisters at Mercy Center. Those who have attended his retreats and shared community supper with him know his honesty and self-deprecating humor, boundless intellectual curiosity, and personal faith.


The Great Heart Sutra recited at Zen meditation speaks of "no attainment", a concept not easily grasped by the discursive mind. In our friend and teacher Fr. Greg's life, the outward attainments—professional degrees, academic posts, responsible appointments in the Redemptorist order, an award-winning book—were accompanied by the inner work of spiritual direction, Progoff Intensive Journaling, leading contemplative retreats, and Zen meditation practice and study.

Father Greg Mayers

In the midst of a busy working life, Fr. Greg began Zen studies with Willigis Jäger, O.S.B., who made Fr. Greg a Zen Teacher in 1991. In 1997, he was made an Assistant Zen Teacher by Roshi Akira Kubota, and in 2008 a Zen teacher in the Sanbô Kyôdan Zen tradition by Ryôun Yamada Roshi. In 2010, he was made a Zen Master in the Empty Cloud Zen lineage by Willigis Jäger, and in 2011 he was made an Associate Zen Master in the Sanbô Kyôdan Zen Tradition by Ryôun Yamada Roshi.


People of all faith traditions who seek to deepen their experience of God through the practice of Zen meditation have found a place of welcome at Mercy Center, in no small part because of Fr. Greg's personal commitment.


We bow to express profound gratitude for his presence at the center of our community.

listen to Fr. Greg Mayers talks | watch Fr. Greg Mayers videos