Thomas Aquinas and the Great Recognition

Thomas Aquinas and the Great Recognition

“Two years ago I had the privilege of visiting the Spanish Chapel of Santa Maria Novella in Florence,” wrote Rose Amy Pennethorne in 1935. “I was shown over the Chapel by a policeman, and having never seen the colours of the frescoes before, I was struck by the prevailing colours of green, white and red. The policeman remarked, ‘The colours are a prophecy.’ I felt that the whole building was a prophecy.”

How could Pennethorne have felt it was anything less? A few years before she had studied at the House of Education where “a reproduction of the frescoes had its place in a central position for all to live with.” According to Essex Cholmondeley, “the students called it the ‘creed picture,’ coming slowly to understand how not only every increase in knowledge and power came by the Divine Spirit, but also the way of using the things and opportunities of daily life.”

The fresco was known as the “great recognition” at the House of Education, but when Pennethorne visited it in 1933, she surely saw its official name: “The Triumph of Saint Thomas Aquinas.” The name prompts a question that has confronted Charlotte Mason educators ever since: to what extent is Thomas Aquinas at the heart of Mason’s educational creed? What is his relationship to the Great Recognition? Find out by listening to the story of the development of one of Mason’s most celebrated ideas:

Click here to read the full text of this episode, including references.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *