Heroes of the Cross

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

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Father 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.

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

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“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.

Brother Columba (John), O’Neill C.S.C. (1847-1922)

 He columbaentered the Novitiate, July 9, 1874. After his novitiate he was assigned to the college shoe shop, though he had offered himself for the Bengal Missions or Molokai. Over the nearly 50 years of his life as a brother, he received much acclaim through his devotion to the Sacred Heart and was known by many as the “Divine Healer” and as the “Miracle Man of Notre Dame”. He distributed Sacred Heart badges throughout the Midwest and never claimed any credit for cures which may have occurred. Upon his death in 1922, thousands recalled the humble devotedness of the shoe maker.

Archbishop Theotonius A. Ganguly C.S.C. (1920-1977)

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Theotonius was born in Hashnabad, which is in present-day Bangladesh, on Feb. 18, 1920.  After being educated by the Brothers of Holy Cross at Holy Cross High School in Bandura, Theotonius attended St. Albert’s Seminary in Ranchi, Bihard, India. He was ordained a diocesan priest in the Dhaka Archdiocese on June 6, 1946. In 1947, Father Ganguly went to the University of Notre Dame to earn a master’s degree and doctorate. He graduated with his Doctorate in Philosophy in 1951, making him the first Bengali Christian to receive a doctorate. He decided to enter Holy Cross and professed First Vows on August 16, 1952.  Upon returning to Bangladesh, Ganguly began teaching at Notre Dame College. He was made the school’s Dean of Studies in 1954 and Assistant Principal in 1958. On March 21, 1960, Ganguly was appointed Principal. On September 3 of the same year, Pope Saint John XXIII nominated Fr. Ganguly as Auxiliary Bishop to Archbishop Lawrence L.  Graner in the Archdiocese of Dhaka. He was ordained a bishop on October 7, 1960, becoming the first Bengali bishop. On July 6, 1965, he was appointed Graner’s co-adjutor, and when the archbishop retired November 23, 1967, Ganguly became the Archbishop of Dhaka.  Ganguly was known for the way he respected the dignity of every person. He had  a truly religious spirit and a gentlemanly character. His gentle, yet strong persona helped him shepherd the Archdiocese through the trying time of the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. A heart attack caused his sudden death on Sept. 2, 1977. Archbishop Ganguly’s Cause for Sainthood was opened by the Archdiocese of Dhaka in September 2006, thereby declaring Ganguly a Servant of God. (Congregation of Holy Cross 2019)

Holy Cross Sisters of the Civil War

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On 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.

Bro. Flavian Laplante C.S.C. (1907-1981)

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Servant of God Br. Flavian Laplante, C.S.C. was born on July 27, 1907 in Quebec, Canada. After meeting the Holy Cross brothers at school, he entered the Congregation at the age of 16. After working several years in Notre Dame College in Quebec as a teacher and dorm supervisor, Flavian was assigned to the Congregation’s mission in East Bengal in 1932 and arrived in Chittagong in East Bengal on December 1.  He remained in Chittagong and in 1943-44 when a severe famine hit the land he helped tend to the hungry and sick. Following the end of World War II, Flavian worked out a program so that many fishermen could receive new boats because theirs had been commandeered during the war. He led them in resistance against pirates and participated in rescue missions. Flavian’s main plan, however, was to organize the fisherman into cooperatives in which they could help each other. At the same time, Flavian began constructing an orphanage at Diang. He dedicated the rest of his life to ministering in Diang and among the fishermen of the nearby region. He renamed the settlement there Miriam Ashram or the “Marian Hermitage”. On December 24, 1976 Flavian retired to the life of a hermit in his personal ashram 1,500 feet from the brothers’ residence in Diang. On October 1, 1978, he had a statue of Our Lady installed on the property, and the following year, on February 11, he organized a day of prayer and feast in honor of Mary. Over 800 pilgrims came that day, and this celebration continues as a major pilgrimage in Bangladesh to this day. After completing 49 years of service to the poor in Bangladesh, he died there on June 19, 1981. Flavian was declared a Servant of God on February 13, 2009.

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

Image result for patrick peytonVenerable 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.

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

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Mother 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.

Bro. Paul the Hermit (John W. McIntyre) C.S.C. (1858-1920)

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“In the death (Feb. 26, 1920) of Brother Paul the Hermit (John W. McIntyre), at St. Joseph’s hospital, last Thursday afternoon, the Congregation of Holy Cross lost one of its most zealous members.  For many years past — since 1906 — the deceased was an assistant Superior General of the Community. He was born [in] Superior, Wisconsin, [in] 1858 and at the age of 17 entered St. Joseph’s Novitiate at Notre Dame. For the 18 years subsequent to his profession he served most ably as secretary of the University and thereafter in order as assistant Master of Novices, promoter at the House of Studies, Watertown, Wisconsin, as business manager of the Ave Maria and for the last two years as superintendent of construction and accommodation work at Notre Dame. His work in all these offices was marked by fidelity, zeal, and efficiency. Despite the handicap of ill health during many years, he labored untiringly in the service of religion and education and was often able to attend to his strenuous duties only by the wonderful strength of will for which he was so remarkable. An ideal religious with many great gifts of mind and heart, Brother Paul fulfilled his vocation in a manner worthy of the highest admiration. That he may receive quickly the rich reward for which he lived so consistently is the heartfelt prayer of everyone who knew him. A solemn Mass was celebrated in Sacred Heart Church by the President of the University, Rev. John Cavanaugh, C.S.C.” (from a letter to Father Edward Sorin 1891).

John Francis, Cardinal, O’Hara C.S.C. (1888-1960)

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The fourth of ten children, O’Hara enrolled at the University of Notre Dame in 1908 and in 1910 became a founding officer of Notre Dame Knights of Columbus. After earning a bachelor’s degree and graduating in 1911, he entered the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1912 and made his profession in 1914.  After ordination and graduate school, he returned to Notre Dame, where he served as prefect of religion and dean of the College of Commerce. O’Hara greatly fostered the practice of daily reception of Communion still a newly approved practice by the Catholic Church. He was appointed the Vice President of the University of Notre Dame in 1933 and its president in 1934. During his tenure at Notre Dame, he brought numerous refugee intellectuals to campus. He also made doctorates available in philosophy, physics, mathematics and politics. He was a builder: constructing a new laundry, the post office, infirmary, the Rockne Memorial, Cavanaugh, Zahm and Breen-Phillips dormitories. He believed that the Fighting Irish football team could be an effective means to “acquaint the public with the ideals that dominate” Notre Dame. He wrote, “Notre Dame football is a spiritual service because it is played for the honor and glory of God and of his Blessed Mother.” In 1939, O’Hara was appointed by Pope Pius XII as an Auxiliary Bishop of the United States Military Ordinate as well as the Titular Bishop of Milasa.  He received his consecration as bishop on January 15, 1940 from Archbishop Francis Spellman in Sacred Heart Basilica. A devotee of the Blessed Virgin Mary, he selected as his episcopal mottoFollowing her, you will not go astray. He was named the eighth Bishop of Buffalo in 1945. O’Hara expanded Catholic education in the diocese and eliminated racial segregation in schools and churches. Promoted as the fifth Archbishop of Philadelphia in 1951, he often answered his own doorbell, which he explained by saying, “How else can I meet the poor?” Pope Saint John XXIII created him a cardinal in 1958. He is the only priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross to be raised to the College of Cardinals. John O’Hara died at age 72 and is buried at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Notre Dame, Indiana.

Mother Mary of the Seven Dolours (Leocadie Gascoin) C.S.C. (1818-1900)

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Mother Mary of the Seven Dolours, C.S.C. (Leocadie Gascoin, 1818-1900) collaborated with Blessed Basil Moreau in the foundation of the Sisters’ Society. When she was 22, she felt called to a life “given to Charitable works”. On August 4, 1841 Father Moreau himself gave the religious habit to her and to the three companions (Sister Mary of the Holy Cross, Sister Mary of Compassion and Sister Mary of Calvary) who preceded her in the novitiate. It was these four novices who became the first real community of sisters… the community that completed the religious family of Holy Cross. In 1849, she was appointed superior of the mission in Canada. In 1860, she was elected the first provincial and eventually became the superior general. Until her death in 1900, she tirelessly worked to establish and to safeguard her Marianites of Holy Cross. When Blessed Moreau was rejected at the end of his life by his Congregation, it was Mother Mary of the Seven Dolours who remained faithful, “sharing his suffering, defending him, offering the little material offering she could; surrounding him with respect and affection till the moment of his death”. In 1886 she requested that she not be re-elected Superior General—she had performed this service for 26 years. She died in 1900 at 82. (Paraphrased from the paper “Mother Mary of the Seven Dolours as a Person and Collaborator” by Sister Graziella LaLonde, C.S.C., delivered at History Conference, Stonehill College, 1989.)

Brother Ephrem (Dennis) O’Dwyer C.S.C. (1888-1978)

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“Born in Ireland…[Dennis O’Dwyer] came to the United States in 1907 and entered the Juniorate of the Brothers of Holy Cross at Notre Dame. Early recognized for outstanding abilities, for largeness of mind and goodness of heart, having served successfully as the Principal of three high schools, in 1931 Brother Ephrem was appointed treasurer of the University of Notre Dame, and thereafter a member of the Provincial Council. At the General Chapter of 1945 he was selected to be the first Provincial Superior of the Brothers of Holy Cross in the United States. Under his direction, the Brothers and their schools flourished with such phenomenal success that in 1956, the Congregation instituted the Eastern Vice-Province, and appointed Brother Ephrem to be Vice Provincial to the Brothers of the new Vice-Province. In 1953, in recognition of its growth in numbers and good works, the eastern area was raised to the status of Province, and Brother Ephrem became Provincial of the Eastern Province of the Brothers of Holy Cross. A great servant of God, a great leader of men, through the vision and labors of Brother Ephrem, God has blest American education and us all” (Father Richard Sullivan, C.S.C, President of Stonehill College, 1960). In 1976, the University of Notre Dame conferred upon him a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. “Because he is a man of vision, as well as of Irish wit, he has acted with clarity, undaunted courage, and strength of purpose throughout his religious life. Despite the fact that he shouldered responsibility for many of his active years, and because of his deep trust and belief in God, he always remained profoundly human, and his solicitude for others never wavered in his sixty-seven years of religious profession.”

Sister Graziella (Mary of St. Tharcisius) Lalande, C.S.C. (1912-2018)

sisterShe was born in Nomininque in the Canadian Lauenetians as the oldest of a large family. In 1933 with the sudden death of her mother, she took care of her brothers and sisters. At age 28 she entered the Sister of Holy Cross and for the nest 30 years worked as an educator at Basile Moreau Collge and CEGEP (General and Vocational College). During these years she earned a doctorate in French literature and was known as a gifted educator. In 1973, she was elected Assistant General of the Sister of Holy Cross and began to make accessible to Holy Cross the writings of the Founder, Blessed Basil Moreau and introduce a renewed reading of Holy Cross sources (from “Tribute to Sister Graziella Lalande, CSC” Micheline Tremblay, CSC, 2018).  “She was the premier Moreau scholar in Holy Cross. Distinctive in her scholarship is that she is the first to explore Moreau’s spirituality and teaching through the lens of education. As a professional educator herself, she recognized the significance of what Father Moreau had to say about the type of pedagogy necessary for Holy Cross to have an impact on the complexities of providing a quality education in 19th-century France.  She…authored many booklets on various Moreau themes. Her book, Like a Mighty Tree, (1989) is well known…and [p]rior to her death, she published Who Are You, Basile Moreau? expanding and bringing together revised editions of some earlier works” (from YOU MUST TAKE UP THIS WORK: A Meeting with Sister Graziella Lalande, CSC By Brother Joel Giallanza, CSC, 2010).

Brother Lawrence (John) Menage C.S.C. (1816-1873)

brother“One of the original six Brothers who came with Father Sorin.  He had for many years been superintendent of farm and general outside financier and business manager for Notre Dame. He had a wide acquaintance and was possessor of a very sociable personality. Many distant friends at funeral” (St. Joseph Valley Resister, April 10, 1873. April 6, 1873). “This excellent and devoted Brother was one of the first band who came to America in 1844. No one in the Community worked harder and more faithfully than himself. Self-sacrificing, ever ready to comply with the wishes of his superior, he recoiled before no hardships.  He spent himself for the Community” (Granger’s Memo, 1873). “Brother Lawrence was born in France in the year, 1816; he entered the Congregation in his 24th year, and came with Very Rev. Sorin to this country in 1841” (Scholastic 1873). “From the time of his arrival to the hour of his death he was constant in the fulfillment of his duties. Although more than any other man of my years, I have seen Religious of undoubted fidelity, of great zeal and admirable devotedness, I remember none whom I would place above our dear departed one in these qualities. Bro. Lawrence held almost without interruption for the third part of the century the responsible position of steward or business agent of the Community at Notre Dame, and during that time he had many staunch friends among the farmers of the county and among business and professional men of South Bend and Chicago. Brother Lawrence carries with him the deep and unfeigned sentiments of esteem and respect not only of his entire Community, but also, I believe of all with whom he came into contact, either as a Religious or a business agent of the Institution” Circular Letter Father Sorin).

Father Bernard H. B. Lange C.S.C. (1888-1970)

fr lange 2fr lange 1The legendary “Strongman-Priest,” motivated his lifters with a combination of fear and Teutonic discipline, tempered by love for “his boys.” More than anything he was a hero to those who worked out in his quaint gym behind the Golden Dome. This man, who had a reputation for toughness, was toughest on himself. He was known as one of the strongest men in the world. “Dutch”, as the Prussian-born youth was known, received his degree in 1912 and returned to Notre Dame a year later as a Holy Cross novice. He was ordained in 1917 and earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree at Notre Dame and a Ph.D. in biology at St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas. In 1922, four years after he started weight-training, he was proclaimed the “Fourth Strongest Man in the World.”  Diabetes and the deterioration of his eyesight forced him out of the classroom in 1935. He met the situation by honing his talents for sculpture and woodworking and becoming overseer of one of the first and finest collegiate weight-training facilities in the United States. This son of immigrants from Danzig, East Prussia worked as a roughneck in the Pennsylvania oil fields before coming to Notre Dame for prep school. In the east corner of his gym was Lange’s immense workbench, where he turned out plaques and trophies for his boys; built hauling wagons, benches and racks for the gym; and made several busts of his old friend, Knute Rockne. Many of the altars and missal stands in Sacred Heart Church and other campus chapels were crafted here. Toward the end of his life he was blind in one eye, deaf in one ear, but he never complained. Father Lange was at heart a gentle man. During the Great Depression, he gave free swimming lessons to the children of Notre Dane employees. Mindful of his own immigrant background, he befriended the Polish groundskeepers on campus, making them frequent gifts of jackets and money. They were his kind of folks: simple, hardworking, honest. He was known to make small “loans” to them when they were in a bind.  Knute Rockne was an enthusiastic supporter of Lange’s concepts, and Ara Parseghian was to give him special recognition for his work with many of his players. Lange had an impact on generations of Notre Dame students. (Gill, Jr., M.D., Paul G. Notre Dame Magazine, Spring 1987)

Blessed Mother Marie-Leonie (Elodie-Virginie) Paradis, C.S.C. (1840-1912)

Blessed Leoni Pardismother leonaieMarianite Sister of Holy Cross and founder of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family she was born in L’Acadie, Lower Canada. In the mid 1840s Élodie Paradis’ father moved to the concession of La Tortue, near the village of Saint-Philippe-de-Laprairie, in order to support his family. When Élodie was nine years old, her mother sent her to a boarding-school run by the Congregation of Notre-Dame in La Prairie. Having heard that there was a community of nuns within the Holy Cross family, Élodie presented herself at the novitiate of the Marianite Sisters of Holy Cross in Saint-Laurent, near Montreal in 1854. She was not yet 14. Under the name of Sister Marie-de-Sainte-Léonie she was accepted as a novice. In 1857 she made her vows. In 1862 she was sent to New York, where the Marianites operated an orphanage, a workroom, and a school for poor children in the parish of St Vincent de Paul. Eight years later she joined the American branch of Holy Cross and went to Indiana to teach French and needlework to the nuns who were slated to become teachers. After a short stay in Michigan, in 1874 Sister Marie-Léonie was chosen to direct a group of novices and postulants at the College of St Joseph in Memramcook, New Brunswick.  There she would heed what she considered her calling at that moment: to be an auxiliary and assistant to the Holy Cross Fathers in the mission of educating young Acadians. Fourteen Acadian girls taken into the workroom that she directed began wearing their own unique habit in 1877. In 1880 the general chapter of the Holy Cross Fathers accepted the idea of a new foundation for the needs of the colleges, the Little Sisters of the Holy Family. Sister Marie-Léonie helped “to save the Acadian nationality, threatened and doomed to anglification” as much by Irish Roman Catholics as by Protestants. In 1895 she met Bishop Paul Larocque who agreed to receive the mother house and the novitiate of the Little Sisters into his diocese and to give them his approval. In 1895, after 21 years in Acadia, Mother Marie-Léonie returned to Quebec. In 1896 Larocque granted canonical approval, and Mother Marie-Léonie then applied herself to the tasks of giving her institution a rule of life and helping the nuns develop a spirit of cheerful simplicity and sisterly generosity. Mother Marie-Léonie died on 3 May 1912. In the course of her life she had overseen 38 establishments in Quebec, New Brunswick, Ontario and the United States, most of them in colleges and a few in episcopal households. At the time of her death, the Little Sisters of the Holy Family had some 635 members. Élodie Paradis was beatified in Montreal on 11 Sept. 1984, during Pope John Paul II’s visit. The church thereby recognized an “avant-garde woman” who had met the needs of her time by founding the first institute to help priests in their educational work. Without this assistance, some colleges would have been unable to survive, since they did not have the means to hire lay personnel.

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

nieuwland 1nieuwland 2He 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)

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

augustus.jpg“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)

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

sorin 1.jpgThough 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 sorin 2more 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)

Sister Stella Maris Kunihira, CSC (1957-2017)

i am uganda“I am Kunihira” which means a woman of hope. Sister Stella Maris was born at Katumba village near Fort Portal, Uganda. She was the first born with three siblings to follow. She was so proud of her father, Modesto Katalebabo, who was the head catechist in Virika Parish. Teaching was always sister’s love. After completing primary school at Kinyamasika Primary School in 1979, she joined the first level of teacher education at Kinyamasika Teacher Training College completing Grade III level in 1987. As she was teaching at Kinyamasika Primary School, she took the big step to join the Sisters of the Holy Cross in September 1988. She also studied as a private candidate for secondary education with the assistance of her dear friend Sister Leonella, CSC, and Brother Jim Nichols, CSC. She often talked too about her prison ministry at Katojo Prison outside Fort Portal and how she and Sister Elizabeth Tusiime would assist the women prisoners who lived in very poor conditions. After professing her first vows in September 1992, she continued her many years of education ministry. While she was teacher/headmistress at St. Andrew’s Primary School, she was also able to receive her Grade V diploma from Kaliro Teacher Training College. Even though the living conditions were very challenging, Stella persevered. In 2003, Sister Stella Maris was privileged to receive a scholarship to Saint Mary’s College in the United States. She first attended Holy Cross College for two years and then graduated in 2008 from Saint Mary’s College with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. After returning to Uganda, she served as headmistress at Moreau Primary School in Kirinda, Kyenjojo District for one year. She had the desire to work with older students which brought her back to Jinja where she served at Holy Cross Lake View school as librarian and English teacher. When she left Lake View, Brother Ben Mugisa, CSC, invited her to assist him in coordinating the Holy Cross schools in Jinja. She was filled with joy in being able to share her teaching experience and love with Holy Cross teachers. Besides teaching, Sister Stella Maris had other congregational responsibilities, such as vocation director, director of the temporary professed sisters and Area of Africa councilor/secretary. Sister Brenda Cousins, General Leadership Councilor, said about Sister Stella Maris that she was “a person who gave steady, humble service to God’s people and said, ‘yes’ to whatever God called her to in the Congregation.” (Information taken from a eulogy by Sister Mary Lou Wahler, CSC)

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

pieau.pngHe 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.

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.

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

hesburgh 1A 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). Hesburgh TimeHe 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 on line sources.)

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

paul.jpg“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.)