Brother Andrew Steffes, C.S.C. (1902-1992)

steffes1.jpgBrother 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 steffes2.jpgTrades 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)

sr. catherine sullivan.jpgBy 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)

September 14, 2019

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)

sr. bonavita.jpgKathleen 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!

September 7, 2019

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)

remlinger1“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 remlinger2.jpgduring 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 remlinger3our 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.”

August 31, 2019

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!

August 24, 2019

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)

image1 (29)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)

August 17, 2019

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)

image1 (21)“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)

image1 (27)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)

August 10, 2019

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)

unnamed (21)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, image2 (3)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)

image1 (26).jpgBorn 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

image1 (28)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.)

August 3, 2019

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)

image4.jpgLeger Bauer was born in France near Paris and attended public school.  He entered Holy Cross in 1885 and made hisimage3.jpg 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 unnamed (20)unnamed (19)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) 

image1 (23).jpgPeter 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)

image1 (25)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)

July 27, 2019

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)

image1 (24).jpgThe 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)

image1 (19)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)

unnamed (17).jpg“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 campusimage1 (20).jpg 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.)

 

July 20, 2019

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-?)

unnamed (14)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 unnamed (15)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)

image1 (18)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)

image1 (22).jpgAt 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 19601963, 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)

July 13, 2019

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)

image1 (12)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)

unnamed (18).jpg“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)

image1 (15)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)

 

July 6, 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)

unnamed (16)“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 image2 (2)[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)

image1 (11)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)

image1 (14).jpgChristopher 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.

 

June 29, 2019

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)

image1 (8).jpgHe 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 image2on 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)

unnamed (11)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)

unnamed (13).jpgMarie 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.”

 

June 22, 2019

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)

image2 (1).jpgHe 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 unnamed (8).jpga 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)

image1 (13).jpgHe 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)

image1 (17).jpgShe 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.

 

June 15, 2019

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)

unnamed (12)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)

image1 (6).jpgThe 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)

image1 (10).jpgIn 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 unnamed (10).jpgtell 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/)

 

June 8, 2019

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)

image1 (5)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 wimage1 (7)ill 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)

image1 (9).jpg“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 unnamed (9).jpgnursing 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).

June 1, 2019

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)

image1 (4).jpg“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)

Dufal-pierre-eveque_de_galveston.jpgPierre 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 dufalman 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)

pauline.jpgMother 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).

 

May 25, 2019

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)

image1 (2).jpgMary 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)

image1 (3).jpgThomas 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)

bro. johnBorn 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.

 

May 18, 2019

In the Voice of Moreau:  Obsessive thinking is a major obstacle for certain personality types.  We have a negative experience and we cannot stop thinking about it. We make a mistake and our minds become absorbed with guilt and self-reproach.  When we discover that the word “obsession” literally means “something that sits upon you,” we begin to understand that the Cross indeed is our hope.  We shall not be enslaved to this idol which has somehow penetrated the walls of our psyche; we shall not permit our lives to be controlled by the unwelcome guest who wants to rent space in our mind; we shall not invest all of our attention in this squatter.  No! We shall instead bind this thought or idea or memory to the vertical and horizontal beams of Truth. We shall test its worth by spreading it out on the form of the Cross. We shall witness its death, trusting that any good will be resurrected and revealed in our souls in some new way.  Let us therefore learn to be obsessed with the Cross. Let us be sure that it is the Christ and only the Christ who sits in the throne of our mind. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Response:  Today, it is rare to see a person of any age or cultural background whose hand is not attached to a device–specifically a smartphone.  This gadget immediately connects us to anything, be it good or bad for us.  So easy it is to become obsessed with the ability to be connected to literally any desired knowledge.  Most children and teens are obsessed with but one thing–am I known by others and what do they think of me.  Too many times young people fall prey to cyber bullying that provides them with obsessive thinking. In this time of media explosion and instantaneous being in-the-know, CSC educators need to be  concerned for the welfare of their students. If we heed Blessed Moreau’s mandate that our educational vocation is to bring our students to completeness, then we must wholeheartedly fight against that which fractures their spiritual and psychological balance.  We must assist them to stand firm in the love of the crucified Lord and take their cares to the Lord, not to the Internet. Thomas a Kempis cautions that the person “who does not keep his heart within him, and who does not have God before his eyes is easily moved by a word of disparagement.”  We are all pulled mercilessly between two poles: self-centeredness and reliance upon Christ crucified. This tension can lead us to despair because addiction to carnal nourishment is so powerfully alluring. Teachers: pray for your students and yourselves that they and you have the desire and then the power to overwhelm any negative thinking that drives you away from God.  This needs to be more than a daily prayer. Let the mantra be Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Brother Benoit (Michael) Gillard, CSC (1815-1873)

benoit“One of the antiquities of Notre Dame”, he was a locksmith by trade and came from France in 1846 with Father Sorin. For many years he was chief Prefect in the Senior’s study hall and yard. Naturally rough and severe, he kept a perfect order and was generally loved by the students, notwithstanding. The last years of his life he was prefecting in the Infirmary where he died in the sentiments of a lively faith at aged 66” (no citation).  “Another of the old pioneer band that came to Notre Dame in the first years of its existence has parted from the scene of his labors, well laden with good deeds and merits. Perhaps no one at Notre Dame will be longer remembered by old students than Brother Benoit, who for twenty years ruled as Chief Prefect of the Senior Department. And we state what we know, as an old student ourself, that the announcement of his death will cause all the numerous men now engaged in the busy pursuits of life, who were once under his control, to pause in the whirl of business, and say: ‘God rest his soul!’ Brother Benoit had for some years been ailing, and had retired from the position of Chief Prefect of the Senior Department. A few weeks before his death it was evident to those who knew him well that he was in failing health; but on the morning of his death – Saturday – December 19th – he felt better and greeted cheerfully those around him, especially his fellow countryman and old comrade, Brother Augustus, who, despite the fact that Brother Benoit said he was feeling better, noticed a fearful change in him, and told him he was near death. And so it proved. Brother Benoit had received Holy Communion that morning, and just before noon it was evident that he was dying. There was time to administer to him the Sacrament of Extreme Unction (Editorial, SCHOLASTIC, 7:140, 1873). “Once more before the close of the eventful year, it is my sad duty to call upon you to pray for the repose of the soul of one of the old pioneers of our Congregation in the New World. Brother Benoit, for twenty years Prefect of the Seniors, departed this life at 11:30 this forenoon, fortified by the Sacraments of the Church, after a short illness of ten or twelve days. He was in his 66th year. He came to Notre Dame with me on my first return from France in 1846. As a Prefect, he was for many years considered an accomplished disciplinarian; of late, however, owing to infirmities and advanced age, he had been transferred from the Study-hall to the infirmary, where he continued, to the last, to act as Prefect Discipline among the convalescent. For his long and faithful services Brother Benoit well deserves to be gratefully remembered in the Congregation” (Sorin’s letter, 36, Dec. 20, 1873).

Sister Anna Mae (Joseph Anita) Golden, CSC (1930-2019)

anna mae.jpgThe Sisters of the Holy Cross learned early in the novitiate to think of themselves as “daughters of Father Moreau.” In January 2006 Sister Anna Mae Golden shared a reflection on Blessed Basil Moreau: “Moreau’s vision was to have members of the Congregation seek holiness for the mission and to call others to holiness through the mission.” She was a good and holy woman who was mission-driven in every ministry she was assigned. She made the connection between holiness in her own life and mission for others, especially through education and health care. She entered the Congregation in June 1951 after graduating from Dunbarton College, Washington, D.C., with a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics.  After initial profession of vows in February 1954, as Sister M. Joseph Anita, she was missioned to either secondary education or higher education in high schools and colleges sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross in the Eastern Province. Mathematics remained her strong suit, and she earned a Master of Science in in the subject in 1964 from the University of Notre Dame and a doctorate in education in 1981 from the University of Maryland. Her initial goal was to be the best math teacher possible. “Young people need the inspiring example of those who strive for excellence in what they are doing,” she wrote. Beyond her talent for mathematics, positions related to mission, administration and strategic planning came naturally to her. In 1972 she went to Saint Mary’s College, where she gave her full measure of service over several years. The 2004 Resolution of Gratitude from the Saint Mary’s College board of trustees testified to Sister Anna Mae’s quiet unassuming presence and deep faith and loyalty to the college.  She served Saint Mary’s College as a member of the board of trustees from 1994 to 2004 and the Board of Regents from 1976-82; and 1988-94. During those years, she chaired committees to develop the pastoral vision of the college, from which the Center for Spirituality was founded in 1987. Sister Anna Mae was also the director of admission, the admission counselor for the Rome program, coordinator of institutional planning and a lecturer in mathematics. She devoted countless hours to ensure that the young women received a quality education during their four years at Saint Mary’s College by chairing the Education Committee. Elected in 1999 to the General Council of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Sister Anna Mae ministered until 2004 at the international headquarters at Saint Mary’s. It is said that, while on the General Council, she made time to tutor some of the young sisters who had difficulty in their college math classes. Her last active ministry was as a patient visitor from 2005-07 at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, South Bend, before transitioning into retirement due to failing health (Sister Catherine Osimo, CSC).

Servant of God Bishop Vincent McCauley, C.S.C. (1906-1982)

unnamed (7).jpg“The oldest of six children, Bishop Vincent McCauley, C.S.C. was born on March 8, 1906, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. His parish school, St. Francis Xavier, first awakened in him a desire for missionary work and evangelization. Inspired by Holy Cross priests who preached a mission at his parish in the fall of 1924, McCauley left Creighton University and entered the seminary at the University of Notre Dame.  McCauley professed final vows in Holy Cross on July 2, 1929. As he was interested in the missions, he was sent to the Foreign Missionary Seminary in Washington, D.C., and was ordained a priest on June 24, 1934. His departure to the missions in East Bengal in India (a territory that today encompasses Bangladesh and part of India) was delayed two years until October 1936 because of a lack of funds due to the Great Depression.  McCauley’s work among the neglected Kuki Christians (a distinct minority in the overwhelmingly Muslim country) in Agartala confirmed his calling as a missionary. Unfortunately, illness forced him back to the United States in May 1944. He spent nearly a year in recovery before joining the formation staff at the Foreign Mission Seminary in Washington. The unnamed (6)next 13 years of his life would be devoted to seminarian formation and mission procuration, a role in which McCauley made famous the mission appeal slogan – “Wanted to build a better world: Few architects, more bricklayers.”  In 1958, McCauley was sent to lead the Congregation’s new mission to Uganda. As had been the case in East Bengal, the Congregation’s work in western Uganda focused on building up the local Church through the establishment, renovation, and strengthening of parish churches and schools. When Rome split western Uganda into two dioceses, McCauley was appointed bishop of newly created Diocese of Fort Portal. As Bishop, McCauley built the diocese from the ground up, founding numerous parishes and diocesan structures, along with St. Mary’s Minor Seminary for local priestly formation. Remembered for his compassion and leadership, Bishop McCauley guided the Church in aiding countless refugees, widows, orphans, and migrants in the region during the political turmoil of 1960s and 70s. He also took leading roles in the creation and administration of East Africa’s episcopal associations. His leadership in the establishment of both an East African seminary and the Catholic University of Eastern Africa remains one of his distinctly Holy Cross legacies to a region in which global Catholicism finds one of its modern centers-of-gravity. Bishop McCauley’s commitment to the enculturation of the Gospel can be heard in his advice to fellow Holy Cross priests in mission. ‘We no longer use the term ‘adaptation.’ The suspicion is that ‘adaptation’ implies putting African clothes on European and foreign interpretations of Christ’s message. To the African Church the message of Christ is universal and, therefore, should be presented to the Africans as God’s message to Africans. It must be something that can be understood and put into practice in Africa … The Gospel, the Church, must be incarnated in the African culture in which we live.’ In August 2006, the cause for canonization of McCauley was introduced in the Congregation for the Causes of Saints” (http://holycrosscongregation.org/holy-ones/servant-of-god-vincent-mccauley).

May 11, 2019

In the Voice of Moreau:  There is an implicit tension in the life of any disciple of Jesus.  Our Lord says both: “Follow me” (Mt 16:24) and “Remain with me” (Jn 15:4).  It is easy to run around following our own impulses. It is easy to remain in the safe haven of our comfort zones.  The true key to discipleship, however, is to be both an active and a contemplative at one and the same time. The Cross is the common denominator which links these two spiritual postures.  In order to go somewhere, we must stay somewhere; that is, the only way for the crucified Christ to be oriented to the infinite horizon is for him to be firmly and absolutely grounded in the here and now.  Like a mighty tree that soars up to the heavens, with all of the splendor of its foliage and the dizzying heights of its branches, we too must learn to grow deep roots and anchor our souls in the rich soil of the present moment.  Let us, therefore, have the humility to surrender to this paradox of life.  Let us remain with our Lord by constantly following him to the Cross.  Ave Crux, Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Response: Brother Joseph Schmidt, F. S. C. wrote a book called Praying Our Experiences Its thesis is simple: the only place where we meet God is in our own experiences.  It is the practice of reflecting on and entering honestly into the day-to-day events of our lives to become aware of God’s word in them and to offer ourselves to God through these events. Every moment of one’s day can be prayer – grace – if we have the correct mindset. I place all the moments of the day as adoration and an oblation to Christ crucified. Thomas á Kempis suggests that “true comfort is to be sought in God alone,” and that “the devout [person] carries [the] Consoler, Jesus, everywhere.” Blessed Moreau would agree and encouraged his Holy Cross educators to assist students to completeness in Christ crucified by teaching them daily routines that ground them in the faith. Frequently, remind and recall for your students that they can sanctify each moment of the day if they desire to do so. All activity grounded in love of neighbor is an act of contemplation. Use the lives of holy persons as examples of active contemplation: St. André Bessette, CSC, Blessed Mother Leonie Paradis, MSC, Brother Columba O’Neill, CSC, Servant of God Brother Flavian La Plante, CSC, Father Thomas Barrosse, CSC and Mother Augusta Anderson, CSC. Each of these men and women of Holy Cross are mighty trees whose roots are embedded in Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Mother Mary Ascension (Mathurin) Salou, C.S.C. (1826-1901)

image1 (1).jpgConsidered upon her death as one of the last Holy Cross pioneers at the University of Notre Dame, Mother Ascension was buried with what might be considered full military honors. Ordinarily, the sisters were buried from their own chapel, but an exception was made for Mother Ascension. She was one of the original band of women who came from France as colaborers with Father Sorin for the founding and building of Notre Dame du Lac. It was for this reason that the faculty and students of the University attended the funeral as a unified presence. “The Reverend President Morrissey was celebrant, assisted by Father [Stanislaus] Fitte. After the celebration of Solemn High Mass of Requiem, the body was blessed by Father L. [Louis] J. [Job] L’Etourneau. The body was taken to the gave by the students, professors, clergy and Sisters in funeral procession” (“The Last of the Pioneers. Scholastic. May 1, 1901). Born in 1826 in France, Mathurin Salou entered the Sisters of Holy Cross in 1845. In 1848 she came to the States and joined Father Sorin. As early as 1853 she was appointed superior of Saint Mary’s Academy and Mistress of Novices in 1854. In 1856 and again in 1860-62 she was Directress of Immaculate Conception Academy in Philadelphia. From 1865 through 1894 she was either Superior or Superior and Mistress of Novices at Saint Mary’s. She retired in 1894 and died in 1901. She was known as the Mother of the missions in Bengal because of her many works of charity. Almost unaided she trained Sisters for hospital work, and when not doing so she taught at St. Mary’s. In a 1901 article in the South Bend Tribune she was described as “always bright and cheerful and even to the day of her death she found pleasure in discussing the works of the Sisters of the Holy Cross.” During the sermon at her funeral, delivered by Father Hudson, he paid the following tribute to the Sisters of the Holy Cross. “You are present this morning not only to show a mark of respect to the Sisters of the Holy Cross, especially to one who trained so many of them to the religious life, but to pay a tribute of gratitude to the truest benefactors of Notre Dame. It is enough to say in explanation that the work of Father Sorin would have been impossible of accomplishment without the cooperation of the little band of religious women whom he summoned to his aid” (Scholastic. 1901).

Father Peter P. Cooney, C.S.C. (1822-1905)

cooney 1Father Peter Paul Cooney, C.S.C. (1822-1905), was one of the most tireless, brave, and successful Catholic chaplains on either side of the Civil War. Born in County Roscommon Ireland in 1822, he emigrated to the United States at a young age and was ordained a Holy Cross priest in 1859. Enlisting in the Union army at the behest of Indiana’s Governor Oliver Morton in October 1861, he served with the 35th Indiana Infantry Regiment (1st Indiana Irish) until victory was secured by the summer of 1865. Repeatedly praised by his commanders, Cooney stayed up late hearing confessions, ministered to the sick in the hospital, and did not shirk from the dangers of the battlefield if a dying man needed last rites. Typical of the praise he received during the war, Colonel Bernard F. Mullen, conspicuously commended Cooney’s conduct at the Battle of Stones Rivers:  “To Father Cooney, our chaplain, too much praise cannot be given. Indifferent as to himself, he was deeply solicitous for the temporal comfort and spiritual welfare of us all. On the field he was cool and indifferent to danger, and in the name of the regiment I thank him for his kindness and laborious attention to the dead and dying.”  The day before he mustered out of the army on June 16, 1865, Cooney’s regiment gave him a farewell gift of one-thousand dollars to buy a new set of vestments and a chalice. Rather than use the gift cooney 2right away, Cooney waited until the fortieth anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood to have a very special chalice constructed depicting scenes from his wartime chaplaincy and of Catholic sisters tending to wounded men in military hospitals. As Father Cooney explained to a friend in February of that year, “The chalice and its ornaments will be a synopsis of the ministrations or services of the Catholic Church in the army, during the war of the Rebellion.”  Eventually, suffering from a prolonged illness and acute deafness, Cooney died on May 7, 1905. His fellow priests bore his coffin “enveloped in the national ensign” to its final resting place nearby Fathers Edward Sorin and William Corby. At the end of the ceremony, Brother Leander, then president of Notre Dame’s GAR post, threw an American flag over the coffin saying, “On behalf of the Grand Republic for whose integrity and unity our late comrade, Rev. P. P. Cooney, offered his services during the War of the Rebellion, I deposit this flag” (Kurtz, William. American Studies, Catholic Humanities and the Digital Humanities. September 29, 2017).

Brother Albeus (John) Lawler, C.S.C. (1857-1913)

brother albeus“Brother Albeus was born in Dunlavin, Ireland, in 1857. At an early age he came to this country and in 1883 he joined the Congregation of Holy Cross. After his profession in 1886 he was for many years, prefect in Carroll Hall and teacher in the preparatory department of the University. He was made treasurer of the University in 1901, in which office he remained until his death. In addition he was for many years Provincial Counselor of the United States Province and a member of the General Chapter of the Congregation. In business ability, Brother Albeus was well qualified for the burdensome office with which he was entrusted for so long a time. He is fondly remembered by the students of many school years for his unselfish devotion to their interests during their days at Notre Dame. Among members of his community, he was always esteemed for his fine spirit of charity, his quiet but tense devotion to duty, and by the exemplary quality of his religious life. The deceased has been troubled for some years by a weak heart, and hence, while his death was sudden, it was not unexpected. He had been dangerously ill during the first week of June, but soon recovered sufficiently to return to his post of duty, where he died a few days later” (Scholastic, 1913).

 

May 4, 2019

In the Voice of Moreau:  The Cross is medicine for our wounded souls.  While it burns and stings when first applied, we know that it purges the toxins lest other parts of our souls become infected.  Gradually, we do experience relief and our health is restored. This is true medicine that we have access to at all times. It is not received through the senses per se, but in an act of trust in the Good Samaritan to whom we cry out from our destitute posture, laying on the side of the road.  He is the only one who will respond to our needs. We must simply have the courage and the humility to call his name. When he comes to us, we do nothing but allow ourselves to become receptive to his Cross, the wine and oil of salvation (Lk 10:25-37). Our scars, like his, remind us of the power of sin and teach us to “walk in the way of perfection” (Ps 101:6) so that our hearts might not be so easily allured to the dangers that lurk off the beaten path.  May we never neglect to take our medicine. May we never be ashamed of the Cross. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Response:  Thomas á Kempis writes: “God knows when and how to deliver you; therefore, place yourselves in His hands, for it is a divine prerogative to help men, and free them from all distress” (The Imitation of Christ).  Blessed Basil Moreau took every opportunity to remind his educators that their particular goal was “the sanctification of youth”.  This work of resurrection for our students requires that we present to them daily, indeed multiple opportunities during each day, to heal their spirits.  These doses of heavenly medicine come whenever we connect the information of the class to the promptings of the heart: to make all things whole in Christ crucified by forming our student into Christians “conformed to Jesus Christ.”  Conscientiously design all courses and classes with at least one dose of the medicine of the Cross. Connect all information with the need to heal a broken world. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Sr. Mary Madeleva Wolff C.S.C. (1887-1964)

SisterMadeleva7“Holy Cross Sister Mary Madeleva Wolff (1887-1964), President of Saint Mary’s College (1934-1961) and “the lady abbess of nun poets”, established the first graduate theology school for women.  Until the founding of the School of Sacred Theology at Saint Mary’s women had been excluded from the theological profession. For more than a decade Saint Mary’s College School of Sacred Theology was the only place in the world where a layperson, male or female, religious or lay, could earn an advanced degree in Catholic theology. Her impact on the course of religion in U.S. history is not unrecognized though her important contribution is not widely celebrated outside Saint Mary’s College. Wolff had a knack for imagination. In 1941, without consultation, but acting on a moral impulse, she moved to admit to Saint Mary’s its first African American student. Some alumnae were enraged yet Wolff wrote in a reflection, “They told me that as a northerner I did not know what I was doing.” She simply ignored her critics. (Hilton, Saint Mary’s College archives, 1959) Sister Madeleva was also a noted poet and published 70 books. In 1964, one of her last public appearances prior to her death was delivering the Eighth Commencement address at Archbishop Hoban High School.

Venerable Fr. Patrick Peyton C.S.C. (1909-1992)

peyton_with_beads.jpgVenerable Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C. coined the saying, “the family that prays together stays together;” and fostered prayer by millions of people through radio, television, films and worldwide preaching crusades. He became known as the Rosary Priest for his lifelong mission of encouraging Catholic families to pray at home daily and particularly to recite the rosary.  Preaching his simple message, he often drew tens of thousands of people to his rallies–sometimes hundreds of thousands. His radio broadcasts, which included religious dramas featuring top Hollywood stars, reached audiences in the tens of millions. His mission, he said, fulfilled a vow he made to the Virgin Mary when he was a seminarian ailing with tuberculosis: if he recovered, he would spread the practice of saying the rosary. He was born in Ireland and came to the United States at the age of 19. He first sought work as a coal miner in Scranton, Pennsylvania, but was not strong enough for the job. He became a church sexton, and then studied at Holy Cross Seminary at the University of Notre Dame and was ordained in 1941. In June of 2001 the formal Cause of Canonization was introduced at the Holy See by Cardinal Sean O’Malley and Fr. Peyton was declared Servant of God. On December 18, 2017, Pope Francis approved the Decree of the Heroic Virtue of Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., thus bestowing on him the title of Venerable.

Brother Marcellinus (Thomas) Kinsella, C.S.C. (1847-1914)

Brother Marcellinus“Brother Marcellinus, one of the ablest and best known teaching Brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross, died Wednesday morning at Notre Dame. To scores of Fort Wayne friends and particularly the students of Central Catholic High School, the announcement of his demise will be received with profound regret” (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, by Helen May Irwin July 30, 1914).  “Upon the invitation of Frank McErlain, Brother Marcellinus spent Thursday hunting 8 miles north. The report that no game is left in the state is without foundation, as is also the one that 13 pheasants and 9 rabbits committed suicide upon hearing that Brother Marcellinus was on the grounds. They were the lawful bag of a good day’s sport, as were several squirrels, a young fox and 2 blue-jays” (Scholastic December 20, 1886).    “Brother Marcellinus, who for years was head of the Commercial Department at Notre Dame, and who is now director of St. Columbkille’s School, Chicago, celebrated on last Monday, (19th) the Silver Jubilee of his entrance into the Congregation of Holy Cross. At St. Columbkille’s,  Chicago, he left behind him, not only golden memories, but a superb company of young men, many of them priests, to cherish his name. For 25 years he has been identified with the cause of education, and few instructors have met with greater success…” (Scholastic March 24, 1894).  “Old students of the University will be interested in knowing that Brother Marcellinus, a veteran and much-admired professor of the University in the ‘good old days’ has been recently appointed principal of the new high school recently founded in Fort Wayne, and placed in charge of the Brothers of Holy Cross. There are few teachers who were better remembered than Brother Marcellinus” (Scholastic, 43:30).  “Shortly prior to the 70th anniversary commencement at the University of Notre Dame this year, Brother Marcellinus was stricken with apoplexy of the brain and since that time his condition had been critical. For the past week his death had been hourly expected; the final summons came on Wednesday when he passed away at the Community House, where he had been making his home for a year….Owing to his long service as a teacher, over forty years, Brother Marcellinus remained at Notre Dame and during the past year since his retirement from Fort Wayne taught classes in the Commercial Department. His duties were not heavy and he appeared in his usual health until stricken in June. The beloved teacher was about 67 years of age and throughout his long career in the classroom was eminently successful in his activities. He taught at practically all the higher educational institutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross and was a religious of keen intellectual capacity and administrative ability. A number of Chicago’s leading business and professional men were students of Brother Marcellinus and so popular was he with the Chicago Notre Dame Alumni that no reunion was deemed complete unless he was in attendance. His death is a distinct loss to the great Community of which he was a devoted and exemplary member. He was a member of the General Chapter of the Holy Cross Order and participated in all the deliberations of that body for many years” (Irwin, 1914).  Gifted with an unusual talent, he had a distinguished career, both as teacher and director of schools.

April 27, 2019

In the Voice of Moreau:  Divine Mercy Sunday reminds us that the Christ is our eternal and final end who stands at the edge of time, calling us into eternity, nourishing us all the while with life-giving blood and purifying waters.  Yet, I ask, are our lives actually oriented to that One? Can we honestly say with Isaiah that we in fact “drink deeply with delight from her glorious bosom” (66:11)? Are we really disposed toward receiving the goodness that She has to offer us from Her abundant breasts?  We must learn to constantly put our bodies in Her direction. We must learn to trust Her and only Her, to be fed by Her and only Her, to cling to Her and only Her. How often we stray from this cosmic vision of life and nurse instead from the things of this world. Putting our physical lips to beer bottles, our emotional lips to pornography, our spiritual lips to the latest false gospel or self-help program, we become like infants who never receive proper nutrition – we wither, fade and die.  Let us therefore become children of God by affixing our whole mind, body, heart, lips and self to Her.  Ave Crux, Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Response: “To drink deeply with delight” does not come naturally to a person. Mentors (parents, teachers: the Church) must initiate the young into the fundament of the Faith and guide them to trust more and more that Christ is the final end of the quest for the “cosmic vision of life”. For teachers something as simple as beginning each class with a prayer can have lasting impressions upon students. “St. Augustine said that those who know how to pray well also know how to conduct themselves” (Moreau, Christian Education).  As the teacher who designs lessons that focus upon forming hearts that temper the application of the world’s knowledge, allow students to take the time at the beginning of each class to focus on a daily act of love, and act of adoration and making a petition for the grace to trust the Lord always. Guide this prayer because many students, those who are churched as well as unchurched, need to be taught to pray and why to pray. Blessed Moreau says that “…if there are so few children living as good Christians upon leaving school, it is certainly that they have not been formed in prayer”. Before one can drink deeply, one must learn to sip and to savor. It is daily classroom prayer that can enable students to yearn for more and more of the body and blood of the Lord. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Ave Crux, Spes Unica!

Fr. Joseph Barry C.S.C. (1903-1985)

unnamedFather BarryFor 19 years (1963-1982) Father Joseph Barry, C.S.C.  served as a religion teacher and chaplain for the members of the football teams at Archbishop Hoban High School.  His name graces the Hoban gym. He consistently told the team to “play from your hearts”. Standing only 5’ 3”, he was a “man’s man”.  In the August 2018 issue of Notre Dame Magazine, John Wukovits tells the story of Barry’s chaplaincy for the 157th Regiment, a Colorado National Guard unit that was part of the 45th Infantry that saw action in Sicily and Anzio in World War II.  Few Hoban students knew of Fr. Joe’s service in the military, but so many remember a man who was there for them when times were light-hearted and when times were dim.  He played from his heart as a true son of Blessed Moreau. Fr. Joe Barry died on September 25, 1985.

Brother Edmund (Frederick) Hunt, CSC ( 1909-2005)

Brother Edmund HuntBorn in Elwood, Indiana, Brother Edmund lived as a Brother of Holy Cross for seventy-three years. He passed away at age 95.  A 1935 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Brother Edmund received a Doctorate in Classical Languages at the University of Chicago in 1940 and later studied at the Sorbonne, Paris. His long and masterful teaching career inspired his students at the University of Notre Dame, at St. Edward’s University, and at several high schools of the Congregation of Holy Cross. From 1946 to 1952, as the first Brother President of St. Edward’s University, Brother Edmund set the institution on a course to become the second largest Holy Cross University in the country. His term followed the lean World War II years and heralded new growth at the university – indeed, many consider him the university “refounder.”  Among his many contributions, he led efforts to build the Alumni Memorial Gym, which was first used for the 1950 commencement ceremonies, at which the university conferred honorary degrees on Texas Gov. Allan Shivers and well-known Galveston businessman and philanthropist William Moody. In 1956, as a former president of the university, he supported efforts to form a lay Board of Trustees, a group that has guided the university since 1957. Brother Edmund also served the Congregation of Holy Cross at every level of engagement, perhaps most notably assisting with a rewriting of the Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross.

Mother Augusta (Amanda) Anderson C.S.C, (1830-1907)

augusta.jpg“Mother Mary Augusta was born in Alexandria, Virginia in 1830 and entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1854.  When she was four her mother died and her father, in his grief, decided to seek a new life on the Kansas frontier. Until he could become established, he left Amanda with her aunt near Lancaster, Ohio. Her aunt was a devout Catholic who, in the absence of a nearby church, made provision in her home for traveling priests to celebrate Mass. She also enlisted Amanda to help minister to Indians on a nearby reservation, which imparted to her a lifelong missionary spirit.  At age 24 and after her novitiate in France, she was assigned as a seamstress and a teacher. At the start of the Civil War, she and two novices were sent to a hospital to care for the soldiers. They were horrified at the conditions and looking at her whimpering companions “pityingly,” Mother Augusta told them, “Now stop! You are here and must put your heart and soul into the work. Pin up your skirts.” In 1875 Father Lawrence Scanlan asked the Holy Cross sisters to consider starting a school in Salt Lake City. Sr. Augusta and Sr. Raymond Sullivan responded. Within a week they had drawn up plans for a school that would cost $25,000, and set out raising the funds. They visited every mining camp in the territory, which is where the money was at the time, and so successful were their efforts that the school opened in September 1875 with 100 pupils. It was the beginning of what became a huge ministry that eventually included several schools, Holy Cross Hospital, and St. Ann Orphanage. Following the approval of the Constitutions from Rome and 20 years since the separation from the Marianites, Mother Augusta was elected the first Superior General of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1882. Certainly she was a force behind the establishment of numerous houses, schools, and of getting the work done, but most affectionately she was known as a superior who was always concerned with the well-being of her sisters, putting them first and standing for their freedom and rights as women religious. She took over where Mother Angela [Gillespie] left off, and built an independent congregation that was well-situated to continue to grow and thrive. Mother Mary Augusta is recognized for her deep love for the congregation and willingness to sacrifice all for the good of the congregation. To many she was and still is remembered as a builder of houses and most importantly, a builder of her sisters, a liberated risk-taker” ( Information taken from an article by Gary Topping, Archivist, Diocese of Salt Lake City and Sisters of the Holy Cross, Capturing the Wind, 2015).

April 20, 2019

In the Voice of Moreau:  Professionals often use the phrase,“think outside the box,” as a way to spur on creativity or promote innovation in their clients, students and employees.  Is this not resurrectional language? Aren’t all of us constantly seeking to transcend the bounds of our own social, cultural, familial, intellectual and spiritual tombs?  During those moments when our vision does align in a way that offers us a glimpse of life outside the box, our hearts sing with great joy and our souls are electrified by the prospect of new life.  This Hallelujah moment, however, is only temporary and we descend back into our caves and fall asleep once more. As disciples of Jesus, we must not settle for just “thinking outside the box,” but must instead seek to live outside the box.  Let us not delay in taking up this “work of resurrection.”  Let us not be satisfied until the cage of the self has been emptied out by the Cross.  Let us hope and pray that through the labor pains of the crucified Christ we may be born out of this tomb once and for all to share in the glory of eternal life.  Ave Crux, Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Response:  For Blessed Basil Moreau life is an imitation of Christ.  An authentic imitation of the Royal Road of the Cross is achieved through the renunciation of pride, disobedience, inordinate ambition, greed and carnal desire.  To move outside our self-designed boxes of “I am all there is” is to embrace humility and love of God and neighbor—to become living imitations of Christ crucified.  Each Christian’s authentic goal is to achieve total and selfless union with Jesus Christ. In one of Blessed Moreau’s sermons, he declared, “How admirable the transformation that will take place in you through your union with Jesus Christ, and how wonderful the characteristics of this union.  Total union in being, intelligence, will, body—an intimate union, since it goes as far as living the life of Jesus Christ; an effective union, since it restores to us all we have lost in Adam and through it we become the same moral person with Jesus Christ; a glorious union, giving supernatural merit to our actions and the right to eternal glory.” Each Holy Cross educator should be preoccupied with introducing students to the  knowledge that arms them with the ability to live in “this world and the next.” Students need to be presented with daily opportunities to think outside the box. The innovation that we teachers offer to our students is to look for and embrace opportunities to become others-oriented. Living outside the box of self-centeredness is a daily struggle because it goes against the natural urge for self preservation. Our students must be acculturated to lean into the supernatural urge to rise again and again from the entombment of the self.  As educators our own outside-the-box thinking allows us to become moments of grace for our students. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Brother Paul of the Cross (Patrick) Connors (1850-1893)

paul“Brother Paul, Prefect of the Senior Department of the University, died in the evening of the 12th instant. For a number of years the deceased had suffered from the ailment which finally carried him off, though he had been but a few days confined to his bed before his death. Known in the world as Patrick Connors, he was born in Ireland in 1850, and in 1867 entered the Congregation of Holy Cross at Notre Dame. During the past 25 years he has been one of the prefects of the Senior department, and was ever zealous to promote the happiness and welfare of the students. As a consequence he was deservedly held in high esteem, and by all who knew him, the tidings of his demise will be received with deep and sincere regret” (Scholastic, 27:236) “…the death of Brother Paul [of the Cross] has been a great shock, and a cause of intense sorrow to the members of Brownson Hall, with whom he was very closely connected as Prefect. The last fatal illness was of such short duration that it is almost impossible to realize that he is gone. All are firm in the conviction that the place vacated by Brother Paul will be hard to fill” (Scholastic, 27; 237). “Died December 12, 1893. Aged 42. Identified with Notre Dame 28 years. Most of that time, a prefect. In close intimacy with students, because of his great interest and leadership in athletics. Fine physique and handsome man. As leading spirit in founding Athletic Association and as Chairman of Board of Control, he laid foundation of modern athletic system. A vigorous athlete himself and Director of Athletics at the time of the death” (Scholastic, 1893). “In the early days of the school’s football career, Brother Paul was the only member of the campus religious who was an athletic zealot. He was manager of the first four Irish teams, back in the days of caps and handlebar mustaches” (Ward, Arch.  Frank Leahy and the Fighting Irish). “The ‘enthusiastic boom’ predicted by the Scholastic was not long in getting under way, for in the following week a meeting was held on the Notre Dame campus to form a Rugby Football association with Brother Paul, the father of athletics at the University, being named president. Brother Paul managed the first four Notre Dame elevens [football teams]. It was he who suggested that campus elevens be organized and was instrumental in securing uniforms for them” (Ward, Arch).  “Apropos of the renewal of athletic relations with Michigan, Notre Dame gratefully recalls the day in 1888 when Ann Arbor authorities sent their team, at the request of Brother Paul, to teach us the art of football. Last week in Cleveland, Mr. Ernest M. Sprague, one of those Michigan sportsmen, died. You are asked to pray for his soul. He refereed the game. When a Notre Dame man crushed into the Wolverine quarterback after he had signaled for a fair catch, then knocked the ball from his hands, scooped it up and thundered down the field for a touchdown, Mr. Sprague disallowed it and penalized Notre Dame. ‘In only a split second’, he said, ‘one hundred and fifty wild Irishmen were around my neck. Brother Paul saved me, raised his hand, asked for silence, and said: ‘These boys are our guests. We invited them to teach us the game. Mr. Sprague knows the rules.’ Lucky for me from the rule book I satisfied Brother Paul and the boys. I had treated them fairly.”

Sister Maria Gemma (Ella) Mulcaire, C.S.C. (1896-1982)

mulclaireAfter serving in the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross for 67 years, Sister Maria Gemma died on March 22, 1982.  She was one of the hundreds of Irish sisters who gave up their homeland to serve the Church in America. Ella M. Mulcaire was one of twelve children born in Limerick, Ireland.  She came to the states at an early age and entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1915. She is a member of a legendary CSC family. Ten members of her family have been members of Holy Cross:  two aunts (Sisters Gertrude and Aloysius), two of her sisters (Miriam Gertrude and Aloysia Marie), two of her brothers and two cousins (Fathers Michael and James Mulcaire and Fathers P. J. Carroll and Joseph Quinlan), and two cousins (Sisters Joseph of the Sacred Heart and Hieronyme).  There are few families who have contributed more to Holy Cross and the universal Church. After graduating from St. Mary’s Academy, Sister earned a life license in elementary education. For the next 62 years she taught in elementary schools throughout Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. Her first assignment was to teach the legendary Minims at the University of Notre Dame following in the footsteps of her aunt, Sister Aloysius, who taught there for 43 years.  This writer was taught by Sister Maria Gemma in 3rd and 4th grade at Saint Mary of the Lake School in Miller, Indiana. She was an excellent teacher dedicated to her work and the children in her care.  A strict disciplinarian, she was a devoted daughter of Blessed Moreau as she developed her students not only in secular subjects but also in character and moral fiber.  As one of the best loved Sisters of the Holy Cross, she literally had hundreds of friends among her religious sisters and the laity. She was a woman of integrity with a deep piety and an abiding love of her Community and everyone in it.  Approachable and gracious, kind and understanding and ever ready to help, Sister Maria Gemma radiated a spirit of serenity, joy and peace. Her character can best be summed up with these lines from the Prayer of Saint Francis. “Where there is hatred, let me bring your love. / Where there is despair in life, let me bring hope. /  And where there is sadness ever joy.” (Information found in a eulogy supplied by Sister Timothea Kingston, C.S.C., Archivist for the Sisters of the Holy Cross.)

Father John W. Cavanaugh, C.S.C. (1870 –1935)

cavanaughFather Cavanaugh was the 8th President of the University of Notre Dame from 1905 to 1919.  He was born into a family of coal miners in 1870 and came to Notre Dame in 1886 because his mother wanted at least one of her sons to get an education.  In 1889, he received the habit and worked during his Novitiate for Notre Dame English professor Maurice Francis Egan. He was ordained in 1894 and that same year he became the assistant editor of the Ave Maria.  From 1898-1905, he served as the superior of Holy Cross Seminary.  In 1905, he was appointed the President of the University of Notre Dame by Provincial Father John Zahm.  Among the first of many acts to preserve and to highlight the history of the University, in 1906, he had the remains of Father Badin, the man who bought the ground on which Notre Dame had been founded, re-interred in their final resting place in the log chapel on campus. That same year the statue of Father Sorin was unveiled. Cavanaugh was an intellectual figure  known for his literary gifts. He was considered one of the best orators in the United States as attested to by his many eloquent speeches. During his presidency, he dedicated himself to improve Notre Dame’s academic and scholastic reputation, and the number of students awarded bachelor’s and master’s degrees significantly increased. Cavanaugh also worked to enlighten the public about American Catholics, and convince them that they were not the enemy of the United States but that they were full supporters of their country. He especially fought against the Ku Klux Klan, the American Protective Association, and the anti-Catholic newspaper The Menace through his sermons, speeches and articles. He also supported Ellen Ryan Jolly in her effort to install a memorial to the Sisters of the Holy Cross who served as nurses in the Civil War.  During his presidency, the university also rapidly became a significant force on the football field. Yet Cavanaugh resented the implications that Notre Dame should be known as a football school and almost ended the football program because it had been a money-losing operation since 1913.  Ironically, two of Notre Dame’s most famous football personalities appeared during his tenure, George Gipp and Knute Rockne. After he resigned as President of Notre Dame, Cavanaugh kept himself busy. For two years he stayed at Holy Cross College in Washington, DC to teach English. After his return to Notre Dame in 1921, he taught English until 1931.  His health began declining as early as 1915 when he was diagnosed with diabetes. In 1925 he contracted tuberculosis and in 1934 he fell and severely injured his leg. In 1935, he died in the Community infirmary at Notre Dame. (archives.nd.edu. Retrieved February 13, 2019.)

April 13, 2019

In the Voice of Moreau:  We live in a world that is functionally amoral.  What is the Good? For most people it is what serves them.  If it is good for me, it is good! This childish way of life is a dead end that leaves many “mourning and weeping in a valley of tears” as they cave into themselves again and again and again.  The Church, however, offers a different vision for life. She pronounces that the Good is an objective reality, a standard beyond us that we must abandon all utilitarian thinking to reach. Indeed, she teaches us that only God is good (Mk 10:18), that the Samaritan was good because he stepped outside of himself to serve his neighbor (Lk 10:25-37), and that the thief may be called “good” because of his dependence on the Lord (Lk 23:40-42).  She goes so far as to celebrate a Good Friday, on which she invites us to affix our lips to the Cross, that glorious point of reference that delivers us from the idiotic pattern of self-centeredness into a life of true morality. Let us therefore worship the Cross with both our lips and our lives and in so doing become good. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Response: Because we live in a world of functional amorality, as educators we must consistently direct our students to move farer and farer away from the ego needs of “I” toward the altruism of “You”. Each lesson plan should include information and functional opportunities for students to become Good Samaritans and Good Thieves. Blessed Moreau clearly believes that the role of all teachers in Holy Cross Schools is “to make them [youth] Christians conformed to Jesus Christ; such is the principal goal of our mission among the young.  To what end would it serve the students to know how to read, write, calculate, and draw, or to possess some notions of history, geography, geometry, physics, and chemistry, if they were ignorant of their duties to God, to themselves, and to society, or if, while knowing them, they did not conform their conduct to that knowledge.” Blessed Moreau concludes that: “It is by this that you contribute to preparing the world for better times than ours” (Christian Education, Part Three).  In the early 1980s public schools began requiring students to look for opportunities to contribute service to the community.  William Bennett, Secretary of Education during the Reagan years, believed that a purely secular education was not and could not address the moral decline of the Nation. He said, “ For children to take morality seriously they must be in the presence of adults who take morality seriously. And with their own eyes they must see adults take morality seriously.” A Holy Cross education is designed around ten beliefs (the Core Values).  That God is present and active in our world.  That teachers will empower students to become lifelong learners.  That positive values must influence knowledge and its application.  That we value each person and welcome one another. That teachers challenge each student in mind, spirit and body. That our students hold responsibility for the future. That we hope for a world where justice and love prevail. That teachers are guides and companions on the journey of learning and becoming. That true education fosters the formation of hearts. That the convictions of our hearts are translated into the actions of our hands.  If each educator believes these convictions and acts upon them each day, then Good Samaritans and Good Thieves will populate the world. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

 

Rev. Theodore Martin Hesburgh, C.S.C. (1917–2015)

hesburgh 1Hesburgh TimeA native of Syracuse, New York, he served as the president of the University of Notre Dame for thirty-five years (1952–1987).  In addition to his career as an educator and author, Hesburgh was a public servant and social activist involved in numerous American civic and governmental initiatives, commissions and international humanitarian projects. Father Hesburgh received numerous honors and awards for his service, most notably the United States’ Presidential Medal of Freedom (1964) and Congressional Gold Medal (2000). He is credited with bringing Notre Dame, long known for its football program, to the forefront of American Catholic universities and its transition to a nationally respected institution of higher education. During his tenure as president, the university also became a coeducational institution. In addition to his service to Notre Dame, Hesburgh held leadership positions in numerous groups involved in civil rights, peaceful uses of atomic energy, immigration reform, and Third World development. He wanted to become a priest since the age of six. Graduating from Holy Rosary High School in Syracuse in 1934, he entered Holy Cross Seminary in the fall. In 1937 the Congregation sent him to Rome where he graduated in 1940. When the American consul in Rome ordered all U.S. citizens to leave Italy in 1940 due to the outbreak of World War II, Hesburgh returned to the United States to continue his studies. He spent three years (1940–43) studying theology at Holy Cross College and two years (1943–45) at the Catholic University of America, earning a doctorate in sacred theology in 1945. Ordained in 1943, he served as a chaplain at the National Training School for Boys and at a military installation.  Although Hesburgh expressed an interest in serving as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he returned to Notre Dame in 1945. After retirement, Hesburgh was especially active in the development of five institutions he organized: the Ecumenical Institute for Theology Studies at Jerusalem; Notre Dame’s Center for Civil and Human Rights; the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies; the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies; and the Hank Family Environmental Research Center. He died in 2015, at the age of 97. A Time magazine cover story from 1962, named him as “the most influential figure in the reshaping of Catholic higher education in the U.S.” (Information taken from various online sources.)

Brother Francis Xavier (René) Patois, C.S.C. (1820-1896)

xavier“The usual suffrages and prayers of the members of the Congregation are requested for the repose of the soul of Brother Francis Xavier who died at Notre Dame, November 21, 1896, fortified by the Holy Sacraments.  The deceased was born in Clermont, France, July 27, 1820, entered the Congregation Sept., 15, 1840, received the habit, March 22, 1841, and was professed August 22, 1841. Brother Francis Xavier was first called Brother Marie, which was afterwards changed to Brother Francis Xavier. Brother Francis was a model religious, regular at all the exercises, industrious to the very last, devoted to the Community, and led a life of great self-denial. He was a cabinet maker by trade.  From the very earliest history of his life in America, in 1841, he was employed as an undertaker, and he was frequently called up at mid-night, and had to go eight or even twelve miles to attend the dead. Hundreds of times he was exposed in rains, snow-storms; perched on an uncovered hearse, slowly making his way to the Church and cemetery. The most remarkable fact in his history is that he came with Very Rev. R.[sic] Sorin in company with five other Brothers in 1841. He survived every one of that devoted band who founded Notre Dame. It would be hard to find in history a more devoted band of missionaries than the band of which Brother Francis Xavier was the survivor” (Fr. Corby: CIRCULAR LETTER, November 13, 1896). “Brother Francis Xavier, 29, an excellent Brother like[d] by everyone. A master-carpenter; Sacristan. In charge of cellar for Mass wine” (Sorin’s Memo). “Brother Francis Xavier tells of the manner of journey from St. Peter’s [New York] and arrival at South Bend: ‘We came through from Vincennes on an old stage coach, which the Bishop who sent us here picked up somewhere. It was too small a conveyance to hold us all and our baggage, so we took turns at walking. When we arrived in South Bend we stopped for several days at the home of the first Alexis Coquillard as there were no accommodations for our party at the mission. We did not ford the river, ferry it, or go over it in row boats, but crossed it on the old bridge north of the brickyard. Alexis Coquillard might have gone with us, but he was a small boy then. It was resolved that Brother Francis Xavier should be assistant and Master of Novices’” (LOCAL COUNCIL, February 25, 1850). “It was resolved that Brother Francis Xavier should make a steeple for the church of St. Joseph, South Bend” (Local Council, 1851). “Altar made by Brother Francis Xavier on which Sorin used to say Mass in the log church now in east Chapel of new extension of church” (SCHOLASTIC, 19, p.293, 1894). “. . . who has made the coffins for all who have died at Notre Dame and most likely will do the same kind office for many more before he drives the last nail into his” (Prof. Lyons, (J.A.) Silver Jubilee of Notre Dame, p. 11, 1869).  “Since Father Sorin died, Brother Francis has been the Patriarch of Notre Dame; but no stranger who saw the silent, unobtrusive Brother as he moved actively about his work, would have guessed it. He wore his honors gracefully, and to the end he remained the prayerful, laborious, amiable, humble religious that he was in youth. Such men never die. They live again in every life their example has helped to sanctify” ( SCHOLASTIC, Vol. 30, p. 155, 1896).

Sister Euphrosine (Rosalie) Pepin, C.S.C. (1830-1906)

sistersBorn in France in 1830, Rosalie Pepin was known as “Fr. Sorin’s postulant” even though she was out of the Sisters of the Holy Cross for nearly ten years (1871- 79). When she was 19, she heard of the missionary work of two Sisters of the Holy Cross in Indiana. “[They] labored among the Indians, [and because of] the good they effected by their zealous missionary spirit” she desired to join them. In 1852, she sailed from France with Father Sorin and three other women for New York. Professed in 1854, she had early on endured many privations from the time she landed in New York. Her first assignment, caring for a dozen orphans, was in such destitution in all things that “[her] missionary life… looked to the worse instead of [the] better.” During the next 13 years she changed assignments ten times. In 1870, she returned to France to attend to family business and upon her return to the States, she met the Bishop of Galveston, Texas who asked her to return with him to begin a school. She did this and gathered women to assist her. Thinking that Father Sorin had given his permission for her Texas sojourn, she served for nearly ten years as a teacher/director in schools in several Texas outposts. Being away from St. Mary’s for nearly five years without the approval of Father Sorin, she was asked by Mother Angela Gillespie to “abandon the habit of Holy Cross. Always obedient, she changed the headdress, calling her group of [women] Sisters of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus.” She petitioned to return to Holy Cross and was granted permission in 1879. Over the next 20 years, she served in several towns in Utah, Michigan and Indiana. After the main building at Notre Dame burned down, she was asked by Father Sorin to return to France to beg donations for its rebuilding which she did. Finally, in 1899 she returned to St. Mary’s and was a now-and-then patient in the infirmary until her death in 1906. As an early “archivist” she collected memorabilia from many of the missions where she served and from individual sisters. This collection is a memorandum on the Sisters of the Holy Cross from 1852-1862. Prior to her death she listed in a small notebook five graces she asked from God: pardon for her sins, the spirit of faith, his holy love, the grace to do all the good which lay in her power, and finally the grace of a good and holy death. (Information taken from “Sister M. Euphrosine: Pioneer and Enigma” by Sister Campion Kuhn, C.S.C., 1984.) There are no images nor photos of Sister Euphrosine.

April 6, 2019

In the Voice of Moreau:  “My one companion is darkness” (Ps 88:18).  With these words, the psalmist perfectly describes the bittersweet phenomenon of the Cross:  Only when all of the people, things and ideas in our lives are stilled and put to rest does a trustworthy guide for our spiritual journey emerge.  The world wants us to think that it has all of the answers; our so-called best friends want us to follow their advice; our passions seem to change daily and lead us in circles; but a shadow is utterly consistent and dependable.  The darkness of the Cross has an unmistakable object, the living God. We need this darkness! We need its clarity! We need the Cross! Without a systematic taming of our mental circus, the night is never born and our lives remain confusing, fragmented and directionless.  Let us therefore literally “break bread with” the best companion we could ever have. Let us realize that the whole universe is bound together in this one single friend who has existed from the beginning of time (Gen 1:1) and who is our destiny (Rev 21:23). Let us indeed marry ourselves to that dark night and live.  Ave Crux, Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Response: In Matthew’s Gospel, the Lord consoles: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (11:28-30).  All Holy Cross schools operate out of a set of core values with a preferential option for the poor. Blessed Moreau counsels his educators: “If at times you show preference for any young people, they should be the poor, those who have no one else to show them preference, those who have the least knowledge, those who lack skills and talent, and those who are not Catholic or Christian.  If you show them greater care and concern, it must be because their needs are greater and because it is only just to give more to those who have less…[seeing]…in all only the image of God imprinted within them like a sacred seal you prefer at all cost” (Christian Education).  Notice that Moreau says nothing about the material poor.  His concern is for the poverty of lack of love, of lack of emotional and spiritual balance, of lack of moral awareness, of lack of knowledge.  These are the pupils to whom “preference” must be given. These are all of the students we find in our classrooms. This compassion is predicated upon the fact that teachers have the competence to identify these forms of poverty and the courage to embrace them.  Moreau further cautions “Never forget that all teaching lies in the best approach to an individual student.” As educators and formators we become the redeeming Lord when we labor for students who are weary and overburdened. For students whose minds roil with attempting to measure up to so many hedonistic templates that are truly “confusing, fragmented and directionless”.  To “marry ourselves to that dark night and live” is the only guaranteed method through which we become Christ the Light, Christ the Consoler, Christ the Redeemer for our students. Ave Crux Spes Unica.

Father Edward Sorin, C.S.C. (1814-1893)

sorin-1unnamed (5)Though he is not a saint (nor is he currently being considered for canonization), Father Edward Sorin, C.S.C. was a remarkable man who was animated with a stubborn faith and missionary zeal. Born in the west of France in 1814, ordained in 1838, Father Sorin was 28 years old when the Blessed Basil Moreau offered him a parcel of land in north-central Indiana that had been purchased by Rev. Stephen Badin, the first Catholic priest ordained in the United States, and left in trust to the Bishop of Vincennes for anyone who would found a Catholic school on the site. Father Sorin’s original land grant of several hundred acres was the site of an early mission to Native Americans, but included only three small buildings in need of repair. Accompanied by six Brothers of St. Joseph (later the Holy Cross Brothers) Brothers Vincent, Lawrence, Anselm, Gatian, Francis Xavier, Joachim and Father Sorin arrived in November 1842 and called the fledgling school L’Université de Notre Dame du Lac. The early Notre Dame was a university in name only.  It encompassed religious novitiates, preparatory and grade schools and a manual labor school, but its classical collegiate curriculum never attracted more than a dozen students a year in the early decades. Father Sorin’s overarching vision of a great American Catholic university in the tradition of the great Medieval universities has inspired Notre Dame’s growth over its entire history. “So confident was he in his own powers, so sure of the ultimate righteousness of his goals, so deep his faith that God and the Virgin Mary had summoned him to America to accomplish this great work, that no obstacle could confound him,…“He was capable of duplicity, pettiness, and even ruthlessness. But for sheer courage, and for the serene determination that courage gives birth to, he was hard to match” (O’Connell, Rev. Marvin, Father Sorin, 2002). When a catastrophic fire destroyed most of the University in 1879, Father Sorin vowed to rebuild his life’s work.  Curricular, pedagogical and research components were expanded and enhanced to the point that, upon Father Sorin’s death in 1893, the foundation was firmly set for the growth of what has become the world’s leading Catholic university and one of the nation’s top twenty institutions of higher learning. (Information taken from Dennis Brown. December 2001)

Holy Cross Sisters of the Civil War

unnamed (1)civil ware 2On October 22, 1861, Father Sorin writes to the Sisters of Holy Cross living at St. Mary’s College:  “A most honorable call has been made on your Community by the first Magistrate in our State [Indiana], asking for twelve Sisters to go and attend the sick, the wounded and dying soldiers. An admirable opportunity has thus been offered to show our love of country, to gain new claims upon the esteem—nay, the gratitude of our people; and such claims as no one would reject. The call has been unhesitatingly responded to, and this afternoon six Sisters of Holy Cross started for Paducah, Kentucky; namely Sister M. of St. Angela, Sr. M. of St. Magdalene, Sr. M. of St. Winifred, Sr. M. of St. Adèle, Sr. M. of St. Veronica, and Sr. M. of St. Anne. Six more are preparing to start for Missouri within a week—Sr. M. of St. Angeline, Sr. M. of St. Fidelis, Sr. M. of St. Francis de Paul, Sr. M. of St. Gregory, Sr. M. of St. Felicity, and Sr. M. of St. Josephine. They were all chosen from a large number of volunteers; and if we judge of their sentiments by the joy with which they have received their selection, we have reason to believe that they duly appreciate the honor and favor bestowed upon them.” Eighty sister under the leadership of Mother Angela Gillespie, C.S.C. served as nurses between 1861- 1865.

Brother Vincent Pieau, C.S.C. (1797-1890)

pieauHe was one of the first Brothers of St. Joseph founded by Father James Dujarié in 1820 to teach in parish schools in France. Brother Vincent was the senior member, known as the “Patriarch” of the six religious who accompanied Father Sorin in 1841 from France to the States. For many years he took an active part in the direction and formation of the novices destined for the brotherhood. Father James Trahey, C.S.C. wrote in 1906: “How many an icy heart he changed into a burning coal of fervor! How many a marble slab of worldliness he chiseled into the stature of the perfect man! How many a rough bit of quartz he polished into the glittering gem!” Father Sorin spoke of Brother Vincent as the “co-founder” of Holy Cross in America. He and Brother Anselm were picked by Bishop Hailandière to teach in the Cathedral elementary school in Vincennes. He did whatever the task asked of him from brick making and cooking to business master for the fledgling university. Upon his death, the following was written about him in The Scholastic: “On Wednesday, July 23, the venerable Brother Vincent passed peacefully from earth in the 93rd year of his age. He was one of the 6 religious, who, in 1841, accompanied Father Sorin from France to the shores of this Western World. Ever since that time he has been the associate of the venerable Founder of Notre Dame in the great work which he inaugurated and has carried on to such a successful issue. For many long years Brother Vincent had directed and watched over the formation of the religious spirit in the youthful candidates in the novitiate, and the lessons inspired by his piety and beautiful example left a deep and lasting impression and contributed materially to the infusion of that zeal and devotion which have made the Congregation of Holy Cross, in the United States, so happily successful in the attainment of its mission. When advancing years deprived him of physical strength, he still continued as a model to his fellow religious, whose work he aided by the power of the prayers with which he constantly was occupied. His was a life full of years and merits, and we may have every confidence that has been fittingly rewarded by that glory and joy which await the good and faithful servant.” He is buried near Father Sorin in the Community Cemetery at Notre Dame.

March 30, 2019

In the Voice of Moreau:  The Cross is not front page news or a ticker tape parade, but a slow, dark descent into the unknown.  The moment we become special or important in the eyes of the world is precisely the moment that we awaken those power structures in our brains which take us away from the hidden and humble truth of our Lord.  How difficult it is to overcome this ego delusion! How those worldly tentacles, as with ancient Israel’s idolatrous history, pull us back into the drama again and again and again. In the #blessed era, well-meaning religious people preach a self-serving, utilitarian, prosperity Cross.  Do not be deceived! There is one true Cross and it is marked by a self-effacing way of life where we spend ourselves to become little, unimportant and forgotten.  Slowly and systematically, we escape the jungle of ourselves. Learning to tame venomous serpents, put ferocious beasts to sleep and step over sleeping giants, we quietly make our way toward the One whom our heart has loved all along.   Why not make this commitment right here and now? Why not consummate our relationship with the Beloved? Why not take the risk of the Cross? Ave Crux Spes Unica.

Holy Cross Educator’s Response: As Catholic, Holy Cross educators we need to work with our students to put a bit and bridal upon our appetitive natures to reign in what William Golding identified as the Beast in his dystopic novel Lord of the Flies. Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill! You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close! I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things are what they are. In order for the prophet Isaiah to proclaim that[t]he wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and a little child shall lead them,” our need to gobble up anything that nourishes ME must constantly be regulated toward a dying to self. This transformation happens through a penetrating formation of the heart. Which of us can know the mind of our Creator when we reflect upon the power of the Beast within? The on-going battle with the ferocity of serpents and the raging of giants is the burden each of us bears because of our flawed human nature. Yet once these enemies are identified for what they are, a one way ticket to hell, this avariciousness for ME, ME, ME can be caged, restrained, tamed, but never eliminated. It is a daily, perhaps an hourly, discipline to lean upon the crucified Lord and not upon the burden of ME. We are reminded by Job that “The life of man upon the earth is a warfare” (1:7). Encouragingly, Thomas á Kempis counsels us about our relentless temptations to turn away from God’s commandments: “Little by little, in patience and long-suffering you will overcome them, by the help of God rather than by severity and your own rash ways” (Chapter 13). And Blessed Moreau advises that all of us must heed the words of St. Paul to the Ephesians. “Having therefore such enemies to vanquish, take unto yourself the armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand to all things perfect” ( 6:11). Teachers let your students know that you, too, work to clothe yourself with the armor of God while fighting the good fight. Always inform your students withall [they] need to know” and with the desire to empower that knowledge with integrity to make all things perfect. Focus on the hope of the Cross. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Brother Augustus (Arsense) Poignant, C.S.C. (1816-1900)

augustus“On the ninth of July, 1900, the genial old pioneer, Brother Augustus, was suddenly summoned before God to give an account of his talents. He came to Indiana with the second band that crossed the Atlantic to join Father Sorin, and was extremely young when he bade adieu to home and country. Brother Augustus was a tailor and worked at his humble trade for many years previous to his death. There was a charm in his simplicity that won the hearts of his Brothers in religion. He was candid, without guile, without mental reservation, without secret calculation. There was not a fold in his character, not a wrinkle in his childlike dealings with others. The evening of his death he assisted at Benediction, and made some characteristic efforts to join in the singing. During recreation that same evening he appeared more joyful than usual. He went quietly to his bed at the appointed hour, but had sweetly answered his Deo Gratias to an Angel, when the Community Excitator rapped on his door next morning” (Trahey, James J., C.S.C. The Brothers of Holy Cross, 1900). “Professor Stace speaks of the braying bassoon of Brother Augustus who played in the Band with the future Archbishop Reardon, Southern France” (Scholastic, 1888). “The Notre Dame of the time [1845] was a lonely log cabin built by the side of a lake in a large, wild forest. Indians roamed freely about the woods, and used frequently to walk in where the little band of white men were dwelling, and without asking permission, taking whatever they wished. It was primeval America. This was Notre Dame as Brother Augustus found it. He helped replace the log cabin by the little frame building [Old College]” (Scholastic, P. J. Ragan, n. d.). “Brother Augustus died a sudden but not an unprepared death” (Circular Letter, Father Français, 1900)

Mother Angela Gillespie C.S.C. (1824-1887)

1b94e-mother2bangela.jpgMother Angela Gillespie, C.S.C. was born Eliza Maria Gillespie near Brownsville, Pennsylvania, on February 21, 1824. In 1853, after years of charitable work and teaching positions in Lancaster, Ohio, and at Saint Mary’s Seminary in Maryland, she felt called to the religious life and devoted the remainder of her days to the Sisters of the Holy Cross. She became director of studies at Saint Mary’s Academy in Bertrand, Michigan, and was made superior of the convent in 1855. At the academy (which later became St. Mary’s College and was moved to a new site near Notre Dame), Mother Angela, who strongly believed in full educational rights for women, instituted courses in advanced mathematics, science, foreign languages, philosophy, theology, art, and music. In addition to preparing the sisters to teach in Chicago’s parochial schools, the order established Saint Angela’s Academy in Morris, Illinois. In 1860, Mother Angela began publishing  Metropolitan Readers, a graded textbook series used in elementary through college courses. Mother Angela and eighty of her sisters served as nurses during the Civil War. Under her direction, the Congregation of the Holy Cross and its educational work was greatly expanded, with 45 institutions founded between 1855 and 1882. She died at St. Mary’s College in 1887.

Rev. Julius Nieuwland, C.S.C. (1878-1936)

unnamed (4)nieuwland-1He was the inventor of the first synthetic rubber manufactured by Du Pont. At the time of his invention, Nieuwland was a chemistry professor at the University of Notre Dame and a Holy Cross priest. Father Nieuwland was born of Flemish parents and immigrated as a youngster with his family to South Bend, Indiana. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1899, entered Holy Cross and was ordained in 1903. He received his Ph.D. from Catholic University in 1904. For a number of years, he taught his first love, botany, at Notre Dame and collected plants and made drawings of such right up to his death. In 1915, he started a journal dedicated to the botany of the Midwest, The American Naturalist. In 1918 became a professor of organic chemistry. At that time, he was working with acetylene. In the course of this work, he discovered a reaction between acetylene and arsenic trichloride that eventually led to the development of the poison gas lewisite. Nieuwland’s work with acetylene also led him into a collaboration with scientists at Du Pont. Together, they found that upon treating monovinylacetylene with hydrogen  chloride to produce chloroprene and polymerizing the result, a very durable synthetic rubber, neoprene, was produced. Du Pont placed this rubber on the market in 1932 under the brand name Duprene. The company offered Fr. Nieuwland $1,000 a year as an honorarium which he declined asking instead for a stipend to be used to buy a supply of books for the chemistry department. Had he left the Congregation because of his discovery, he would have become “wildly” wealthy, yet he had no interest in the money or the fame.

(Information taken from McCool, Deanna C., “The Naturalist”, Notre Dame Magazine and http://www.madehow.com/inventorbios/70/Julius-Nieuwland.html#ixzz5eZX3avOD)

March 23, 2019

In the Voice of Moreau:  Everywhere I look I see the consequences of postmodern philosophy.  The burger joint’s slogan is “Have It Your Way.” Trendy athletic gear is stamped with an emphatic “I Will.”  Medicines advertised on television nonchalantly report “thoughts of suicide” as a potential side effect. The financial planning company exhorts you to “not outlast your money.”  Does life have any enduring meaning? Is there a point to it all? Does anyone care? This intellectual disease has successfully deconstructed Western thinking, but offers no alternative vision for life.  People are instead left to wallow in the mess of their own emotions, desires and insecurities. Postmodernism is a crucifixion that has no hope of new life – just a complicated and frustrating darkness that has no exit.  The Cross is the antidote that cures us of this cunning illness. Our crucified Lord does not fear deconstruction, but in fact welcomes the probing eyes of postmoderns as a way to reveal the undeniable truth of the Resurrection.  Let us stare this phantom in the eye, proclaiming with the prophet Isaiah, “I have set my face like flint against a stone, and I know that I shall not be put to shame” (50:7). Ave Crux, Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Response:  In William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet, the character Polonius gives this advice to his son Laertes prior to his son’s departure for school in Paris:  “This above all: to thine own self be true”. On the surface this might appear to be good advice, and, today, it is often interpreted to be such.  But it is not good advice because Shakespeare is being sarcastic when he has these words coming from the bumptious and bombastic Polonius. The proper interpretation of the lines is to look out only for yourself without regard for others.  Look inward for your own created truth rather than focus outside yourself for the truth of the Cross. Being “true to you” only works if that truth aligns with God’s will. Blessed Moreau asserts: “This is what you can and should do for your students, if you are really zealous for their salvation.  [T]ake up this work of resurrection, never forgetting the special end of [your vocation], to sanctify youth. It is by this that you will contribute to preparing the world for better times than ours; for these students who attend your school are the parents of the future, the parents of future generations.  Influence them, then, by all the means of instruction and sanctification. Then and only then, can you hope to attain the end of your vocation by the renewal of the Christian faith and piety. May it be so! May it be so!” (Christian Education, Part Three. 1854).  In another of Shakespeare’s plays Henry V, the playwright borrows from Psalm 119:105 when King Henry declares that “Henry will to himself / Protector be, and God shall be my hope, / My stay, my guide, and lantern to my feet.” The psalmist’s actual words are “Thy Word Is a Lamp Unto My Feet and Light Unto My Path.”  Holy Cross educators as co-parents need to give this advice to their students rather than the anemic and false advice from Polonius.  Just another moment when we can relate information to Christian formation. Such moments occur throughout all of the academic disciplines.  We teachers need to be alert to the many times that we can debunk postmodernist fatalism. Ave Crux Spes Unica!