2024 Commencement

Welcome Address
Walker Earle 24'

Good morning and welcome to Mount Royal Academy’s Class of 2024 graduation. Thank you Father Michael, Mr. Tremblay, faculty, family, fellow students and friends for joining us as we celebrate our achievements and prepare to step into this next chapter of our lives. 

We are one of the smaller graduating classes in Mount Royal’s history. The Class of 2024 was as large as 28 students during elementary school and roughly 18 by our sophomore year. After our sophomore year, several students parted ways, and left the eight of us that stand before you today - the “Iron Eight”. I’m sort of the middle child in our class when talking about how long each of us has been here; Peter, Gabe, & The Twins were all here way before I arrived in 2019 and then in 2022 Cam, Ava, & Joe joined us. Truth be told, we weren't really sure how this would play out, the dynamics of our class were seemingly contradictory to each other back then, and it seemed like the next two years would be confusing and possibly boring. Oh, how we were wrong! These past two years in my eyes were some of the greatest because of this small group and we formed this airtight bond that became fantastic. Everybody got behind each other's jokes, were willing to help on an assignment to give constructive feedback, we could be honest with each other, and we grew into young adults together.

People are familiar with and have recognized our accomplishments as students, athletes, and extracurricular role models. For those that know us best, you may think of the energetic banter and jokes of Peter and Cam, or maybe the reserved but artistically talented twins, Katherine and Claire, or the journey Ava and I took as we entered into the Catholic faith, or the quiet but hilarious wit of both Gabe and Joe. There's something to be said about this class, and I could go on about different stories or memories of this class, but we’d end up being here until the graduation ceremony for the class of 2028. But we’re not perfect either…we’ve been angry, we’ve been sad and we’ve been dumb. Mount Royal has supported us all while balancing our everyday lives in academics, our faith, jobs, and extracurricular activities. They have also supported our child-like wonder along the way. 

The way the teachers educate the students and are able to create a bond, not likely found to this extent in public schools, is truly special. The teachers engage and interact with the students, showing them kindness and love. As you progress in high school, it becomes more evident, whether you initially see it or not, that the teachers are here to give us the best possible opportunity for us to realize our full potential. There's a saying I learned in summer camp and it's my favorite. I think of it everyday. “Never take yourself seriously”. There's truly something about that saying that aligns with Mount Royal. Sure you can grind out your assignments til morning, or practice everyday for a sport until your legs give out; but does that truly benefit you if you can't relax sometimes and enjoy the people around you that God has put there for you to grow with? With this group of seniors I’ve fully accepted that these people are there to help me and to help each other no matter what, not just as peers, but actual friends.

It is still unreal to me and quite possibly everyone that our high school careers are coming to a close. Although we can't predict the future of our lives, I am confident that we have been given the proper tools to allow us to take off in the world, and to not just benefit ourselves, but to greatly benefit the world with God’s guidance and love. Mount Royal Academy will continue to be a part of us no matter where we are in life. That's what I’ve taken away from my time here. This couldn’t have been possible without the help, care, and generosity of our next speaker, who I’m proud to introduce, our very own Headmaster... Mr. Derek Tremblay. 

Introduction of Commencement Speaker, Lisa Sweet
Derek Tremblay, Headmaster

Thank you Walker for opening this occasion. I have always appreciated your candor and willingness to own your part. You owned the best part you ever could when you made that commitment to graft your life onto the Mystical Body of Christ. Your creative spark nearly single-handedly renewed the theater program at our school, but I want you to know that every investment we made in the arts here is because we had talented young people like yourself. Not only talented, but eager to channel this opportunity for the sake of bringing more beauty into our lives. For it is the beauty of our humanity that is undeniable (more on that to come later). There were others involved - yes - but without your talent and passion to perform, what we have created together would not have occurred. This was honestly an unexpected yet true realization but I hope you hear from us now and remember it forever: thank you for leading our theater program. Mrs. Fagan, Mrs. Hamilton and I are so proud of you! 

My present task is to introduce the keynote speaker. Mrs. Sweet started here as an elementary teacher. I vividly remember speaking to her in my garage early in the evening as I paced back and forth knowing what was needed. We needed an elementary teacher who was joyful yet competent; faithful of course, but flexible enough to see how not all of God’s children respond the same way. I remember after that conversation thinking to myself, “I hope I did not scare her away.” Her infectious laugh and loving heart were evident from the outset. 

Then came the moment we discovered Amy Sansone - the previous Academic Dean - was moving to New York. When I heard from Amy - whom I love very much - I was heartbroken. I surmise some of our seniors who were taught by her felt the same way. But I knew God’s providence was better than our plan. Lisa was two years into teaching here but she displayed such a gracious disposition and professional responsiveness that I knew I had to ask her. That I did, and I will forever be grateful for her ‘yes’ to serving as Academic Dean. 

She had tough shoes to fill according to some. I categorically reject the notion that we ever have shoes to fill that are not our own. I went through a similar experience that Lisa was about to go through. I wondered if I could be who I was supposed to be for her. I share these stories in these moments so you all know what it takes to make this happen. There is never a moment where we neglect that God’s will is paramount. How to find it is the hardest part. 

Then I heard from a familiar voice that Lisa was going to be the cartilage for our school. I wondered if that carried a positive or negative connotation at the time. After seeing her carry out this calling with her standard level of grace I can say she is certainly the cartilage we need. What does cartilage do? It prevents the bones from being so pain inflicting to each other that they fail to operate as they should. It is strong yet flexible. Lisa is that cartilage in the Mystical Body of Christ which keeps us moving in the same direction. We are aiming to get ourselves and everyone we know to heaven. Thank God that people like Mrs. Sweet can absorb that pain and make it even more beautiful along the way! 

Commencement Address
Lisa Sweet, Academic Dean

Good morning!

I can’t tell you what an honor it is to have been asked by the graduating class to speak here today. I am truly humbled by this opportunity. 

Each year I am awed by the transformation that takes place in our seniors.  Certainly from 9th grade to 12th grade the growth in maturity is exponential.  But even from the beginning of the fall to this moment, each of these students has developed qualities that will support and guide them into adulthood. This is one of the greatest blessings of my job – to have a front row seat to witnessing a student growing into his/her potential.

Since I have a privilege that most keynote speakers do not – that of knowing the graduates on a personal level – I thought I would start off by speaking about each of them individually. In alphabetical order:

Walker Earle – I first met Walker at a different school when he was in 7th grade.  He was coming from a bad school experience and was feeling pretty unsure of himself.  In the years since, I have seen him embrace opportunity after opportunity for personal growth. From summers spent at Camp Lanakila meeting challenging goals, to eventually becoming a Counselor in Training,  to the decision to enter the Church, Walker has “grown in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Even during challenging times, or times when he has stumbled, Walker has responded with grace and courage and shows every sign of becoming a man of integrity.  Keep that moral compass pointed north, Walker.  You will be great!

Camden Fagan – I have known Cam Fagan since birth, actually.  He was a teeny, tiny preemie.  I remember when he was a young boy, his mom, Heidi Fagan, said to me in a bit of exasperation at Cam’s antics: “He’s so dramatic!” That cracked me up!  He is the son of a theater director and a theatrical cameraman.  What on earth did you expect?  Cam certainly brings a lively, witty, and *ahem* sometimes  sassy presence to any classroom. I have recently discovered that Cam is a bit of a modern-day, teenage, American Confucius!  He is full of what I have dubbed “Cam-isms.” Such as, “Anyplace is a parking space if you have enough courage!”  And so many more!  In the past three years at MRA I have watched Cam grow in perseverance, diligence, and grit, adjusting to a new environment and meeting new expectations, even conquering Statistics!  Way to go, Cam. Keep it up, and please publish those Cam-isms!

Joe Herrick – I secretly think of Joe as the “sleeper” in the class of 2024.  And *not*  because he dozes off during class.  I can neither confirm nor deny any allegations of napping.  What I mean is that Joe is quiet and unassuming.  He is a humble guy who likes to fly under the radar. But to see the work he produces in art class is truly astounding.  His talent is immense and utterly remarkable.  It also extends to the musical realm as well as he sings, plays guitar and piano.  I recently had the opportunity to see Joe in a more natural setting: his long flowy hair plastered to his head with sweat, covered in mud and scratches from an adventure, relaxing with an episode of Phineas and Ferb. Joe is a multi-layered kind of guy, still a boy at heart, with an artistic soul. God has blessed you with extraordinary gifts, Joe. I can’t wait to see where they will take you in life.

Peter Hogan – I have known Peter Hogan from birth, as well.  Pete tends to be the spark plug of the class, and the decibel and activity levels increase when Peter is present. But seriously, Peter is a remarkable young man.  He possesses the Hogan work ethic, which means he puts forth his best effort in every area of his life, whether it is academic, athletic, theatrical, or spiritual.  The quality I  admire most about Peter is his leadership. It is natural for seniors to step into leadership roles. But, Peter leads with a focus on what is the morally and ethically correct thing to do in the moment. Whether speaking at the state house against physician assisted suicide, captaining the basketball team, or assisting at Mass, Peter is a servant leader.  I have asked him to step in to be a role model for younger students who need an example of what a man of character and integrity should be.  This type of leadership is exactly what we need in our families and in the Church.  Thank you for your service to our community, Peter.

Claire McMenaman – Sometimes it is difficult not to speak of “the twins” as a unit.  They are both remarkable young women who share many amazing qualities.  However,  I would like to try to spotlight some of the characteristics that make each of them unique. 

Claire is an immensely gifted artist and a profound thinker – perhaps a philosopher at heart.  Her report card comments are an impressive read.  According to her teachers, Claire's intellectual approach to study is what our world needs today – namely her intellectual maturity and intellectual humility.  Another teacher wrote, “Claire led our class all year and earned a very high grade. Her writing was impressive, participation consistent, and her understanding of course concepts as solid as my own.”  Claire is steadfast in her beliefs and unafraid to defend them. She (along with Peter) spoke at the NH State House on the Right to Die bill, in a crowd that was overwhelmingly in opposition to her position – a situation most adults would be uncomfortable with.  She is a great role model for our students and a beacon of hope for the future.

Katherine McMenaman –Unsurprisingly, Katherine is also an extremely talented artist and a stellar student.  Her report card comments reflect her superior intellect and work habits.  Katherine has stepped into leadership roles this year as captain of the soccer and basketball teams, and, along with her sister, co-president of Knights for Life. Most impressive to me, though, is how Katherine presents herself with a quiet grace and dignity.  She models the virtues of Our Lady in the way she conducts herself, and it is inspiring to see this in someone so young.  Katherine strives for excellence in all that she does and all that she is, and is a light to the world of today.

Ava Meyer – despite her age and her gender, Ava has mastered the art of the dad joke.  She has brightened my days all year with jokes left on post-it notes on my desk. Such as, “Did you hear the rumor about butter?  I won’t spread it”  or “I sold all my books.  Now I don’t know what to do with myshelf.”  Despite her fun-loving nature, Ava possesses a maturity beyond her years. She doesn’t just possess leadership qualities, Ava is a natural-born leader whom others naturally look to for direction.  Whether she feels it within herself or not, Ava exhibits a self-confidence that is uncommon in someone her age.  When her teachers cautioned her about the advisability of taking Calculus, she insisted she wanted it on her transcript, sought out the assistance she needed, and passed the class.  Ava, the strength of your character and the force of your personality are God-given gifts.  Trust them and the will of God for you. Great things are in store for you, my dear.

Gabe Ouellette – Gabe arrives at school each day looking a bit disheveled, but with a good-natured, jovial outlook which is refreshing.  He is unfailingly kind and polite. I don’t think I have ever seen him act unhappy or upset.   Last year, Gabe made a choice that impressed me.  It wasn’t so much a choice, as a sacrifice.  He played on a cooperative hockey team.  The team had an opportunity to add players from another school which would have boosted the performance of the team as a whole.  The problem was that the rules wouldn’t allow more than 3 schools to be in a co-op. Since Gabe was the only player from Mount Royal Academy, he voluntarily stepped down to allow the new school and its players into the co-op.  What an extraordinary act from an extraordinary young man. Gabe, allow this level of humility and self-sacrifice form the man you are becoming.  The world needs it.

Since I googled “How to write a commencement speech,” (something I don’t think Harrison Butker did!!)  I believe at this point, I am supposed to tell you that you can do anything you want to do in life.  

I am not going to do that, because it is a lie.

Take a look at Joe Herrick. He is 6’4”.  That boy is not going to be a jockey!

Walker and Gabe, even though they have tried, have no future as sumo wrestlers!

You cannot do anything you want! None of us can! Nor should we want to!

I absolutely, 100% believe that you are all unique with significant God-given gifts, that God has a specific plan for each you, and that you can change the world. But to think that you can do anything in life is a fallacy.

I know you have all heard that God has a plan for you.  But let’s try to look at that from a fresh perspective.

God’s plan for you is more like your mission. Specifically designed for you and only you.

You have each been gifted by God with exactly the gifts, talents, and even desires you need to fulfill this mission.

Your interests and talents are not accidents.  They are signposts guiding you to the will of God for you.  Even your desires are indications, since God doesn’t place a desire on your heart without giving you the ability to make it come to reality. You are fully equipped.

If you don’t show up for your mission, no one can take your place.  

There is no substitute for you.

Hear me.

There is no substitute for you.

Bear with me for a minute here:

In the jigsaw puzzle of life, we all fit together to make the whole picture.

I’m sure we have all experienced trying to jam the wrong piece into a puzzle.  It doesn’t fit no matter how hard you pound it!  Even if you can manage to wedge it in, the picture is off.  If you choose to try to jam yourself into a vocation that is not yours, it just won’t fit.  Your piece will be missing from the puzzle and you will not be happy or fulfilled.

As you are discerning your God-given mission, make sure to stay close to God in prayer.  It is only then that you can hear his voice and attend to the whispers he speaks to your heart. Also, trust that Our Lady, whose job it is to lead us to her Son, will walk with you on your journey.

It will be important for you to remember as you travel through life that life can (and will!) get messy.  Don’t be afraid of the mess!

Every so often, Facebook reminds me that years ago, when my kids were little, I made a post that said, 

“Does any one else’s family prayer time sound like this:

“Hail Mary, full of grace….stop that!”

“The Lord is with thee….pay attention!”

“Blessed art thou among women….leave your brother alone!”

I remember wondering if we were receiving any grace at all by these prayers. But, I know now that persistence pays off, even in the messiest of circumstances.

I read a meditation this Lent about Jesus and the Last Supper.  Scripture tells us Jesus was looking forward greatly to sharing this Passover meal with his apostles.  Think about it!  He knew what he was going to do:  change bread and wine into his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, and he was going to make them priests with the power to do the same so that he could remain with us forever!  This was a big deal!  He was eager, excited!

And what happens?  Well the apostles come in bickering about who will be the greatest in the Kingdom of God, Peter refuses to have his feet washed, and one of his closest friends, whom he has spent years training, is plotting to betray him.  Messy, to say the least. And it only got messier from there.

Yet, 2000 years later, we still have priests, the Mass, and we have Jesus himself in the Eucharist. God can do marvelous and miraculous things with the mess.  

In addition to the mess, life will be hard sometimes.  Even when you have found your vocation there will be hard times. 

Challenges and hurdles are not an indication that you are on the wrong path!!  

Most times, the best things in life are gotten by hard work! 

We are better people for having struggled.  

We grow in the struggle.

Sometimes our failures teach us the most, and sometimes what we perceive as failures are actually graces from God protecting us from bad decisions. 

That job or that person wasn’t right for you and it kept you from your true purpose. 

Thank God for the failures as well as the successes, as he always has you in the palm of his hand and will lead you (if you are listening and willing) back to the path he intended for you.


Don’t be afraid of the mess! 

Don’t be afraid of the challenges you will face.

Never be afraid to work hard or to fail!

You will most likely take a wrong turn here or there.  

You will doubt yourself, maybe even doubt God.

You will be tempted to quit. 

Stay the course and persevere.

You are ready.

You have been created and equipped for a unique purpose from the beginning of the world.  You have been loved and nurtured by your families.  You have been educated and formed at Mount Royal Academy. You are ready.

In sum, this is my message to you as you commence your life’s journey.

  • You cannot be whatever you want to be
  • Life is messy
  • It’s going to be hard

I hope you can find some inspiration in it.

I am proud of the caliber of graduates that Mount Royal Academy offers to the world each year, and the Class of 2024 is no different.  They are young men and women with a solid moral compass, the capacity to reason, and the strength of character to make a difference in the world. Pope St. John Paul II would say, “You are unique and unrepeatable gifts from God.” He’s right. You are treasures to your families, the church and treasures to this school.  It has been an honor to be a small part of your journey.

In the words of St. Catherine of Siena,  “Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire.”  Class of 2024, it is time to light the world ablaze.  God bless you all.

Senior Address
Peter Hogan, 24'

First, on behalf of the class of 2024, I would like to thank all the faculty, staff, friends and benefactors that made, not only this year, but our whole Mount Royal experience possible.  Without you our education at this fine institution would not have been possible.

I would especially like to thank Mr. Tremblay, without you we would not be the people we are today.  You have always pushed us to be the best version of ourselves that we can be, encouraging us to choose our words and actions carefully, and reminding us on a regular basis how we do not “feel” our thoughts or opinions, we “think” them.  You have been one of the most influential people in our lives up to this point, teaching us how to think for ourselves and encouraging us to use our voice and speak the truth confidently, because we live in a world that does not believe in truth, a world that is lost and needs Christ more than ever.  Without you Mr. Tremblay, our education at Mount Royal would not have been the same, because, for us seniors, you made time to meet with each one of us individually, helping us to find God’s calling for each of us, and I believe that you truly have embraced Mount Royal’s motto: “Educating the Whole Person One Student at a Time.”

So from the Class of 2024, Thank you Mr. Tremblay, and know that even as we go on to a new chapter in our lives, you will always remain in our prayers, thank you.

Senior Address
Katherine McMenaman, 24'

Good morning and welcome to all! I would like to begin by thanking you all for coming to such a significant event, for such a small group of young individuals. I would like to thank all  parents and families who are a big reason the eight of us are where we are today. I would like to thank all teachers at Mount Royal Academy, but especially the teachers who have taught my class throughout the years, because they have each contributed to the growth of our character in some way or other. These teachers take seriously the person behind the face of each student, and this leaves an impact on us that must be recognized. 

I have been here for many years now, and I will be honest when I say that there have been many times when I was angry at Mount Royal Academy. I was angry when I finally finished a long essay that was just about due, only to pick up my pen again and write a whole separate essay on a whole separate topic that is due just days later. I was angry at the amount of things my teachers seemed to ask of me while telling me not to do all this hard work just for the letter grade. I was angry when I drove home from basketball games wondering why we didn’t win like everyone else did. I was angry whenever I sensed I didn’t reach a certain standard that Mount Royal seemed to hold over my head. But I choose to say these things because they are essential to understanding what Mount Royal teaches its students—what it has taught me. They ask you to be raw. They ask nothing too much and nothing too little of what you have to give. They ask you to be wholly and constantly yourself, you just have to choose to see it. 

When we choose to see what Mount Royal has surrounded us with, everything changes. It is a place that tells you about the story of the world, of America, and of your own soul. It is a place that teaches you how to think and how to deal with the reality of adulthood that is approaching us fast. It does not shelter you from “the real world”, as I’ve heard so many people say. It shapes you and molds you into a person of integrity, honesty, and strength which the world craves. It simply gives you the decision of whether or not you want to be who you are created to be, and God will take care of the rest. It shows you the incredible truth about the human person, and that is something so special about this place that has left an imprint in each of us, that cannot be removed. 

When you make the choice to be taught, you see the details that matter so much. They are the little details like listening and observing the person you are sitting next to, and caring about them genuinely; they’re the details behind every play scratched on a sheet of paper before a basketball game, of every pass, every look, every move; they’re the details in the tiny systems that make up the human body; they’re the details that slowly become ingrained in you, that are the framework for the atomic habits that slowly shape who you eventually become. And suddenly it all comes together like a magnificent puzzle, and that is when Mount Royal says you are ready to be sent out into the world. And now the eight of us have reached that point.

I often get the question, “do you wish you had a bigger class? A bigger school? … Don’t you think you missed out on a lot?” to which I confidently respond, “nope and nope”. This is because with a bigger size, I wouldn’t have gotten to know each of my classmates to the extent that I do now, and I wouldn’t trade that for any school. 

I think, being here for so long and getting a good grasp on things, I can attest to the growth I’ve witnessed in my class. It was subtle growth, almost unnoticed because of how fast the little moments slipped away. But a very important detail about the human person which we have been taught is that it all matters, because it is in moments that the soul is sanctified, and the moments are what create the big picture of life. That’s why the details matter, the important details that Mount Royal didn’t let us miss. 

When you are young you don’t think about ideas and beliefs, you don’t care about where you are going or about the way things move on so fast, you simply move and breathe and laugh. But when you grow up you can look back and think, “wait that felt like it would last forever, but it's over”. To be able to grapple with the fact that everything changes and passes is probably the biggest and first step to growing up. It's realizing there’s more to it than what you get out of it; that we were each created to be someone, and that alone makes our existence so much more fulfilling. And that is precisely how each of our eight lives will continue the mission of Mount Royal Academy: it has become our own mission now, to respond with all of our life to that call of fulfilling the purpose God created inside us, which he thought about before we were born, so that through us the world may meet the face of Christ. 

Semper Altius Award
Derek Tremblay, Headmaster

Before bestowing the highest honor our school confers on a graduating senior, I want to pause for a moment and talk about the most beautiful woman I have ever known. Ironically, there are no recorded images or historical portraits rendered. We have no written material to discover her physical image. We don’t even have any part of her body here with us that we can investigate. We have a burial cloth of her son that has produced stunning images of his appearance but there is nothing in this world we can see so as to see her. 

How do we see her beauty then? We see it in the evidence of how she lived. We see it in her prioritization of a will outside of her. She is the most beautiful woman to ever walk this earth and she reigns now as Queen of Heaven. 

I started to sense the promptings of her beloved spouse - the Holy Spirit - as we honored the Visitation in yesterday’s baccalaureate Mass. I have been praying for inspiration. My preferred prayer of late is that of the greatest prophet to ever walk this earth. He was not a handsome man according to what we have written. No image exists either to verify his appearance. But his virtue is what attracted others the most. His prayer was simple: “I must decrease. He must increase.” 

The Semper Altius award is bestowed on a graduating student who has been a model student primarily by modeling the life of Our Lady. 

How did Mary become so beautiful? By her proximity to the Incarnate Word. 

To have a front row seat to their growth in holiness is a gift we will never forget. Real beauty radiates from the soul that is most proximate to Jesus. The closer a soul is to Jesus, the more beautiful the person becomes. Claire and Katherine have made it their sole objective to draw closer to Jesus. And because of that, they are beautiful people. 

Now they are not the same, nor are they one person. For as much as they are referred to as “the twins”, there are different temperaments that drive their beauty. 

Katherine is a careful thinker. Claire is a lucid thinker. 

Katherine is empathetic. Claire is emphatic. 

Katherine is cautious. Claire is concerted. 

The beauty that both of them radiate is inspired by a genuine affection for the natural order. They identify the goodness of God’s creation and seek to reflect the supernatural order that moves the heavens, the earth, and humanity. 

We are all stunned by your beauty. Your father said this Thursday and it is worth repeating: thank you for responding. Thank you for immersing yourself and embracing all that we are doing together. Free will is not as mysterious as it seems when we see the proof in such beautiful people! 

Closing Remarks
Derek Tremblay, Headmaster

Before we go, I wanted to share one final thought, and it has to do with beauty. Not sure if you saw that coming or not!

This moment is existential: it forces you graduates to consider the totality of your life and then resolve to do something different. It calls into question the purpose of your life. You will not be here anymore, and this has been the divinely ordained existence for a significant part of your lives. 

Being existential is not bad, it is beautiful. The willingness to ask hard questions about yourself, reality, and even the truths of our faith brings you closer to the Incarnate Word. 

When I think of you as a group, I can only conjure up all your beautiful talents. Together, you demonstrate the need for beauty and its fruit. 

“Our need for beauty is not something that we could lack and still be fulfilled as people.  It is a need arising from our metaphysical condition, as free individuals seeking our place in a shared and public world.  We can wander through this world, alienated, resentful, full of suspicion and distrust.  Or we can find our home here, coming to rest in harmony with others and with ourselves.  The experience of beauty guides us along this second path:  It tells us that we are at home in the world, that the world is already ordered in our perception as a place fit for the lives of beings like us.  But beings like us...become at home in the world only by acknowledging our “fallen” condition. . . .Hence the experience of beauty also points us beyond this world to a “kingdom of ends” in which our immortal longings and our desire for perfection are finally answered.” 

End quote. I came across this commentary on beauty from a philosopher I never heard of: Roger Scruton. He wrote this book. Some of you have seen me walking around with it trying to find out more about beauty. This is what I discovered. 

Beauty alone allows us to see reality and arrive at a shared perception. Without beauty, we fall into the atomization of relativism. There is nothing that binds us in an ugly word dominated by subjectivism. 

There is an intelligibility to the natural order, and this alone can create the conditions for authentic human flourishing. There is a flag over there that is opposed to what is beautiful. 

True beauty is undeniable. Its recognition is a precondition for love, virtue, and harmony in our humanity. 

We see something beautiful and we want more of it. I see my beautiful daughter and I want another one! You see a beautiful sunrise or sunset and you want another one! You hear a beautiful piece of music and you search for more like it! You gaze upon a beautiful artistic rendering and resolve to make another one! 

This is all a participation in the beauty of the divine. God is not holding anything back from anyone. We just have to open our eyes and our hearts. 

It has been a gift to be with all of you for all this time. Thanks for being the beautiful men and women that you are. Keep being who you are and doing what you do. 

I will conclude by reading a poem from an anonymous letter written by a Christian in antiquity, in part to show you that no one is truly anonymous. We have this letter and in it a poem, survived down the centuries for our maturation in holiness. The letter is entitled “The Christian in the World”. 

Have you understood my pleading.
Have you learned the lesson well!
Look upon your Jesus dying,
Live in me, my heart your cell!”
Lowliness your sweet ambition,
As a flower upon your breast,
Wear the precious pearls I give you
My own pains and Passion blest!”

If you wish to be a master
In this science so sublime
Enter then into the cellar
Drink the wine of love divine.
Docile ever to the Spirit,
Yielding all to his behest
Faith your guiding light unfailing,
God himself will do the rest.