I’m beginning to feel that I bring the bad weather with me whenever I travel to New Hampshire to teach at Thomas More College and Mount Royal Academy. Last autumn my arrival coincided with tropical storm Sandy, last month it was heralded by a blizzard that dropped more than a foot of snow. This time I had to be rescued from the north of the state a few hours before a new snow storm swept through, threatening to prevent me travelling to campus. In spite of such chilly challenges, I continue to have a great time teaching in New England.
On Saturday I gave a talk to a group of homeschooling families on “the evangelizing power of beauty”; on Sunday I enjoyed a very pleasant soirée with the President of Magdalen College, his wife, and a couple of members of the college’s faculty; on Monday I taught Paradise Lost and the poetry of George Herbert at Mount Royal Academy. From Tuesday until tomorrow, I’m teaching at Thomas More College. I’ve taught The Poem of My Cid (Cantar de Mio Cid) to the sophomore class and we’ve been discussing various approaches to the nature of art and literature in my course on the Catholic Writer for juniors and seniors. These include Sir Philip Sidney’s Defense of Poesy and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Defence of Poetry, Chesterton’s “Ethics of Elfland” from Orthodoxy, and Tolkien’s essay “On Fairy Stories”, his short story “Leaf by Niggle” and his poem “Mythopoieia”. Tonight I’m giving a talk on my path to conversion to a Catholic young adults group in Manchester.
My favourite extra-curricular activity was an evening at a local pub with a group of students. We were celebrating the twenty-third birthday of one of the students, and I was personally celebrating the twenty-fourth anniversary of my reception into the Church. Invigorating conversation and joyous conviviality made it a St. Joseph’s Day to remember. What a joy it is to be part of this vibrant and vivacious community of young Catholics. I am blessed indeed!