Freedom, On a Mountain, by Anthony Esolen

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The chapel, Magdalen College, Kearsarge Mountain, New Hampshire

By Anthony Esolen, The Catholic Thing, July 27, 2021

Anthony Esolen is a lecturer, translator, and writer. Among his books are Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, and Nostalgia: Going Home in a Homeless World, and most recently The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord. He is a professor and writer in residence at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts, in Warner, New Hampshire.

Anthony EsolenIn another month or so, our cheerful students will be returning to Magdalen College, up here on Kearsarge Mountain, in New Hampshire. There are three things in the center of campus that tell what we are all about. One is the main building where we study and talk about the works we are reading, where we take our meals together, and where you can play games on an enormous indoor field, or go shoot pool in the student lounge. The other is the beautiful stone chapel, and if you hear the strains of Palestrina’s Sicut cervus coming from that way, you should know that maybe half of the students are there, practicing the music for Mass on Sunday. It is glorious.

The third thing is the mountain. You look to the south, beyond the tops of the birches and the maples and the blackberry-laden slopes of Kearsarge Mountain, and you see the mountains facing you from ten or twenty miles away on the other side of the valley. On a fine afternoon they are all bathed in sunlight.

I think that they all belong together, that they all give witness to the freedom of the education to which we have devoted our love. …