Thursday, May 23, 2019

The small college attracting some of the Church’s best brains

These are the first days of spring in New England, when you begin to understand why Robert Frost said “nature’s first green is gold”. Three pigs turn on rotisseries made of brick and mortar. The men, decked in flannel shirts and waistcoats, sing folk-songs about Thérèse of Lisieux. Young women in light dresses string garlands in their hair and dance on pedals from the cherry-trees. We eat crackling with thanks and praise to the Risen Lord (not to mention the students who kept a 30-hour vigil at the spit) and wash it down with freshly-bottled ale courtesy of the brewers’ guild. A few pipes are lit; a few romances are enkindled. It’s the Feast of the Resurrection at Thomas More College, so we’re feasting – just as our fathers in the Faith did a millennium ago.

This is what sets the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts (TMC) apart. Here, one gets a real sense that American Catholics stand in an unbroken succession from Jerusalem through Athens, Rome, London, and Philadelphia – right down to Merrimack, New Hampshire. That means the curriculum arises organically from TMC’s place: New England. Students read Frost and Nathaniel Hawthorne while hiking the White Mountains and sailing the coast of Maine.

For the last four decades, TMC has also kept a satellite campus in Rome, where every student spends one semester of their sophomore year at the heart of the Universal Church. They attend morning Mass in St Peter’s and read Dante beneath the walls of the Vatican. Then there’s the Oxford Studies Program, where a lucky few spend two weeks travelling through the mother country while studying England’s greatest Catholics: Cardinal Newman, GK Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Gerard Manley Hopkins and JRR Tolkien among them.

[Read more at the Catholic Herald]

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