Our logo employs two of the artistic devices associated with St Thomas: the book and the sunburst. He is frequently shown holding a book, or several books, alluding to the vast extent and value of his writing. Often the text the artist has placed on the book is carefully chosen. Occasionally Thomas is shown writing, though his handwriting is notoriously difficult to read, and he was soon given secretaries.
St Thomas is often shown with a sunburst on his chest, representing how illuminating his thought and teaching have been found. His Feast used to be celebrated on the anniversary of his death, 7th March, though it has been transferred to 28th January so that it can be celebrated in full in the universal Church – 7th March always falls during Lent, which impedes the full celebration of all but the most important feasts. On his Feast, the Dominican Order used the chants assigned to any Doctor of the Church, but in Lent these included an unusual Tract, Quasi stella matutina (unusual in that it was sung to a 7th-mode melody, whereas all Roman Tracts are either 2nd or 8th mode), which was drawn from Sirach 50:6-9 and likened the Doctor to the resplendent sun: ‘So he shone forth in God’s Temple’.
These two devices were brought together on the cover of some papers of the Aquinas Society of London, which were published in pamphlet form by Blackfriars, Oxford, in the 1940s. Hence our logo also alludes to the work of the English Dominican Province and its scholars and friends, drawing on, disseminating and discussing Aquinas’ thought. On the cover of the Aquinas Society papers the book bore the word Veritas, ‘truth’, which is a motto of the Dominican Order as the Order of Preachers. It is not peculiar to Aquinas, but it captures his concern for truth – truth metaphysical, moral and divine – and our conviction that he can still help us get at truth and inspire us to value it and live it.