Ambleside, Archive, Armitt, Christianity, Philosophy, The Charlotte Mason Collection
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This I Know by Gladys Schaefer

Charlotte Mason has become a sweet presence in my life, much like a spiritual mother.  Her wisdom has nourished me and has influenced how I’ve raised my children and taught my students.

Her desire to follow God and learn from Him is so evident in her writings, both in the six volume set that our generation knows as “The Original Home Schooling Series” and in the six volume set of her meditations on scripture, “The Savior of the World.”  In volume 5 of her meditations, “The Savior of the World, The Great Controversy” on pages 193 – 196, she quotes John Ruskin as he discusses the fresco he calls the “Vaulted Book” that she saw in Florence, Italy.

“The descent of the Holy Ghost is on the left hand (of the roof) as you enter. The Madonna and Disciples are gathered in an upper chamber.” He goes on to describe the fresco in detail.  She concludes with these words, “ The Florentines of the Middle Ages believed, not only that the seven Liberal Arts were fully under the direct outpouring of the Holy Ghost, but that every fruitful idea, every original conception, whether in Euclid, or grammar, or music, was a direct inspiration from the Holy Spirit, with no consideration as to whether the person so inspired named himself by the name of God, or recognized whence his inspiration came.”

Two of my daughters, Hannah and Ruthie, and I traveled to Ambleside to help with the digitization project of Mason’s writings a few summers ago. During the visit, John Thorley very kindly gave us a tour of the Armitt and of Charlotte Mason College. He allowed me to hold Miss Mason’s Book of Common Prayer in my hands and to see for myself the only mark she made in it.  “This I know” from the fifty-sixth Psalm is underlined.

ImageUnderlining in Mason’s Book of Common Prayer

The Fifty-Sixth Psalm

Miserere mei, Deus.

BE merciful unto me, O God, for man goeth about to devour me; he is daily fighting, and troubling me. 
Mine enemies are daily at hand to swallow me up; for they be many that fight against me, O thou Most Highest. 
Nevertheless, though I am sometime afraid, yet put I my trust in thee. 
I will praise God, because of his word:  I have put my trust in God, and will not fear what flesh can do unto me. 
They daily mistake my words; all that they imagine is to do me evil. 
They hold all together, and keep themselves close, and mark my steps, when they lay wait for my soul. 
Shall they escape for their wickedness?  Thou, O God, in thy displeasure shalt cast them down. 
 Thou tellest my wanderings; put my tears into thy bottle:  are not these things noted in thy book?

  Whensoever I call upon thee, then shall mine enemies be put to flight:  this I know; for God is on my side.  
In God’s word will I rejoice;  in the LORD’S word will I comfort me.
Yea, in God have I put my trust;  I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.  
Unto thee, O God, will I pay my vows; unto thee will I give thanks.

  For thou hast delivered my soul from death, and my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living.

Her beautiful book is worn and shows that it was well used.  It inspires me to spend time in the word and in prayer and to let the Saviour of the World, Himself, dwell richly in me.


A Grateful Moment

I see Mason’s teachings as seeds being planted in generation after generation of learners.  I am grateful to be a part of this great legacy.

Ruthie traveled to Africa last month as a nursing student with Auburn University.  She passed the love and wisdom of seeing each child as a person, the foundational truth that we have learned from Mason, on to the beautiful orphans in a Malawi village.  A slideshow from her trip can be found here:


Ruthie Schaefer in Malawi, Africa

© Gladys Schaefer 2012

Gladys is currently the originator and facilitator of  “The Gathering,” a weekly Charlotte Mason high school cooperative.  Please see for more information.


Carroll Smith has spoken on various topics related to Charlotte Mason. Currently he teaches at Gardner-Webb University and enjoys working with children, teachers, college students, and Charlotte Mason Institute. He was a teacher and a principal for 21 years before coming to Gardner-Webb University where he has been for six years. Having grown up in eastern North Carolina, he attended East Carolina University for his undergraduate degree and his master's in school administration. He completed his terminal degree and wrote his dissertation on Charlotte Mason at Virginia Tech. Carroll enjoys reading, gardening, and discussing ideas with friends. He and his wife, Andra, and their two young adult college-age children, Corban and Anna, enjoy living, working and playing in North Carolina.


  1. Dale Scharfer says

    Very beautiful…I get to see the fruit of their labors, Charlotte Mason & my wife!

  2. Mary Hubbard says

    Gladys…again, a beautiful thought on a very poignant subject…”this I know”. How I pray we will all stop and read and ponder and see His hand in everything

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