Brother Eugene LeFeuvre, C.S.C. (1874-1963)
He was one of seven children, all boys, who was of French and Anglo-Indian descent. The family lived in Calcutta for some time and then moved to Dacca when Eugene’s father was made jailer at the city’s local jail. When he was tens years old, his mother died. He was among the first students to finish his high school education at St. Gregory School in Dacca first under the Benedictines and then under the Holy Cross Priests and Brothers. He entered the Congregation in 1884 by receiving the habit. There was no canonical novitiate at that time. For nearly 70 years he worked in many elementary schools throughout Bengal. “For many years he [is] one of India’s greatest sharpshooters; and for two years, his victories brought him recognition as the champion shot of all India, Burma and Assam. Brother was a master sergeant in the Indian Military and for many years he organized and drilled for what in our country [U.S.] corresponds to the ROTC. For his skill and many years of service he was given the Kaiser-i-Hind medal by George V. Whenever he traveled he took his St. Etienne rifle along with him. His shooting was a work of science and art. Even on the wing, he never missed a shot. As an old man he could out-walk men fifty years his junior, despite tropical rain or heat. [Because of his many years as a teacher] children for miles around Dacca know and love him. Often parents ask him to bless or at least make the sign of the cross over their children trusting that they would receive a special favor from God. Despite his popularity Brother Eugene lives a very simple life. After passing the four-score mark and spending over sixty years on the Bengal mission, Brother Eugene is still admired by all for his ability to do a day’s work, and for his cheerful acceptance of the handicaps brought on by old age” The Newsette. February 1957).
Father Robert L. Plasker, C.S.C. (1930-2009)
He was born in 1930, in Portland, Oregon and attended St. Rose Parish School and Central Catholic High School. He attended Mt. Angel Seminary in Oregon for three years and then joined the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1949 and was ordained in 1957. After ordination and until 1966 Fr. Plasker served in the District of Chile at St. George’s College and San Roque Parish. He then studied at the University of Texas for a year and assisted in the Diocese of Santiago de Veraguas in Panama where he taught and served at San Juan Evangelista Parish. In 1969 he returned to Chile where he served as assistant superior at the Holy Cross Community Center and was director of the professed seminarians. He served as District Superior from 1970-74. In 1973, following the takeover by the military junta in Chile, Father Plasker was expelled from Chile by the Delegated Rector of the Ministries of Education “for Marxist activities [and he] has been proposed as the Superior General of the Congregation of Holy Cross” (Cánapa, Jorge, C.S.C.). Fr. Plasker moved to the District of Peru, serving in Chimbote, Canto Grande, and Lima. He was the founding pastor at Our Lord of Hope Parish in the Canto Grande desert where he formed Christian communities and served the poverty stricken people of Canto Grande. The parish remains a cornerstone of the Holy Cross apostolic effort in Peru. It is a place of vigorous pastoral activity and of flourishing Holy Cross education. In entering Holy Cross, Fr. Plasker embraced the motto: Across the World with Holy Cross. Beginning in Santiago, Chile, then across the Chilean desert, to Peru, it was Fr. Plasker’s dream to serve the People of God in the missions of the Congregation of Holy Cross around the world. In the late eighties, Fr. Plasker was called to serve in the General Administration of the Congregation of Holy Cross in Rome as 2nd General Assistant. Through his service in the General Administration, his desire was to fortify the dream of Blessed Basil Moreau for the mission of the Congregation. After serving in the General Administration for six years, the call to “cross the world” came again. This time it was to return to formation work in Santiago, Chile, where he served as director of the professed seminarian program. It was also a call to return to the educational ministry at St. George’s College. It was a return to catechetical education and family pastoral care at San Roque Parish, where he served until his death. In his life and ministry, Fr. Plasker was known as educator, pastor, formator, religious superior, and committed to family life. These roles and traits marked his life in Holy Cross as a religious and in his priestly ministry for 51 years. (From the South Bend Tribune : Jan. 7, 2009)
Sister Lydia (Mary Margaret) Clifford, C.S.C. (1841-1914)
She was born in Ireland in 1841 and entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1859, receiving the habit in 1860 and professing final vows in 1864. Over the next 50 years Sister Lydia served as a nurse in the Civil War from 1863-65 at St. Edward Hospital in Mound City, Illinois. She also served as a “chief nurse” in the Spanish American War in 1899 at Camp Lexington in Kentucky. “Major Glennon wanted the sisters to take over a military hospital for which they would be paid $60 a month. Sister Lydia would be paid double that amount. Because her ‘common sense….discipline…knowledge, skill and fitness made her an ideal superintendent’” ( Schuller, O. S. F, Sister M. Victoria, History of Orphan Asylums, 1954). In the book Nuns in the Battlefield it states that “Sister Lydia Clifford was a medalist of the Spanish-American War, in which she served with marked distinction” (155). She also directed three different hospitals in Ohio (1886-90), Illinois (1896-98) and Indiana (1898-1901). Between 1877-1898 she served as the directress at several homes for orphans in Maryland, Indiana, Virginia and Ohio. In 1874, she was appointed the directress of Dolan Aid Asylum in Baltimore. Along with Sisters Colthilde Fitzgerald and Justina Langley, “ The sisters collected what money and supplies that they could; each week they made trips to the Broadway and Marsh markets where meat, fruit, and vegetables were given to them. Between forty and fifty children were accommodated at Dolan Aid Asylum” (Souvenir Book, St. Patrick Parish). Sisters and brothers were kept together so that there would be no chance of them drifting apart. Sister Lydia died in 1914 at Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame.