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!