On Monday, February 7th, the Thomas More College community gathered in medieval garb to honor the birthday of our patron, Saint Thomas More. Crowded around the foot of the cafeteria stairs, students waited in line to be dubbed by the palace fool – our writer-in residence – who was dressed as a court jester.
From duke to peasant, fair lady to scullery maid, the basement of our historic barn was transformed into a candlelit medieval dining hall. And as is our rich tradition, the Thomas More Day banquet was enjoyed without the use of utensils.
While guests feasted, students and faculty members were entertained. Our German-born faculty member, Professor Denis Kitzinger, gave a rousing speech. He spoke of Saint Thomas More’s exemplary moral integrity, saying “Our worthy patron has a veracity of character that is based in his deep love for the truth and his courageous stand for the supremacy of the papacy and the independence of the Church from the state.”
A quartet of troubadour students sang Scarborough Fair, a traditional English ballad that dates back to 1670, while another member of the faculty blessed with an operatic voice sang Henry Purcell’s aria, If Music Be the Food of Love.
After a rising throng of voices sang the unofficial English national anthem, Jerusalem, the dining hall tables were swiftly removed, and the enjoyment of the evening then shifted to a harrowing duel of swords by two of our current freshmen, both of whom are experienced fencers. To the delight of the students and faculty, the college’s feast day concluded with two lively dances: the “Italian Rant” and “Ship’s Cook.”
What more could be added to the jovial atmosphere of the night? Surely Thomas More himself would be hard pressed to suggest a happier night.