Among those colleges and programs that offer an education in the “Great Books,” Thomas More College stands out for its commitment to presenting these works within the context of a narrative of Christian, and particularly, Western Civilization.
A crucial part of Thomas More College’s commitment to handing on a basic narrative understanding of the rise, fall, and perpetual rebirth of Christian Civilization is its regular series of all-College readings, lectures, and performances known as Traditio—the Latin phrase for tradition or the handing down of stories and learning.
In this feature of Collegiate life, the students are invited three times per semester to consider an historical figure or event or work of art in greater depth than the Humanities curriculum allows, and assisted by a visiting lecturer or one of the College’s own Fellows. While these moments are an outgrowth of the Humanities cycle and remained rooted in them, in Traditio students are expected to reflect upon and communicate to others the learning they have received in their previous classes and conversations.
All students of the College will stop during these ‘Traditio days’ to read a text or consider a great work together. On the assigned day, the whole College takes the morning to consider the work in very small groups of peers or with individual professors. After Mass and lunch two professors lead a long seminar for the entire student body. In the evening, the in College supper is followed by a formal lecture—given at times by a fellow of the College, at times by a distinguished guest.
The lectures, seminars, and conversation of the Traditio sequence present to each and every student an opportunity to enter into the Catholic tradition and see that the reality of Christian culture provides a response not only to the “deepest longings of Humanity,” but to the questions that rise up in every human heart.