At first look, the intense focus and insistence on circumcision in the story of salvation may seem odd or even troubling given how good and loving our heavenly Father really is. St. Paul, however, invites us to see the spiritual meaning of this practice when he writes, “For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart” (Rom 2:28-29). Indeed, the act of cutting off the excesses in our life, which make our hearts “fat and gross” (Ps 119:70), frees us to be more in touch with the One whom our hearts have loved all along (Song 3:1), and it is the Cross that emerges as the proper instrument of this spiritual circumcision. Like the angel with the fiery sword posted at the entrance to the garden (Gen 3:30), the Cross stands at the door of our hearts confronting the world and bringing to an end (Jn 3:30) all those emotions, memories, attachments and desires that prevent the spiritual bird within us from taking off in flight (Ps 11:1). Let us therefore not be afraid to be marked with this ancient sign, for we will only share in Christ’s resurrection insofar as we are willing to accept, like him, these scars of the journey. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Sister Mariam Joseph Rauh, CSC (December 17, 1898-November 11, 1982)
She was born in Glandorf, Ohio, the daughter of Henry Francis Rauh and Mary Ann Priesdendorfer. She entered the Congregation on September 21, 1919, received the Habit, August 15, 1920, and made Final Profession August 15, 1925. She died at Saint Mary’s Convent, and is interred in Our Lady of Peace Cemetery, Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana. Sister Miriam Joseph served as Chair of the English Department at Saint Mary’s College from 1947-1969 and was the author of Trivium, a textbook developed for her interdisciplinary course on literature, logic, and rhetoric. President William Hickey of St. Mary’s (1986-1997) described her “as perhaps the most distinguished scholar to be identified with the College in this century.” She wrote a text combining into one contemporary course the three arts of the trivium, by means of their interrelationship. Faculty opinion was divided on the questions of integrating the three subjects and of the way in which the term rhetoric was interpreted. Despite some turmoil (and supposed protests), the course was taught with both its values and limitations from 1935-1959. Alumnae still say that whatever else they have forgotten of their education, they will never forget the trivium.
There is no one among us who enjoys being labeled. Maybe while we were growing up we were called “the class clown” or “the middle child” or “the rebel” or “the loaner.” The folks who laid these judgments on us, our souls, our human dignity, likely did not mean to hurt us. They simply succumbed to the temptation of taking the small part for the whole. We should nevertheless not be too worried about how another person chooses to see us. Each and every one of us has the profound dignity of being this child of God. This kind of deep security is our bulwark and protection against the enemy who is always searching out instruments to disrupt the kingdom, the reality of peace and love within each of us. Let us therefore turn to the Cross and look upon the crucified one with that bold, unapologetic label hanging over his poor, naked body – “King of the Jews.” How his trust in his loving father destroys the power of that mockery! How his unwavering awareness and acceptance of his Abba, in the face of such psychological and physical brutality, prevails! Each of us should be very sensitive to the way that labels hurt our sisters and brothers, and each of us should not be afraid to enter more deeply into the depths of his love when we encounter such adversity along the way. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Brother John Chrysostom (Mark) Will, C.S.C. (April 25, 1839-May 16, 1919)
In a June 5, 1887 letter to Father Sorin, Brother John Chrysostom Will writes: “…on this day 24 years ago I was in the line of battle awaiting the charge. We were being shelled at the time, and I heard in a clear, distinct voice, ‘You will die today’. I knew it was no human voice, and I was perfectly conscious of the certainty of death. I prayed fervently as I had never prayed before to our sweet mother that if she would intercede for me and get me safely out that I would surely delay no longer in responding to the call that was continually urging me to apply to some religious community for admission. I had hardly concluded my prayer, when the same voice said, ‘You will only be hurt today’. And so it happened. I delayed three years after the war in fulfilling my promise when I enlisted under the banner of Holy Cross.”
Mark Will was born in 1839 in Chess Springs, PA and entered Holy Cross in 1867 taking final vows in 1869. He served throughout the Civil War in the 54th Pennsylvania Regiment, taking part in many of the fiercest battles. Soon after fire destroyed the Main Building at the University of Notre Dame, Brother John Chrysostom wrote to Father Sorin from Galveston, TX where he was superior: “I could hardly realize at first that my dear Alma Mater was a heap of unsightly ruins. My regret for the loss and my sympathy for you were so great that I felt it would be mockery on my part to attempt to give expression to my feelings unless I would send you something to repair the loss. …You must not think for a moment that the enclosed draft for $500 is to be the measure of that sympathy and my regret for the loss of those fine buildings.”
Upon his death in 1919, this short obituary was posted in Scholastic (52:494): “There passed away at Notre Dame on Friday, May 6th, at the age of 80, Brother John Chrysostom, former assistant Master of Novices at St. Joseph Novitiate and for many years commander of the Notre Dame Post of the G.A.R. As a young man the deceased did valiant services throughout the Civil War, at Gettysburg and many other fields, in behalf of the Union. At the end of the War he joined the Congregation of Holy Cross at Notre Dame, and since that time has been intimately associated with the furtherance of the works of the Community.” He had two hobbies—bee keeping and researching the life and ministry of Russian prince Father Gallitzin who renounced his heritage and became a missionary in Pennsylvania. As bee-keeper, the novitiate was never without honey, and he contributed frequently to magazines about bee-culture. “By the many priests and Brothers who as novices under his direction knew him intimately he will long be remembered as an example of genuine spirituality and fervent loyalty to the interests of the Congregation.” (Scholastic, 1919)
If you have ever met someone who is autistic, you know how frustrating it is for him or her to be stuck-in-self (which is the literal meaning of “autism”) – the person is inside observing life but struggling to actually reach out, make contact and interact with others. There is a distinctly paschal character to this hidden drama: the feeling of being separated, the deep desire to connect, the spending of one’s self to transcend those inner limits, moments of real relationships, a kind of dying and rising that takes the breath away of those who accompany their autistic loved ones along the way. What if the Cross was the icon for this journey? What if the Cross’s definitive and bold ‘no-to-self’ is the antidote for these poor ones who are stuck-in-self? The Cross stands indeed as a sign of hope that it is possible to find the secret door (Jn 10:9), to pass over into open pastures (John 10:9) and to finally have life (Jn 14:6). May we be inspired by our autistic sisters and brothers who truly live the Cross day in and day out, modeling for us, who are all stuck-in-self in one way or another, how to undertake the slow process of transformation that leads to resurrected life. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Brother Stanislaus (John) Clark, C.S.C. (1838-1916)
Brother Stanislaus (John) Clarke, C.S.C. was born in Ireland and entered Holy Cross when he was 26 years old. He was a capable student and became a proponent of promoting the use of shorthand. He taught the system of “sound writing” at Notre Dame for many years and made many personal improvements to the system. Sir Isaac Pitman, who invented shorthand in 1837, considered Brother Stanislaus both a scholarly colleague and a good friend. Father Daniel Eldred Hudson, C.S.C., who was appointed the editor of the Ave Maria in 1875, considered Brother Stanislaus to be one of the early founders of the Press and the periodical. In 1865, Father Sorin proposed to the sisters that they publish a magazine “in honor of Our Blessed Mother.” The vote was unanimous and Mother Angela Gillespie and her sisters “pledged themselves to assist [Father Sorin] in this great work.” Father Sorin, the first publisher, was followed by Father Neal Gillespie, Mother Angela’s brother. In February of 1973, “the actual printing was turned over to the Sisters who received their first lessons from Brother Stanislaus.” In his 1916 obituary published in the Scholastic, it was said of Brother Stanislaus that “he was a model of every Christian and religious virtue [and] a man of varied talents, all of which he faithfully employed in the service of God for nearly a half century.”
A popular new phrase that people have been using to communicate genuineness is “the real deal” – this person is the real deal because he is true to his word, or, that person is the real deal because she never lets you down, etc. And while it is excellent that there is an expression out there that helps to identify integrity when we see it, we all know that there is one and only one “real deal” whose words and actions are always in harmony. This Jesus, who is the Word, is real in the sense that to encounter him is to encounter the truth. His deep meaning as a person is not mediated by an ideology, a persona, a bank account, or a title. Rather, being stripped down to his core, broken open on the Cross, and presented for all to see – as he is! – makes him the definitive “real deal.” There is no escape from his fundamental identity, no confusion about what his life means, no possibility of missing the point of his journey. The best way for us to conform ourselves to “the real deal” par excellence is to spend time with his “real presence” – in scripture, in the liturgy, with the community of believers, and most especially in the eucharist. By doing so, we too are guaranteed to become trusting children of the Father – the read deal in our own right. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
The Work of Resurrection has been posted for October. This monthly newsletter is written for Holy Cross Educators around the country and world.
Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Rev. Robert T. Hesse, C.S.C. (December 15, 1926-February 3, 2007)
Father Hesse was born in Grand Rapids, MI and went to St. Thomas Parish Grade School and Catholic Central High School. He maintained a close relationship with his many Grand Rapids classmates throughout his life in Uganda. After obtaining an engineering degree from the University of Michigan, he entered Holy Cross in 1951. Ordained in 1958 he had his trunk packed to ship off to Bangladesh, but because of a last-minute reassignment, he was shifted to Uganda. He never looked back and spent his entire priestly life in that country dying in Kampala. His first assignment in Uganda was at Hoima Parish in the Bunyoro region where he was the curate in charge of schools. In 1961 he became secretary to Servant of God Bishop Vincent McCauley, C.S.C. in Fort Portal. In 1963 he was appointed pastor of Bukwali Parish, Kitagwenda, where he served for the next twenty-three years. He was widely known for his creative work with catechists and lay leadership, and also for his emphasis on education. In 1990 Fr. Bob generously responded to the community’s request that he move to Jinja as the founding pastor of Holy Cross Parish Bugembe. When he asked to retire as pastor, he continued to serve the people as an assistant to three succeeding Holy Cross pastors. Convinced of the importance of education for the development of Uganda’s people, he demonstrated a passion for the development of the facilities and quality of Bugembe’s schools.
Since the Cross is the medicine that heals our wounds and offers us a new opportunity for life, it makes sense that Jesus would say, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mt 16:24). The Lord invites us to divest ourselves of false cures, neediness, and fear-based attachments that we mistakenly think will bring us health and healing. He wants us to “deny ourselves,” that is, to reject ego-driven behavior, so that our wound can be made available to the divine physician. And, when the Cross is in fact locked in place as the singular source of healing and protection in our lives, our hearts are freed to feel, our minds freed to wonder and our feet freed to walk, walk, walk, walk, walk in the open spaces of the kingdom (cf. Ps 119:45). Other people are not our cross, jobs are not our cross, politics is not our cross. These are simply circumstances that challenge us to perceive our wounds more clearly and to welcome the one, true Cross – blazing, glorious and powerful – into those places that we have masked and hidden from the light of day. Let us, therefore, take up this Cross and follow him. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Brother Vincent Anthony Gross, C.S.C. (1938 -2020)
Vincent Gross was born in 1938 and entered Holy Cross in 1957 professing final vows in 1962. From 1960-63 he was on the maintenance staff at Archbishop Hoban High School, Akron, Ohio, then working at St. Patrick’s High School in Monrovia, Liberia from 1963-1965. Returning to the States in 1965, he served for three years as director of maintenance at Holy Cross High School, River Grove, Illinois. In 1968 he was assigned to the staff at St. John’s School, Sekondi, Ghana. Brother Vincent returned to the States in 1989 for a one-year medical leave, returning to Ghana in 1990 to spend the remaining 30 years serving as a maintenance director at Holy Cross District Center and as Director of the Institute for Continuing Formation from 1999-2013. When Vincent celebrated his 40th jubilee of religious profession, he commented that “Once I joined the Brothers, I never felt a real desire to turn back. It is a very satisfying life because I am in a situation where I am helping others.” From his earliest days in Holy Cross, his superiors found him to be an industrious, committed and earnest brother. Not being drawn to the academic life, Vincent demonstrated a natural affinity for using his intellect and his hands for the maintenance and care of all the places where he was assigned. He could be depended upon to carry out all assigned tasks with exactness. While at Holy Cross High School in the late sixties, he was known as “Brother Fix-It”. Upon going to Ghana, he knew that the maintenance equipment there would be primitive by US standards, and his goal was to set up a modern maintenance department at St. John’s School in Sekondi. With the assistance of the Holy Cross High School Mission Club a major manufacturing company gave Vincent $1,000 worth of shop equipment. For most of his remaining years in Ghana he begged and cajoled many Province schools and acquaintances for all manner of industrial and maintenance equipment. He recruited many brothers to bring him all manner of tools and machine parts to assist him in his work. In a homily given in Ghana by Brother Joe Tsiquaye at Vincent’s 40th jubilee celebration, he said, “The talents of Uncle Vince (Ghanaian term of respect) know no bounds. He was a spare school bus driver and an able mechanic. Uncle Vince can play too. He’s a skin diver, fisherman, card player, and keen competitor in chess. [He] came to Ghana in the era of the Holy Cross Giants. The students believed all Holy Cross Religious are geniuses and Uncle Vince was no exception. From his workshop in the basement of the old dining hall at St. John’s there was nothing Uncle Vince could not fix. It can truly be said of Uncle Vince that he was the master of all trades.” St. Paul writes to the Romans: “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned” (12:3). Brother Vincent Gross was the ever-faithful man of sober judgment for all of his 60 years in Holy Cross.
We all have wounds in life – those damaged parts of our souls that have been battered through various experiences along the way. How easy it can be to allow these wounds to fester, as we sit angrily in denial. Or, how natural it may seem to travel the path of self-medication, that is, to grasp at anything to take away our pain. Our father, however, loves us dearly, and invites us to the deep place of security, the divine operating table, where those who are weary and worn will always find rest (Mt 11:28). It is upon this bed that he consummates his love for us by applying life-giving medicine to our wounds (cf. Lk 10:25-37). The Cross, indeed, fits perfectly and universally in each and every one of our vulnerable places. The Cross prevents the enemy from entering and spreading infection. Out of the Cross flows soothing waters and sacrificial blood that nourishes and heals (Jn 19:34). Indeed, by his wounds are we healed (Is 53:5). Let us, therefore, not be ashamed to be wounded people! Let us instead welcome the healing touch of that one who constantly seeks to lay down his life for his beloved (Jn 15:13). Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Check out the latest newsletter for Holy Cross Educators as they begin the new school year….Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Sister Lucy Lalsangzuali, CSC (August 13, 1974-June 4, 2020)
She called herself a pioneer. Sister Lucy Lalsangzuali was the first young woman from India to enter the international Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. Sister lived fully her 21 years in Holy Cross, her formative years beginning and ending in Shillong as a daughter of the Church and spiritual mother to many. She died during the week of the feast of Pentecost in Shillong, Meghalaya, India, on June 4, 2020. Lucy’s father and mother were simple farmers in Lungtan, a small, remote, multi-ethnic village in Northeast India in the highlands of the Champhai district of Mizoram. John Rualpela and Carmeli Rokhumi Varte were devout Catholics and active parishioners in an enclave with a long history of Christian missionary activity and high literacy. Lucy, born in Lungtan on August 13, 1974, was the fifth child of four daughters and four sons. Her older brothers and sisters attended school, and her parents, despite some hardship, arranged to educate Lucy at the Holy Cross Brothers’ School in Champhai, where she also boarded and worked from 1988 to 1993. Eventually her parents settled in Khawzawl, where the Holy Cross priests had opened a parish. Lucy completed her higher secondary education in 1996 and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Khawzawl Government College in 1999. For six years she had considered a religious vocation as she accompanied various clergy on their pastoral visits. However, she felt an obligation to her family first and helped support them while teaching. It was Father Simon Fernandez, CSC, and Father Harry D’Silva, CSC, who encouraged Lucy to enter the Sisters of the Holy Cross. With the encouragement of her parents, Lucy Lalsangzuali began her formation in Holy Cross in Shillong on May 24, 1999, as an aspirant, then as a postulant. On December 7, 2000, she began her novitiate in Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh. She was the only Indian among her peers in Bangladesh. Ironically, her Indian passport was often questioned by her countrymen whenever she crossed the border back into India, since the Mizo people also have tribal and ethnic origins in western Burma and eastern Bangladesh. On November 29, 2002, Sister Lucy, taking first vows said, “I enjoyed the hospitality, equality, friendliness, freedom and openness of Holy Cross—traits very similar to and connected with the culture from which I had come.” She felt called to serve all people “in the plains and hills, over the mountains and across the ocean.” Sister Lucy subsequently completed her professional government teaching degree (equivalent to a Bachelor of Education degree) at the College of Teacher Education in Shillong in 2010 and earned a Master of Arts in sociology at Madurai Kamaraj University, Shillong, in 2011. During those years of study, she was simultaneously engaged in ministry. She was an enthusiastic teacher of youth and a social worker with women in her years of ministry from 2002 to 2017, teaching in Agartala, West Tripura, India, twice at Saint Andre High School and at Our Lady of Holy Cross School. When Sister Lucy lived in community in Bodhjungnagar, she found time to sing and plan activities for her neighbors, the orphans of Holy Cross Boys Town. She found great joy playing her guitar to help them settle down and focus. Sister Lucy’s last two missions were in Meghalaya, India, at St. John Bosco Secondary School in Nongstoin and St. Paul Higher Secondary School in Jatah village, East Khasi Hills District. From 2012 to 2014, Sister Lucy crossed several borders by participating in the Sisters of the Holy Cross Leadership Development Program, beginning in Ghana, West Africa. The hospitality and experience of the Ghanaian sisters made her realize that she was not the only pioneer in Holy Cross. Her administrative internship continued in Salt Lake City, Utah, at Holy Cross Ministries and at Saint Vincent de Paul, Our Lady of Lourdes and J.E. Cosgriff Memorial schools. Sister Lucy’s leadership was affirmed when she was elected a delegate to the sisters’ General Chapter in May 2019. Later elected a counselor for the Area of Asia, she assumed office in November. A short time later, she took seriously ill and never fully recovered. When Sister Lucy made her perpetual profession of vows in Shillong on October 31, 2008, she committed her heart forever “to Jesus who died for me.” Responding to God’s love song, she likened herself to “a guitar in the hands of my Music Master.” A chorus of Alleluias is now being sung in the Mizo language in the heavens above, among those of every tribe and nation.—Written by Sister Catherine Osimo, CSC with editing assistance by Edwin Donnelly
The pandemic has certainly been a crisis – confusing and unexpected circumstances which interrupt our typical way of living. There are employment and financial stresses, emotional burnout, family drama as well as the constant anxiety of contracting the virus. In times like this, it is important to remember that the word crisis literally means “to sift,” that is, to sort through all of the stuff in the whirlwind and to take ownership of what matters to us. Perhaps we do not need that cable package after all; perhaps we realize that social media does us more harm than good; perhaps we actually start to say “I love you” to the people whom we love. Whatever we choose to do during this time, whatever we discover to be our true priorities in life, we should never forget that we walk with the Lord. The Lord is the crucified one who knows what uncertainty is like. The Lord was forced to make decisions in the very epicenter of his most vulnerable time. Yet, he did so with trust, deep reverence and singularity of heart and mind – “Mother, here is your son,” “I thirst,” “Into your hands, I commend my spirit.” Let us, therefore, with the Lord, sift through it all and make decisions that lead to life, not despite, but precisely because of the storm. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
The Voice of Moreau will return in just a few short days! We invite you to enter into the rich spiritual tradition that has been a powerful lever for change in our society and a source of transformation for women and men around the world. And don’t forget to check out Daily Gospel Video Reflections and Monthly Newsletter for Holy Cross Educators. We look forward to journeying with you!
Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
The Voice of Moreau is returning on September 15th! Join us for weekly meditations, inspirational stories, reflections, comments and fellowship. And don’t forget to check out Daily Gospel Video Reflections and Monthly Newsletter for Holy Cross Educators. We look forward to journeying with you!
Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Brother Andrew Steffes, C.S.C. (1902-1992)
Brother Andrew was born in Springfield, IL and attended grammar schools there. He joined the Brothers at the age of 14 making his first profession in 1919. He studied at Notre Dame for four years, earning teaching certificates in science and mathematics. His first assignment was to teach at Central Catholic High in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In 1926, he was assigned to teach and work in Bengal (now Bangladesh) where he served for 46 years. In the article, “What Old Tajma Rabadab thought of Americans” printed in the mission periodical The Bengalese, in 1945, one reads about Brother Andrew that “Old Tajma Rabadab, the long-bearded Indian wise man, thinks Brother Andrew is the smartest, kindest and all-around best man he has ever met.” The old wise man formed his opinion of Americans because of an interaction Brother Andrew had with Bengali boys. The old man overheard Brother Andrew encouraging them to honor their parents and to obey all of the laws of “the Great God in whom everyone believes.” He served as headmaster and science teacher at two high schools. In 1940 he was made the superintendent of construction for the archdiocese of Dacca, supervising the building of new schools, chapels and infirmaries. In 1954, he helped establish the St. Joseph School of Industrial Trades in Dacca, a vocational school for young men to learn to be qualified technicians. He wrote texts for use in the school both in English and Bengali which were published by the government for all vocational schools. He loved sports and coached volleyball and softball teams. He had the capacity for hard work and lived a simple lifestyle. Brother Andrew was a source of hope and taught the dignity of labor by example. He returned to the U.S. in 1972 to serve on the staff of the Brothers’ Center at Notre Dame where he continued to work in variety of duties with other brothers in maintenance. Idle hands he never had. (Adapted from the Legacy Project created by Brother Larry Stewart, C.S.C.)
Sister M. Joseph (Catherine Margaret), CSC, (1924-2019)
By the time the Saint Mary’s community had gathered for the festive Easter morning liturgy at the motherhouse, Sister Joseph had already seen the Paschal Light of the risen Christ when she died on Easter at Saint Mary’s Convent, hours before the break of day. Catherine Margaret Sullivan was born in Chicago, Illinois. Her Catholic parents were both natives of County Kerry, Ireland. Her father, Timothy Sullivan, fought in World War I. After the war, he worked for Bowman Dairy and her mother was a homemaker. Mrs. Sullivan was in her late thirties when she died. Sister Joseph wrote: “These were really sad days for us.” Her father was so shaken by his wife’s death, that he sought help from relatives to care for his children. Eventually, it was necessary to split up the children, though they stayed in Chicago. Sister Joseph learned from her extended family how to be a generous, caring, loving and sharing person. She first met the Sisters of the Holy Cross at St. Theodore Elementary School in Chicago and wanted to be a nurse. With only an invitation to consider if she had a religious vocation, she applied to St. Mary’s Academy in Notre Dame, Indiana in 1943 for her secondary education, entering the juniorate as preparation for her admission to the convent after her third year. Sister Joseph earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, in 1962 after many summers. But since 1945 she had been a successful teacher in Catholic parochial schools in Indiana, Michigan and Illinois. In 1967, Sister Joseph earned her master’s in education and reading from Saint Francis College in Fort Wayne, Indiana and became principal at five schools in the Midwest from 1968-1988. From 1988 to 1999 she served at Most Holy Redeemer School in Evergreen Park, Illinois, as assistant principal, teacher and learning center coordinator. Sister Joseph transitioned to the motherhouse, and in September 2000 she was appointed superior at Lourdes Convent. Since 2010, Sister Joseph’s ministry of prayer sustained her community in Saint Mary’s Convent where she will be remembered for her laughter, warmth and loving heart. When Sister celebrated her golden jubilee in 1995, Archbishop Joseph Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago wrote her with encouragement from the Holy Redeemer parishioners: “Thank you for your commitment and generous response to the gospel of Jesus over these many years…. You have been a blessing to the church and to the family of Sisters of the Holy Cross.” (Adapted form a eulogy Written by Sister Catherine Osimo, CSC)
Today is the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and the one year anniversary of the Voice of Moreau blog! Thank you to the many Holy Cross educators, sisters, priests, brothers and associates who have participated in this spiritual conversation. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Voice of Moreau: The Cross is the key to our salvation. The Cross is the true altar of sacrifice. The Cross is a pulpit. The Cross is the Bridegroom’s wedding chamber and bed. The Cross is the way to eternal life. The Cross is the palm at the end of the mind. The Cross is the darkness that makes illumination possible. The Cross is medicine for wounded souls. The Cross is the source of life-giving waters that wash us. The Cross is the Tree of Life that feeds and nourishes us. The Cross is the beginning of the Resurrection. The Cross is the seed of mature faith. The Cross is “the image of the invisible God.” The Cross is a stumbling block and scandal to the world. The Cross is the icon of authentic humanity. The Cross is a spiritual blindfold that makes our steps certain. The Cross is the pattern at the heart of the universe. The Cross is the false self broken open. The Cross is our truest and deepest identity. The Cross is a most faithful friend. The Cross is the Beloved for whom our hearts have always longed. The Cross is vulnerability, trust and love. The Cross is our only hope. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Sister Mary Bonavita (Kathleen) Cannon, C.S.C. (1907-1997)
Kathleen Cannon was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1925. One of the youngest missionary sisters, not only in age but in years of service, Sister Bonavita made her way to Bengal, now Bangladesh, in 1932 on the S.S. Paris sailing from Los Angeles, California. It is reported that she “brought her cheerful nature and youthful enthusiasm to the Foreign Mission Convent in Washington, D.C. It is further reported in a brief article in a 1932 issue of mission periodical, The Bengalese, that a group “[Held] an informal reception on the 15th street docks and in the spacious lounges of the S.S. Paris, the Bonavita Club, with many a bon voyage and many flowers on her [Sister Bonavita’s] way to India. The Bonavita Club whose members are largely drawn from the parishioners of New York’s wonderful Paulist Church, St. Paul the Apostle, was organized only a month ago when it was learned that Sister Bonavita who had taught in the Paulist School was going to Bengal. Although the youngest of our mission clubs, the Bonavita Club has already displayed the mission activity of a veteran missionary organization.” In a letter, written in February of 1932, Sister Bonavita and Sister Helen Xavier (Manes) write about their time at sea and in Rome, “Yes, we were terrible sailors. Seasickness, ugh! One night a porthole flew open and in rushed the sea. It was at dinner and it was really comical to see the diners fall over the chairs in the hurry to get to the deck. (Pst, we nearly fell over, too!) In Rome the greatest event was our audience with the Holy Father [Pius XI]. Colorful Swiss Guards challenged us at the gates, we passed through mazes of audience rooms, all crowed with officials in most picturesque costumes. When the Holy Father, such a kindly, gentle figure, came in, we knelt and kissed his ring. He said a few words of encouragement, blessed us and our friends at home, and it was over.” While in Bengal Sister Bonavita served at St. Anthony School in Nagari. Returning to the States in 1935, she worked in various schools and hospitals for the next 60 years. Sister Bonavita died at St. Catherine’s Convent, Ventura, California, in 1997 and is buried in Santa Clara Cemetery, Oxnard, California. Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Voice of Moreau: While the Cross may seem like an extrinsic reality that is laid upon our shoulders, it is actually intrinsic to the human person. Indeed, because we are made in the image of God (Gen 1:28), we cannot help but to contain the eternal cruci-form in our souls. When we enter into one of life’s many trials or encounter some hardship, yet choose to walk through, the experience assists in clearing away that “stuff” that has come to cover up the Cross within. New age spiritual philosophies might call this awareness or awakening, but this is a bedrock truth of the Christian life, which is why there is so much emphasis on finding in the Gospels: the Lost Coin, the Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son, the Finding of the Christ Child, the Treasure in the Field, the Pearl of Great Value, and so on. By walking through the gauntlet, all of the clothes that society has hung on the interior Cross and all of the baggage we have accumulated along the way slowly decrease so that the Lord within may increase (Jn 3:30). Let us therefore look forward to the day when, having discovered that precious treasure within, we will exclaim “Voilà!” and “Eureka!” with all of the saints who have walked this path before us. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Brother Walter (John) Remlinger, C.S.C. (1889-1939)
“Shortly after his high school days in Norwalk, Ohio, John Remlinger came to Notre Dame and entered the novitiate. He graduated from the University in 1915 and spent six years teaching in the States. In each of the three schools he left and enviable reputation as a scholar and a religious. On September 30, 1921, in company with Brother Louis Gazagne, he sailed from New York for India. Scarcely was he in the mission field when he was appointed Headmaster of Holy Cross High School in Bandura. In 1929, he was transferred to a similar position at St. Gregory High School in Dacca. At both schools he was preeminent as teacher, administrator, apostle, respected and beloved by faculty and students. Like St. Paul, he made himself all things to all men. In 1938 he was elected delegate from Bengal to the General Chapter of the Congregation of Holy Cross at Notre Dame. His zeal, prudence and piety were evident during the sessions. But he was to see India no more. For years he had secretly suffered from a malignant cancer. He was confined to the Community Infirmary where he lingered for more than half a year on bed of pain, an example of radiant joy and sanctity. Those who visited him in his illness felt closer to heaven. He died on the feast of the Assumption. Like the Little Flower he had gone to labor in the Eternal Mission, where we fondly hope he is still mindful of Bengal” (Bulletin of the Educational Conference of the Brothers of Holy Cross, June, 1940). In September of 1939, the following memorial was printed in missionary periodical, The Bengalese: “We are sorry of chronicle for you the death of one of our most beloved missionaries. With unstinted efforts, Brother Walter devoted his entire and extraordinary talents to the development of Holy Cross’s educational program in Bengal. That he was successful, one need only ask the older missioners who worked with him in Bengal. Brother Walter fulfilled the trust his brethren placed in him. His [last] suffering, we feel sure, will not be in vain as we pray that through his intercession with Our Divine Lord graces will be showered upon Holy Cross in Bengal. May his dear soul rest in Peace.”
Voice of Moreau: St. Paul famously exclaims in Galatians, “It is no longer I who live, but Jesus Christ who lives in me” (2:20). This very powerful way of thinking about the Christian life has undoubtedly inspired countless souls to strive ever more ardently for transformation and self-realization. Nevertheless, it is the preceding line which contains the key to reaching this new life: “I have been crucified with Christ” (Gal 2:19). We should not be surprised that the Greek word that Paul uses for “I” is literally ego. That object, idea, vision, dream or image that we hold deeply in our psyches must be brought to an end (Jn 19:29), or crucified with Christ. Though Jesus possessed the eternal “form of God,” he nevertheless “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness” and subjected himself to “death on the cross” (Phil 2:6-8). We who are sinners, who blindly roam this earth, suffering from ego-delusion, must pay attention to this profound and humbling lesson. Only when the false self dies, does the risen Christ, in all of his resurrected glory, appear. Let us therefore roll up our sleeves and clean out our spiritual houses. The Beloved eagerly awaits a home in which to dwell! Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Voice of Moreau: The psychology of C.J. Jung was very focused on archetypes, universal patterns that reveal deep truths about the human psyche. The primary four archetypes, found in each and every human soul, include: The Self, The Shadow, The Persona and The Anima/Animus. Because these dimensions of the subconscious together constitute the experience of being human, we should trust that the Cross embodies the entire drama therein. The naked body of our Lord, stretched out and laid open upon the wood of the Cross, is the image of the Self in all of its vulnerability. The wounds of Christ, in his hands, feet, head and side, are the mark of the Shadow who dwells within us and inexplicably seems to work against our own good. “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews,” that is, the Messiah, can be likened to the Persona, or role that we each play in life. And while the Animus is the boldness with which Christ crucified proclaims the Good News, especially in the defiant way he confronts both Jewish and Roman authority, the passivity of the Son who hands over his spirit to his heavenly Father should remind us of the Anima. Let us, therefore, not be afraid to engage in the science of psychology to affirm the truth of the Cross. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Father James Burns, C.S.C. (1867-1940)
Father Burns was born in Michigan City, Indiana in 1867. He entered Holy Cross in 1888 and was ordained in 1893, the year Father Sorin died. For a number of years, as superior of Holy Cross College in Washington, D.C., he was instrumental not only in the development of that house of studies but in the early progress of the Catholic University, being recognized even in those years as an authority and champion of Catholic education in the United States. As the spirit of the missions began to take hold in the country, Father Burns recognized the importance of fostering this spirit in the Congregation of Holy Cross and gave every encouragement in his power toward the crystallization of that spirit in the foundation of the mission periodical, The Bengalese. In 1927 he was selected to act as Provincial in the United States, a position he held until his election as Assistant to the Superior General in the summer of 1938. Though the prospect of the journey to India and the difficulties of an official visitation of the mission were far from promising, Father Burns bravely faced the sacrifices involved and journeyed to India in the fall of 1935. While in India he visited personally all of the mission stations of the Dacca territory. With paternal patience he listened to the enthusiastic outline of opportunities as painted by the “zealous tongues” of the missionaries and he returned to the States visibly impressed with the foreign mission apostolate of Holy Cross in Bengal. The Mission Procurator and those associated with him in the apostolate of financing the mission acknowledged their heavy debt of gratitude to Father Burns for the careful consideration and seasoned guidance he offered all their plans for the furtherance of their work and the unlimited cooperation and encouragement he gave them in their work, not only by word, but especially by deed. The last months of Father Burns’ life were days of inexpressible pain. “In dying, as in life, Father Burns remained to the end an example to be aimed at in imitation by his religious brethren.” (Adapted from a memorial by Father Francis Goodall, C.S.C., October 1940, The Bengalese)
Voice of Moreau: Have you ever seen Michelangelo’s Last Judgment painting? While none of us is surprised when we see the Cross carrying souls upward to heaven on Christ’s right side, we should all marvel at the “crosses” which appear on Christ’s left. There is a heavy pillar that weighs souls down; there are literal crosses that seem to cause confusion among the damned; there are other objects, such as a knife, keys, arrows and a saw, which these souls cling to as they sink more and more deeply into the underworld. The artist undoubtedly wants to teach us a lesson about the Cross: It is a singular reality, shared by all disciples, raising souls up to their perfection, held only with an open hand, giving true life. If today, at this very moment, judgment were upon us, could we claim to stand with the saints who, “caught up in the clouds,” are prepared “to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thes 4:17)? Have we taken up the true yoke that is easy and accepted the one burden that is light (Mt 11:30)? In a world of false hopes and empty promises, may each of us learn to prefer the Cross and thus float into the freedom of salvation. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Response: “Learning to love the cross as a sign of real hope was the spiritual core of [Blessed] Moreau’s theology. Learning entailed practice, and walking the way of the cross meant recognizing three things for Moreau: that Christ represents the only possible reconciliation between interior dispositions and exterior actions, that union with Christ means union not only with his life but also his death, and that those who learn the mystery of Christ are also learning his resurrection” (Grove and Garwrych, Basil Moreau: Essential Writings, 2014, 45). As students are preparing to return for another year of school, teachers, too, are preparing to accept them into their classrooms. How will teachers educate their students to love the cross as the source of their hope for this world and the next? Certainly, this task begins before the students arrive as teachers are gathered in meetings prior to the first day of classes. As individuals and a corporate entity, teachers must conscientiously plan each class, each week, each semester around that education which forms and nourishes the heart as well as filling the mind with facts. Begin each class a prayer that focuses the mind and instructs the heart to regulate the application of the knowledge for the day. Let the last thing you say to your class be a reminder to walk in the shoes of those around them. A prayer that assists students and teachers to be aware of the many possibilities for taking up the cross throughout the day allows for the practice of the corporal works of mercy that are needed today. In the words of St. James we need to “declare [our] sins to one another, and pray for one another, that [we] may find healing” (James 5:16) and thus to become the compassionate heart of the crucified Lord. Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Brother Urban (Andrew) McKeon, C.S.C. (1835-1912)
“Brother Urban, one of the oldest educators of the Holy Cross order, died at Notre Dame university Friday morning at 4 o’clock. He was porter at the university for several years and during that time had many friends” (South Bend Tribune). When Brother Urban died in 1912, he was a much-revered member of the Congregation as described in 1908 in this Scholastic article. “There is probably no city or important town in the United States which does not hold warm friends of the devoted Brother whose courtesy has committed him to the respect of all who have met him. Not in vain was he named Urban, for urbanity was his characteristic. No hour too late, and no hour too early for him to serve the chance visitor or to dispense to the public the hospitality of the famous University” (42:26). In another Scholastic article he is described as “…refined and gentle [of] manner, the reflection of a beautiful soul” (42:319. 1908). In 1912, Brother Gilbert (James) Horton is quoted in the Notre Dame Alumnus. “No man ever met Brother Urban who could ever forget him. Nature and grace combined to create in him a subtle and unusual charm. Invested with a natural dignity of attractive personal appearance, he went his way through the world, offending none, serving all, and leaving golden memories in the hearts of those who met him.” Brother Urban was born in Ireland and entered the Brothers of Holy Cross when he was 26. He taught in schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana and Illinois. He was appointed the first principal of St. Columbkille school in Chicago in 1886 when Edward Hoban, future Archbishop of Cleveland, enrolled in the 4th grade. Brother Urban was considered to be a fine teacher and a very organized and dedicated school administrator.
Father James J. French, C.S.C. (1859-1941)
Father French was the vice-president of the University of Notre Dame from 1893-1905. And he was assistant superior general of the Congregation of Holy Cross for 20 years until 1926. He came to Notre Dame from Cincinnati, Ohio and entered the novitiate in 1878. In 1879 he witnessed the disastrous fire which completely destroyed the young University, and many hours he devoted to clearing bricks for the reconstruction of the new Main Building. He spent his first years in the Congregation at St. Joseph College in Cincinnati where he taught all day and studied theology with Father Peter J. Hurth – who would become an archbishop – at night. Ordained in 1883, he was appointed superior of St. Joseph College for the next five years. He was then appointed the superior of the preparatory seminary at Notre Dame. In 1893, he was appointed the Vice-President and Director of Studies at the University of Notre Dame and became known as a fine orator. In 1905, he returned to St. Joseph College as its President for one year. In 1906, he was appointed assistant superior general and, for the second time, the superior at the preparatory seminary. It is during this time that he became known as a champion of the foreign mission apostolate. It was the General Chapter that appointed him Mission Promoter. The earliest predecessor of The Bengalese, under the name of the Bengal Witness, was published by him. In 1912, the Mission Band of Holy Cross was reorganized to preach missions and retreats throughout the United States. Father French was selected to establish, develop and direct the new effort. He tirelessly labored in this ministry for the next 18 years. Because of failing health, he left the Mission Band and served as chaplain of St. Joseph Hospital in South Bend from 1931-1939 where he was beloved by thousands of the city’s sick because of his ministrations at all hours of the day and night. Prior to his death, he resided at the community house on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. (Complied from information in “The Golden Jubilee of a Friend” The Bengalese, June 1933 [no author] and an obituary in the South Bend Tribune, March 1941)
Voice of Moreau: The word “anxiety” comes from the Latin word angustia which means “narrow straits.” To suffer from anxiety is like walking down a long, dark tunnel that seems to have no end. As a society, we think of anxiety as an enemy. There are drugs out there to remove that feeling of narrowness and relax our minds, as well as talk therapy to help people alleviate the emotional heaviness that plagues us. Nevertheless, the experience of anxiety is a unique spiritual opportunity to trust God. Jesus’ mind must have been obscured by a thick fog on the Cross: Why do I have to go through this? How can anything good come out of my death? Where are all of my family and friends? Why have you abandoned me? Yet, he said yes. Truly, the joy of the resurrection is reserved for those who are willing to walk the way of salvation, though they do not understand: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Mt 7:13-14). Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Response: St. Paul in his letter to the Romans tells them that “[t]he sufferings of present are nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us” (8:18). We live in a world that is wedded to many forms of promiscuity. It is so easy to be convinced that a pill can readily provide a cure for any ache or pain. That the application of this or that salve will stave off the effects of aging. That the purchase of this or that gadget will make living increasingly more effortless. And so we give in to these enticements only to find out that our anxieties about living are not alleviated but exacerbated because we have been duped yet again. To see our personal suffering as nothing compared to the glory to be revealed is not easy. It takes more than a one-time yes to God. It is a daily yes–an hourly yes for most of us. What comfort can a Holy Cross educator provide? Make a daily commitment to be zealously faithful to teaching the truth about this life’s journey toward heavenly citizenship. The road is hard because the flesh is weak. If there is a curative for all that ails us, it is compassionate mercy. Do not increase the suffering of the via dolorosa. Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Brother Borromeo (Thomas) Malley, C.S.C. (1913-1994)
Born in 1913 in Chicago, Thomas Malley entered the Holy Cross Brothers in 1931 making final vows in 1936. His first assignment was to take care of the power plant at Sacred Heart College in Watertown, Wisconsin. Two years later, he went to the University of Portland where he took on the role of purchasing agent. In 1937 he was assigned to the University of Notre Dame as director of utilities for 41 years, and for nearly 50 years he was chief of the Notre Dame fire department. Father (now Bishop) Daniel Jenky gave the eulogy at his funeral mass. Here are parts of what he said: “A ‘patriarch,’ according to the dictionary definition, could be described as ‘a venerable old man’ or ‘a revered senior member of a community’ or ‘a respected elder.’ Well, in our Holy Cross family here at Notre Dame, Brother Borromeo rather aptly and completely fulfilled this role…. He was immensely proud that he was Fire Chief for so many years. If for 41 years Brother efficiently kept the fires burning at Notre Dame, he was equally adept for nearly 50 years in putting them out anywhere else on campus. He was given his job in 1939, and by 1940 he had built, from the chassis up, Notre Dame’s first completely motorized fire apparatus…. Brother Borromeo was a wonderful person, a good and faithful brother, a man of religious poverty, and a great friend to an awful lot of people. Borromeo without a lot of fuss or dramatics, lived a life entirely for God and neighbor. He expressed his love and devotion to Our Lady by caring so well and so long for her school.” Father Edmund Joyce, C.S.C. gave the homily. Here is an excerpt: “My first official contact with Brother occurred in 1951 soon after I was named vice president of business affairs. Foreseeing the building boom which would soon be on, Brother Borromeo strongly urged that we utilize our excess steam capacity to generate our own electricity. While this required a large capital expense to get started, we did indeed save millions of dollars by generating our own electrical power…. I had hundreds of business contacts with Brother Borromeo over the next three decades and was continually impressed with his common sense, his rare ability to deal with architects, engineers, contractors, fire chiefs and other professionals on a friendly but business-like basis.” In an article printed in “It’s Notre Dame Fact…” by Phil Loranger, he wrote: “[Brother Borromeo] became only the third man since 1870 to hold the title of director of utilities, a post that made him manager of the tiny, ill-equipped university rail system [ND & W Railroad]. In his nearly 60 years as head of the line, Borromeo never missed the opportunity to improve the track, cars or equipment. The 65-ton, 400-horsepower diesel engine No. 5332, still resplendent in its blue and gold colors, was his proudest contribution…. [T]here was a time when the ND & W had tracks that led to the old ice house and the university stock pens where hogs and steers were unloaded. During World War II, military trains were a common sight on the tracks and until 1962, when the last passenger trains brought Fighting Irish fans to the campus for drop off, as many as five trains would be birthed on the tracks. It was Borromeo and his staff who would lay out more than 5,000 yards of hose to provide water and fuel for the steam and diesel engines while the passengers watched the Irish football team play in the stadium.” “For all of his consummate professionalism in his duties at the university what Brother Borromeo will be remembered for by most of us was that he was first and foremost a true religious—faithful to his God and his vows” (Father Joyce).
Father Michael A. Mathis, C.S.C. (1885-1960)
Born in South Bend, Michael Mathis entered Holy Cross in 1901 and was ordained in 1921. In 1920, he received a doctorate in Holy Scripture form Catholic University. It was about this time that he became interested in the Holy Cross foreign missions and began his plans for a new seminary in Washington, D.C. which would train men especially for India. In 1924, he became the first superior of the Foreign Mission Seminary, and he also inaugurated The Bengalese, a magazine specially interested in promoting Holy Cross foreign mission. Simultaneously, he became a co-founder, together with Dr. Anna Dengle, of women’s religious organization, the Medical Missionaries, whose object was to spread the Catholic religion among the poor and sick women of India. In 1939, he became a faculty member at Notre Dame, and two years was appointed chaplain at St. Joseph Hospital until retirement in 1959. He was considered by all to be a wonderful chaplain.
Sister M. Agatha Ann (Mary Agatha) Farrell, C.S.C. 1923-2019
Three days before her 21st birthday, Mary Agatha Farrell applied to the Sisters of the Holy Cross. She was a civil service secretary working for the War Department in Los Angeles, California, in the last year of World War II. In response to a question about her motivation “for leaving the world,” she replied only, “I feel I have a vocation.” In 2001, she was less cryptic filling out another form, this time explaining why she wanted to apply for a sabbatical for spiritual renewal: “After 56 years as a Sister of the Holy Cross, having worked every year in a school, hospital, or parish, this opportunity would be a ‘first.’” As Sister M. Agatha Ann, she began her ministry in 1947 in elementary education in Catholic parochial schools throughout California and Utah, moving from the classroom to the principal’s office. From 1970 to 1975, while serving as principal, she earned her California license to direct day care-nursery schools. From 1975 to 1977, Sister Agatha Ann was director of personnel in the Department of Education for the Archdiocese of San Francisco. During those years she also worked in special education in public schools in the Daly City School District. Anyone who saw her doing business over the phone would have thought it all looked easy as she spoke with a broad smile. She had wonderful organizational skills, enjoyed being with people and was a good listener. It’s no wonder that Sister Agatha Ann transitioned to pastoral care in 1977 at Holy Cross Hospital, Salt Lake City, Utah. Though she was there only a year, she returned to pastoral care and chaplaincy from 1991 to 1999 at Providence St. Elizabeth Care Center, North Hollywood, California. In the intervening years, from 1978 to 1990, Sister Agatha Ann ministered in several parishes working with the elderly in Southern California and in the Seattle area. Sister Agatha Ann was also a religious superior in her Congregation but was unpretentious in the role, whether as a local convent superior, a postulant formation assistant or regional councilor. Many times, she was also filling other positions beyond the local convent. At the time of Pope John Paul II’s visit to the United States in 1987, she was asked by a reporter in Tenino, Washington, about priestly ordination for women. She was never known as a firebrand, but with a shrug, she reluctantly offered the following viewpoint to The Olympian: “Here at St. Peter’s Mission, we minister as best we can as a group of women in the church. We can do that in so many ways. I would have no objection to women being ordained nor would I have any objection to a married clergy.” Sister retired first to Saint Catherine by the Sea Convent, Ventura, California in 2002, moving in 2011 to Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana, where she died. Her older sister, Sister Estelle Marie (Farrell), survives her at Saint Mary’s. Their fine Catholic parents, Louisa Hutson and Jeremiah Farrell, raised seven children in Los Angeles at Saint Agnes Parish, where they were taught by Holy Cross sisters. (Written by Sister Catherine Osimo, CSC.)
Voice of Moreau: Taking up the Cross is not some clean and sterile process. Those who think that they have taken up the Lord’s Cross by a single stroke of the pen or by a single decision are mistaken. The work of dying to self, rather, is a lifelong journey – messy, emotional, confusing, uncertain, but most importantly good. Like falling in love, we discover that if we truly desire to be with our Beloved for the long-term, we must learn how to dance instead of cling, how to hold with an open hand, how to say “thank you,” and how to get up when we fall. By doing so, our lives weave a magnificent image of the invisible God (Col 1:15) which reveals the texture and beauty of the scars of the risen Christ. Let us therefore not be afraid to put out into the deep and risk everything (Luke 5:4), trusting that our Father is already waiting for us in the mess (Gen 1:2). Blessed indeed is the God who walks with us through the fiery furnaces of life (Dan 3:24) and whose own Cross bears witness to the glory and salvation reserved for those who are simply willing to jump in. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Response: Taking up the Cross is definitely not done at a specific time as a once-and-for-all-time event. Travelling the road of the Cross–“through the fiery furnaces of life”–takes a recommitment each day, and several times during a single day. The poet Langston Hughes writes that “life ain’t no crystal stair”; definitely life is a steep staircase that each of us must climb if we are to realize citizenship in Heaven. The obvious task for Holy Cross educators is to support students along this arduous climb. Assist students to realize that the woes of this life are only made more bearable if each of us does not add to them. Use this message from St. Paul as your prayer for the beginning of this new school year: “Never let evil talk pass your lips; say only the good things people need to hear, things that will really help them. Be kind to one another, compassionate, and mutually forgiving, just as God has forgiven you in Christ” (Ephesians 4:29-32). At the beginning of each class, ask your students to jump in for the long haul. No one needs to look far away from home and the school for opportunities to become the healing love of the crucified Christ. Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Brother Norbert (Leger) Bauer, C.S.C. (1871-1958)
Leger Bauer was born in France near Paris and attended public school. He entered Holy Cross in 1885 and made his first vows in 1888. His first assignment was to teach in grammar school, and in 1890, he began compulsory military service for the France which lasted until 1893. Because of religious persecution in France, he came to Notre Dame in 1901 where he was sent to teach modern languages at Holy Cross High School in New Orleans. In 1903, he was assigned to Columbia University (now the University of Portland) were he taught until 1921. He was then sent back to Europe where is served in the Congregation’s Procure Office in Rome for the next 26 years. This office was the liaison between the Vatican and the Congregation of Holy Cross. In 1946, Brother Norbert had the unusual honor of attending the beatification of his own blood brother, Blessed Andrew Joseph Bauer, O.F.M., who was one of 29 Franciscan missionaries martyred in the Boxer Rebellion, on July 9, 1900 in China. He personally presented a special biography of the martyrs to Pope Pius the XII at the ceremony. In 1947, he retired at Columba Hall and then to the Community Infirmary. Included here are two photos of Blessed Andrew Joseph in both Franciscan habit and traditional Chinese garb. (The Legacy Project composed by Brother Lawrence Stewart, CS.C. n.d.
Father Peter E. Hebert, C.S.C. (1886-1974)
Peter Hebert came to Notre Dame in 1901 as a student in the “industrial school.” He received the habit in 1905 and was ordained in 1914. He received a Ph.D. in classical languages from Notre Dame, and from 1914-1956 taught Latin. He headed the classics department from 1931-39. During all of this time he maintained an active interest in botany and ornithology and achieved a credible excellence in both. Many of his students remembered him as a stimulating teacher and for his bird-watching hikes around the Notre Dame campus. A recognized authority on sedges of Berrien County, Michigan, Father Hebert had a part in naming some of them. He was one of the first members of the community to recognize and use the scientific possibilities of the Martin Gillen property at Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin where he spent many happy days botanizing on that wild land, identifying and recording various flora. He loved every inch of the Notre Dame campus and authored an exclusive catalog detailing the exact location and species of each tree, shrub and vine there. He also assisted Fr. Julius Nieuwland [of synthetic rubber fame] in establishing the University’s extensive herbarium. “Kind and docile, gentle, unobtrusive, of simple faith, with a profound acceptance of God’s will” were some of the characterizations used in the eulogy of this “true priest and gentleman.” (Excepts taken from Province Review, August 1974)
Sister Ann (Mary Rose Angela) Keating, CSC (1925-2019)
Sister Ann Keating said of herself in 1990 nearing age 65, “I’m a lioness; if you touch my cubs, I’ll protect them.” Sister had delivered at least 500 infants as a nurse-midwife during her 40-plus years in obstetric nursing at hospitals in California, Utah and New Mexico. Betty Ann Keating grew up in Sacramento, California, always wanting to be a nurse like her mother. She attended Holy Rosary Academy, a girls’ boarding school of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in Woodland, California and entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1943 only under the condition that she would be allowed to pursue her primal vocation of nursing. As a student nurse she graduated from College of Saint Mary-of-the-Wasatch, Salt Lake City, Utah, with a Bachelor of Science in 1949 and was certified as a registered nurse at Holy Cross Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. By 1969, as Sister Ann Keating, she had earned a Master of Science from The University of Utah, also being certified as a nurse-midwife. In 1970, already an experienced head nurse and director of nursing service at Holy Cross-sponsored hospitals in Salt Lake City and Fresno, California, Sister Ann was asked to be on the faculty as an obstetrics instructor at Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital in Watts, California, until 1974. After three years back at Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno, Sister Ann’s expertise in midwifery education continued at Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Women’s Hospital (1974-1976), Loma Linda University San Bernardino Campus (1976-1977), the University of San Francisco (1977-1982), and San Francisco General Hospital (1982-1984). Notoriously camera-shy and shunning attention, she graciously accepted the 1991 Woman of the Year Award granted by the Fresno, California Committee on the Status of Women. At the time, Sister Ann was coordinating Women’s Health Services at Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno. She also served on the Board of Directors for the Fresno Women’s Network, and chaired a committee to provide opportunities for women to support each other in business, personal and professional growth by networking with one another. Sister Ann remained in Fresno until 2004 when she retired to Saint Catherine by the Sea, Ventura, California. There she pursued her interest in nurturing and became a master gardener in the civic community until 2017 when her ill health brought her to Saint Mary’s Convent, where she died. She said of herself, “I might not have had a child of my own, but I was a mother of many.” (Excepts taken from a eulogy by Sister Catherine Osimo, CSC)
Voice of Moreau: The immigration crisis is really just the story of salvation in disguise. The poor and the oppressed have been beaten up by governments and gangs and extreme weather. They risk everything, their fortunes and homes and even their families, in order to have a fresh start somewhere else. They journey through countless trials and make countless sacrifices, hoping to literally “cross” over the border into the freedom and joy of new life. The drama of immigration thus points unmistakably to our crucified Lord. He is inviting us to join him as he passes over from the dark forces of this world to the Sabbath rest of the next. Let us therefore be careful to not engage in the political and ideological debates surrounding immigration that miss its deeper spiritual implications. Let us constantly be on the lookout for strangers in the midst of our daily lives and assist them in “crossing” thresholds that will lead to life. Let us acknowledge our own interior immigration crisis as we ourselves struggle to live in the light: “You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Deut 10:19). Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Response: “Let us constantly be on the lookout for strangers in the midst of our daily lives and assist them in ‘crossing’ thresholds that will lead to life.” These words will resonate with anyone who works in a school where there are many students who are immigrating into the new world of school no matter the level. For many young people entering the “new” school causes them to feel like strangers in a strange land for quite some time. In all Holy Cross schools there are orientation days and programs to assist the new kids on the block to begin to feel more and more at home with each passing day. In Christian Education, Blessed Moreau writes a very detailed essay on “Students’ Relationships with Teachers” where he describes those students in our classrooms who are poor and oppressed: “spoiled, unintelligent, self-centered, opinionated, insolent, envious, without integrity, immature, lazy, or in poor health.” It is the responsibility of the teacher to invite these children to become fully enfranchised citizens of, let’s say, Algebra 1 or English 10. Because each classroom is a world unto itself, the teacher/leader, must see to it that all members of the class learn to treat all other members with respect so that all may cross the various thresholds that bespeak the education of both the mind and the heart. It is the teacher who demonstrates the love of the “stranger,” so that students can model Christ the Healer for each other. This is not an easy task for leaders of the many countries of the world, and it is not an easy job in a classroom with a population of 25 or 30. Yet it is the job description for all Catholic school teachers and those of us who teach in Holy Cross schools. Let no child feel alienated nor be allowed to alienate others. There are so many opportunities to educate hearts in our classrooms. May we have the competence to see and the courage to act so that strangers are strangers no longer because they have been welcomed with the love of the crucified Christ. Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Sister Mary (Mary Henry) Byrnes, CSC (1926-2019)
The holiness of Sister Mary Byrnes was practical, immediate and helpful throughout her life. Though she folded her hands in prayer, she also set her hands to do all that makes a house a home or an institution a community. Violet Mary Byrnes attended public schools in Utah, until her last two years of high school graduating from Saint Mary of the Wasatch in Salt Lake City where she was influenced by the Sisters of the Holy Cross and applied to the Congregation soon after graduation in 1946. She was known as Sister Henry during her years as a teacher in Catholic elementary schools throughout California, from 1952 to 1968. Sister Mary Byrnes was best known for her helping hand where she served in many ancillary roles. One of the Latin titles for the Blessed Mother in Catholic tradition has been Ancilla Domini, Handmaid of the Lord. Sister Mary’s litany of practical roles in the community included: sacristan, housekeeper, infirmarian, driver, seamstress and office assistant. She especially enjoyed her time ministering with sisters and lay staff of Madonna Manor, Salinas, California, where she was a compassionate companion to elders in the facility sponsored by the California Catholic Daughters of America from 1995 to 2003. Sister Mary was also a gardener. In California, she won ribbons at the state fairs in Monterey County and later in Ventura when she was missioned at Saint Catherine by the Sea from 2003 to 2005. There Sister raised African violets and roses and sold her sweet peas to a local florist. Due in part to Sister Mary, God’s beauty was found on earth and now in heaven. (Written by Sister Catherine Osimo, CSC)
Brother Leander (James) McLain, (1842-1911)
In 1863, when James McLain was 23 years old, he enlisted in the Army of the Cumberland for three years of service. He was attached to the 15th United States Infantry, where he took part in all of the engagements with General Sherman in the famous March to the Sea. After the war, James joined the Brothers of Holy Cross receiving the name Brother Leander. For 29 years he was a prefect and teacher at the University of Notre Dame. Between the years of 1868-89 he was an officer of the St. Stanislaus Pilopatrian Society and of the Mutual Baseball Club. He also taught at St. Pius School in Chicago for two years. By his fellow religious and his students, he was known as a humble man. When the Grand Army of the Republic (GRA) Post No. 568 of Indiana was erected at the University of Notre Dame, Brother Leander became one of the charter members assuming the office of Vice Commander. Of interest regarding this post is that all the members belonged to various religious congregations of men; eight of whom were Brothers of Holy Cross (Brothers Cosmas, Raphael, Eustachius, Benedict, Ignatius, John Chrysostom, Agatho and Leander). In 1905, Brother Leander put the customary American flag on the casket of Father Peter Cooney, C.S.C. a Civil War chaplain. During the same year, Brother Leander was made aide-de-camp of the Grand Army Department of Indiana and was honored with a position in the National Army. In 1906, he was appointed superior of what today is known as the Old College. All in all, Brother Leander was a “religious of genial disposition, possessing an intellect trained to meet and master the many problems which confronted an educator.” When he died in 1911, his funeral was one of the largest seen at the University of Notre Dame in many years. In a letter from his friend General Abercrombie to Father John W. Cavanaugh, C.S.C., President of the University of Notre Dame, he paid this tribute to Brother Leander: “His was a useful life, an everlasting illustration to the youth of Notre Dame of a patriotic American citizen.” (Taken from the writings of Brother Edward Sniatecki, May, 1983)
Father Daniel Eldred Hudson, C.S.C. (1849-1934)
“Daniel Hudson was born at Nahant, Mass. in 1849. His father was a Methodist, and his mother a Catholic. In later years, Father Hudson used to say that it was his experience with Protestantism in his youth more than anything else that made him a good Catholic all his life. At fifteen he was working in the Boston Publishing House of Lee and Shepherd, publishers of the great writers of the flowering of New England. The young man knew Longfellow who visited his home in Nahant, and Lowell, Holmes, Whittier and Emerson. He had Longfellow’s approval of his early desire to be a priest. When he told the great, be-bearded man of letters that he was going to be a priest and a foreign missionary, the old man nodded gravely, and said ‘I am very glad you have such an intention.’ The idea of the foreign missions [eventually] faded from his mind, since in 1870 he said goodbye to home and family, and gravely, bravely, set out to be a Trappist monk in New Mallory, Iowa. But he never got to Iowa [because] he met an old priest on the train, a Holy Cross Father from Notre Dame, an old Civil War chaplain named Father Peter Gillen. Father Gillian persuaded Daniel Hudson to stop off at Notre Dame, ‘just for a little visit.’ Father Hudson’s little visit lasted just sixty-four years. …The Trappists lost a good contemplative; but Notre Dame gained a saint, and the Catholic Press of the nineteenth century a great and tireless editor. [He was] ordained on June 4, 1875 and was appointed editor of the Ave Maria. That was his first religious “obedience”—and his last: he kept it until failing health compelled his retirement four years before his death. He was not a campus figure: in all his years at Notre Dame he was never in more than six of the forty-odd buildings. All this time he was too busy building the Ave Maria into the most widely read Catholic weekly in the English language. Father Hudson’s detached way of life, his utter rejection of the easy and pleasant, would have hardened many men, made them odd and eccentric. But through it all Father Hudson retained the delightful humor and polished, easy ways that delighted students who were lucky enough to run across him. [He] was not an obscure man, by any means. He died on January 12, 1934. Many distinguished people came to the funeral: and others, including the Pope, wrote letters to his superiors at Notre Dame consoling them upon their loss” (Sheedy, C.S.C., Rev. Charles. “The ‘Ave Maria’s’ Own Little Saint. Our Sunday Visitor. November 11, 1945.)
Voice of Moreau: In the spiritual life, we learn that we must keep our foot on the accelerator at all times. The moment we think that we’ve got it figured out and stop is the moment that the evil one enters into the nooks and crannies of our minds, leading us off track, subverting the whole operation. See the intensity with which Jesus travels to Jerusalem. See how he does not settle for temporal comforts nor “a place to lay his head” (Mt 8:20). See how he scolds Peter for being a stumbling block along the way: “You have set your mind on earthly things and not on divine things” (Mt 16:23). Are we really going anywhere on our journeys? Can we be honest and admit the times when we’ve gotten stuck or have abandoned the project of spiritual progress altogether? Do we spend ourselves so that we might finally arrive, with our Lord, at our ultimate destination? Let us therefore put our souls in gear, take up the triumphant Cross, and not stop following the path that leads to life. Half-way-there, close, five minutes away, down the street are not enough. We must finish (Jn 19:30) the race! Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Response: Blessed Moreau writes, “If you want to attain the glory of paradise, imitate Jesus Christ insofar as it depends on you. Let yourself be deeply permeated not only with the good intentions of reaching that end but also of putting that imitation of Christ into practice” (Basil Moreau, Essential Writings, 205). Good intentions mean little without practical application. It has been said frequently this last year in these responses, that educators in Holy Cross schools must be called to the vocation of teaching. If one is called, then it does not matter what one teaches in a classroom or in a lab or on the athletic field. The vocation is a call to formation along with education. The very nature of bringing students to completion, demands the application of all knowledge for the building up of the Body of Christ. Teachers and students alike must take every opportunity to assess if they are on the pathway of charity toward all. The human journey has but one end: love of God and neighbor until the last breath. For those for whom this lifestyle is desired and practiced, it is easy to know when we get off track because our conscience will provoke us to sadness that we have strayed from taking up the Cross. Practically, getting back on the pathway requires but repentance and the reaffirmation to love God and neighbor again, and again, and so on. Whether we be a tortoise or a hare, we can finish the race if we have the humility to admit our weaknesses and rise above them each day. Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Father Augustine Mascarenhas, C.S.C. (1890-?)
Augustine was the first Burmese to be ordained a Holy Cross Priest. He was a vigorous missionary from 1919 through the mid-1920’s as he contributed many articles about his missionary adventures to the The Bengalese. Biographical information about him after 1930 is scant to non-existent, and there is no definitive information regarding the date of his death. What follows has been excerpted from three issues of The Bengalese, the periodical that was published for subscribers to “[share] in the spiritual benefits of membership in the Bengal Foreign Mission Society” (The Bengalese, Vol. 1, No. 1, p. ii, September 1919). First: “On May 25, Augustine Mascarenhas was ordained to the Holy Cross Priesthood at Dacca by His Lordship, Bishop Legrand. He is the first native priest of the diocese. The young priest has returned to Ranchi to complete his theological studies with the Jesuit Fathers” (Vol. I, No. 1, pp 9-10, 1919). Second: “The darkest clouds have proverbially a silver lining…as Father Mascarenhas recently had the occasion to discover. [He] has been spending the first year of missionary life traveling from village to village in the Burmese district of the mission, visiting the native Christians and spreading the Good Tidings among their pagan neighbors. During a recent rainy season, Father Mascarenhas encountered many obstacles on his journeys, and one trip in particular…was made memorable by water and by mud. The silver lining of the clouds that afflicted him…proved to be a number of unexpected conversions, and brought the young apostle so much joy that the hardships of the trip were quite outweighed” (Vol. 2, No. 7, p. 110, March 1921). And lastly, about his work among the Burmese Chins. “My head is full of plans and with God’s unfailing help I shall carry them out. Chief among them are these: 1. To open a convent for girls of this district at Sandoway; 2. To open a school for boys at Sandoway; 3. To open a commercial school for young Burmans and Chins; 4. To push forward a Chin lad of fifteen in his studies for the priesthood” (Vol. III, No. 3, p. 7, March 1922). Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Brother Isidore (Hurley) Alderton, C.S.C. (1886-1934)
In 1935, it was reported that “Brother Isidore, C.S.C. died fortified by the Holy Sacraments, at St. Joseph’s Hospital, South Bend, Indiana, October 17, 1934. April last he became ill with streptococcus inflection, which despite every effort to stay its ravages, proved fatal. Brother Isidore was born at Locks, Michigan, September 4, 1886. He was invested with the Holy Habit and entered St. Joseph Novitiate, Notre Dame, July 2, 1910. After a course of studies at the University of Notre Dame, he taught English and mathematics at Holy Trinity High School in Chicago. Keenly interested in the welfare of young men, he actively engaged in organizing parish and school clubs. He met with hearty response in this work at Holy Trinity, a parish then numbering 20,000 souls. After several years of fruitful labor in Holy Trinity, he was appointed Superior of Sacred Heart College, Watertown, Wisconsin, then, as now, the preparatory school for candidates for our Brotherhood. In this responsible position he further displayed the zeal and the talent for organization so characteristic of him. The Superiorship of Dujarie Institute, the house of studies for the Brothers of Holy Cross, Notre Dame, was Brother Isidore’s next appointment. During his term of office, the house was thoroughly renovated and partially remodeled; the beautiful grounds were extended and improved; and a gymnasium was built. Afterwards he taught at Columbia University, Portland, Oregon; Holy Cross College, New Orleans, where he served as Prefect of Discipline, and Cathedral High School, Indianapolis. At this school he was notably successful in promoting ‘drives’ that netted generous sums of money for the missions in India. Photography, his hobby, he placed also at the service of the missions, for Brother Isidore made handsome returns from the sales of excellent pictures. The welfare of his beloved Congregation was at all times the ideal that inspired him. He had a great devotion to St. Joseph, the patron of the Brothers, and to Our Lady of Sorrows, patron of the Congregation of Holy Cross. Peace to his soul” (Source unknown)
Sister Patricia (Mary Peter James) Mulvaney, CSC (1928-2018)
At 80 years old, Sister Patricia Mulvaney said, “I never wanted to be in any other life except the one I chose”. At nearly 90 years old, she said “Yes” one last time to the Risen Jesus who embraced her with everlasting love, two days before the 67th anniversary of her vowed life as a Sister of the Holy Cross. Her devotion to family, Holy Cross, and the compassionate ministry of health care were at the heart of her long life. Sister Patricia’s zeal for Holy Cross may have come from her grandfather, Richard Seidel, a music professor at Saint Mary’s College (1890 – ca. 1930s) hired by Mother M. Pauline (O’Neill), CSC. She was preceded in Holy Cross by her aunt Sister M. Richardine and her older sister, Sister Mary (Vincent Clare) Mulvaney, CSC. Her younger sister, Sister Elisbeth Mulvaney, CSC, ministers at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Boise. Patricia Mulvaney applied to the Sisters of the Holy Cross after her first year as a nursing student in 1948. Having visited Saint Mary’s, she wrote Mother Una (Garrity) that she was so eager to enter the Congregation immediately “that I don’t know how I will wait the next six months.” She received the habit a year later. She completed her registered nursing degree in 1954 and her Bachelor of Science in 1955. By 1960, she finished her Master of Science in nursing administration from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., while teaching nurses at Saint Alphonsus Hospital in Boise, Idaho. From 1960–1963, she served as director of the School of Nursing at Holy Cross Hospital in Salt Lake City. Fully committed to a lifelong ministry of healing, Sister served as administrator of Saint Alphonsus until 1972 where “she became known for her forward thinking when she made a courageous move by relocating the hospital from downtown Boise to its present site.” She had assessed the risk and the opportunity in such a move, attributing its ultimate success to the dedicated board members and stakeholders. Sister Patricia Mulvaney served as a councilor for the sisters’ health region and then was elected as their Western Regional Superior (1975-1981), assuming leadership for the sisters not only in health care, but also in education, pastoral and justice ministries. Sister Patricia spent her years out of office researching geriatrics and managing the building of a new retirement facility for the sisters at Saint Catherine by the Sea in Ventura, California. In 1987, she chaired the Holy Cross Health System and transitioned into the role of president and CEO of HCHS until April 1989. She was elected that summer as General Councilor for Retirement until 1994. After a sabbatical, she served five years as the superior at Saint Mary’s Convent at the motherhouse. Saint Alphonsus Medical Center welcomed Sister Patricia back to Boise in 2000 where she attended to its healing mission for 12 years. While there, she established a palliative care program and received several awards: Star Garnet Award from the Idaho Hospital Association for promoting health care in Idaho; Woman of Today and Tomorrow award from the local Girl Scouts Council as a role model for girls for her visionary leadership; and the hospital’s 2003 Distinguished Citizen honor. Whatever recognition she received, she accepted it in the name of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. (Adapted from the eulogy written by Sister Catherine Osimo, CSC)
Voice of Moreau: Why the Cross? Why not some other form of executing our Lord? Human beings have come up with thousands of other, many more creative, ways to kill their kinspeople! Yet, the Cross specifically has been revealed as the most fitting way that God should die. It is the Roman impulse, the need for power and control, to impose one’s self on the other, which the crucified Christ is trying to redeem us from. Exposing a person and making them radically vulnerable, as they are hoisted up and spread out on two beams of wood, is mysteriously transformed into a grace-filled moment of trust and love. As if he is giving his last lecture with the Cross as his podium, this Master Teacher demonstrates that “power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9), that the true power of a human person is the capacity to believe in God, precisely in the face of suffering and all the way through the extremities of one’s being. The Roman thirst for blood, thus, pales in comparison to the holy victim who thirsts (Jn 19:28) but gives his own blood in return (Jn 19:34). Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Response: “[T]he true power of a human person is the capacity to believe in God, precisely in the face of suffering and all the way through the extremities of one’s being.” The daily news graphically reports one atrocious event of human suffering after another. When it would seem that events could not get more horrendous, they do. These reports about suffering humanity are perpetuated each day–often with a sense of hopelessness. Because the very nature of electronic media can desensitize us to this suffering, how do we remain aware of our duty to make a response other than that of shocked disbelief? What form for us does the love of God take as we watch or listen in the detachment of our homes? As followers of the crucified Christ, we are the outstretched merciful hand of our Savior to those who suffer. If one cannot physically respond, then one prays and prays again for merciful interventions by and from those who can actively respond. When we can physically respond, we pray and pray for “the courage to act,” so we become the outstretched hand of the Lord. Parents and teachers, process with your children and students the suffering that is global, and more importantly, that is proximate. Make plans to act and this action support with prayer. Let my actions be your actions, O Lord. Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Brother Romard (Paul) Barthel, CSC (1924-2016)
Born in 1924 in Evansville, Indiana, he was baptized as Paul Joseph. A good student both in grade school and high school, Paul attributed his academic success to the encouragement he received from his family. Attending Reitz Memorial High School in Evansville, he was taught by the Brothers of Holy Cross and liked their lifestyle and decided he wanted to be a teacher like them. In the fall of 1942, he took the night train from Evansville to Watertown, Wisconsin, and entered the Holy Cross postulancy program. He entered the novitiate in 1943, and in 1944 made first vows. Three years later, Brother Romard received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Notre Dame and professed his final vows there in 1947. He was then assigned to Austin to begin studies at the University of Texas, earning his Ph.D. in Physics in 1951. Upon his arrival as a graduate student in Austin, Brother Romard also began a professional career of teaching physics and mathematics at St. Edward’s University, his home for most of the rest of his life. Along the way, he was called to leadership as the local superior at St. Joseph Hall, as Provincial Superior of the South-West Province and, at the international level, as First Assistant General of the Congregation of Holy Cross. He also served as superior of the Vincent Hall Scholasticate, as the director of candidate formation at Moreau House, and in numerous capacities at St. Edward’s University, including Board Chair. Brother Romard was never happier nor more fulfilled than when he was teaching in a classroom or laboratory. Keen on equipping his students with deeper understanding, he taught them not only how to solve a problem, but how to know how to solve it. Other keys to his successful teaching ministry of over forty years were his availability and the obvious care he showed toward his students inside and outside the classroom. A disciple of Blessed Moreau, Brother Romard strongly believed in the power of education to transform the lives of people and ultimately to change the world for the better. Reflecting on his role in the process, Brother Romard once said, “Teachers are key players on the team that is carrying out the Holy Cross educational mission. I am inspired by the great teachers – past and present – with whom I have shared this mission as well as the outstanding students I have worked with, students who have understood the Holy Cross mission and work at developing a similar mission in their own lives.” Later in life, he offered his personal reflections on the “Permanent Core of Religious Life.” He wrote, “Through our religious vows we profess that God is enough for us. We express this spousal love for God in radical love and service of neighbor.” Despite our human incapacity to live religious life perfectly, what characterizes fidelity to our vocation, he counseled, is the constant striving after the lifestyle, the persistent effort to need only God. Summing up his own life, Brother Romard wrote: “Expressing and growing in love for God by doing his will has been the unifying concept that puts my whole life together – religious, personal, professional. I believe that the life of a Brother of Holy Cross is a good channel for doing God’s will. More specifically, I believe that being a Brother of Holy Cross is God’s will for me. I have found great happiness and a sense of fulfillment as a Brother of Holy Cross (and happiness is not inconsistent with suffering). With the grace of God, I expect to die as a Brother of Holy Cross. And I expect to live forever as a result.” (Adapted from a reflection on the life of Brother Romard Barthel, CSC, by Brother Donald Blauvelt, CSC and Brother Richard Critz, CSC.)
Sister Virginia (Mary Genoveffa) Micili, C.S.C. (1927-1999)
“Jesus said, ‘If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, then I tell you solemnly [she] will most certainly not lose [her] reward.’ The gift of literacy—being able to read—also gives life and sustains it. This Sister Virginia did for fifty years and in a very special way for the last twenty-six” (Eulogy, no author). She was born in Elkhart, Indiana to Italian parents from Cosenza, Italy. Virginia graduated from Elkhart High School in 1944 and worked for a while at Miles Laboratories. She entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1946, and in 1947 she took first vows receiving the name Genoveffa. For the next 50 years she worked as a teacher in a “litany” of Midwestern missions. Among these was St. Mary of the Lake elementary school in Miller, Indiana. “She was my fifth-grade teacher and was the tomboy of the convent. She was the finest playground supervisor a boy could dream of. Sister Genoveffa organized all of the baseball games and was deadly when playing Red Rover. I remember her as an Olympic caliber marble player, winning everyone’s marbles and not giving them back” (Brother Philip Smith)! In 1965, while working at St. Vincent’s School in Elkhart, Sister Virginia realized that her students were not completing their homework because their parents were not literate. “I think that is when the Lord touched me on the shoulder,” she said in 1997. In 1966, she began an adult literacy program and was committed to its operation until shortly before her death in 1999. She became truly part of the heart with which Elkhart identifies itself: The City with the Heart. Upon her death in 1999, The Elkhart Truth, posted a front-page headline: “‘Mother Teresa of Elkhart’ dies”. Father Joseph Rulli who celebrated the funeral mass said this about her: “She had a vision and she went with it. She was Mother Teresa with an attitude!” Hundreds of people gathered for the celebration of her Golden Jubilee, a celebration she could not attend because she was in the last days of her battle with pancreatic cancer. Her niece said about her that “she touched everyone’s life she came in contact with. She respected every human being on the face of the earth. She always saw the good in everyone. She never wanted to see the bad.”
Father Daniel Panchot, C.S.C. (1938-Living)
He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and took his first vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1957 and was ordained in 1965. He wrote the following on the occasion of his 50th anniversary of ordination in 2016. “For me to reach 50 years as a religious priest of Holy Cross is an opportunity more for reflection than for celebration. As I reflect, I realize how Our Lord has accompanied me, or better said, has guided me in my efforts to follow Jesus…. I realize how Our Lord has protected me in the midst of much violence, such as that of the civil-military government of Chile in the 1970s. I was arrested the first time a week after the Golpe del Estado. During those years I also lived the richest personal experience of all my priesthood, as part of the ecumenical Comité Pro-Paz, which was formed by the different churches in Chile after the 1973 Golpe del Estado, to assist persons who were persecuted, and their families…. It was a great privilege to be part of the Church and to work with many other individuals who were willing to take the risks (and we paid dearly for it), to assist those who desperately needed help, and this without regard for their religious or political convictions. It was a living Gospel of Jesus, produced in a warm, loving and family atmosphere…. During those years I was arrested or detained a number of times, culminating with passing through the infamous Villa Grimaldi (the Auschwitz of Chile), and the detention camp 4 Ālamos (incomunicado) and 3 Ālamos (prisoners recognized as such by the government)…. After expulsion from Chile, I joined the Holy Cross Apostolates in Chimbote y Lima, Peru during 16 years, and where Our Lord so protected us in the extreme violence of Sendero Luminoso and MRTA (Movimiento Revolucionario ‘Tupac Amaru’). During these years several priests and religious were martyred, but we were spared for our missions…. At the beginning of the 1990s, our Lord had a new work for me in Mexico, as the province asked me to try to begin a program of vocations and formation for the religious life of Holy Cross with young Mexicans. There, I lived and worked for almost 20 years, and once more, we were protected from the arbitrary violence of organized crime, in which a number of innocent people were killed in crossfire. And finally, after 35 years, Our Lord brought me back to Chile, where I studied theology and worked for 10 years, to continue working in His vineyard. Reflecting on all I have lived, I realize that when we stand for the oppressed, we also receive blows. But, did Our Lord not promise us that? And we are committed to building His Reign, not ours…. I realize that during the decades Holy Cross men (and women) have been in Latin America, many have been willing to take risks in order to come near to, and to stand by, those in need. They were not reckless, but rather, steadfast, and in not a few cases paid dearly for that. It is good and a privilege to be part of the religious family and a Church with a history like that. After all, the Apostles for their part, went out of the Sanhedrin, joyful that they had been considered worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus. (Acts. 5, 41)” (Edited by Brother Philip R. Smith, C.S.C., 2019)
In the Voice of Moreau: What we do with our bodies is who we become. We, for instance, become married to another person by giving our bodies over to that person in friendship and love. We become learned by showing up to class, going to the library and picking up books. We become alcoholic by taking our bodies to the bar night after night to drink. If our ultimate vocation, however, is to become children of God, what should we ultimately be doing with our bodies? Look to the Cross – our Lord offers his body to his Father in a child-like act of simplicity and trust. And though, very few, if any, of us will ever have the opportunity to present our physical bodies to God in such an explicit and literal act of martyrdom, we must, nevertheless, seek out occasions to put our bodies as closley as possible to the invisible God in the daily circumstances of our lives. This means stopping on the side of the road to minister to those in need, standing up for the dignity of the poor, and taking the risk of embracing the outcast. We become beloved of God, indeed, when we make the decision to physically be in these places, making a gift of ourselves to the One who identifies with “the least” (Mt 25:40). Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Holy Cross Educator Response: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25:40). Being a parent and being a teacher are sacred vocations that require a “manner of living.” The Church teaches that parents, those who are authentic persons of faith, are the first educators of their children as they form the identity of the child as a member of the nuclear family, a member of the local and universal Church, and a citizen of the secular world. As Mary and Joseph did for Jesus, so too, parents construct a strong foundation built upon the teachings of the faith and the secular facts pertaining to survival “in this valley of tears.” When the child is still quite young, parents must make a serious, conscientious, and well thought out plan as they select the professional co-educators who will direct many years of the child’s institutional education. Then parents and teachers, together called to this vocation, do the work of education. Through consistent modeling of the behaviors of engaged life-long learning and scholarship, teachers and parents periodically call upon these children/students to die and to re-blossom as ever more proficient followers of Jesus Christ. This means that the adults create many opportunities for children to become self-gift. All Holy Cross schools assure that students have ample opportunities to give of their time, treasure and talent for God’s suffering people in the U.S. and in countries around the world. Parents and teachers alike must remind children of the many daily opportunities there are to “decrease so that others might increase” (Jn 3:30). This is a living martyrdom of offering our all for the salvation of our brothers and sisters. Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Sister M. Rose Bernard (Bernadette) Gehring, C.S.C. (1894-1938)
“The main altar in St. Patrick church [South Bend, Indiana] was a gift from Mr. John Gehring and his only child, Bernadette, in honor of Mary Collmer, Mr. Gehring’s first wife and Bernadette’s mother. Mary died in 1918 and Mr. Gehring then married Louise Oberle Decker. Bernadette was born in South Bend and attended St. Mary’s school, St. Joseph Academy and received her B.A. from Notre Dame University. She entered the Congregation of Holy Cross on Jan. 2, 1920 and made her final profession August 15, 1925. Answering the call to go to India and serve the poor, she volunteered but first spent two years in Washington D.C. studying at the Holy Cross Foreign Mission Seminary. In 1927 she [was among the first four Holy Cross Sisters to serve in] Bengal, India. During her 11 years, Sister, with the help of others including Rev. Timothy J. Crowley, C.S.C., who was Bishop of Dacca, founded a native religious sisterhood called the Associates of Mary. [‘From the start Sister’s ability in forming these Indian nuns was evident. With no outward show of severity there was a closeness of convent discipline that was enviable’]”(The Bengalese, September 1938). “Given the primitive living conditions of the day what the Sisters accomplished in education and nursing is truly amazing. In 1938 Sister contracted a tropical disease and died on the anniversary of her profession, August 15, 1938.]’ She is buried in St. John Baptist Cemetery [beside Sister Jarlath, C.S.C.] in Toomiliah, Bengal (Bangladesh)” (St. Patrick’s Church 150 years, nd). An account of her last days is taken from a letter written by Father Lawrence Graner [who would become Archbishop of Dacca]. “[S]he had been doing well and was taken with a slight fever and this developed into a severe pain in her head. None thought it was serious, though Sister was in dreadful pain. Morphine injections gave her little relief. As she was constantly asking for the Sacraments, Father [Walter] Marks finally anointed her, though even then we thought the pain would pass at any time. By Saturday evening her pulse was almost gone.” Her condition remained the same on Saturday and Sunday. “Monday I [Father Graner] said Mass there and Sister was able to understand me and to open her mouth sufficiently to receive Holy Communion. But she was evidently falling into a comma.” She died two days later on the feast of the Assumption. (The Bengalese, October 1939) (Bottom photo from the Archives of the Sisters of the Holy Cross courtesy of Sisters Timothea Kingston and Joanne Becker).
Brother Leopold (Joseph) Kaul, C.S.C. (1836-1935)
Pictured standing next to his priest brother and his two sisters Brother Leopold was born in Baden, Germany. He was a violinist of rare merit, but, he had no wish to display his talents. Fortunately, he had brought his violin with him, but kept it concealed in his trunk. It was the practice of superiors in those days to search through all the belongings of a candidate. The superior found the violin and reported this to Father Sorin. Brother Leopold was called to Sorin’s office. Could he play the violin? Somewhat reluctantly, he admitted the fact. How well could he play? In his modesty, he declined to say. But Father Sorin had ways of finding out. And the result was that Brother Leopold was set up as a professor of violin. Over the next 40 plus years, he estimated that he taught over 600 Notre Dame musicians: violin, flute, cello, piano and voice. During these early years he also worked as the printer for the Ave Maria. Years later, when he had grown too feeble to be a professor, his desire to continue working was gratified by an appointment as the “candy-man” for the students. Known as Brother Leeps, he sold lemonade and cakes and cookies laying aside a tidy penny for the University. His “store” suffered many movings-about, but for two generations of Notre Dame students, “Leeps” meant largely “lemonade and fours.” The “fours” referred to a chocolate covered cookie, topped by a walnut. There were other confections, indicated by numbers of one, two, three, four, on up to sixteen, but “fours” was the popular number. His lemonade was mixed in great wooden tubs, and it was a hearty drink to students who were threatened with expulsion if they attempted anything stronger. For a nickel, the students of Father Cavanaugh’s regime could get a large glass of lemonade and two “fours.” Brother Leopold spent nearly 80 years as a man of prayer and work. As a tiny, shrunken old man he kept laboring to the very end. In the last ten years of his life, when he lived in the Community House [now Columba Hall], he would trudge along with his wheel-barrow, gathering twigs and branches that littered the grounds. He was forever busy. His humility was traditional and all his life he thought himself only the lowest of the lowly. “But one has only to look into the child-like simplicity of his face, into those faded, sightless blue eyes to catch a glimpse of an effulgence far from mundane.” (A compilation of many memories from many sources as found in Aiden’s Extracts).
Fr. Christopher J. O’Toole, C.S.C. (1906-1986)
Christopher O’Toole was born in 1906 in Alpena, Michigan. He professed Final Vows in the Congregation in 1928 and was ordained a priest in 1933. After advanced studies in philosophy, he served as Novice Master, Superior of Holy Cross College in Washington, D.C., and Assistant Provincial of the U.S. Province. At the 1950 General Chapter, he was elected Superior General. O’Toole oversaw the moving of the Congregation’s General Administration to Rome, opening the new facility, which included both the Generalate and an international House of Formation in 1954. In 1955 Father Moreau’s cause for sainthood was introduced in Rome. Also during his tenure as Superior General, the Congregation opened missions in Ghana (1957) and Uganda (1958) in Africa. He also opened a school in northern Italy in an effort to recruit vocations. O’Toole’s years in office witnessed a steady growth in the Congregation to more than 3,000 brothers and priests by 1962. After leaving office, Fr. O’Toole served as Superior of the District of Texas and then as the first Provincial Superior of the Southern Province (Austin, Texas) when it was established in 1968. In later years, he was a hospital chaplain and campus minister at Cardinal Newman College in St. Louis, Missouri. Father O’Toole died 1986.
In the Voice of Moreau: Have you ever fallen in love before? It is a powerful and emotional experience. We invite our beloved into our home, our psyche. There, we enjoy the comfort and consolation of having someone who is with us wherever we go. We keep that one “in mind” at all times and our beloved in turn brings peace and a feeling of security in our hearts. What is it like to fall in love with God? God is not an object that can be kept “in mind.” God is an infinite, pure and simple Spirit, but nevertheless constantly wants to be close to our souls and bring us a deep and infinite peace that does not go away. And so he invites us to welcome the crucified Christ into our homes. As a kind of placeholder in the psyche, the Cross, which truly is the “image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15), unmistakably and unceasingly points us in the direction of the one, true God. Let us learn to recognize our Beloved in the shape of the Cross and in so doing enter into passionate union with the One whom our hearts have loved all along (Song 3:1). Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Holy Cross Educator Response: We all “fall in love” many times. Differentiating among those persons deserving of an everlasting love from those momentary infatuations can be difficult especially for young children and teenagers. There is so much that entices us, that mesmerizes us for periods of time. This is a natural part of growing up and learning to make appropriate choices among so many “adorable” things and persons is ongoing. Certainly, one aspect of heart formation for CSC educators is assisting students to understand the difference between so many infatuations and the persons that demand a perpetual loving commitment. Learning to recognize the Lord in the shape of the Cross is really not that difficult. Each day, the news is filled with stories about people who are Christ crucified. The alien, the outcast, the destitute, the suffering child, the old, the infirm and the ignored are among the many who are crucified because of the human condition. Reflect upon the Beatitudes and you will identify those who suffer and yet are blessed. Bringing students “to completeness” is to provide them with many opportunities to reflect upon suffering humanity, the blessed ones. In Blessed Moreau’s words: “We must provide our students with the competence to see and, then, the courage to act.” One cannot fall in love with the crucified Savior unless one, first, falls in love with suffering humanity. Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Brother Cosmas (Alphonse) Guttly, C.S.C. (1893-1992)
He spent hours at the Grotto. Corby Hall, adjacent to the Grotto, was his home for nearly 45 years. Brother Cosmas was often seen tidying up the Grotto, resting, talking to people, and tending the flower beds there and around Corby Hall. One day, a secretary on campus was walking toward the Grotto on a lunch break when she saw Brother Cosmas hunched over a flower bed near Corby Hall. She thought he was ill and went to help him. When she got closer to him, she realized that he was weeding it. He also helped in the church and sacristy. For years this quaint, frail little man, with the round wire-rimmed glasses and black cassock, was a familiar sight to many as he quietly served the priests during Mass at Sacred Heart Church. He was revered by priests and lay people alike as a very holy man. In between church services, and his other work, he was always at the Grotto. One day a week he would go to Holy Cross House, the retirement home for priests on the campus. There he would help his “good buddy,” Brother Edward, attend the infirm priests who said their daily Mass in the long corridor of sit-down altars for use by priests in wheelchairs. Then he would return to the Sacred Heart Church in time for the 5 o’clock service. Brother Cosmas came from Switzerland. He was a businessman before he became a Brother in mid life, after the death of his wife and child in childbirth. He was gifted in many ways. His daily devotion to the Grotto and its surroundings was captured in a unique, unidentified, full page photograph of him in the back of the 1990 Dome. He was sitting alone on a secluded park bench, dressed in his black cassock, head bowed, meditating or praying a little distance from the Grotto. With his back to the camera he could not have known the picture was being taken. Only those who knew Brother Cosmas well would have known it was him. Very soon after the picture was taken he was confined, by his infirmities, to Holy Cross House. He died there two months after his 99th birthday
Father Gilbert Français, C.S.C. (1849-1929)
He was born in 1849 in France and graduated from the Congregation’s College of St. Charles in St. Brieuc in Brittany. Gilbert entered the novitiate in Le Mans in 1867 where he would have met Blessed Moreau and pronounced vows in 1870. In 1872 he was assigned to teach at the Congregation’s college in Neuilly, a suburb of Paris. He served for a year on the staff of the novitiate and then was appointed director of the Neuilly school when its founder, Rev. Louis Champeau, C.S.C., died. At the General Chapter of 1892 he was elected co-adjutor Superior General with the right of succession. When Sorin died in 1893, Français became the Superior General. As Superior General, he labored to revive the community in France, including moving the General Administration back to France. Français was especially solicitous that the religious who were teaching earn degrees to insure the quality of their ministry. Responding to tension between priests and brothers, he vigorously supported the move of the brothers into secondary education in North America where they directed the schools that they staffed. He wrote in a circular letter dated January 2, 1912: “From this time forward, the High School is the outstanding vocation for our Brothers! It is a vocation grander and more sublime than they themselves can conceive. Accordingly they must prepare themselves for it, in the first place by a reinforcement of their whole religious life, and then by a thoroughly well acquainted and well digested knowledge of the branches which under these new conditions they will be called upon to teach. And they must be vigorously encouraged and helped along in this new line of activity.” Father Français always promoted the religious life in his circular letters and several times visited the houses in Canada and the United States to encourage adherence to the Constitutions. He collaborated with other French religious to revive devotion to Blessed Moreau. When the French government passed laws in 1901 and 1904 abolishing religious congregations, Français moved the General Administration back to Notre Dame. His attempt to resign in 1920 was denied by the Vatican and instead he was given a co-adjutor, Rev. Andrew Morrissey, C.S.C., who died the following year. In poor health, Français was finally allowed to resign in 1926. He lived at St. Joseph’s Farm, Notre Dame, Indiana, and died there in 1929.
Sister Jarlath (Marie) Stanton, C.S.C. (1903-1931)
Marie Stanton received the habit of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1925 and was in the second band of Sisters to go to India in 1929. The first four Sisters (Olga, Marie Estelle, Rose Monica and Rose Bernard) traveled to India as missionaries in 1924. Toward the end of October 1931, Sister Jarlath was stricken by influenza and died on November 1 in Toomiliah, India. She was the first and youngest Sister of the Holy Cross to die in India. In the December issue of the periodical, Bengalese, she was memorialized by an unknown Sister of the Holy Cross. “Beneath the arched boughs of overhanging palm trees a flock of white-clad Indian girls are walking slowly. Today the careless chatter of happy childhood accompanies not the jingle of silver bangles and anklets. Before a gently-sloping mound of newly turned raised earth they stop. On the white cross they read: Sister M. Jarlath, C.S.C. With the traditional gesture of virginal modesty they cover their faces with their shawls. It is to hide their emotions and tears. Eyes and hearts are brimful of memories. Only two years before she had come into their midst, a white angel from America. From the beginning the young Sister’s soft hand had caressed their oily tresses, and children had read sympathy in the grey eyes. Never was she impatient. Her smile eased their pain. They had called her Rosheek, the Cheerful Nun. The children have scattered. Now she rests. Far from the hills of Western Maryland that saw her first steps. [Sister Jarlath] is the first-fruit of that tree transplanted four years ago by the Master Gardener from the plains of Indiana to the Plains of India. She is the first-fruit plucked by the hands of Christ.”
In the Voice of Moreau: You are what you eat! We know this from the many conversations we have had with our doctor, the times we’ve stood marveling at the number on the scale, or the many moments we have spent reading the nutritional facts on a candy wrapper. We have learned that when we eat the easy foods, the low-lying fruit, we gain weight, but when we make the effort to eat hearty and nutritious foods, our bodies become lean and healthy and fit. It is the same with our spiritual lives. Do we play it safe? Do we take the easy way out? Do we consume the convenient ideas, experiences and relationships? Or, do we choose the Cross? The Cross will make us strong! Our minds will become focused on God, our souls will become open to God. While the sinner’s heart is “gross and fat” (Ps 119:70), blessed indeed are the pure of heart (Mt. 5:8) who have made the decision to follow Jesus. Let us therefore take our place at the Lord’s Table. Let us feast on the food that he gives and drink from the chalice of salvation. Choose the Cross! You are what you eat! Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Holy Cross Educator’s Response: What is the most nourishing diet for one who desires the energy and stamina to travel along the Royal Road of the Cross? What food provides the fuel to go the extra mile as either teacher or student? One hymn proclaims “Eat this bread, drink this cup, come to me and never be hungry.” Another tells us that “wheat and grape contain the meaning: food and drink he is to all.” Simply, we must fortify ourselves with the the bread-body and wine-blood of the Lord each day, if we can. The Eucharist is that food. If you cannot receive physical communion but once a week, you can make a spiritual communion each morning. Teachers, you can do this as part of the prayer that you say with your students at the beginning of each class. Let your students set the table, so to speak, with food that demands the extra mile. Activity that demands some discipline: I intend to get to each class on time and to participate actively especially when I am not inclined to do so. I intend to be a good role model today to students both younger and older than me. These personal food offerings bring intentionality to the actions of the day for students. And teachers, what food do you bring to the table? I intend to create lesson plans that are pertinent to survival in this world and created to assist my students to get to heaven. I want to form the hearts of my students today. I will return all evaluated student work promptly. I will be the first to enter the classroom and the last to leave. I will greet my students with a smile and will maintain a positive attitude beginning first period and continuing throughout the day. For all of us, these intentions are the food that sustains us as we choose and rechoose the Cross each day, throughout the day and for all days. Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Brother Eugene LeFeuvre, C.S.C. (1874-1963)
He was one of seven children, all boys, who was of French and Anglo-Indian descent. The family lived in Calcutta for some time and then moved to Dacca when Eugene’s father was made jailer at the city’s local jail. When he was tens years old, his mother died. He was among the first students to finish his high school education at St. Gregory School in Dacca first under the Benedictines and then under the Holy Cross Priests and Brothers. He entered the Congregation in 1884 by receiving the habit. There was no canonical novitiate at that time. For nearly 70 years he worked in many elementary schools throughout Bengal. “For many years he [is] one of India’s greatest sharpshooters; and for two years, his victories brought him recognition as the champion shot of all India, Burma and Assam. Brother was a master sergeant in the Indian Military and for many years he organized and drilled for what in our country [U.S.] corresponds to the ROTC. For his skill and many years of service he was given the Kaiser-i-Hind medal by George V. Whenever he traveled he took his St. Etienne rifle along with him. His shooting was a work of science and art. Even on the wing, he never missed a shot. As an old man he could out-walk men fifty years his junior, despite tropical rain or heat. [Because of his many years as a teacher] children for miles around Dacca know and love him. Often parents ask him to bless or at least make the sign of the cross over their children trusting that they would receive a special favor from God. Despite his popularity Brother Eugene lives a very simple life. After passing the four-score mark and spending over sixty years on the Bengal mission, Brother Eugene is still admired by all for his ability to do a day’s work, and for his cheerful acceptance of the handicaps brought on by old age” The Newsette. February 1957).
Father Robert L. Plasker, C.S.C. (1930-2009)
He was born in 1930, in Portland, Oregon and attended St. Rose Parish School and Central Catholic High School. He attended Mt. Angel Seminary in Oregon for three years and then joined the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1949 and was ordained in 1957. After ordination and until 1966 Fr. Plasker served in the District of Chile at St. George’s College and San Roque Parish. He then studied at the University of Texas for a year and assisted in the Diocese of Santiago de Veraguas in Panama where he taught and served at San Juan Evangelista Parish. In 1969 he returned to Chile where he served as assistant superior at the Holy Cross Community Center and was director of the professed seminarians. He served as District Superior from 1970-74. In 1973, following the takeover by the military junta in Chile, Father Plasker was expelled from Chile by the Delegated Rector of the Ministries of Education “for Marxist activities [and he] has been proposed as the Superior General of the Congregation of Holy Cross” (Cánapa, Jorge, C.S.C.). Fr. Plasker moved to the District of Peru, serving in Chimbote, Canto Grande, and Lima. He was the founding pastor at Our Lord of Hope Parish in the Canto Grande desert where he formed Christian communities and served the poverty stricken people of Canto Grande. The parish remains a cornerstone of the Holy Cross apostolic effort in Peru. It is a place of vigorous pastoral activity and of flourishing Holy Cross education. In entering Holy Cross, Fr. Plasker embraced the motto: Across the World with Holy Cross. Beginning in Santiago, Chile, then across the Chilean desert, to Peru, it was Fr. Plasker’s dream to serve the People of God in the missions of the Congregation of Holy Cross around the world. In the late eighties, Fr. Plasker was called to serve in the General Administration of the Congregation of Holy Cross in Rome as 2nd General Assistant. Through his service in the General Administration, his desire was to fortify the dream of Blessed Basil Moreau for the mission of the Congregation. After serving in the General Administration for six years, the call to “cross the world” came again. This time it was to return to formation work in Santiago, Chile, where he served as director of the professed seminarian program. It was also a call to return to the educational ministry at St. George’s College. It was a return to catechetical education and family pastoral care at San Roque Parish, where he served until his death. In his life and ministry, Fr. Plasker was known as educator, pastor, formator, religious superior, and committed to family life. These roles and traits marked his life in Holy Cross as a religious and in his priestly ministry for 51 years. (From the South Bend Tribune : Jan. 7, 2009)
Sister Lydia (Mary Margaret) Clifford, C.S.C. (1841-1914)
She was born in Ireland in 1841 and entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1859, receiving the habit in 1860 and professing final vows in 1864. Over the next 50 years Sister Lydia served as a nurse in the Civil War from 1863-65 at St. Edward Hospital in Mound City, Illinois. She also served as a “chief nurse” in the Spanish American War in 1899 at Camp Lexington in Kentucky. “Major Glennon wanted the sisters to take over a military hospital for which they would be paid $60 a month. Sister Lydia would be paid double that amount. Because her ‘common sense….discipline…knowledge, skill and fitness made her an ideal superintendent’” ( Schuller, O. S. F, Sister M. Victoria, History of Orphan Asylums, 1954). In the book Nuns in the Battlefield it states that “Sister Lydia Clifford was a medalist of the Spanish-American War, in which she served with marked distinction” (155). She also directed three different hospitals in Ohio (1886-90), Illinois (1896-98) and Indiana (1898-1901). Between 1877-1898 she served as the directress at several homes for orphans in Maryland, Indiana, Virginia and Ohio. In 1874, she was appointed the directress of Dolan Aid Asylum in Baltimore. Along with Sisters Colthilde Fitzgerald and Justina Langley, “ The sisters collected what money and supplies that they could; each week they made trips to the Broadway and Marsh markets where meat, fruit, and vegetables were given to them. Between forty and fifty children were accommodated at Dolan Aid Asylum” (Souvenir Book, St. Patrick Parish). Sisters and brothers were kept together so that there would be no chance of them drifting apart. Sister Lydia died in 1914 at Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame.
In the Voice of Moreau: Jesus teaches us that the Christian life hinges upon The Greatest Commandment (Mt 22:37-38). But how exactly does a person Love God? By detaching from things, surrendering and being totally receptive to the infinite, immense, purely spiritual One. And how does a person Love Neighbor? By caring for, paying attention to, thinking about, standing up for, making sacrifices for and reaching out in service to others. With our fallen human nature, however, it can be easy to confuse these two distinct loves – surrendering totally to other people or things (idolatry) or merely thinking about God as if he were just another thing among a myriad of things (heresy). We must therefore return to the Cross. See how our Lord is completely opened up to the Other in his crucified form. See how his commitments to the poor, the voiceless, the sick and the marginalized have literally affixed his body to two wooden beams. This symbiotic relationship between Love God and Love Neighbor gives rise to the drama of authentic humanity, a narrow way that mediates created and uncreated reality, a place of true glory and deep peace. Obey our Lord’s commandment by allowing your life to become the Cross. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Holy Cross Educator’s Response: Blessed Moreau continuingly reminds the priests, brothers and sisters that the work of Holy Cross is God’s work, not theirs. The best prayer to begin a day of ministry is “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.” Praying to the Spirit, to the God of wisdom, and then being as responsive as one can be to acts of love, better guarantees a balance between love of God and love of neighbor. The commandment is to love God first, and then love one’s neighbor as one loves the self. St. Paul singles out charity as the way to the Way. Perhaps, it is best that the ordinary Christian man and woman who desires heaven not get too tied up in worries about idolatry and heresy. Better to be focused upon doing acts of love for the least of God’s children. Best, too, for CSC educators to couple all secular knowledge to love of God and neighbor. In our pursuit of the good life, Kempis advises that “a good life makes a [person] wise according to God and gives [that person] experience in many things, for the more humble [one] is and the more subject to God, the wiser and the more at peace [one] will be in all things.” If a person cannot love the flawed self by attempting to rise above it each day, then it follows that that person does not have the capacity to love others. And if we do not love our brothers and sisters whom we can see, then how can we say that we love God whom we cannot see? Authentic humanity is owning up to our sinful nature and crucifying it to the Lord’s redeeming Cross. Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Sister Margaret André (Patricia) Wæchter, CSC (1935-2017)
Sister Margaret André was born in Detroit in 1935. She was as multifaceted as she was multitalented. Margaret André lived who she said she was, a Catholic woman and dedicated Sister of the Holy Cross. She was filled with zeal, vivacious and whole-hearted. One could truly say she “was the joy of the Gospel.” Her enthusiastic being and deep spirituality touched many lives and nurtured many faith journeys. She never knew how she helped people grow and how her life inspired so many to help others do the same. Margaret André gave herself fully to whatever she was doing. This started even while she was attending Mass as a sixth grader. When the organist did not show up, Pat, as she was known then, confidently filled in, because, she reasoned, “the church organ was like my piano at home.” She laughed when she said during her freshman year in college, that she “majored in partying and dancing, earning an ‘A’ in both.” She never lost that zest for life, and what she did not find in that lifestyle, she found in the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. She enrolled in Saint Mary’s College and while she served as the receptionist, she met many of the sisters. She said, “I was so impressed with the wonderful family relationship the sisters had.” Once Margaret André decided to enter the Congregation, she did not look back. Her “Let it be done to me according to Your word” attitude led to her profession of perpetual vows in the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1961. She lived her life according to a mantra given by her father: “You can do whatever you set your mind to.” Sister Margaret André did not want to be stuck in music. While many of us may know only about her music, her commitment took her into teaching in elementary and high schools, adult education, diocesan liturgical ministry, campus ministry at the University of Texas at Austin, Congregation candidate director for the United States, and, where many grew to know her, as the music director at Saint Mary’s. She had the sisters sing the “Hallelujah Chorus,” from Handel’s Messiah for her master’s degree thesis concert for triple master’s degrees in voice, organ and directing. At night when she was in the music room practicing, if a homesick or struggling postulant came in (during grand silence), she would continue playing, ask what music the individual liked, and just be. Margaret André so lived the symphony of her life that she became the music. She epitomized the expression, “the eyes are the windows of the soul.” Her life is best defined by the familiar refrain from Marty Haugen’s Canticle of the Sun: “The heavens are telling the glory of God, /and all creation is shouting for joy. / Come, dance in the forest, come, play in the field / and sing, sing to the glory of the Lord.” (Adapted from a eulogy written by Sister Helene Sharp, CSC, 2017)
Brother Celestine (Francis) McAlaine, C.S.C. (1845-1896)
The following excerpts were written by Daniel V. Casey ’95 in Scholastic, Vol. 29: 50, 1896. “On Tuesday morning the service flag fluttered half way up the staff on the Campus, stopped there and streamed out in the sunlight; and every student and professor who saw it knew that Brother Celestine was dead. His death was sudden yet not unlooked for. He was of the sort whose death comes always as a shock to friends and acquaintances. He never complained or made much of his pains; he never intruded his own personality on the public, and when he was cut down, apparently in his very prime, his passing seemed a mystery to many. Acute pneumonia set in and his struggle with death was brief. He died as he had lived, quietly and peacefully, with his friends about him, master of himself to the last. He was a lad of eighteen, whom men knew as Francis McAlaine, when he left Philadelphia to enter the Congregation of Holy Cross. That was in ’63 when the war clouds hung low in the south, and the war was hardly ended before Brother Celestine was Assistant Secretary of Notre Dame. [A]fter thirty years’ service [he] naturally was as sunny and unwarped [sic] as when he took up his duties in ’65. It is no easy task to manage without friction boys of all ages and conditions, but there was something magnetic and inspiring about the man and the smallest Minim felt its influence and answered as readily to it as did his brothers of Sorin Hall. The years ran on; Notre Dame grew and her sons increased in number; generation after generation of students came and tarried and went away to call her their Alma Mater, and not one of them had known anything but kindness from Brother Celestine. His funeral, fittingly enough, was almost a military one; and he who had been in life a true soldier of the cross was borne to his grave last Thursday to music of wailing trumpets and muffled drums. Many flowers had been sent in– arm-loads of calla lilies among them, and the Sorin Cadets carried each a lily instead of a musket. We have good reason to thank God that men such as Brother Celestine are still to be found in this money-getting, soul-ignoring age of ours—men whose lives are trumpet-calls to the battle-shock for Christ and the right. He gave his life and his labor to our Alma Mater, gave it freely and confidently, and his name will long be a sweet memory of Notre Dame.”
Father Frederick Schmidt, C. S. C. (1907-2003)
In the 1930s four Spanish-speaking Holy Cross priests, Fathers Frederick Schmidt, C.S.C., Thomas Culhane, C.S.C., Alfred Mendez, C.S.C., and Joseph Houser, C.S.C. were assigned to Central Texas. They formed Catholic Communities which soon became parishes in which Spanish was the primary language. It was not until the 1970s that Holy Cross expanded its ministry into México. In May of 1972 at the age of 65, Father Frederick Schmidt, C.S.C. requested a sabbatical. After 35 years of work with Mexican Americans in Georgetown, Killeen, Copperas Cove and Round Rock in Texas, Fr. Schmidt desired to spend some time in México. What the Provincial at the time, Father Christopher O’Toole, C.S.C., didn’t know was that he was looking for a parish in México that had no priest. He soon found one in the mountains of San Luis Potosí and received permission to spend his sabbatical year there. As his ‘working sabbatical’ was drawing to a close, he called Fr. O’Toole and pleaded with him to remain. He described how the people had waited for him for hours when he first arrived and how the children greeted him with flowers and put on a magnificent fiesta. Every day the people would tell him how important it was for him to stay with them. They desperately needed a priest in their town. After contemplating Fr. Schmidt’s request, Fr. O’Toole brought the matter to his Provincial Council and it was agreed that Fr. Schmidt could stay in Ahuacatlán. He was pastor there for the next 25 years and pastor emeritus for five more! During that time, Fr. Schmidt was also chaplain to the Dominican Sisters in the neighboring town of Xilitla. He founded a group of Franciscans’ Recollect in his parish where, with some help from benefactors in the United States, he built a beautiful convent that would hold 40 sisters. Soon the convent was full. Fr. Schmidt died in 2003 at the convent and was buried in the crypt of the convent chapel. (Holy Cross in Mexico https://www.holycrossusa.org/spes-unica-blog/holy-cross-in-mexico/)
In the Voice of Moreau: How do we know the way in life? In a world with so many apparent options and with souls that have so many various desires, it can very difficult to say that we know anything! Yet, there is a trustworthy method of discernment, classically called the “apophatic way” or the “via negativa:” We learn to close the doors to those apparent and various options, all of them, and we gradually arrive where we are supposed to be, a place of total security and peace where we finally feel like children of God. The trade-off, however, is that we must surrender control and become comfortable with walking in the dark. We unlearn our old ways, and knowing turns into a kind of not-knowing. This is the certainty of the Cross! Our Lord spent years preparing for his mission in Nazareth. Once that door was closed, he traveled throughout Galilee in his public ministry. Once that door was closed, he entered Jerusalem and then to Golgotha and then, when every door had been shut, including the stone on the tomb, true life was revealed. The Cross is the doorway par excellence, and the crucified one is the Way. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Holy Cross Educator’s Response: All educators open doors to countless opportunities for students. The most essential of these doors for CSC educators is that which leads to the Way, the Truth, the Life! Today, there is so much uncertainty when it comes to finding one’s way. Although there has never been a time when personal success is guaranteed if one travels this way or that, today, young people feel much stress when it comes to college choices that will lead to a satisfying and prosperous future. College majors are changed sometimes three times prior to graduation. Once a job is secured, a person can be moved hither and yon many times prior to the age of 40. Setting down strong roots is not easy today. Have I chosen the right way for myself and family? Perhaps, for this secular world, the best advice that a teacher can give to the young is adapt or die. For the next world, however, the best advice for all of us is to focus outward by doing many acts of service for the many who suffer “the slings and arrows” of poverty, physical, psychological and spiritual deprivation. As doors are closed upon this and that, keep the doorway par excellence open, responding to Jesus’ words: whenever you do anything for the least of my brothers and sisters, you have done such for me. Through daily sacrifices, small and great, we each crucify ourselves with golden nails to our Lord’s Cross. All students, everyone, no matter the age, need to hear this message frequently. Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Brother Robert Elwood Fillmore, C.S.C. (1939-2015)
He was born in Barberton, OH in 1939 and attended St. Augustine Elementary School in Barberton and St. Mary’s High School in Akron graduating in 1957. That winter he decided to join the Brothers of Holy Cross and pronounced his first vows in 1959. His first assignment was to teach at Boysville of Michigan, for seven years and then he served as Vocation Director for another seven years. He studied for a year to earn a degree in spirituality at the Berkley School of Theology, and he put what he learned into practice by serving for 20 years as the campus minister at Holy Cross High in River Grove, IL, at Our Lady of Westside Schools and Holy Trinity High School in Chicago, IL, and Archbishop Hoban High in Akron, OH. While in Chicago he was co-director of the TEC (Teens Encounter Christ) for four years. His mission in life was youth ministry, and he was a mentor for hundreds in Chicago’s inner-city youth. When Brother Bob taught at Holy Trinity High School his students had homework assignments to provide service to people in the neighborhoods. Living on the south side of Chicago, he took pride in leading youth retreats especially in Kujenga Leadership retreats. One of his favorite slogans was “We don’t fear the future, we embrace it.” He helped many teenagers stay away from drugs, so that parents loved him. Always a “people person,” he didn’t preach selfless service, but selfless service, leading from the front. Brother Bob’s leadership skills were evident while serving on the Midwest Provincial Council for seven years, being chosen to be the Assistant Provincial in 2000. He was unanimously elected Provincial Superior in 2003. Even in this new responsibility, Brother Bob maintained his friendly out-going interest in people and ministries in the Midwest Province and on trips to Ghana and Bangladesh. He had a strong belief in the help of Blessed Moreau and St. André Bessette. When a decision had to be made, he would pray over it and was firm and unafraid in making it and moving forward. When his role as Provincial Superior ended in 2009, he spent the last four years of his life in Schubert Villa and Dujarie House in South Bend, IN with people who were so dear to his heart. His brother, Rick, said in his eulogy that “Bob’s life and accomplishments touched so many people that they all could fill Notre Dame’s stadium more than ten times over.”
Rev. Louis Job L’Etourneau, C. S. C. (1828-1910)
“Notre Dame’s oldest priest is dead at the age of 82. He was also the oldest resident of the university community in point of service. Rev. Father L’Etourneau died at 9 o’clock last night, following an illness of several weeks. He will be buried in [the] Notre Dame community cemetery [Holy Cross] Saturday, following services and the celebration of solemn requiem mass in Sacred Heart Church. The students will attend the mass. Rev. Father L’Etourneau was a priest at Notre Dame for more than half a century, and he held many high offices in the Catholic church and was a former head [Provincial] of the Holy Cross order [Congregation], an office now held by the Very Rev. Andrew Morrissey, [C.S.C.] in the United States. He was also assistant superior-general. He was born in Detroit, Mich., Oct. 3, 1828. He finished his theological work in Italy and was ordained a priest in Rome in 1857. Father L’Etourneau’s parents came to this country from France in the early days of the last century. They amassed considerable wealth and as a young priest he inherited much money which he devoted entirely to charity, one of his gifts to Notre Dame being Corby [H]all. Father L’Entourneau in life linked the past generations of the college with the present. He was one of the most popular priests the members of the university alumni of the past generation recall. For 25 years he held the honored position of master of novices at Notre Dame. He was also for a time superintendent [superior] of the community house [Columba Hall]. After his ordination in Rome, Father L’Etourneau visited France and was present at one of the greatest events in Catholic history of the 19th century, the exercises in the establishment of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception” (South Bend Tribune. Thursday, October 20, 1910).
Sister Paula (Winifred) Casey, C.S.C. (1836-1927)
“Sister Paula, a young novice who had left her family in Ireland entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross at age nineteen. She had only been in the convent three years in 1861 before she was sent to Saint John’s Hospital in Cairo [Illinois]. Out of the freshness of youth, she describes the appalling conditions of the hospital upon her arrival. ‘As we stepped in-to [sic] each room on the first-floor [sic] what a frightful sight stared us in the face. Every room was strewn with human legs and arms.…At this time the fighting was going on in good earnest. We were shown through the different wards by the genial Dr. Burke, but O! terrors. We could see nothing but human flesh everywhere around some of the wards on the first floor [that] resembled a slaughter house the wals [sic] were so splattered with blood …. Sister M. Isadore and I cried with horror until we were tired. to [sic] our heart-felt disappointment we met far more than we expected or ever thought of. of [sic] course we never knew what war was until that 7 day of Dec. 1861. Then we tasted it to the fullest extent.’ [She goes on to say] ‘Mother Augusta was in charge of the hospital at Cairo. Mother looked at us both [Sister Isadore] a kind, pitying look, and said now stop, you are here and must put your heart and Soul to the work. Pin up your habits, we will get three brooms, three buckets of water and we will first begin by washing the walls and then the floors.” Sister Paula reported that they succeeded in cleaning the hospital after ‘some days and nights of constant brooming and watering’”. Father Moreau called the novice nursing sisters back to Notre Dame. The sisters responded obediently to the superior general, yet many felt guilty that they were leaving their patients. “Sister Paul evokes a compelling image [of these feelings] in her recollections. She recalled that they left at night, but as they were preparing to leave, the mules that were to take them to the railroad station ran away. Sister Paul lamented, ‘The poor mules understanding the situation of the whole affair talked the matter over between themselves and naturaly [sic] came to the conclusion. If we take those sisters to meet the train it will surely be a great injustice to the poor sick and dying, and again it will stir up the wrath of Dr. Franklin which is always near at hand. No we will not take them we will break loose and run away and hide in the woods until morning, and so they did….The night was extremely warm….neither moon nor stars were visible. They too seemed not pleased with our leaving the poor sick and dying as they refused their light and …. hid behind the thick clouds which guarded them well’” ( extracted from Wall, Barbara Mann. “Grace Under Pressure: The Nursing Sisters of the Holy Cross, 1861-1865” as published in Nursing History Review, Vol. 1, 71-78, 1993).
In the Voice of Moreau: Do you ever pray on your knees at night before going to bed? Perhaps we might think that this is how children pray, but isn’t this what our Lord did in the garden on the night before he died (Luke 22:41)? The posture of kneeling is not only a longstanding spiritual tradition that expresses humility in the face of the Almighty, literally grounded in the earth (humus), but it is also an experience of self-emptying as we orient ourselves to the One who calls us to Himself. So it makes sense that Jesus accepted the Cross as his destiny on his knees! Indeed, the Cross, which leads us into the dark night of our final rest, is also anchored in the earth and is a bold act of trust and dependence on the invisible God. Beware of new age spiritualities that do not measure up to this powerful standard! Beware of the evil one who will try to make us believe that a half-hearted prayer the moment before we go to bed is sufficient! Our salvation is too important to not kneel down and imitate the one whose Cross is the way to eternal life. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Holy Cross Educator’s Response: The posture that one takes before the Lord is a physical sign of adoration and love. Of more importance, perhaps, is the posture of one’s heart in response to Christ crucified. As educators in the tradition of Blessed Moreau, teachers instruct and form: minds are filled, hopefully, with pertinent information for survival, and hearts are formed to guarantee that the data is used for the building up of the Body of Christ. Providing students with many opportunities for service allows the heart to kneel before the Lord at all times. Certainly, there comes a time in the life of all the Lord’s followers when physical knees can no longer bend; when being seated before the Lord is the only way to be physically present. For the old and the infirm who have devoted their lives to service, a heart that is constantly kneeling before the Lord exists because one has been both physically and spiritually kneeling from an early age. Through example and deliberate instruction parents and teachers encourage children to kneel before the Lord and travel the royal road of the Cross. Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Brother Edward (John) Fitzpatrick, C.S.C. (1826-1901)
“Another link between the old days and the new was snapped when the venerable Brother Edward passed away last Monday (January 14) afternoon. For the past two or three years his health has been failing; for many months he had taken an active part in the Councils of the Administration; day by day his strength failing, until at last his gentle soul went forth to receive the reward exceedingly great. Few lives — at least to human seeming — deserve that reward so thoroughly as did Brother Edward’s. The beautiful analysis of his character pronounced by Father French at the funeral impressed all hearers with its justice and adequacy . . . Brother Edward was one of the trusted counsellors of Father Sorin in the up building of Notre Dame; for 38 years he was the Treasurer of the Congregation of Holy Cross, deputed to worry over financial matters while his fellow-religious labored in the pulpit or class-room. His problem was to make a small income fit a large expenditure, and in the terrible days following the great fire of 1879 that problem was distressing painfully. Earlier in the history of Notre Dame — when angry creditors stalked through the halls of our University threatening to foreclose mortgages and to turn the halls of our University threatening to foreclose mortgages and to turn the Community, few in numbers and destitute of resources, into the street; when horses were unyoked from the plow to be sold that a pressing debt might be paid, and when religious who had taught laboriously during the school year were required to seek relaxation in the harvest fields during vacation — in those earlier days there were indeed heavier anxieties. But no one will ever know the laborious days and sleepless nights which made up Brother Edward’s life when fire swept away the work of 35 years and when the makers of Notre Dame had to begin all over again with the same old problem of big debts and small resources to face. It would not surprise us if a life so entangled in secular affairs should be wanting somewhat in religious regularity, but it is to the testimony of Brother Edward’s confreres in religion that in all the observances of he Community life he was a model and an inspiration. He was a man of great faith and great charity. To innumerable persons he was ‘guide, philosopher, and friend’, and his daily round of duties was never complete until he had imparted advice, consolation, or encouragement to such as needed these helps. He was not a mere business man wearing the habit of a monk; he was devoted wholly to his office work because it was imposed on him by religion. In short, he was of old heroic mold, a worthy coadjutor of Father Sorin, and the brave, strong men who built an institution of higher learning in the wilderness with a hope that time has justified and a courage that later generations can never cease to admire” (SCHOLASTIC, 34:279-80, 1901).
Bishop Pierre Dufal, C.S.C. (1822-1898)
Pierre Dufal was born in 1822, in Saint-Gervais d’Aubergne (Puy-de-Dôme), France. He professed vows in Holy Cross in 1852 and was ordained a priest in 1853. Assigned to the Congregation’s mission in East Bengal, India, in 1858, he was appointed Vicar Apostolic of Dhaka and ordained a bishop in 1860. He was the first member of the Congregation to be elevated to that rank. After the resignation of Blessed Basil Moreau in 1866, the General Chapter sought someone as Superior General who had not been involved in the controversies surrounding the founder’s resignation. They elected Bishop Dufal, who resisted accepting the office for a year. Finally, Dufal was assigned as the Superior General of Congregation of Holy Cross in 1866 by Pope Pius IX. A single year in France convinced the bishop that he was not the man to resolve the community’s problems, and he resigned as Superior General and returned to East Bengal in 1868. He participated in the First Vatican Council (1869-1870) as one of the council fathers. In 1875, the Congregation withdrew temporarily from India, and Dufal’s resignation as the Vicar Apostolic of Eastern Bengal was accepted by Pope Pius IX on July 28, 1876. Dufal moved to Rome where he served as Procurator General for the community until 1878 when Pope Leo XIII assigned Dufal as the Coadjutor Bishop of Galveston. In 1880 Pope Leo XIII accepted his resignation from that position for reasons of health. He returned to France, residing at the Congregation’s college in Neuilly, a Parisian suburb where he died in 1898.
Mother Pauline (Bridget) O’Neill, C.S.C. (1854-1835)
Mother Pauline was born Bridget O’Neill in Illinois in 1854. She entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1879 and served in missions in Austin, Texas, and Ogden, Utah before returning to lead Saint Mary’s Academy, which later became Saint Mary’s College in 1895. Mother Pauline became the first President of Saint Mary’s College in 1895 and served in that capacity through 1931. She laid the foundation for today’s Saint Mary’s – the builder – not just buildings, but curricula was built to provide a holistic education – mind, heart and physical. “The education given at Saint Mary’s is of the most practical and comprehensive character. It is intended to train the heart as well as the mind, to form women who will not only grace society with their accomplishments but honor and edify it by their virtues” ( Catalogue 1895-96). The buildings she built were to enhance student learning in every way, helping students build their character – as women and as educated women – as Saint Mary’s women. Stella Hamilton Stapleton (1892 graduate) was a good friend of Mother Pauline, and in 1916, she gave $50,000 to start a building fund. When asked several years later on an Alumnae Association questionnaire what she considered her greatest achievement, she said “I had the honor of giving the first $50,000 towards Mother Pauline’s dream of our present magnificent new College building at Saint Mary’s”. By the early 1920s the fund was approximately $100,000, and Mother Pauline was able to convince the General Council of the Sisters of the Holy Cross that a new building could no longer be delayed if the college was to maintain its place as a leading U.S. Catholic women’s college. When the cornerstone for the new hall was laid in 1924, commencement and reunion brought more than 700 guests to the ceremonies – 80 years since the little school opened in Bertrand, MI. – and gave promise to the 20th century campus and indeed to the 21st century. Upon completion in 1925 there were those who said “There is no finer college in America or Europe. It is a thing of beauty.” The new hall was named Le Mans after the city in France where Blessed Basil Moreau had founded the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1841. This was the last of Mother Pauline’s buildings, and it is fitting that the portrait of the builder hangs in this great hall, on the opposite wall from Blessed Moreau, and in front of Stapleton Lounge named for Stella Hamilton Stapleton, friend and benefactor of Mother Pauline. The Saint Mary’s yearbook, The Blue Mantle, of 1928 was dedicated to Mother Pauline in these words: “Of her prayers and eternal dreams this builder for God has erected an ageless monument to His glory! As long as the towers of Saint Mary’s stand, the spirit of Mother Pauline will abide therein raising the heavenward.” (Smith, C.S.C., Brother Philip edited from the website saintmarys.edu/files/Mother-Pauline.pdf. No author nor date of publication).
In the Voice of Moreau: You may know of a popular country music song called, “Live Like You Were Dying.” What would you do if you were diagnosed with a terminal illness? Would your mind really go to skydiving and bull riding and mountain climbing? Would your heart really settle for loving deeper and speaking sweeter, as the song suggests? No way! You would instead become intensely and authentically human. With our crucified Lord, you would experience real vulnerability, confessing your great dependence on others, “I thirst.” You would be emotionally honest with your God, “Why have you forsaken me?” You would finally see the logic of mercy, “Forgive them, Father.” You would realize that life only begins with a definitive act of surrender and trust, “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.” Don’t we realize that life is constantly moving toward that end point? Let us therefore not get lost in the emotions of this pop theology! Let us adopt the Cross as the rhythm of the song of our whole lives. Let us turn these lyrics upside down by dying daily to self and thus experiencing, here and now, a taste of true life. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Holy Cross Educator’s Response: If CSC educators heed Blessed Moreau’s declaration that the goal of a Catholic education is to bring students to completion in Christ crucified, then the real end is to assist young people to become intensely and authentically human. It is as a participating member of the Body of Christ, that Christians respond to the words of Paul to the Corinthians. “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body.’” No matter what we teach in the classroom, all our work needs to be oriented to our enmeshment in the Body of Christ. Authentic humans come to understand that complete vulnerability to another person is a life-long work in progress. Moreover, complete vulnerability to our authentic Lord is found through daily denial of self for others. It is the work of educators to present students with many opportunities to step outside of “I need” and step forward to “Will you let me be your servant; let me be as Christ for you.” Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Sister Mary Uriel (Mary Ellen) Walshe (Welsh), C.S.C. (1868-1925)
Mary Ellen Walshe was born in Ireland in 1868 and entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1895 from Washington, D.C. She made her final profession of vows at St. Mary’s Convent, South Bend, IN. in 1901. From 1898 until her death in 1925, she took care of orphans in a number of “orphan asylums” in Utah, Washington and Maryland. Her last assignment was as superior in Baltimore, in St. Patrick’s Parish, at the Dolan Aid Asylum from 1919-1925. Upon her death in June of 1925, the following article was published in a Baltimore newspaper: SHE INSPIRED CONFIDENCE, “Children of Dolan Home Counted Her As their Best Friend.” Here are portions of that article. “Sister Mary Uriel Welsh [sic] of the Holy Cross Order [sic], who died last Saturday morning at Mercy Hospital had the key to the hearts of children. She opened those hearts and placed in them confidence and trust, faith and self-respect, love and devotion. For six years she was the superior and for eleven years before that she was stationed at Saint Joseph Orphan Asylum, Washington. Most of the twenty-eight years of her life in religion was spent as a friend of orphans. What sweeter vocation is there? Sister Mary [Uriel] not only gave her days and her nights to the care of the fatherless and motherless ones over whom she had charge, but she reared them in a home-like atmosphere. They were never made to feel that they were dependents, absolutely beholding to those willing to be beneficiaries. Rather they were raised like other children and looked upon the sisters in charge of the home as other little children look upon their mothers. Sister Mary [Uriel] was a woman of extraordinary executive ability. She managed the home well and had so many friends that she received many contributions to the home. Burial was in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Washington. Fourteen automobiles of friends made the trip from Baltimore to the Capital for the funeral.”
Fr. Thomas O. Barrosse, C.S.C. (1926-1994)
Thomas Barrosse was born in 1926 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He professed final vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1947 and was ordained a priest in 1950. After biblical studies in Rome, he taught at the University of Notre Dame and at Holy Cross College, Washington, D.C. From 1969 to 1974, he served as Novice Master in the common novitiate of the six American provinces in Bennington, Vermont. Elected Superior General by the General Chapter in 1974, Father Barrosse visited all the houses of the Congregation, trying to meet personally with every religious to reassure them of the Congregation’s mission and future in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. He composed several circular letters addressing the meaning of religious life and the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. He oversaw the establishment of the Province of India in 1984 and encouraged the brothers and priests in Bangladesh to seek provincial status. Barrosse promoted devotion to Blessed Moreau as the Congregation’s founder, writing a biography on him and putting together a compendium of his circular letters. He also worked for the beatification of Saint André Bessette, C.S.C., which happened in 1982. He played a large role in the revision of the Constitutions by the General Chapter of 1986, which is the version that remains in effect today with minor alterations. Father Barrosse also stressed collaboration with the Holy Cross sisters’ communities and pressed the Congregation to recognize its international character. After leaving office, he went to Bangladesh where he taught in the major seminary. After falling sick, he died in Bangladesh on June 14, 1994. (Holy Cross Congregation Website)
Brother Philip (John Knox) Hughes, C.S.C. (1824-1900)
Born in Ireland in 1824, there is scant information about this Brother’s years in the Community. He received the habit in 1856 and made final vows in 1860. At the time of his final vows, he had yet to make the canonical novitiate year. A fragment of a letter is printed in Brother Aiden’s Extracts taken from Sorin Chronicles, February 29, 1860. “Having heard your circular letter relative to the opening of the Novitiate on the 17th of March next, I once more beg to be permitted to return home [University of Notre Dame] and commence that year of grace [the novitiate] of which I so greatly stand in need. I do not or cannot feel happy in my present state as I am neither a religious or a worldly person. I hope you will grant my request if it can be done without prejudice to the institutions of the Community”. And from the Scholastic June 21, 1879. “Brother Philip has designed a most convenient desk for the new study halls. The desks will be single, made of seasoned ash, and each will have a receptacle below, in the form of a closet with a door, for books, hat, slippers, and other articles”. From the Scholastic. Jan. 17, 1880. “Brother Philip, one of the early pioneers of education at Notre Dame, has in his possession a curious looking snuff box, which at one time belonged to John Knox, founder of the Presbyterian Church. Brother Philip is one of the last lineal descendants of the so-called reformer, and the box has been handed down in his family as an heirloom from generation to generation. It is made of black horn and silver mountings, and bears a plate inscribed with the initials of its first owner. Brother Philip is a convert, and he has taught with marked success at Notre Dame and at other institutions [ New Orleans is mentioned in a change of assignment from Provincial Council notes for Sept. 1870] of the Congregation of Holy Cross in the U.S. and Canada”. From The Missionary. Nov. 1913 “This [Brother Philip’s conversion to Catholicism] is less strange however than the conversion to Catholicity some decades ago of the last lineal descendants of Martin Luther and Katherine Von Bora [Luther’s wife], and of the last descendant of John Knox, father of Scotch Calvinism. This convert, John Knox Hughes, labored for years as a teaching Brother of Holy Cross in the Middle West”. And finally from Brother Gilbert (John) Horton, in Alumnus. 3:112: “Brother Philip, the last lineal descendant of the Presbyterian John Knox, leading a useful life and making secret reparation for his deluded ancestor. He was a giant in stature and was well known as a teacher and disciplinarian”. Brother Philip died in April, 1900 at Wexford, Ireland while there on business and is buried in Wexford.