BROTHER ANSELM (ARTHUR) TATRO, C.S.C. (1891-1989)
Brother Anselm was born in St. Anne, Illinois in 1891. He helped out on the farm and worked at a manufacturing company before he entered Holy Cross in January of 1917. He served on the staff of the Notre Dame Post Office for eight years before going to the Ave Maria Press where he worked as a Linotype operator until 1980. He was so accurate at his work that he was given much of the Notre Dame scientific writing to set into print. He lived in the same room on the second floor of Columba Hall from 1919 until 1981 when failing health forced his true retirement in 1981 at Dujarié House.
Anselm had three hobbies—he loved to hike, collect songs and solve word puzzles. He was the “father” of exercise enthusiasts in Holy Cross. His legendary hikes were not short—they were 20 to 30 miles long, seldom more than a 15-mile radius around the University of Notre Dame. He enjoyed hikes on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays keeping him lean and trim. Often, he would return with a pocket full of change and other items he had found along his various trails. All his booty was dutifully turned in to whoever was the superior that day.
He was in constant good spirits and became known as the smiling-brother of Columba Hall noted for gentleness, kindness and Trappistine simplicity. He would often stop some brother in the hallway asking them if they could name the tune; he then would either hum or la-la-la. The story was also told that when it was time for him to move from Columba Hall to Dujarié retirement house, it was nearly impossible to get into his room. He had stacks upon stacks of South Bend Tribunes and Scholastics in his room—one brother estimated he had not tossed away any paper from as early as 1919!
Upon his death, his directory of prayers was filled with countless cards and slips of paper. One read: “Lord, as I grow older, keep me from getting talkative, give me wings to get to the point, grace to listen to others, keep me sweet, make me helpful since I want a few friends at the end.” He had far more than just a “few” friends. Someone said, “If you seek creative ideas, go for a walk. Angels whisper to a [person] when [they] go for a walk.” Angels must then have been in constant conversation with this good and gentle Holy Cross Brother.