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 College 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 1

fr lange 2The 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)

March 16, 2019

In the Voice of Moreau:  We live in a world where information and sensory stimulation are a constant reality.  In the age of technology, from morning to night, our minds have to be open for business – we are constantly on the spot as it were.  Yet, this is a recipe for spiritual catastrophe. What mechanisms do we have in place to prevent the devil, the world and the flesh from accessing our deepest and truest selves?  I tell you that we must learn to shut the door of the mind, allow the Cross to descend into the keyhole and dare anything that does not measure up to the standard of our crucified Lord to pass over into our hearts.  How often we play with that door! How we let in all sorts of company! Do we not know that the evil one wears disguises? He will do anything to steal us from God. Therefore, I implore you, sisters and brothers, to learn to live in these modern times with a closed door.  What our Lord wishes us to know, taste, feel or experience, he will deliver to us through a closed and locked door (Jn 20:19). Trust the Cross! Ave Crux, Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Response:  The passion for esteem and honor is the source of all our mistakes and evils. We are all proximate to being irreparably infected with the disease of information bombardment.  The relentless flood of media information does not move us toward God. It causes us to be completely focused inward, on our flawed nature, for love and fulfillment. Parents and educators need to be on alert, first, to protect themselves from looking for solace and fulfillment through the pull of instantaneous world-wide information.  We must don the armor of faith that is woven from the Cross as our hope. This restraint is an everyday struggle. Yet the more we look to God and less to self, the stronger that armor becomes. If we energetically engage is this struggle, then we can assist our children and students to work toward the exercise of disciplined restraint from attempting to satiate all their needs for recognition and love through their devices.  This is a difficult task, yet a critical obligation. The survival of the soul is at stake. In a sermon on “Community Spirit” Blessed Moreau talks about the consequence for our first parents falling prey to Satan’s promise of everlasting bliss.   His explanation of the dilemma of Adam and Eve becomes relevant today if we replace their names with ours and Satan’s apple for the internet. “Pride is a vain and deceitful thing.  It spoke its first lying words in the Garden of Eden, ‘You shall be gods’. In his state of innocence, the first human was united to God, by complete dependence, and he drew from this union the clear light of his intelligence, the firm rule of his will, the spiritual life of his soul, his absolute empire over his body, his sovereign authority over creatures, and the immortality that allowed him to aspire to eternal glory.  All this because our first parent saw himself in God, who was always with him as the source of all his happiness to his perfect submission to the divine will.  But that permanent regard of humanity toward its Creator—humanity in whom God mirrored himself, so to speak—which referred all humanity to God was suddenly lost through the deviation of the human mind turned away from God and upon itself.”  It is natural to want to be loved.  It is unnatural to seek love through the door of the internet.  Ave Crux, Spes Unica.

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

John_Francis_O'Hara.jpg200px-Coat_of_arms_of_John_Francis_O'Hara.svg.pngThe 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 a 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 motto: Following 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)

unnamed (3).jpgMother 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)

download (1)“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.”

March 9, 2019

In the Voice of Moreau:  Perhaps you have seen the famous icon of our Lady holding the boy Jesus in her arms.  She cradles him lovingly as he is confronted by two angels: one has a stick of hyssop with a vinegar-soaked sponge on it, while the other bears a cross.  If you look closely at the icon, you will see one of the Lord’s sandals falling off of his foot, as if he has just run into his mother’s arms for comfort and consolation.  Our heavenly Father is patient with us, his daughters and sons, as we too make the journey to Jerusalem. Yes, he requires us to pass through the trial of the Cross, but he is a loving Father whose mercy is enduring.  Thus he has given us a mother, the Church, to be our protector and nurturer until we are ready to face that reality. She is the local Church, the universal Church, the domestic Church and the institutional Church. She surrounds us with tender, loving care, teaching us the ways that lead to life and the patterns of salvation.  When the time is right, we will step forth from her arms and, with our Lord, embrace our glorious destiny. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Response: Parents and CSC teachers are co-educators in the “ways that lead to life”.  Parents who are persons of faith are the first educators of their children as they establish the identity of their child as a member of the nuclear family, the local and universal Church and the secular world.  As Mary did for Jesus, parents construct a strong foundation upon the initial teachings of faith and facts. When the child is still quite young, parents must make a serious, conscious and well thought out plan as they select the professional co-educators who will direct many years of the child’s institutional education.  Blessed Moreau says about Mary, the Mother of Sorrows: “While Jesus Christ offered himself to his father for our salvation, Mary offered him also for the same end, and we were then so much the sole object of the thoughts of the son and the mother that the Savior, turning upon her his dying eyes still filled with love, addressed her a last word which was not of himself or of her, but us.  Enfolding us all in the person of St. John, he presented us to Mary, saying, ‘Woman, behold your son.’ It was as if he said to her: ‘ New Eve, here is your family. You are henceforth, alone the true mother of all the living. You have born all these children in your sorrow, and I wish you to love them even as you loved me’” (Sermon, The Love of Mary’s Heart. Date?)  Blessed Moreau teaches that parents and teachers emulate the love of Mary for children when they take upon “the attitude of priest and minister before the altar on which was consummated the sacrifice of our redemption.  Truly did she fulfill to the final measure her part in the work of Christ, to ‘fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in her flesh, for his body, which is the Church’” (Col. 1:24). Children entrusted into the mutual care of parents and teachers can only assist them to face the reality of the Cross if they, too, journey toward Jerusalem.  Ave Crux Spes Unica!

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

Blessed Leoni Pardis mother 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.

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

brother-paul-the-hermit2.png“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).

Rev. William Corby, C. S. C., (1833 –1897)

Father William_Corby president.jpgA Union Army chaplain in the American Civil War attached to the Irish Brigade, he also served twice as president of the University of Notre Dame.  Born in Detroit, Michigan he attended public school until 16 when he joined his father’s real estate business. In 1853, he enrolled in the 10-year-old University of Notre Dame and began study for the priesthood three years later. Following ordination, he taught at Notre Dame and served as a local parish priest. He then served as GSBA 1/01:  Portrait of Rev. William Corby, CSC, 1863.chaplain of the 88th New York Infantry, which was one of the five original regiments in the Irish Brigade. For nearly three years, Father Corby ministered to the needs of Catholic soldiers in the Army of the Potomac. The editor of Corby’s memoirs says about him, “Chaplains, like officers, won the common soldiers’ respect with their bravery under fire. Father Corby’s willingness to share the hardships of the men with a light-hearted attitude and his calm heroism in bringing spiritual and physical comfort to men in the thick of the fighting won him the esteem and the friendship of the men he served.  Frequently under fire, Corby moved among casualties on the field, giving assistance to the wounded and absolution to the dying” (Memoirs of Chaplain Life by Very Rev. Corby, Notre Dame, Indiana, “Scholastic” Press, 1894).  Before the Brigade engaged the Confederate soldiers at a wheat field just south of Gettysburg, Corby, in ”a singular event that lives in the history of the Civil War”, addressed the troops. “Placing his purple stole around his neck, Corby climbed atop a large boulder and offered absolution to the entire unit, a ceremony never before performed in America.  Corby sternly reminded the soldiers of their duties, warning that the Church would deny Christian burial to any who wavered and did not uphold the flag” (Memoirs of Chaplain Life ).   Following his service in the Civil War, he returned to Notre Dame and served as its vice-president in 1865 and president from 1866-72.  During his first administration, enrollment at Notre Dame increased to more than 500 students. In 1869 he opened the law school and in 1871, he began construction of Sacred Heart Church.  Notre Dame was still small so Corby taught classes and knew most of the students and faculty members.  At the end of his term at Notre Dame in 1872, he was sent to Sacred Heart College in Watertown, Wisconsin, a young institution which Corby placed on firm financial footing.  He became president of Notre Dame a second time from 1877-81. When he returned to Notre Dame, it had not yet become a significant academic institution. This second presidency saw the 1879 fire that destroyed the old Main Building of the school. Corby sent all students home and promised that they would return to a “bigger and better Notre Dame.”  He overcame the $200,000 fire loss and rebuilt the Main Building with its Golden Dome.  In addition to his presidency, he served as the Holy Cross Provincial when Father Sorin became Superior General.  Father Corby died of pneumonia on December 28, 1897. His casket was borne to the grave, not by his fellow Holy Cross priests as was the custom, but by aging Civil War veterans. His coffin was draped in the flag of his old regiment and a rifle volley was fired as his coffin was lowered into the grave. (Murray, Samuel. Father William Corby (1903-10). Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.)

March 2, 2019

In the Voice of Moreau:  The Cross is the icon of authentic priesthood.  Transcending the geographic bounds of the Temple, our crucified Lord’s sacrifice on Mt. Calvary is first and foremost a missionary act that is meant to be proclaimed through all nations, cultures, races and historical periods.  His altar is the instrument of execution that has been thrust upon him. His offering is his very own body. His prayers are the simple words of honest human emotion: Why have you abandoned me?  Into your hands, I commend my spirit.  And the key which harmonizes these elements and makes this Mass perfect?  A pure intention, a Sacred Heart. You and I are called to be priests too.  At this moment, exactly where our feet stand, we are invited to concelebrate, with our Master, the cruciform liturgy that gives Life.  Let our desks, kitchen tables and computer screens be the places where we decide daily to make an offering of ourselves to our heavenly Father.  Let our hearts be converted to the pattern of taking up our daily tasks, dedicating them to the most holy God, and literally executing them for the salvation of the world.   Let us indeed be priests forever. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Response: As Holy Cross educators (sisters, priests, brothers and lay collaborators) we are members of the authentic priesthood. Let’s dedicate our vocation as educators as our first Eucharistic concelebration. Our offering to God is the students entrusted to our care for their intellectual and moral formation. Each lesson plan is Eucharist for our students guaranteeing that our priesthood is a genuine oblation–a sacrament. At the beginning of each day, each class, and each prep period, make the prayerful intention to design and implement all as a celebration of the liturgy that gives life. Let us assist our students to know that they, too, are priests: that they are Eucharist for each other. Let us create classrooms that are Church built around an altar where all gather in adoration and prayer for a world desperately in need of Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Our Lord. Let us conscientiously take on the role of priest and raise the cup and the plate with the wine and bread of adverbs and adjectives, protons and neutrons, theories and dictums, reading and writing, minds and hearts. May we be imbued with a single desire: to be transubstantiated because we “ are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that [we] may declare the praises of Him who called [us] out of darkness into His wonderful light” ( 1 Peter 2:9).

Sister Frances B (Bernard) O’Connor, C.S.C. (1929—Living)

image1.jpgThe fourth of ten children, Sister Frances was born in Detroit, Michigan. She graduated from high school in 1947 and was drawn toward the Sisters of the Holy Cross because of their ministries in the foreign missions. Shortly after making final vows, she went to Bangladesh to begin a twenty-year ministry in teaching and serving as superior for five years. During the General Chapter of 1973 she was elected to the General Council, and in 1984 she was elected Superior General. As Superior General she considered one of her primary responsibilities to ensure, support and embody the charism of Holy Cross in all of the Community’s sponsored institutions. She was well aware that she was serving Holy Cross sisters in a time of transition and change. Her prophetic vision of the changes she foresaw in religious life and the consequences appear in many of her writings and addresses. She acknowledges the consistent movement of the Spirit toward renewal in the Church and that the Congregation advance the critical choice of renewal. In 1989 she accepted a position as Guest Scholar at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame where she began an international research study asking Catholic women their opinions of their place in the Catholic Church. This work has taken her to three continents interviewing women as well as theologians. She has raised the consciousness of women regarding their own oppression in both the Church and society. From 1994-2010 she was a Hesburgh Scholar giving lectures at Notre Dame alumni clubs throughout the country. She continues to teach a seminar at Holy Cross College in South Bend, Indiana for retired adults. Throughout her 70 plus years as a Sister of the Holy Cross, Frances has been a citizen of the international community, engaged in writings and presentations based upon the charism and teachings of Jesus. She is the author of several books, and she is the recipient of many awards including the Women’s Ordination Conference Award for Prophetic Figures in 1993, the YWCA President’s Award for significant contributions to the advancement of women in 1991, the Saint Mary’s College Alumnae Achievement Award in 1992 and in 2000 the Sagamore of Wabash Award for her inspired leadership. In 2005 she was invited to give a major presentation on Religion, Education and the Role of Government in the Oxford Round Table, Oxford University which was published by Oxford University Press.

Father Gerardo Whelan, C.S.C. (1927-2003)

Gerry Wheladn CSC.jpegHe distinguished himself as an educator in Chile between 1955-2003. During this time he worked as director of discipline, teacher and principal of Saint George School in Santiago.  He designed an educational experiment that became widely known. Born in Detroit, Michigan he was the oldest of four brothers whom he had to take care of when both parents died in their 50s. He completed high school at Catholic Central in Detroit, graduating in June 1946. He studied at the University of Notre Dame where  he entered Holy Cross and was ordained in 1955. That same year he arrived in Chile and was assigned as director of discipline at Saint George School. In 1967 he obtained a master’s degree in education from the University of Chicago and returned to Chile in August 1969 where he became principal of Saint George until September of 1973 when the military junta led by the dictator Augusto Pinochet overthrew the socialist government of President Salvador Allende establishing a military dictatorship in Chile. The Congregation of Holy Cross was forced to leave St. Geroge. Whelan then worked at the Center for Research and Development of Education until 1990 and, at the same time, was pastor of San Roque parish in Peñalolén . In 1992 he was able to return to Saint George where he served as a teacher of theology and director of studies until 2003 when he died of cancer. Between 1992-2003 he received the Order of Merit for Teaching and was nominated for a national education award. A year after his death, the Gerardo Whelan Development Center located in Peñalolén was born. His educational experiment was designed to be more flexible than the one imposed by the Ministry of Education of Chile. It was based on the truth that students are human beings, Christians and Chileans, who needed to develop as fully integrated persons and so to be later fully integrated into the national and international political reality. According to Whelan the students must feel restless and dissatisfied with the progress of the system which would be a true sign of progress. If people were not happy with what they were doing, it was motivated by a spirit of self-improvement. Whelan was memorialized in the film Machuca by director Andrés Wood. It details the turbulent history of social changes in several Chilean Catholic schools in the early 1970s. The film tells the story of Gonzalo Infante and Pedro Machuca, two 11-year-old children living in Santiago in 1973 in totally different realities. While Gonzalo lives in an upper class neighborhood, Machuca lives among an “illegal population.” They are separated by a line that Father McEnroe, director of the school based on Father Gerardo, wants to tear down so the school can accept poor children. Machuca is based on the ex-student Amante Eledín Parraguez who became an university professor and poet. (Information taken from “The Crusade of the True Machuca”, a testimony of Amante Eledín Parraguez in an article originally published in the blog section of El Mercurio and reproduced on the portal Luis Emilio Recabarren, 04.20.2011; accessed 19/02/2019; and Hidalgo, Patricio.  Act of Faith. Testimonies of the life of Gerardo Whelan in Chile, Santiago, 2010)

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

6a176-BrotherFlavianLaplanteCSCServant 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.

February 23, 2019

In the Voice of Moreau:  We use the word “crucial” to describe the most important part of a story or a lesson or an explanation, but do we realize that this word literally means “like the Cross.”  In the same way that “crucial” things are the point, we can say that the Cross is the ultimate point of life – a horizontal and a vertical beam, symbolically encapsulating all of reality, converging in a single point where our Lord’s Sacred Heart pumps blood for the life of the world.  Beyond the historical crucifixion of Jesus, the Cross continues to be the point in a mystical form that we catch glimpses of during peak spiritual and emotional moments in our lives. See how people from all sorts of religious traditions and cultural backgrounds are naturally attracted to the Cross.  They marvel at it, wondering what it could mean, but at the same time their gaze and attention reveal the correspondence of this “crucial” symbol with something deep in their souls. The Cross is the point of it all, and our hearts will be restless until they are joined with our Lord’s. Let us therefore meet him at this “crucial” juncture and find peace.  Ave Crux, Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Response:  The most essential time, the crux, the crucial moment of each class period for CSC educators is placing Christ crucified somewhere within the minutes of instruction.  It takes conscientious commitment to think Ave Crux Spes Unica as each class is designed.  For veteran educators as well as newbies, this methodology needs to be preceded by a time of prayerful reflection.  What is the focal point of this lesson on poetic scansion or chemical reaction or discussion of an economic theory? When is the opportune time to suggest to students that their educational life is made up of more than well placed semicolons, memorized algorithms and theorems, the correct declension of verbs, or the accurate identification of cells?   Among the countless factoids that might guarantee success in living a civil citizenship, where does the CSC educator create the peak spiritual moment and how? Starting each class with a prayer that invokes Hagia Sophia, Holy Wisdom, is a great beginning. Christ Redeemer, grant us eyes of insight and a courageous heart to bring together our human struggle tempered by your desire to love us unconditionally.  Amen.  The class is now focused to work with the reality of reading and writing or math and science or historical investigation and so forth.  The teacher’s role is to inform minds and to frequently refocus students upon the crucial truth. Christ crucified is the only way to heaven because all reality is crucified with Him.  Embrace the Cross and be loved into eternal life. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

 

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)

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

theotonius_1.jpgTheotonius 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, C.S.C. 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)

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

columba-e1547740455133.jpgJohn O’Neill entered 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 Brother Columba, 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 Brother Columba O’Neill.

February 16, 2019

In the Voice of Moreau:  You have heard it said that zeal is the burning flame of desire to make God known, loved and served.  I tell you that the Cross is that burning flame of desire. In a moment of sheer grace, the Cross descends into our souls from on high.  It is the glorious and mystical theophany that Moses encountered while tending his flock, “Oh how you burn, but are not consumed!” (Ex 3:2).  As disciples of Jesus, we too are called to interiorize the burning bush, the tree of life, the resurrectional Cross of Christ, into our hearts and minds.  See how Moses, now beaming with desire for God’s will, traded his safe and peaceful lifestyle in the countryside for a showdown with the pharaoh, the most powerful man in the world.  When we have given our consent to this raging fire, our souls become animated by powerful waves of zeal and the world around us is set ablaze with divine love. Our Lord exhorts us: Do not be afraid!  Indeed, let us take up his Cross and make the one true God known, loved and served by the dazzling and glorious light of our spiritual conversions. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Response: “True zeal must be fostered and constantly refined in humble, faithful imitation of Christ crucified, seeking to second the design of divine providence, and striving for greater union in the Body of Christ” (Grove and Gawrych. Basil Moreau: Essential Writings, 2014: 53). For CSC educators it is the virtue of zeal that powers the ardent desire to impart the knowledge of salvation to students.  This desire drives the design of every component of the school’s curriculum and each class syllabus. Blessed Moreau emphasizes that “Teachers animated by such a spirit [by zeal] do not simply follow what is generally accepted in the profession but have a thousand little ways to encourage progress in even the weakest and least-talented students and challenge all students to their highest performance” (Christian Education).  For many years Moreau scholars have stressed that the founder was an insightful and progressive early 19th century educational thinker.  If the above quote is read in the light of current educational thinking, Moreau is promoting differentiated instruction.  This mode of instruction has been gaining more and more devotees since the early 1950s.  Zealous teachers embrace it because of the skills-diversity that exists within a classroom of 25 students.  Educators who either deny or cannot see that such a learning community exists within the individual classroom, do this to the detriment of their students and their families.  Parents who pay tuition and taxes for a Catholic education that guarantees differentiated instruction are not receiving the services paid for if educators are not zealous. Blessed Moreau clearly and in strong terms asserts what can happen in a school when teachers do not possess the insight nor the courage to zealously address skills-diversity.  “Without this virtue of zeal among teachers in a school, everything changes. Everything falls apart. There is ignorance, disorder, bad conduct, and the true corruption of young people—these are what families experience through faint-heartedness and indifference of teachers without zeal. They [teachers] are put in the midst of young people and cause the ruin of a great number of them.  Thus, the virtue of zeal is necessary for a Christian teacher” (Christian Education).  Ave Crux Spes Unica!

February 9, 2019

In the Voice of Moreau:  Anyone who has ever lived knows the dangers of a codependent relationship.  As human beings we find such consolation and comfort in the presence of the other – a boyfriend or girlfriend, a best friend, a spouse, a religious superior, a parent, a boss – but how easy it is to become emotionally and spiritually lost in that person at the expense of our first and truest identity as children of God.  The moment we choose to lean on the other is the moment that, albeit inadvertently, we reject the Lord. Look therefore to the Cross. Notice how our Mother and the Beloved Disciple stand specifically at the foot of the crucified Christ as the icon of authentic human relationships. Yes they are together, and yes they have become partners, but only because the Cross serves as the principle of their shared life!  They offer themselves together with Jesus to our Father who art in heaven. Let us therefore put an end to these fear-based, codependent behaviors and tendencies that society has normalized. Let us instead cultivate relationships that actually endure the test of time. Let us finally meet our beloved at the foot of the Beloved. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Response:  Blessed Moreau is very clear about detailing the pitfalls when teachers build codependent relationships with students.  “Relationships with young people are always difficult. Sometimes those who deal with young people attach themselves too closely to the young and end up giving themselves over strictly to human affections.  Finding among their students young people who are frank and open, who are moving towards accomplishing good things, who respond well to the care they are providing, some teachers forget the place of God in the relationship between teacher and student.  Learning this often surprises teachers, since it is easily hidden by enthusiasm, kindness, and even duty. Teachers who experience close relationships with their students become totally occupied with them: every place they go the students come to mind; no matter what they do, they think of the students.  Teachers like these often enter into unhealthy relationships of all kinds with their students, often without realizing what is happening. Christian educators really need a call from God in order to deal with what they face in working with young people” (Christian Education).  CSC educators need to pray for and cultivate the virtue of vigilance.  Moreau writes that “[v]igilant teachers forget nothing of what they ought to do and do not become distracted from what they ought to be thinking about, seeing, hearing, or doing.  Let your watchfulness and attention be calm, without over-concern, without agitation or trouble, without greater constraint or affectation. But also avoid the opposite, which involves carelessness, distraction, unwillingness to act, and tardiness….” (Christian Education).  Ave Crux Spes Unica!

February 2, 2019

In the Voice of Moreau:  “Stay in your lane!” is a phrase that has been gaining popularity over the past few weeks and months.  It is something that one person says to another who is trying to pry into their affairs or meddle in their business.  While you and I might feel offended if a close friend or a spouse spoke these words to us, they would take on a deep spiritual meaning if we imagined them sounding forth from the lips of our Lord, beckoning us from his most holy Cross.  The world, the flesh and the evil one looking for ways to lead us off track and the Christ sternly warning us to say “No!” – this is the drama that is constantly unfolding in our souls whether we know it or not! How easy it is to get confused in a culture that has become a web of social media posts, political ideologies and violent confrontations.  How quick the senses are to be drawn to the shiny bait that is being set before us on a daily basis. May our hearts never, ever  veer from the voice of the Lord.  Let us have the courage to stay in the one and only lane which leads to Life. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Response: With a sense of urgency, Blessed Moreau encourages his educators: “Hurry then; take up this work of resurrection, never forgetting that the special end of [education] is before all, to sanctify youth.  It is by this that you will contribute to prepare the world for better times than ours; for these students who now attend…school are the parents of the future, the parents of future generations, each one of whom bears within themself [sic] a family” (Christian Education).  The work of resurrection for CSC educators is assisting students not only to avoid the pitfalls of  the “shiny bait” that is alluring for all citizens of this world. It is preparing parents as the first teachers of their children for each successive generation.  Thomas á Kempis speaks as Christ when he commands: “Follow me. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Without the Way, there is no going. Without the Truth, there is no knowing. Without the Life, there is no Living”.  Both Moreau and Kempis affirm that the works and events of secular citizenship must be viewed through the lens of the resurrectional Cross of Christ. Responsible educators know that students travel two lanes as they work their way toward eternal happiness.  An authentic CSC education is imbued with Hope. Hope that enduring the travails of this life leads to the bliss of heavenly citizenship. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

January 26, 2019

In the Voice of Moreau:  The Cross is pure trust.  There is no bank account, Plan B, or exit route in case it does not work.  It is an unconditional, blind act of faith in the living God. Close your eyes and put yourself in the place of our Lord:  a quiet life in Nazareth, the Jordan River, the desert, the Galilean countrysides, the formidable city of Jerusalem, the Temple courtyard, the Upper Room, the Garden, Mt. Calvary, the empty tomb.  While our society heaps praise upon people who make bold and daring decisions like a marriage proposal or a career move or taking a political stand, the journey of trust is slow, quiet and steady. To get to the point of the simplicity of the Cross, one must make the decision, here and now in the solitude of one’s own heart, to trust God, then again in the evening, and again the next morning, throughout the day and so on.  Slowly but surely, reliance on all things that are not God die and pure hearts longing for the peace of his Kingdom emerge.  Let us learn to be little like the Christ and entrust our salvation to his most holy Cross.  Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Response:  Just as the Cross is pure trust so, too, is the relationship between teachers and students.  Researchers at Scots College, Sydney, Australia conclude that a teacher builds trust by providing structure, teaching with enthusiasm and passion, displaying a positive attitude, making learning fun, showing interest in students’ lives outside the classroom, treating students with respect and creating a safe environment in the classroom.  Veteran educators realize that creating such classroom environments involves steady—daily commitment. CSC educators who are known in their schools to be masters of their respective disciplines foster trusting relationships because they have also embraced the virtue of gentleness. Blessed Moreau teaches that “Teachers who have drawn such gentleness from Jesus Christ will be blessed and happy.  They will truly be the important people in their school, and they will cause Jesus Christ to be the important person there. Loved by their students and respected by the parents, who will be so happy to have found such excellent teachers for their children, they will be rewarded with blessings from the entire school community and will go through life ‘doing good works.’ Their memory will remain engraved upon the hearts of those students whom they have brought to the fullness of Christianity, and they will be a model to imitate and an example to follow” (Christian Education).  These educators, knowingly and unknowingly, frequently encourage their students to embrace crosses and the most holy Cross. Through the pattern of their lives and practices, these educators transform students’ lives. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

January 19, 2019

In the Voice of Moreau:  The word “symbol” comes from two Greek words, “throw” and “together.”  A symbol has meaning precisely because the concrete image has been thrown together with an abstract reality.  When we see the symbol we are put in touch with the reality in some way. While some symbols, like an arrow, are functional, some, like a heart, are meant to arouse emotion, and others, like a dove, carry deep spiritual and religious meaning.  The Cross, however, is a symbol that belongs in its own unique category. A Roman instrument of execution paired with the glorious body of our Lord does not point to a vague abstraction, but instead confounds the mind right where it is. Should I be seeing death or life?  Should I be seeing darkness or hope? Should I be seeing shame or bold confidence? The truth is that we are witnessing both happening at one and the same time! Such a symbol demands humility and great effort to truly understand, but those who persevere will be handsomely rewarded with nothing less than the transformation of their souls.  Let us therefore never avert our eyes from the Cross and in so doing become, ourselves, a symbol of Life for the world. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Response: Educators in Holy Cross schools are mandated to assist students to become living symbols of Life for the world.  To that end teachers must instruct students to become virtuous scientists and mathematicians; lawyers and social scientists; artists and athletes.  Leaders in every domain who are transformative motivators for Life. Science teachers such as Dr. Dominic Chaloner at the University of Notre Dame desire to develop the intellectual virtues and character dispositions that contribute to human flourishing or well-being, and include such things as intellectual curiosity, humility, honesty, and open-mindedness in their instruction.  Dr. Chaloner’s focus is on “salmon research to understand the ecological consequences of migrating salmon, especially when they spawn in Southeast Alaska streams and Upper Great Lakes tributaries. Most recently, [he has] been interested in salmon as biotransporters of contaminants, including persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals.” Mathematics educators also must become convinced that their discipline “is not merely about teaching students a list of theorems, but is about teaching them how to do mathematics and how to be mathematicians. [T]hese aims involve the cultivation of certain mathematical virtues, like inventiveness, perseverance and open-mindedness.” The study of mathematical virtues provides valuable guidance for mathematical educators, and the wider process of inducting students into mathematical practices as valuable contributors.  Blessed Moreau stresses that education “is the art of helping young people to completeness.” Living symbols of Life are persons who have appropriately integrated intellectual pursuits tempered by the promptings of the heart. Living symbols of Life build up the Body of Christ. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

January 12, 2019

In the Voice of Moreau:  The mind must not be educated at the expense of the heart.  In other words, the intellectual and emotional rigor of learning has a point!  Look to the Cross. The crown of thorns signifies the trials that the mind must endure in order that a person may be led to a deeper place.  Once that process is complete (Our Lord says “It is finished”), the human heart is literally opened up by the legionnaire’s lance. Here blood and water, the glory of God, burst forth into the life of the world.  In the postmodern era of deconstructing ideas and truth, the crown of thorns is the default intellectual approach of nearly all academics and sophisticates. Without the hope of a literally deeper meaning, however, all of that hard work is for naught!  It is all vanity! Let us therefore never ever separate the crown of thorns from the legionnaire’s lance. Let us never fall into the trap of meaningless thought patterns or get stuck in esoteric musings. Let us never allow a prideful mind to blind us from a heart longing to be redeemed.  The mind must not be educated at the expense of the heart! Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Response:  A redeemed humble heart arises out of the ashes of the trials of a mind imprisoned in a world of prideful living that only causes anxiety.  This redemption only happens to the heart that has been educated to temper the intellect. Thomas á Kempis writes in Chapter 7 of The Imitation of the Cross:  “Do not be ashamed to serve others for the love of Jesus Christ. …Do what lies in your power and God will aid your good will.  If you have wealth, do not glory in it, nor in friends if they are powerful…do not boast of personal stature or physical beauty.  Do not take pride in your talent or ability. If there is good in you, see more good in others, so that you remain humble. The humble live in continuous grace, while in the hearts of the proud are envy and frequent anger.”  CSC educators can easily assist students to temper the prideful mind with intentional lesson planning. Educators must consciously see all aspects of intellectual advancement through the lens of the Holy Cross Core Values: reliance upon Divine Providence, excellence, cultivation of the heart as well as the mind, inclusiveness, discipline, option for the poor, hope, family, integrity and zeal.  Ave Crux Spes Unica!

January 5, 2019

In the Voice of Moreau:  Jerusalem is the center of the universe in the first century Jewish mind.  It is the city of David and home of the Temple which tens of thousands of Jewish men and women died trying to defend.  When creation is finally brought to its perfection, it is believed that the “new Jerusalem” will emerge as the eternal reality upon which all of life will be ordered and enjoy peace forever.  Yet, our Lord’s crucifixion takes place specifically outside of the walls of Jerusalem.  Could our Lord be telling us that we must not get hung up on worldly signs, such as the literal city of Jerusalem, which merely point to the Kingdom?  Could he be telling us that we must look beyond any concept or image of our salvation, such as the literal city of Jerusalem, which prevents our hearts from truly experiencing the embrace of the living God?  Could he be telling us that the mind and its knowledge, such as the literal city of Jerusalem, bear no proportion to the actual encounter of our loving Father? Let us therefore be honest about the literal things that rival the one true God in our lives.  Perhaps they are goods and legitimately point to our eternal destiny, but we absolutely cannot be satisfied with them alone! Indeed, our hearts, with the Master’s, must constantly be taken to that dark and lonely place, beyond the confines of our thinking, where Life awaits us.  Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Response: An essential aspect of schooling children is assisting them to understand and interpret scores of symbols and their meanings.  Symbols like $, @, %, &, # , ç, ©, ¶ and œ all need explanation for appropriate utilization. Just as the jargon of the academic disciplines needs to be understood by students, so too the symbols of economics, chemistry and rhetoric.  For CSC educators there are also the symbols of our salvific journey that need decoding for students. Central is the Cross. Side by side with that Cross are two hearts: one encircled with a crown of thorns, the other impaled with seven swords.  There are the Alpha and Omega, the Fish, the Dove and the Lamb. For Christians who are deliberate about the journey toward resurrection in the Lord, these symbols must resonate in the heart. It is that human heart which then tempers and properly orders the secular symbols of the daily struggles in the valley of tears. Those secular struggles can so easily overwhelm us that we forget to seek the Way in “that dark and lonely place”.  Let us pray with Blessed Moreau: “Heart of my Jesus, speak to our hearts and convert them to you forever. We ask this by the wound given you on Calvary, and by that counterthrust [sic] which at the same time transpierced [sic] the living heart of Mary, your mother, who stood beside you” (Sermon on the Sacred Heart, nd). Ave Crux Spes Unica!

December 29, 2018

In the Voice of Moreau:  What is a year?  It is the time that it takes for the earth to make a circuit around the sun.  It is a natural and organic way that we mark time, but does it really mean anything?  The earth has been orbiting the sun for eons – so what! We could say the same about the day, the time it takes for the earth to complete one full rotation on its axis, or the month, the time it takes for the moon to orbit the earth.  The earth has been spinning and the moon has been orbiting for eons as well – so what! The week, however, is that glorious and revealed unit of time that comes directly from the narrative of Creation and not some natural phenomenon. Our Lord was crucified specifically at the end of the week as a way to remind us that we are Creation and that we must be completed, or “finished” as he says, at the end of time before we can enter into eternal Sabbath rest.  Let us therefore join the great cloud of witnesses who, in the tradition of the Church, chose to take life “one week at a time,” living not for today but for eternal Sabbath rest. Let us not make trivial and meaningless New Year’s resolutions but instead fix our gaze on our ultimate goal, the Resurrection, which stands at the end of all Creation and bids us to take up the Cross with our Lord and at last be “finished.” Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Reply: In the Imitation one reads that “a [person] who is wise and whose spirit is well instructed…pays no attention to what he feels in himself or from what quarter the wind of fickleness blows, so long as the whole intention of his mind is conducive to his proper and desired end.”  As Christians that end, that completion, is resurrection in the crucified Lord: the intent is union with God. Blessed Moreau writes on January 1, 1857 that “during this new year, we must practice charity…,forgive our mutual offenses, and if need be, make noble amends for our own faults” (“Circular Letter 79”).  In 1849, Moreau also penned these famous words. “We do not want our students to be ignorant of anything they should know. To this end, we shall shrink from no sacrifice. But we shall never forget that virtue, as Bacon puts it, is the spice which preserves the science. We shall always place education side by side with instruction; the mind shall not be cultivated at the expense of the heart.  While we prepare useful citizens for society, we shall likewise do our utmost to prepare citizens for Heaven” (“Circular Letter 36”). A worthy New Year’s resolution for a CSC educator is to renew the effort to put Moreau’s words into daily practice. All instruction will be tempered by the “spice” of virtue. Each lesson plan will be designed so that students are reminded that they are Creation which aches to be unified with Christ the paradoxical Savior.  Ave Crux Spes Unica!

December 22, 2018

In the Voice of Moreau:  The Crucified Form was born into the world in a single instant.  As an infant, our Lord was completely dependent on his mother in a way that will become the mature faith of the Cross upon which he commended his spirit to his heavenly father.  His placement in the manger, literally “to be fed upon,” will become the life-giving Eucharist bursting forth from his sacred side. His swaddled body will one day be wrapped in a burial cloth and laid in a tomb.  The baby Jesus is the same person as the King of the Jews, but do we take the time to appreciate this mystery? How did he get there? How was the Cross finally realized? The fact is that Jesus made the journey from Bethlehem to Jerusalem.  After thirty-some quiet years, he set out from the safety of his home and passed through trials of all kinds – temptations from the evil one, persecutions by the leaders of his own religious tradition, being misunderstood by family and friends, sleepless nights, fear and anxiety, darkness all the way up until the end.  The lesson of Christmas, therefore, is that we have to become who we are.  We have to muster up the courage to put out our hands and allow the Master to take us to the place where we do not want to go.  Only then, when we have arrived on Mt. Calvary, can we at last be said to have been born. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Reply:  The 14th century British Pearl Poet wove a tale about a medieval knight Gawain. He sets off on a quest. His call to leave Camelot came from the otherworldly Green Knight who challenged the untested knight to a game which Gawain lost. He goes on a quest and travels a road of trials.  This trek becomes a process of discovery for him as he gradually and clearly begins to recognize his limitations and becomes who he is meant to be. His reward is death to his former self and birth of a new self. The final phase of Gawain’s adventure is not simply a return to Camelot but to return like Lazarus—resurrected from the tomb.  For Christians the death of the Cross is the road to the kingdom of Christ resurrected. Thomas á Kempis writes: “Who is forced to struggle more than he who [has] tried to master himself”. Living life as one who is questing for the Crucified Lord, according to Kempis, is to obtain a “humble knowledge of [the] self.” This is the path to our God who begins humanity in a straw-filled manger that beckons Him onto a Cross of redemptive glory.  How does the CSC educator assist students to assess, to enlarge upon and continually to focus upon a “humble knowledge of [the] self”? It is by intentionally Christianizing every component of the education of the mind. Superior General Gilbert Français writes in 1895 that a basic education includes “…reading and writing in their diverse forms; sacred history, the history of Our Lord, the abridged history of the Church, the history of the country in which one is a resident, together with accurate notions of universal history; a thorough knowledge of the geography of one’s own country, as well as a considerable acquaintance with the physical and political geography of other lands; practical arithmetic in its entirety; practical geometry; the elements of natural history and cosmography; commercial arithmetic and bookkeeping; elementary physics and chemistry; a summary of rhetorical principles with the practical applications; elementary drawing; stenography; type-writing; the general principles of music; and some knowledge of hygiene and gymnastics”.  Although a few of the listings are now antique, in essence this is the curriculum of every high school and college in the Congregation. The Holy Cross way is to imbue each facet of the general curriculum with those essential questions about how all this mind-matter must inform our quest for self knowledge, so that all may be for the building up of the Body of Christ. This education relies upon the intentionality of every CSC educator. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

December 15, 2018

In the Voice of Moreau:  Human beings are natural sign-readers.  Desperate to communicate, we are constantly reading situations, facial expressions, tones of voice, gestures, the placement of things, the organization of a room, the way a person dresses, and the like.   What did she mean when she texted me that particular emoji? What did he mean when he ended the conversation with a hug? We drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out the meaning of it all! What makes the Cross unique among the entire array of signs is that its meaning is absolutely certain.  What is happening upon the Cross is an explicit and emphatic NO TO SELF. The Cross does not invite speculation nor confusion of any kind. The death of our Lord is final, definite and certain. The NO TO SELF is a stable category, a point of reference that can be trusted and built off of. Whereas other signs and their meanings are constantly in flux, by both giver and receiver, the Cross offers a firm footing on which we are able to stand confidently and finally receive ultimate meaning from the one true God.  This is why the Cross is Good News! Let us therefore stop searching for meaning and truth in all of the wrong places.  Let us refuse to dabble in false signs that cunningly and variously lead us back into the trap of self. Let us instead adopt the great NO TO SELF as our one and only guide on the journey.  Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Reply: The cross is an emphatic NO TO SELF.  In 1935, T. S. Eliot wrote the play Murder in the Cathedral that portrays the assassination of Archbishop Thomas á Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170.  Like Jesus in the desert, Becket is confronted by tempters who want to reroute him from Heaven’s gate. The three tempters offer him physical safety, fame and unparalleled power.  Becket resists. Thinking his way to Heaven now clear, he is confronted by a last unanticipated tempter who encourages Becket to seek the glory of martyrdom. “Seek the way of martyrdom, make yourself the lowest / On earth, to be high in heaven.”  Becket addresses this immorality: “Others offered real goods, worthless / But real.  You only offer / Dreams to damnation.” The Archbishop famously concludes: “The last temptation is the greatest treason: / To do the right deed for the wrong reason.” Throughout the world there is desperation for any signs that we are acceptable—worthy of notice—worthy of love.  With the many means of technological communication in our hands so many want instantaneous and continuous validation. Most of us have unspoken insecurities concerning our worthiness and goodness, so we wantonly clad our bodies and souls in masks: makeup, sexual enhancers, money to throw around when we have little.  Perhaps with these signs we will be loved. The good news of the Cross is, rather, that we are loved when these mundane trappings have been stripped away, and we stand broken in front of our broken yet triumphant Redeemer. CSC educators must offer students every opportunity to flee the treason of looking for love in all the wrong places.  In order to be high in Heaven all of us need to reach out to others from a position of NO TO SELF. What a great gift we can give to each other for all ages. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

December 8, 2018

In the Voice of Moreau:  They say that nothing clears the mind like the thought of the gallows in the morning.  If you have ever had a near death experience – an accident, a sickness, a natural disaster or some emergency – you truly know what this expression means.  You feel like you have spent your entire life on an expedition in the jungle and then, in an instant, the way opens up and you see the light. In a flash, everything makes sense and you experience a deep peace that cannot be explained.  The Cross is both a sober reminder of the reality and suddenness of death as well as a glimpse of the palm at the end of the mind. That moment of awareness, sought after by so many spiritual seekers from the entire array of religious traditions around the world, is the Cross.  The Cross is the eternal outpouring of Love that stands at the end of time as the principle of life and ultimate salvation. It is no wonder that our Lord bids us to be vigilant, for there is an evil one who wants to occupy our senses and put our hearts to sleep. The devil, whose name literally means “throw an obstacle in front of,” places phony visions of grandeur in our imaginations, hoping that we will settle for a lukewarm life in the jungle.  We must not give the devil this opportunity! Let us instead find the Cross this very day and enter into the light that gives Life. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Reply: “Let your watchfulness and attention be calm, without over-concern, without agitation or trouble, without great constraint or affectation.”  Blessed Moreau’s advice to his teachers is timely for all of us as we enter into the season of Advent. It is a time of patient yet vigilant waiting.  Of being on the ready—on the alert not only for the coming of the Savior, but also against the enticements of the Evil One who presents many allurements for obtaining illusory grandeur.  Advent hymns ring out with admonishments to ready the way of the Lord, to rend our hearts and not our garments, to keep our lamps trimmed and ever-burning and that the Lord comes when morning dawns.  People look to the East for the time is near. Children don’t get weary. Blessed Moreau speaking again to his CSC educators writes that “vigilant teachers forget nothing of what they ought to do”. During the advent of waiting and watching and being on alert, teachers should explain to their students through pertinent and graphic examples what happens when our lamps fade to embers and perhaps to dust.  We create darkness where our hearts become comatose. We become the easy prey of Satan who is also on alert. Because Christmas celebrations and commercialism these days begin weeks prior to Thanksgiving, the term Chrisgiving has been coined.  It has nothing to do with the essence of our salvation, and everything to do with our hearts moving deeper and deeper into a sleep of no return, flat-lining into oblivion.  It is the Cross and only the Cross that is our hope especially during this season of preparation. Teachers assist students to keep their lamps trimmed and burning bright. Encourage students to be beacons of vigilant love for each other as we travel the Royal Road to true Christmas blessedness. Let us be gifts of salvation to each other.  Ave Crux Spes Unica!

December 1, 2018

In the Voice of Moreau:  The world runs on opposites:  left/right, black/white, yes/no, in/out, up/down, etc.  A healthy tension between these opposites becomes the energy that makes growth and thrival in life possible.  Yet, because of our fallen nature, all of us are constantly falling into a dualistic “either-or” mindset. Formed by millennia of survival instincts, our default mode, even in the modern world, is competitive.  We seem to approach every experience with “versus” thinking and expect for there to be a winner and a loser in every situation. The revelation of the Cross, however, descends into this contest like a referee whose outstretched arms mediate these opposites.  In current spirituality this is called “mindfulness,” that is, creating space to think intelligently and to make choices that are life-giving. In the Christian tradition, this is simply called “salvation,” which literally means safety. Indeed, the kingdom of God is a place of peace where the lion will lay down with the lamb and spears will be turned into pruning hooks.  Do we mistakenly think that we have to choose God or the world? Do we think that we have to choose between self or others? Body or soul? Intellect or will? Life or death? The Christ, who himself is a glorious marriage between humanity and divinity, blazons forth from the Cross inviting us to rethink our thinking. He instructs us to not be afraid. He exhorts us to have the courage to accept the mystery of life, the mystery of opposites.  Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Reply:  Whenever one makes a choice, one deals in opposites.  I will choose Christ implies that all things not Christocentric I have rejected.  Life-giving choices that secure salvation—that choose the Light over the darkness of sin are never easy.  Beating back the relentless and voracious need to pleasure the self in a myriad of ways is daunting. The battle becomes insurmountable for persons who do not own their flawed human nature.  One must desire to see the truth, name it, embrace it and then construct the defense against falling into sin. This “mindfulness” must be taught by CSC educators, and this takes consistent zeal.  In Christian Education, Blessed Moreau states that “ [t]eachers who have this virtue [zeal] will be happy only when their students progress in the knowledge of virtue.  All day and each day they will work at this great and difficult task of Christian education. When they pray, when they study, when they receive the sacraments, it will be especially for their young people.  This will be done without distinction or regard for any student as special, because such teachers know that all students are equally important to God and that their duty is to work with each with the same devotion, watchfulness, and perseverance.” For such teachers curriculum design and individual daily classroom plans are infused with probing questions about the “salvation” of it all.  This teaching cannot be left to the religion department alone. Each of the other academic disciplines must add fuel to the fire that religion teachers ignite in the heart. Why did Dr. Faustus fall? Is concern for climate change a salvific act? Does an advanced degree in bioengineering build up the Body of Christ? Why are Ponzi schemes detrimental to the ”glorious marriage” between humanity and God Almighty? And so it goes. There is no choice between God and the world for those who travel the Royal Road of the Cross. There is the gloriously salvific intermingling of the heart’s desire with its destination—ultimate safety in the Cross. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

November 24, 2018

In the Voice of Moreau:  It is a simple fact of metaphysics that the end of a thing dictates the form of that thing.  For instance, since the end of a pen is written communication, the pen is designed to dispense a precise flow of ink in a way that permits letters and words to be produced.  If the end of a journey is the beach, then that journey will include the literal road to the beach, a stop at the store for sunscreen, and listening to the weather report. In the Christian life, since our Lord has declared to us that the way is the Cross, we can logically conclude that our end must be the Cross.  Most of us get caught in the trap of thinking that the Cross is a punishment and burden which we struggle under in this lifetime so that we can enjoy the luxuries and comforts of the kingdom, but this is absolutely not the case! Our end is the cosmic Cross which stands at the end of time, constantly inviting us to be conformed to Love.  If the supposed “crosses” that we carry in this world are making us resentful, angry and frustrated, it is a sign that we are going in the wrong direction! Let us have the courage to drop the false crosses that we have imposed on ourselves. Let us worship our one true end, the Cross, with our lives.  Let us indeed become the Cross!  Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Reply:  Suffering is meaningless unless you decide otherwise. Blessed Moreau writes in “Circular Letter 54”, June 19, 1848:  “Let us not allow ourselves to be discouraged by trials no matter how numerous or bitter they may be”.  Old Testament Job struggled with what seemed insurmountable crosses. He was God’s pawn as the Lord responded to Satan’s dare to “try” Job.  The Lord deemed Job to be the best–a man “blameless and upright”. So Job was not selected for the game because he was sinful. He was selected because was the best.  Satan provokes God to take away all of Job’s blessings and sneers that if God does this, Job will curse Him. God is so confident in Job’s faith that he allows Satan to test him far beyond what most people will have to tolerate.  And Job remains faithful throughout all of it. At the end with head shaved, covered in ashes, Job sits upon a heap of dung. With a last gasp he cries out to his Savior: the Lord gives and the Lord takes. Blessed be the name of the Lord.  The best remains the best because he decided to. Blessed Moreau continues his reflection upon crosses in “Circular Letter 54”. “ Afflictions, reverses, loss of friends, privations of every kind, sickness, even death itself, ‘the evil of each day,’ and the suffering of each hour—all these are but so many relics of the sacred wood of the true cross….”  CSC educators can and must assist their students to ponder beyond the pain of the mundane crosses to focus upon this worldly journey’s end—the cosmic Cross. Teachers have a myriad of opportunities to assist students and themselves to regulate their minds about the cares and woes of this life. Christ Our Lord climbed upon His cross as the greatest act of love ever.  If we decide so, we, too, can transform the suffering of our minds and bodies into the transformative love of the Savior for each other. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

November 17, 2018

In the Voice of Moreau:  Our Lord says the words “This is my body” at the Last Supper, but he does not reveal the meaning of those words until the Cross.  The master has been stripped bare and nailed to two beams of wood. Unlike our first parents, he makes no move to hide in fear and shame.  Rather, he presents his whole self, in trust and love, to his heavenly father. The Eucharistic sharing at the Last Supper anticipates this saving moment and invites us into the mystery and intimacy of authentic human living.  How often do we long for this kind of intimacy in our own lives? Think of all of the pitfalls of romantic relationships and the awkwardness of two people trying to honestly give themselves to one another. How much more difficult it is to present our souls to the one true God!  We subconsciously place obstacles between ourselves and that One. We find ways to mask our hearts and minds so as to keep a safe distance from the one whom our hearts truly love. We rationalize by calling this fear-based withdrawal “a boundary” or “self care.” Yet, experience teaches us that we will remain restless until we have consented to this encounter once and for all.  Let us therefore become vulnerable to our Lover who knocks on the door of our hearts. Let us permit the crucified form to grow in us day after day. Let us, with our master, become Beloved of the Lord. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Reply:  St. Augustine writes in the Confessions that “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in You.”  Resting in the Lord happens when one becomes totally transparent. All barriers that deny an honest look at and embrace of the unveiled self are destroyed.  Most of us fear exposure that leaves us openly vulnerable to scrutiny, and so it is rarely achieved in human relationships. We can easily convince ourselves that those we want to love us will find our naked humanity grotesque.  We believe that our Mr. Hyde will be seen as so malignant that the beloved will run shrieking into the darkness. Perhaps that is true with human objects of love, but never with the Lord. Complete vulnerability to our Savior guarantees that we will be with Him in paradise.  CSC educators can assist their students with owning lives of authenticity through modeling it in the classroom. When students witness our raw edges, the experience can be mutually therapeutic. A healthy and grace-filled teaching moment occurs whenever we own up to our sins, ask for forgiveness and pledge not to let it happen again.  Students rarely encounter adult authority figures who humbly admit wrong-doing and ask for forgiveness and a second chance. Teachers in Holy Cross schools have many opportunities to become the open arms of the Savior. We must knock on the doors of our students’ hearts so they may become Christ the Lover for each other. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

November 10, 2018

In the Voice of Moreau:  If you have ever been with a person who is dying, you know that “to die” is a mysterious thing.  Death is not simply something that happens to you, as if the grim reaper goes around kidnapping people from the face of the earth.  At the same time, death is not something that a person can simply will, as if one could separate soul from body at any given moment.  Rather, “to die” is the paradoxical state of letting go of the here and now while at the same time confronting the unknown. The fact that the Latin verb morari (“to die”) has a passive form but an active meaning attests to the unique phenomenon of human dying.  When we look upon the Cross, do we see this glorious tension? Do we see the patience of our Lord as he bids farewell to this world paired with his eagerness to commend his spirit to his heavenly father?  Perhaps we think of ourselves as having an assertive and dominant personality type, but do we see our Lord’s vulnerability on the Cross? Maybe we think of ourselves as having a meek and reserved personality type, but do we see his courage on the Cross?  Whatever the case may be, let us enter into the mystery of death with our whole hearts. Let us realize our deepest human identity in this paschal way of life. Let us die daily and set this valley of tears on fire! Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Reply:  What is the happy medium between graceful acceptance and prideful denial?  I suggest that it is in a healthy renunciation of the self-imposed rigor of living up to a secular, consumer-driven society’s standards.  God reminds the prophet Samuel that “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”  For Christians the attempt to measure up to external templates sets us in constant flux as we repeatedly engage in the battle to die to self aggrandizement.  CSC educators need to be concerned about their students and frequently encourage them to take up arms against the daily onslaught of the false prophets of physical beauty, intellectual promise and dog-eat-dog promiscuity.  All disciplines of academic study can so easily become oriented to promote living to the max, that too much is not enough, that excess is the access to fulfillment. Educators must look for moments during lectures and student application exercises to insert the truth of the Cross.  Our deepest human identity is not defined by external manifestations of the acceptable but by the moderating influence of a heart that has been formed in love unto the death of self need for the betterment of God’s people. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

November 3, 2018

In the Voice of Moreau:  Executive functioning is all the rage in psychology circles today.  It refers to the ability of a person to gather data, analyze and prioritize that data, form a judgment about it and then make a decision.  There are tests to assess one’s executive skills, online brain games to improve those skills, as well as therapies to help people understand their particular style of this process.  I would like to suggest that while our society hits upon a core truth of the human person here, it blindly goes about training souls to think and choose well. Moreover, I would like to suggest that the one and only program that produces truly effective executive functioning is the Cross.  Look upon our Lord, the Logos, the eternal Word and Wisdom of God. He has been analyzed and stripped; he has been exposed and inspected; in an instant, he is literally executed or finished. And the result? The light of the resurrection, the glory of the truth, shining forth into the life of the world.  The Lord did not deserve the rigors of the Cross, but he did humble himself to the point of death in order to demonstrate this pattern of authentic human functioning. Dying and rising is what right thinking and right choosing look like. Indeed, the paschal mystery is the icon of true executive functioning, the self-help program that psychology has been searching for all along.  Look to the Cross! Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Reply:  Executive functioning is at the heart of what it means to be human. In fact, there is a large body of prenatal research that indicates that a fetus gathers information from the mother’s sensual experiences.  For example, if a mother listens to classical music during her pregnancy, the assumption is that the baby “feels” something that is somehow imprinted upon the conscious mind. Our senses are designed to gather the information we need to flourish and to reproduce. When serious followers of Christ travel with Him on the Way of the Cross through countless birth/death scenarios, the hoped for result of data collection, analysis and decisions is to possess Heaven. For CSC educators Blessed Basil’s words about educating students for two worlds must ring clearly as we prepare classes and then interact with students. On October 31, the Congregation of Holy Cross recalled the 125th anniversary of the death of the Very Rev. Edward Sorin in 1893 at the University of Notre Dame. At the time of his death, he had spent 49 years in South Bend, Indiana building the University of Notre Dame du Lac. He did not do this without the assistance of priests, sisters, brothers and laypersons, who flawed as they were, reached beyond their weakness to achieve a collective goal. They desired to create a space where all would work as good citizens of this world and become worthy citizens of Heaven. While all university campuses run on executive functioning, the University of Notre Dame and every Holy Cross school shine forth with the unique and splendid glory of paschal life. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

October 27, 2018

In the Voice of Moreau:  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  With these words, our Lord reveals the profound truth at the heart of the cross.  To encounter the living God is not a positive emotion. It is not another sensory experience among a myriad of sensory experiences.  It is a cold, hard spiritual fact. It is quite necessarily an experience of abandonment. For, it is the turning away from the consolations of this life that puts us in touch with the life to come.  Sacred, “set apart,” our father by definition must be absolutely other-than-this-world. Study the cross. See that it is not a rejection of material forms, emotions, the human body or sensory experiences.  Rather, the cross demands that these things simply be put into right relationship with their creator – they must be “ended” as it were. Hence Jesus himself declares that “it is finished” at the very moment that he hands over his spirit.  But what will happen to us when we no longer have these things to hold onto? What will keep us connected? We are human and have bodies after all! The cross is the placeholder. The cross keeps our senses and bodies grounded. The cross empowers us to open our hearts to the one true God.  The cross makes the risk of faith possible. Let us therefore “die” all of the obstacles in our spiritual lives so that we too might enjoy the glory of this abandonment. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Reply:  To deny oneself anything material or corporeal takes courage and stamina because it is an attempt to restrain the beast within.  That beast has been called names such as the ego or the shadow. For the Christian it is original sin—that constant battle of the dark trying to overwhelm the light.  Climbing upon the cross with the Savior, at one and the same instant, is to fall recklessly into the bottomless pit of abandonment and into the loving embrace of complete fulfillment.  Mounting the Cross takes faith. In 1891, Brother Paul the Hermit (John) McIntyre, C.S.C. wrote to Father Sorin. “Once more I beg leave to trouble you with a request to be permitted to accompany the Missionaries who are about to start for Bengal…. I may not be of much service in India, but I do wish for a trial. At the time of my profession my vows were accepted by my superiors with the full knowledge that I had the desire for this work which I have ever since been craving you to assign me. Do not refuse me, Very Rev. Father, the chance to complete the sacrifice of myself for the greater honor of God and the Good of my own soul. Remember the many times I have besieged you, even at the risk of earning your displeasure.” (Letter to Sorin. 1891.)  His request for such trial and sacrifice was denied yet again. Staying at Notre Dame, he went on to become the business manager for the Ave Maria Press, a Master of Novices, and in 1906 an Assistant Superior General of the Congregation.  His death in 1920 was marked with many accolades, yet he was most remembered for his humility.  Humility is the breastplate that keeps the prideful beast at bay and provides the courage to mount the Cross.  CSC educators who are true sons and daughters of Blessed Moreau model temperance. Through their reflective lesson planning, they manufacture lectures and assignments that assist students to embrace the same sacrificial oblation unto the Lord.  Educating the hearts of those entrusted to us has never been as needful as it is today because the beast finds so many forms of hedonism to engorge upon. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

October 20, 2018

In the Voice of Moreau:  Like a rule or a law, the cross presents a certain standard of behavior to us.  It demands that we measure our lives against its right form. And when that rule or law is received obediently and integrated fully into the soul of a person, it actually comes to life, walking and talking and breathing and shining forth in the life of that person.  Christ allowed the law of the cross to be so totally incorporated into his being that when we see Christ we necessarily see the cross – just ask the disciples who encountered the risen Lord on the road to Emmaus! Indeed, the true cross was never to be found by crusaders gallivanting across medieval landscapes but in the mystical body of Christ.  This very day he invites us to humbly surrender ourselves, like he has, to that crucified pattern of life. Perhaps we have adopted other modes of life that suit us. Perhaps we want a rule or a law that is less radical and less risky. Perhaps we are secretly holding out hope for a softer solution to our unhappiness in life. Whatever our excuses may be, the fact remains that there is one and only one way forward – it is the cross and it must change us.  Let us therefore worship the glorious body of our Lord and by so doing discover the law of suffering, death and new life that redeems the world. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Reply:  One of the first Brothers of Holy Cross to become a fine and legendary teacher is Brother Marcellinus (Thomas) Kinsella (1847-1914).  When he entered the Congregation in 1869, he had an education “not much beyond grammar school…[yet] he was gifted with an unusual talent”. He left an impression on all of his students over his nearly 50-year career as a teacher.  Whether working at the University of Notre Dame teaching bookkeeping in the 1870s and early 1890s; or as principal/teacher at St. Columbkille School in Chicago between 1893-97 where he had Archbishop Edward Hoban as a student; or as the founding principal of the first brothers’ high school in Fort Wayne, Indiana from 1909-1913, all of his students might have forgotten much of the book content, yet “the impression [they] shall never forget”.  Upon his death in 1914, he was found to have few possessions.  Among them was his rosary, a manual of Holy Cross prayers, a statue of St. Joseph and The Imitation of Christ. Imagine that this brother read daily from  The Imitation, and perhaps he fell into the waiting embrace of Jesus after reading this: “Jesus has always many who love His kingdom, but few who bear his cross.  He has many who desire consolation, but few who care for trial.  He finds many to share His table, but few to take part in His fasting.  All desire to be happy with Him; few wish to suffer anything for him” (79).  Once a beginning teacher asked Brother Marcellinus for advise on teaching.  When pressed for a response, he commented, “Don’t look for the pound of flesh; and if you are in a fight, stay in till [sic] you finish.”  Impressions last forever and words are feeble.  “It is by doing…that we discover ourselves” and the true cross.  CSC educators must profoundly assist both students and themselves to participate in the Mystical Body of Christ.  We must live the Cross not just talk about it.  We must bear the Cross for our students, not seek the pound of flesh.  We must fight that good fight until we stand at Heaven’s gate.  It is through the Cross and its imitation that “all will be happy with Him.”  Ave Crux Spes Unica!

October 13, 2018

In the Voice of Moreau:  How interesting it is that Jesus says “take up your cross and follow me” before the explicit revelation of his own cross on Mt. Calvary.  How did he know about the cross in advance? Could it be that the cross is not just simply some historical mode of execution that has happened to find a spot in our tradition, but rather a fundamental fact of human existence?  The master invites us to take ownership of the cross in our lives instead of letting it be something that victimizes us. We are to reach out, take and consume the cross. We become incorporated into its darkness and heaviness which mysteriously frees us from the burden of ourselves and enables us to actually walk with our Lord on the road of sure faith.  This act of trust is the essence of our salvation and can only be experienced once we have permitted the cross to descend into the keyhole of our souls and lock the door that leads to reliance on one’s own self. And while most of us spend most of our days and nights going around in circles, thinking and worrying within the psychological space that is designed for the cross, we are faced with the choice this very day to receive the cross with a courageous mind and an open heart.  Let us be women and men who finally listen to these pangs of hunger! Let us take the risk of obedience to this divine directive! Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Reply:  In a capitalist society such as lived in the United States, becoming self-reliant is seen as more than a good—it is the goal programmed into all children from the time they are encouraged to say, “Mama”.  Indeed, if potty-training does not go as planned, from that time forward a person has the potential for becoming both a physical and societal cripple. This person must rely upon others for the most basic needs. All you need do is drive anywhere in any city across the country to see men and women reduced to standing on street corners begging for money, a job, sometimes food. In the 17th century, it is Descartes who bellowed, “I think, therefore, I am”; in the 18th century, Rousseau proclaims that all truth lies within the self; in the 19th century it is Emerson who famously concluded that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by statesmen and philosophers and divines.” Avoid conformity at all costs! Today, so many believe that truth is truly found through whichever technological device one has attached to one’s fingers.  The 19th century romantic poet Keats waxes that “truth is beauty and beauty truth” and that is all one needs to know.  Is the truly, verifiable, true truth found within or without?  And how does a teacher assist students to arrive at the truth?  The CSC educator’s reason to be is to assist students to love truth so much that it becomes a lifelong quest.  No easy task these days. We must teach children to be wakeful and ever mindful not to forget that they are like deer that pant for living water (Psalm 42).  Blessed Moreau concludes that CSC educators must be zealots to make God known, loved and served. The knowledge of, love of and service of the Crux, spes unica. There can be no other lesson plan but the one that clearly teaches that reliance upon anything other than the paradox of the cross is the false quest.  Truly, the Cross counter-culturally collides with the secular expectations of becoming self-reliant. Blessed Moreau is legendary for instructing his educators that they must not keep their students ignorant of anything needed for plowing through this valley of tears–the quest toward the Beatific Vision.  A true CSC education of the mind and the heart is embedded in the undeniable imitation of Christ.  Embrace the cross because it is spes unica.

October 6, 2018

In the Voice of Moreau:  The psychology of the cross is one of utter blindness.  Imagine being the crucified Christ, looking out on the faces of strangers as they stand beneath in derision and delight while others pass by this tragic scene without even noticing the bitterness and agony of an unjust execution.  Father, how could this happen?  This cannot be your will. This does not make any sense.  I did everything I was supposed to do. Why have you forsaken me?  And so, as the intellect pours itself out trying to find a solution to this paradox, darkness begins to descend, clouding all memory, good judgment and emotion.  What is left but the human will in all of its rawness and glory? And this is precisely where a true act of faith is possible, as our Lord demonstrates for us what it actually means to be a child of God.  Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.  This singular blind act of trust becomes the basis of the whole Christian life.  But oh how we resist this blindness! How we cling to our logic, our categories, our timelines, our visions and our dreams.  We mistake the natural light of our minds for the infinite illumination of our salvation which can never be thought of or conceptualized, but only entered into by a simple and courageous act of trust.  Teach us, O Lord, the way of the cross; teach us to be friends with the night. Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Reply:   “Because you [Thomas] have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” ( John 20:29).  Taking the leap of faith requires decision-making with boldness and optimism ignoring tangible data that appears to indicate that the odds of success are minimal.  “To boldly go where no [person] has gone before” necessitates that one abandon comfort zones and venture into the darkness when the intellect predicts failure, yet faith propels us into the loving arms of the crucified Christ.  To the end of time God is with us, and His promises to us will never fail! I am reminded of a song that says, “Take courage, the harvest is ripe. Lift up your voice, because Jesus is alive!” If we have hope in Jesus, and whatever He calls us to do, He will equip us for the task. Trust Jesus with it all.  As CSC educators, we have but one purpose: to prepare our students to be citizens of two realms.  It is with a firm yet gentle demeanor that we build relationships which invite our students often to travel with us in “utter blindness”. To step off the cliff and embrace that which they perceive as either incomprehensible or non-achievable.  Movement into and through these educational relationships are not simple for so many of our students.  If the teacher’s methodology is grounded in a trustworthiness that fosters the hope that no one will be lost in the darkness, then I say, Ave Crux Spes Unica!

September 29, 2018

In the Voice of Moreau:  Our lives should never be complacent.  We should never think that we have “got it right,” as if we might arrive one day at some celestial couch on which to rest eternally – no!  We human beings are instead built for the drama of death and new life. Unique among all species, we have that constant capacity to let go, to become willing, to trust and on the other side to change, to be transformed, and to become a new person.  This is the pattern of our salvation and the essence of the Kingdom of God. Isn’t this what the Lord was revealing to us at his baptism? He was sinless, yet chose to be baptized, stooping down from the river banks to enter into the rushing waters, only to rise again in the presence of the life-giving spirit and his heavenly father.  Indeed his whole life testifies to the reality of this pattern from his humble birth to his public ministry, from the countryside to Jerusalem, from the cross to the empty tomb, from poverty to glory. When will our hearts stop searching for that one “thing” that we falsely believe will unlock our happiness? When then will we take the plunge with our Lord into this glorious and cosmic dance?  Let us therefore, right here and now, make the decision to abandon all those empty visions and dreams that simply serve to derail our restless hearts on this journey of salvation. Let us resolve to walk with our Lord on this path no matter what! Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Reply:  “We human beings are built for the drama of death and new life”—to be transformed into new persons.  Certainly, this phenomenon occurs countless times in the life of a Christian who progressively becomes a facet of the multifaceted Face of God.  For the CSC educator, the essence of the interaction between teacher and student is the consistent practice of informing intellects and forming hearts unto the transformation of souls.  To transform anything is to rebuild it, to reconstitute it, to cause its death so to blossom once again.  Recall that Blessed Moreau teaches that one must possess the call to teach, the vocation to desire to engage in the cosmic dance.  Initially, it is the teacher who encourages and facilitates students to learn the moves of the dance—to learn how to dance school.  Through consistent modeling of the behaviors of engaged learning and scholarship, the teacher’s intent is for the student to periodically  die and re-blossom as an ever more proficient master of the dance .  Blessed Moreau counsels young teachers, and master teachers too, that they “must not come to believe that it is age, body size, tone of voice, or threats that give teachers authority and inspire respect.”  No, rather “[it is] a character that is fair, firm, and modest, one that is consistent at all times and that never acts without reason or through outbursts.” (Christian Education)  The reasonable CSC dance master orchestrates the many moves of the many dances along the journey with the Lord. Let each educator heed the invitation of the old Shaker hymn. “Dance, then, wherever you may be, I am the Lord of the Dance, said He.  And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be, And I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said He.”  Ave Crux Spes Unica!

September 22, 2018

In the Voice of Moreau:  An honest appraisal of the human condition reveals that addiction is the primary sickness of our souls.  Literally meaning, “to give assent to,” we become slaves to other people, emotions, ideas, substances, ideologies and the like.  We organize our lives around these things, often subtly, and start to worship these false idols with our minds, our hearts and even our bodies.  Blinded by pride and the perceived need for control and power, we dismiss the Cross as an archaic and masochistic symbol of a religious tradition that is no longer relevant.  All the while, in our unhappiness, we search frantically for a solution to our misery and wretchedness. It is here that we finally realize that the Cross is our one and only hope.  In a non-clinging, anti-addiction posture, the Cross transforms our souls and paradoxically enables us to experience a life of pure addiction to God. Open, trusting, exposed, vulnerable, the Cross offers us a taste of authentic humanity – we become children again of the living God, our father on whom we depend for dignity and life.  The Lord speaks to us from this throne: Do not be afraid! I am with you! It is finished! When will we exit the cycle of addiction? When will we open our hearts to the living God? When will we give assent to our heavenly father? Let us therefore proclaim Christ crucified to a world that is hurting and desperately seeking after the medicine that leads to life.  Ave Crux, Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Reply:  The verb to be addicted is a pejorative and should ring a fearful pause in anyone before acting upon a desire. For committed Christians, however, living purely and consistently enmeshed in the divine must be the modus operandi for all activities.  This is especially so for CSC educators who are to proclaim Christ crucified to their students.  These persons need to develop the habit, the disposition for and attitude of always seeking to increase their knowledge.  The second of Moreau’s specific virtues for being called to teach in Holy Cross schools, knowledge—to be learned—obviously is essential if the mind is to be informed and of greater importance if the heart is to be formed.  CSC educators must zealously cultivate the desire for self-improvement, developing and utilizing effective methods of instruction along with clearly presenting their lessons.  These traits must imbue all classroom interaction.  Certainly, they must be “convictions of the heart translated into activity”.  Authentic classroom instruction is the result of embracing the courage to journey toward authentic personhood: “being open, trusting, exposed and vulnerable” proclaiming Christ crucified.  Ave Crux Spes Unica.

September 15, 2018

In the Voice of Moreau:  The Cross is our truly unique hope.  It is not just another thing among a myriad of things to put one’s hope in, but instead it is an altogether different project.  Think about it – there is a difference between putting our hope in a football team, a politician, a career or even a spouse and putting our hope in the crucified Christ.  The football team wins and loses, the politician rises and falls, a career comes and goes, a spouse is not always faithful, but the Cross does not change! The Cross cannot change!  The Christ who has been stripped of everything cannot win or lose, rise or fall, come or go, or be unfaithful – he has made the decision to hide nothing, to leave nothing to the imagination.  We can trust the Cross precisely because we know what we are getting! Perhaps we are secretly attached to the drama and suspense of false hopes. We like to be in the darkness as it were, the feeling of not knowing and leaving things up to fate.  We feel special when things go our way and we are “blessed” with what we want. The Cross is an emphatic No! to all of this. The Cross is instead an orientation, a posture, a way of relating to the other, a true act of trust that is guaranteed to put us in touch with what is – no matter what!  Let us therefore make the decision, here and now, to take the risk of the Cross with our master, our absolutely unique hope that cannot but give us life.  Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Holy Cross Educator’s Reply:  Blessed Basil Moreau believes that “effective teach[ing]” is the result of a call from God. It is more than a vocation: it is “an orientation, a posture, a way of relating”. How do teachers and administrators in Holy Cross schools assess whether or not they are truly called to teach, to lead? In Christian Education, Part One “Teachers and Students” (Moreau, 1856) Moreau lists nine virtues that Holy Cross educators need to cultivate: faithfulness, knowledge, zeal, vigilance, seriousness, gentleness, patience, prudence and firmness. For the teacher in a Holy Cross school, faithfulness is far more than showing up each day ready to present the lesson. “It is the virtue that draws us to fulfill faithfully our duties to God”. It is the virtue that develops Christians not just scholars. It is the foundation upon which the essence of the mission is provided: “the development of the heart and the soul on which good values depend”. Truly reverent teachers consider their students as gifts from God, “and they consider them adopted children of God and temples of the Holy Spirit”. Moreover, “[t]hey do not cease reminding students of Christian commitments, the works of God, and the effects of the sacraments”. Moreau concludes that teachers imbued with faithfulness “’will shine like the stars of the heavens for eternity’” (Book of Daniel 12, 3).  Ave Crux Spes Unica!