Mercy Center




Fr. Thomas Hand, S.J. ("Hando"), founder of the Mercy Center East-West meditation program, corresponded for more than 20 years with his friend Brigitte D'Ortschy (link opens WikiPedia page).

Brigitte D'Ortschy undertook rigorous Zen training, and was named as a dharma heir by both Yasutani Haku'un Roshi and Yamada Koun Roshi.

Hando had a great regard for Brigitte (known to her students as Koun-An Doru Chiko), and considered her to be an enlightened Zen teacher.

Listen to a sound clip in which Hando speaks about their friendship.

Father Thomas Hand and Koun-An Doru Chiko


The curators of Koun-An Doru Chiko Roshi's writings have graciously allowed us to share images of a selection of the letters she and Hando exchanged. These letters, which offer a glimpse into Hando's own spiritual journey, are a gift to all companions on the path.



On the Path  |  July 1970

This exchange of letters provides a glimpse into the spiritual friendship between Fr. Hand and Koun-An Doru Chiko. The letters reference pathmaking and leading haiku workshops, practices that Hando continued during his many years at Mercy Center.


Hando's letter was handwritten; it is presented in its original form and in a text transcription. Koun-An Doru Chiko's letter was typewritten, and is presented in its original form.


read Hando's letter (original form)


read Hando's letter (transcription)


read Koun-An Doru Chiko's letter


Pilgrimage in Japan  |  February 1975

An account of Hando's walking pilgrimage to the great Buddhist shrines of Japan. Hando describes, in the light of his training in zen koan practice, deepening insight into Jesus as the truest expression of of Mercy.


read Hando's letter