Father Timothy Maher, C.S.C. (1831-1925)
“Timothy Maher was born in Tipperary, Ireland, and he came to Notre Dame in 1846. His first thought was to become a Brother of Holy Cross, and that he did, taking the name of Brother John Chrysostom. Later on, in 1861, he decided that he would like to become a priest of the Congregation, a change that was permitted in those days. He was ordained in New Orleans, together with two other men, who had likewise been Brothers, on August 15, 1869. Father Cavanaugh writes about Father Maher: ‘. . . Even before profession, Father Maher had been charged with the financial accounts of the University. In a little room opposite the treasurer’s office now, on the ground floor of the (old infirmary), the difficult duties of the Secretary of the University were carried on. . . [He] continued in charge of the University ledgers for many years and was then transferred to a similar work as Postmaster of the University, an office he held not merely for years, but for decades. He had already attained extreme old age, but he remained a charming and cheerful figure on the campus, taking a young man’s delight in every incident of importance, cheering younger men with his light-heartedness, his genial humor and his incomparable courage, and lending his natural gaiety to the Community recreation in a way that created universal happiness and content. Until his strength so far failed him that he had to retire to the gentle shades of the Community House, he remained the inspiration of the younger members of the Community, and indeed it was their love and devotion to him and his rare and beautiful ascendancy over them that won for him, by the common voice and out of the common heart, the title of President of the Young Men’s Club. Academically, Father Maher was not a scholar, but I have hardly ever known a better judge of a good book, a strong magazine article or a substantial and inspiring speech. What other men got by a long scholastic training, he seemed to possess by a sort of natural instinct, as he knew without teaching how to detect shoddy in a coat, a book, or a man’.
“Father Maher was a model religious. He never missed an exercise of piety through neglect. There never was a more charitable tongue in a monk and never was a Soldier of Christ less a pharisee. When he passed away in the early morning of Friday, May 15, 1925, there disappeared from the life of the campus and the Community one of the rarest figures Notre Dame has known. He slipped out of life as unostentatiously as he had slipped into everything and out of everything for the past sixty years of his abiding here. True, he had been anointed a few days before, but the intervening days had been comfortable and normal and no one dreamed the end was so near. Indeed, the Superior was actually on his way from the chapel to the room of the venerable priest to bring him Holy Communion when Brother Julius hurried out to tell the Sister that Father Maher suddenly seemed to be sinking. Before Sister could reach his bedside, he had gently and almost imperceptibly ceased to breathe”. Hope, Father Arthur Notre Dame—One Hundred Years.