Our rural ancestors, with little blest,
Patient of labor when the end was rest,
Indulged the day that housed their annual grain,
With feasts, and off’rings, and a thankful strain.
Shortly before Thanksgiving break, Thomas More College hosted the annual Fr. Rale banquet. Last Wednesday, students, faculty and friends of the college assembled for a feast before going their separate ways for the holiday. Attendees dressed as pilgrims, Indians, or Jesuit missionaries, and the café was transformed into an autumn woodland with pine branches, tea lights, seasonal leaves, and berries.
Chef Patricia and the kitchen staff prepared a traditional Thanksgiving supper of turkey, gravy, rolls, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, and an abundance of pumpkin pies, which were gratefully enjoyed by all present
The yearly banquet is named for Fr. Sebastian Rale, a French Jesuit martyr who served in Maine, and died in 1724. During the banquet, Mr. Fraser, fellow of the college, offered a toast of thanksgiving for the North American Martyrs, highlighting the fact they were intellectual men of the liberal arts, who left comfort in their homeland to evangelize in America. While many would consider these martyrs unsuccessful in an earthly sense, they worked selflessly for their missions and made possible the existence of American Catholicism, and hence, Thomas More College and its associates.
The evening had a jovial side. Seniors Josh Keatley and Paul Guenzel performed a comic skit in the personae of “Dr. Dritznog and his assistant, Glebb.” After singing an introduction, and assigning various (ridiculous) accompanying parts to different tables, they advertised an elixir that could be used “to brush your teeth or clean your dishes—or cure baldness!” The gentlemen then demonstrated the elixir’s incredible effects. A volunteer with a clean-shaven head suddenly donned long, grey curls after being sprinkled with the formula.
“Banquets at Thomas More are so enjoyable,” said sophomore Elizabeth Zuranski, “good food, festivity, and even visitors from centuries past!”
At the closing of the banquet, St. John Ogilvie’s guild gathered to sing folk songs, accompanied by students with guitars, accordions, fiddles, and whistles.
Feasts and communal gatherings are an indispensable part of life at Thomas More College. A community with a shared intellectual goal of wisdom must be also unified in celebration and joy, nurturing man’s body and soul, and by leisure awakening further contemplation and wonder.
The College thanks to God for the many gifts and graces received that enable us to seek His Wisdom, and prays for a safe and renewing holiday for all.