Father Augustine Mascarenhas, C.S.C. (1890-?)

unnamed (14)Augustine was the first Burmese to be ordained a Holy Cross Priest.  He was a vigorous missionary from 1919 through the mid-1920’s as he contributed many articles about his missionary adventures to the The Bengalese.  Biographical information about him after 1930 is scant to non-existent, and there is no definitive information regarding the date of his death.  What follows has been excerpted from three issues of The Bengalese, the periodical that was published for subscribers to “[share] in the spiritual benefits of membership in the Bengal Foreign Mission Society” (The Bengalese, Vol. 1, No. 1, p. ii, September 1919).   First: “On May 25, Augustine Mascarenhas was ordained to the Holy Cross Priesthood at Dacca by His Lordship, Bishop Legrand.  He is the first native priest of the diocese. The young priest has returned to Ranchi to complete his theological studies with the Jesuit Fathers” (Vol. I, No. 1, pp 9-10, 1919).  Second: “The darkest clouds have proverbially a silver lining…as Father Mascarenhas recently had the occasion to discover. [He] has been spending the first year of missionary life traveling from village to village in the Burmese district of the mission, visiting the native Christians and spreading the Good Tidings among their pagan neighbors.  During a recent rainy season, Father Mascarenhas encountered many unnamed (15)obstacles on his journeys, and one trip in particular…was made memorable by water and by mud. The silver lining of the clouds that afflicted him…proved to be a number of unexpected conversions, and brought the young apostle so much joy that the hardships of the trip were quite outweighed” (Vol. 2, No. 7, p. 110, March 1921).   And lastly, about his work among the Burmese Chins. “My head is full of plans and with God’s unfailing help I shall carry them out. Chief among them are these: 1. To open a convent for girls of this district at Sandoway; 2. To open a school for boys at Sandoway; 3. To open a commercial school for young Burmans and Chins; 4. To push forward a Chin lad of fifteen in his studies for the priesthood” (Vol. III, No. 3, p. 7, March 1922).  Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Brother Isidore (Hurley) Alderton, C.S.C. (1886-1934)

image1 (18)In 1935, it was reported that “Brother Isidore, C.S.C. died fortified by the Holy Sacraments, at St. Joseph’s Hospital, South Bend, Indiana, October 17, 1934. April last he became ill with streptococcus inflection, which despite every effort to stay its ravages, proved fatal.  Brother Isidore was born at Locks, Michigan, September 4, 1886. He was invested with the Holy Habit and entered St. Joseph Novitiate, Notre Dame, July 2, 1910. After a course of studies at the University of Notre Dame, he taught English and mathematics at Holy Trinity High School in Chicago.  Keenly interested in the welfare of young men, he actively engaged in organizing parish and school clubs. He met with hearty response in this work at Holy Trinity, a parish then numbering 20,000 souls. After several years of fruitful labor in Holy Trinity, he was appointed Superior of Sacred Heart College, Watertown, Wisconsin, then, as now, the preparatory school for candidates for our Brotherhood.  In this responsible position he further displayed the zeal and the talent for organization so characteristic of him. The Superiorship of Dujarie Institute, the house of studies for the Brothers of Holy Cross, Notre Dame, was Brother Isidore’s next appointment. During his term of office, the house was thoroughly renovated and partially remodeled; the beautiful grounds were extended and improved; and a gymnasium was built.  Afterwards he taught at Columbia University, Portland, Oregon; Holy Cross College, New Orleans, where he served as Prefect of Discipline, and Cathedral High School, Indianapolis. At this school he was notably successful in promoting ‘drives’ that netted generous sums of money for the missions in India. Photography, his hobby, he placed also at the service of the missions, for Brother Isidore made handsome returns from the sales of excellent pictures.  The welfare of his beloved Congregation was at all times the ideal that inspired him. He had a great devotion to St. Joseph, the patron of the Brothers, and to Our Lady of Sorrows, patron of the Congregation of Holy Cross. Peace to his soul” (Source unknown)

Sister Patricia (Mary Peter James) Mulvaney, CSC (1928-2018)

image1 (22).jpgAt 80 years old, Sister Patricia Mulvaney said, “I never wanted to be in any other life except the one I chose”. At nearly 90 years old, she said “Yes” one last time to the Risen Jesus who embraced her with everlasting love, two days before the 67th anniversary of her vowed life as a Sister of the Holy Cross. Her devotion to family, Holy Cross, and the compassionate ministry of health care were at the heart of her long life. Sister Patricia’s zeal for Holy Cross may have come from her grandfather, Richard Seidel, a music professor at Saint Mary’s College (1890 – ca. 1930s) hired by Mother M. Pauline (O’Neill), CSC. She was preceded in Holy Cross by her aunt Sister M. Richardine and her older sister, Sister Mary (Vincent Clare) Mulvaney, CSC. Her younger sister, Sister Elisbeth Mulvaney, CSC, ministers at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Boise. Patricia Mulvaney applied to the Sisters of the Holy Cross after her first year as a nursing student in 1948. Having visited Saint Mary’s, she wrote Mother Una (Garrity) that she was so eager to enter the Congregation immediately “that I don’t know how I will wait the next six months.” She received the habit a year later. She completed her registered nursing degree in 1954 and her Bachelor of Science in 1955.  By 1960, she finished her Master of Science in nursing administration from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., while teaching nurses at Saint Alphonsus Hospital in Boise, Idaho.  From 19601963, she served as director of the School of Nursing at Holy Cross Hospital in Salt Lake City. Fully committed to a lifelong ministry of healing, Sister served as administrator of Saint Alphonsus until 1972 where “she became known for her forward thinking when she made a courageous move by relocating the hospital from downtown Boise to its present site.” She had assessed the risk and the opportunity in such a move, attributing its ultimate success to the dedicated board members and stakeholders.  Sister Patricia Mulvaney served as a councilor for the sisters’ health region and then was elected as their Western Regional Superior (1975-1981), assuming leadership for the sisters not only in health care, but also in education, pastoral and justice ministries. Sister Patricia spent her years out of office researching geriatrics and managing the building of a new retirement facility for the sisters at Saint Catherine by the Sea in Ventura, California. In 1987, she chaired the Holy Cross Health System and transitioned into the role of president and CEO of HCHS until April 1989.  She was elected that summer as General Councilor for Retirement until 1994. After a sabbatical, she served five years as the superior at Saint Mary’s Convent at the motherhouse. Saint Alphonsus Medical Center welcomed Sister Patricia back to Boise in 2000 where she attended to its healing mission for 12 years. While there, she established a palliative care program and received several awards: Star Garnet Award from the Idaho Hospital Association for promoting health care in Idaho; Woman of Today and Tomorrow award from the local Girl Scouts Council as a role model for girls for her visionary leadership; and the hospital’s 2003 Distinguished Citizen honor. Whatever recognition she received, she accepted it in the name of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. (Adapted from the eulogy written by Sister Catherine Osimo, CSC)

Brother Romard (Paul) Barthel, CSC (1924-2016)

image1 (12)Born in 1924 in Evansville, Indiana, he was baptized as Paul Joseph. A good student both in grade school and high school, Paul attributed his academic success to the encouragement he received from his family.  Attending Reitz Memorial High School in Evansville, he was taught by the Brothers of Holy Cross and liked their lifestyle and decided he wanted to be a teacher like them. In the fall of 1942, he took the night train from Evansville to Watertown, Wisconsin, and entered the Holy Cross postulancy program. He entered the novitiate in 1943, and in 1944 made first vows. Three years later, Brother Romard received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Notre Dame and professed his final vows there in 1947. He was then assigned to Austin to begin studies at the University of Texas, earning his Ph.D. in Physics in 1951. Upon his arrival as a graduate student in Austin, Brother Romard also began a professional career of teaching physics and mathematics at St. Edward’s University, his home for most of the rest of his life.  Along the way, he was called to leadership as the local superior at St. Joseph Hall, as Provincial Superior of the South-West Province and, at the international level, as First Assistant General of the Congregation of Holy Cross. He also served as superior of the Vincent Hall Scholasticate, as the director of candidate formation at Moreau House, and in numerous capacities at St. Edward’s University, including Board Chair. Brother Romard was never happier nor more fulfilled than when he was teaching in a classroom or laboratory. Keen on equipping his students with deeper understanding, he taught them not only how to solve a problem, but how to know how to solve it. Other keys to his successful teaching ministry of over forty years were his availability and the obvious care he showed toward his students inside and outside the classroom. A disciple of Blessed Moreau, Brother Romard strongly believed in the power of education to transform the lives of people and ultimately to change the world for the better. Reflecting on his role in the process, Brother Romard once said, “Teachers are key players on the team that is carrying out the Holy Cross educational mission. I am inspired by the great teachers – past and present – with whom I have shared this mission as well as the outstanding students I have worked with, students who have understood the Holy Cross mission and work at developing a similar mission in their own lives.” Later in life, he offered his personal reflections on the “Permanent Core of Religious Life.” He wrote, “Through our religious vows we profess that God is enough for us. We express this spousal love for God in radical love and service of neighbor.” Despite our human incapacity to live religious life perfectly, what characterizes fidelity to our vocation, he counseled, is the constant striving after the lifestyle, the persistent effort to need only God. Summing up his own life, Brother Romard wrote: “Expressing and growing in love for God by doing his will has been the unifying concept that puts my whole life together – religious, personal, professional. I believe that the life of a Brother of Holy Cross is a good channel for doing God’s will. More specifically, I believe that being a Brother of Holy Cross is God’s will for me. I have found great happiness and a sense of fulfillment as a Brother of Holy Cross (and happiness is not inconsistent with suffering). With the grace of God, I expect to die as a Brother of Holy Cross. And I expect to live forever as a result.” (Adapted from a reflection on the life of Brother Romard Barthel, CSC, by Brother Donald Blauvelt, CSC and Brother Richard Critz, CSC.)

Sister Virginia (Mary Genoveffa) Micili, C.S.C. (1927-1999)

unnamed (18).jpg“Jesus said, ‘If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, then I tell you solemnly [she] will most certainly not lose [her] reward.’ The gift of literacy—being able to read—also gives life and sustains it.  This Sister Virginia did for fifty years and in a very special way for the last twenty-six” (Eulogy, no author). She was born in Elkhart, Indiana to Italian parents from Cosenza, Italy. Virginia graduated from Elkhart High School in 1944 and worked for a while at Miles Laboratories.  She entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1946, and in 1947 she took first vows receiving the name Genoveffa. For the next 50 years she worked as a teacher in a “litany” of Midwestern missions. Among these was St. Mary of the Lake elementary school in Miller, Indiana. “She was my fifth-grade teacher and was the tomboy of the convent.  She was the finest playground supervisor a boy could dream of. Sister Genoveffa organized all of the baseball games and was deadly when playing Red Rover. I remember her as an Olympic caliber marble player, winning everyone’s marbles and not giving them back” (Brother Philip Smith)! In 1965, while working at St. Vincent’s School in Elkhart, Sister Virginia realized that her students were not completing their homework because their parents were not literate.  “I think that is when the Lord touched me on the shoulder,” she said in 1997. In 1966, she began an adult literacy program and was committed to its operation until shortly before her death in 1999. She became truly part of the heart with which Elkhart identifies itself: The City with the Heart.  Upon her death in 1999, The Elkhart Truth, posted a front-page headline: “‘Mother Teresa of Elkhart’ dies”.  Father Joseph Rulli who celebrated the funeral mass said this about her: “She had a vision and she went with it.  She was Mother Teresa with an attitude!” Hundreds of people gathered for the celebration of her Golden Jubilee, a celebration she could not attend because she was in the last days of her battle with pancreatic cancer.  Her niece said about her that “she touched everyone’s life she came in contact with. She respected every human being on the face of the earth. She always saw the good in everyone. She never wanted to see the bad.”

Father Daniel Panchot, C.S.C. (1938-Living)

image1 (15)He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and took his first vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1957 and was ordained in 1965.  He wrote the following on the occasion of his 50th anniversary of ordination in 2016.  “For me to reach 50 years as a religious priest of Holy Cross is an opportunity more for reflection than for celebration.  As I reflect, I realize how Our Lord has accompanied me, or better said, has guided me in my efforts to follow Jesus…. I realize how Our Lord has protected me in the midst of much violence, such as that of the civil-military government of Chile in the 1970s.  I was arrested the first time a week after the Golpe del Estado. During those years I also lived the richest personal experience of all my priesthood, as part of the ecumenical Comité Pro-Paz, which was formed by the different churches in Chile after the 1973 Golpe del Estado, to assist persons who were persecuted, and their families…. It was a great privilege to be part of the Church and to work with many other individuals who were willing to take the risks (and we paid dearly for it), to assist those who desperately needed help, and this without regard for their religious or political convictions.  It was a living Gospel of Jesus, produced in a warm, loving and family atmosphere…. During those years I was arrested or detained a number of times, culminating with passing through the infamous Villa Grimaldi (the Auschwitz of Chile), and the detention camp 4 Ālamos (incomunicado) and 3 Ālamos (prisoners recognized as such by the government)…. After expulsion from Chile, I joined the Holy Cross Apostolates in Chimbote y Lima, Peru during 16 years, and where Our Lord so protected us in the extreme violence of Sendero Luminoso and MRTA (Movimiento Revolucionario ‘Tupac Amaru’). During these years several priests and religious were martyred, but we were spared for our missions…. At the beginning of the 1990s, our Lord had a new work for me in Mexico, as the province asked me to try to begin a program of vocations and formation for the religious life of Holy Cross with young Mexicans.  There, I lived and worked for almost 20 years, and once more, we were protected from the arbitrary violence of organized crime, in which a number of innocent people were killed in crossfire. And finally, after 35 years, Our Lord brought me back to Chile, where I studied theology and worked for 10 years, to continue working in His vineyard.  Reflecting on all I have lived, I realize that when we stand for the oppressed, we also receive blows. But, did Our Lord not promise us that? And we are committed to building His Reign, not ours…. I realize that during the decades Holy Cross men (and women) have been in Latin America, many have been willing to take risks in order to come near to, and to stand by, those in need.  They were not reckless, but rather, steadfast, and in not a few cases paid dearly for that. It is good and a privilege to be part of the religious family and a Church with a history like that. After all, the Apostles for their part, went out of the Sanhedrin, joyful that they had been considered worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus. (Acts. 5, 41)” (Edited by Brother Philip R. Smith, C.S.C., 2019)

 

Sister M. Rose Bernard (Bernadette) Gehring, C.S.C. (1894-1938)

unnamed (16)“The main altar in St. Patrick church [South Bend, Indiana] was a gift from Mr. John Gehring and his only child, Bernadette, in honor of Mary Collmer, Mr. Gehring’s first wife and Bernadette’s mother.  Mary died in 1918 and Mr. Gehring then married Louise Oberle Decker. Bernadette was born in South Bend and attended St. Mary’s school, St. Joseph Academy and received her B.A. from Notre Dame University.  She entered the Congregation of Holy Cross on Jan. 2, 1920 and made her final profession August 15, 1925. Answering the call to go to India and serve the poor, she volunteered but first spent two years in Washington D.C. studying at the Holy Cross Foreign Mission Seminary.  In 1927 she [was among the first four Holy Cross Sisters to serve in] Bengal, India. During her 11 years, Sister, with the help of others including Rev. Timothy J. Crowley, C.S.C., who was Bishop of Dacca, founded a native religious sisterhood called the Associates of Mary.  [‘From the start Sister’s ability in forming these Indian nuns was evident.  With no outward show of severity there was a closeness of convent discipline that was enviable’]”(The Bengalese, September 1938).  “Given the primitive living conditions of the day what the Sisters accomplished in education and nursing is truly amazing.  In 1938 Sister contracted a tropical disease and died on the anniversary of her profession, August 15, 1938.]’ She is buried in St. John Baptist Cemetery [beside Sister Jarlath, C.S.C.] in Toomiliah, Bengal (Bangladesh)” (St. Patrick’s Church 150 years, nd). An account of her last days is taken from a letter written by Father Lawrence Graner [who would become Archbishop of Dacca]. “[S]he had been doing well and was taken with a slight fever and this developed into a severe pain in her head.  None thought it was serious, though Sister was in dreadful pain. Morphine injections gave her little relief. As she was constantly asking for the Sacraments, Father image2 (2)[Walter] Marks finally anointed her, though even then we thought the pain would pass at any time.  By Saturday evening her pulse was almost gone.” Her condition remained the same on Saturday and Sunday. “Monday I [Father Graner] said Mass there and Sister was able to understand me and to open her mouth sufficiently to receive Holy Communion. But she was evidently falling into a comma.”  She died two days later on the feast of the Assumption. (The Bengalese, October 1939) (Bottom photo from the Archives of the Sisters of the Holy Cross courtesy of Sisters Timothea Kingston and Joanne Becker).

Brother Leopold (Joseph) Kaul, C.S.C. (1836-1935)

image1 (11)Pictured standing next to his priest brother and his two sisters Brother Leopold was born in Baden, Germany.  He was a violinist of rare merit, but, he had no wish to display his talents. Fortunately, he had brought his violin with him, but kept it concealed in his trunk. It was the practice of superiors in those days to search through all the belongings of a candidate. The superior found the violin and reported this to Father Sorin. Brother Leopold was called to Sorin’s office. Could he play the violin? Somewhat reluctantly, he admitted the fact. How well could he play? In his modesty, he declined to say. But Father Sorin had ways of finding out. And the result was that Brother Leopold was set up as a professor of violin. Over the next 40 plus years, he estimated that he taught over 600 Notre Dame musicians: violin, flute, cello, piano and voice. During these early years he also worked as the printer  for the Ave Maria.  Years later, when he had grown too feeble to be a professor, his desire to continue working was gratified by an appointment as the “candy-man” for the students. Known as Brother Leeps, he sold lemonade and cakes and cookies laying aside a tidy penny for the University. His “store” suffered many movings-about, but for two generations of Notre Dame students, “Leeps” meant largely “lemonade and fours.” The “fours” referred to a chocolate covered cookie, topped by a walnut. There were other confections, indicated by numbers of one, two, three, four, on up to sixteen, but “fours” was the popular number. His lemonade was mixed in great wooden tubs, and it was a hearty drink to students who were threatened with expulsion if they attempted anything stronger. For a nickel, the students of Father Cavanaugh’s regime could get a large glass of lemonade and two “fours.” Brother Leopold spent nearly 80 years as a man of prayer and work. As a tiny, shrunken old man he kept laboring to the very end. In the last ten years of his life, when he lived in the Community House [now Columba Hall], he would trudge along with his wheel-barrow, gathering twigs and branches that littered the grounds. He was forever busy. His humility was traditional and all his life he thought himself only the lowest of the lowly. “But one has only to look into the child-like simplicity of his face, into those faded, sightless blue eyes to catch a glimpse of an effulgence far from mundane.” (A compilation of many memories from many sources as found in Aiden’s Extracts).

Fr. Christopher J. O’Toole, C.S.C. (1906-1986)

image1 (14).jpgChristopher O’Toole was born in 1906 in Alpena, Michigan.  He professed Final Vows in the Congregation in 1928 and was ordained a priest in 1933. After advanced studies in philosophy, he served as Novice Master, Superior of Holy Cross College in Washington, D.C., and Assistant Provincial of the U.S. Province. At the 1950 General Chapter, he was elected Superior General. O’Toole oversaw the moving of the Congregation’s General Administration to Rome, opening the new facility, which included both the Generalate and an international House of Formation in 1954. In 1955 Father Moreau’s cause for sainthood was introduced in Rome.  Also during his tenure as Superior General, the Congregation opened missions in Ghana (1957) and Uganda (1958) in Africa. He also opened a school in northern Italy in an effort to recruit vocations. O’Toole’s years in office witnessed a steady growth in the Congregation to more than 3,000 brothers and priests by 1962. After leaving office, Fr. O’Toole served as Superior of the District of Texas and then as the first Provincial Superior of the Southern Province (Austin, Texas) when it was established in 1968. In later years, he was a hospital chaplain and campus minister at Cardinal Newman College in St. Louis, Missouri. Father O’Toole died 1986.

 

Brother Cosmas (Alphonse) Guttly, C.S.C. (1893-1992)

image1 (8).jpgHe spent hours at the Grotto. Corby Hall, adjacent to the Grotto, was his home for nearly 45  years. Brother Cosmas was often seen tidying up the Grotto, resting, talking to people, and tending the flower beds there and around Corby Hall.  One day, a secretary on campus was walking toward the Grotto on a lunch break when she saw Brother Cosmas hunched over a flower bed near Corby Hall. She thought he was ill and went to help him. When she got closer to him, she realized that he was weeding it. He also helped in the church and sacristy. For years this quaint, frail little man, with the round wire-rimmed glasses and black cassock, was a familiar sight to many as he quietly served the priests during Mass at Sacred Heart Church. He was revered by priests and lay people alike as a very holy man. In between church services, and his other work, he was always at the Grotto. One day a week he would go to Holy Cross House, the retirement home for priests image2on the campus. There he would help his “good buddy,” Brother Edward, attend the infirm priests who said their daily Mass in the long corridor of sit-down altars for use by priests in wheelchairs. Then he would return to the Sacred Heart Church in time for the 5 o’clock service. Brother Cosmas came from Switzerland. He was a businessman before he became a Brother in mid life, after the death of his wife and child in childbirth. He was gifted in many ways. His daily devotion to the Grotto and its surroundings was captured in a unique, unidentified, full page photograph of him in the back of the 1990 Dome. He was sitting alone on a secluded park bench, dressed in his black cassock, head bowed, meditating or praying a little distance from the Grotto. With his back to the camera he could not have known the picture was being taken. Only those who knew Brother Cosmas well would have known it was him. Very soon after the picture was taken he was confined, by his infirmities, to Holy Cross House. He died there two months after his 99th birthday

Father Gilbert Français, C.S.C. (1849-1929)

unnamed (11)He was born in 1849 in France and graduated from the Congregation’s College of St. Charles in St. Brieuc in Brittany. Gilbert entered the novitiate in Le Mans in 1867 where he would have met Blessed Moreau and pronounced vows in 1870. In 1872 he was assigned to teach at the Congregation’s college in Neuilly, a suburb of Paris. He served for a year on the staff of the novitiate and then was appointed director of the Neuilly school when its founder, Rev. Louis Champeau, C.S.C., died. At the General Chapter of 1892 he was elected co-adjutor Superior General with the right of succession. When Sorin died in 1893, Français became the Superior General. As Superior General, he labored to revive the community in France, including moving the General Administration back to France. Français was especially solicitous that the religious who were teaching earn degrees to insure the quality of their ministry. Responding to tension between priests and brothers, he vigorously supported the move of the brothers into secondary education in North America where they directed the schools that they staffed.  He wrote in a circular letter dated January 2, 1912: “From this time forward, the High School is the outstanding vocation for our Brothers! It is a vocation grander and more sublime than they themselves can conceive. Accordingly they must prepare themselves for it, in the first place by a reinforcement of their whole religious life, and then by a thoroughly well acquainted and well digested knowledge of the branches which under these new conditions they will be called upon to teach. And they must be vigorously encouraged and helped along in this new line of activity.” Father Français always promoted the religious life in his circular letters and several times visited the houses in Canada and the United States to encourage adherence to the Constitutions. He collaborated with other French religious to revive devotion to Blessed Moreau. When the French government passed laws in 1901 and 1904 abolishing religious congregations, Français moved the General Administration back to Notre Dame. His attempt to resign in 1920 was denied by the Vatican and instead he was given a co-adjutor, Rev. Andrew Morrissey, C.S.C., who died the following year. In poor health, Français was finally allowed to resign in 1926. He lived at St. Joseph’s Farm, Notre Dame, Indiana, and died there in 1929.

Sister Jarlath (Marie) Stanton, C.S.C. (1903-1931)

unnamed (13).jpgMarie Stanton received the habit of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1925 and was in the second band of Sisters to go to India in 1929.  The first four Sisters (Olga, Marie Estelle, Rose Monica and Rose Bernard) traveled to India as missionaries in 1924. Toward the end of October 1931, Sister Jarlath was stricken by influenza and died on November 1 in Toomiliah, India.  She was the first and youngest Sister of the Holy Cross to die in India. In the December issue of the periodical, Bengalese, she was memorialized by an unknown Sister of the Holy Cross. “Beneath the arched boughs of overhanging palm trees a flock of white-clad Indian girls are walking slowly.  Today the careless chatter of happy childhood accompanies not the jingle of silver bangles and anklets. Before a gently-sloping mound of newly turned raised earth they stop.  On the white cross they read: Sister M. Jarlath, C.S.C. With the traditional gesture of virginal modesty they cover their faces with their shawls. It is to hide their emotions and tears. Eyes and hearts are brimful of memories.  Only two years before she had come into their midst, a white angel from America. From the beginning the young Sister’s soft hand had caressed their oily tresses, and children had read sympathy in the grey eyes. Never was she impatient.  Her smile eased their pain. They had called her Rosheek, the Cheerful Nun. The children have scattered.  Now she rests. Far from the hills of Western Maryland that saw her first steps.  [Sister Jarlath] is the first-fruit of that tree transplanted four years ago by the Master Gardener from the plains of Indiana to the Plains of India.  She is the first-fruit plucked by the hands of Christ.”

 

Brother Eugene LeFeuvre, C.S.C. (1874-1963)

image2 (1).jpgHe was one of seven children, all boys, who was of French and Anglo-Indian descent.  The family lived in Calcutta for some time and then moved to Dacca when Eugene’s father was made jailer at the city’s local jail.  When he was tens years old, his mother died. He was among the first students to finish his high school education at St. Gregory School in Dacca first under the Benedictines and then under the Holy Cross Priests and Brothers.  He entered the Congregation in 1884 by receiving the habit. There was no canonical novitiate at that time. For nearly 70 years he worked in many elementary schools throughout Bengal. “For many years he [is] one of India’s greatest sharpshooters; and for two years, his victories brought him recognition as the champion shot of all India, Burma and Assam.  Brother was a master sergeant in the Indian Military and for many years he organized and drilled for what in our country [U.S.] corresponds to the ROTC. For his skill and many years of service he was given the Kaiser-i-Hind medal by George V. Whenever he traveled he took his St. Etienne rifle along with him. His shooting was a work of science and art. Even on the wing, he never missed unnamed (8).jpga shot.  As an old man he could out-walk men fifty years his junior, despite tropical rain or heat. [Because of his many years as a teacher] children for miles around Dacca know and love him. Often parents ask him to bless or at least make the sign of the cross over their children trusting that they would receive a special favor from God. Despite his popularity Brother Eugene lives a very simple life. After passing the four-score mark and spending over sixty years on the Bengal mission, Brother Eugene is still admired by all for his ability to do a day’s work, and for his cheerful acceptance of the handicaps brought on by old age” The Newsette. February 1957).

Father Robert L. Plasker, C.S.C. (1930-2009)

image1 (13).jpgHe was born in 1930, in Portland, Oregon and attended St. Rose Parish School and Central Catholic High School. He attended Mt. Angel Seminary in Oregon for three years and then joined the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1949 and was ordained in 1957. After ordination and until 1966 Fr. Plasker served in the District of Chile at St. George’s College and San Roque Parish. He then studied at the University of Texas for a year and assisted in the Diocese of Santiago de Veraguas in Panama where he taught and served at San Juan Evangelista Parish. In 1969 he returned to Chile where he served as assistant superior at the Holy Cross Community Center and was director of the professed seminarians. He served as District Superior from 1970-74. In 1973, following the takeover by the military junta in Chile, Father Plasker was expelled from Chile by the Delegated Rector of the Ministries of Education “for Marxist activities [and he] has been proposed as the Superior General of the Congregation of Holy Cross” (Cánapa, Jorge, C.S.C.).  Fr. Plasker moved to the District of Peru, serving in Chimbote, Canto Grande, and Lima. He was the founding pastor at Our Lord of Hope Parish in the Canto Grande desert where he formed Christian communities and served the poverty stricken people of Canto Grande. The parish remains a cornerstone of the Holy Cross apostolic effort in Peru. It is a place of vigorous pastoral activity and of flourishing Holy Cross education. In entering Holy Cross, Fr. Plasker embraced the motto: Across the World with Holy Cross. Beginning in Santiago, Chile, then across the Chilean desert, to Peru, it was Fr. Plasker’s dream to serve the People of God in the missions of the Congregation of Holy Cross around the world. In the late eighties, Fr. Plasker was called to serve in the General Administration of the Congregation of Holy Cross in Rome as 2nd General Assistant. Through his service in the General Administration, his desire was to fortify the dream of Blessed Basil Moreau for the mission of the Congregation. After serving in the General Administration for six years, the call to “cross the world” came again. This time it was to return to formation work in Santiago, Chile, where he served as director of the professed seminarian program. It was also a call to return to the educational ministry at St. George’s College. It was a return to catechetical education and family pastoral care at San Roque Parish, where he served until his death. In his life and ministry, Fr. Plasker was known as educator, pastor, formator, religious superior, and committed to family life. These roles and traits marked his life in Holy Cross as a religious and in his priestly ministry for 51 years. (From the South Bend Tribune : Jan. 7, 2009)

Sister Lydia (Mary Margaret) Clifford, C.S.C. (1841-1914)

image1 (17).jpgShe was born in Ireland in 1841 and entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1859, receiving the habit in 1860 and professing final vows in 1864.  Over the next 50 years Sister Lydia served as a nurse in the Civil War from 1863-65 at St. Edward Hospital in Mound City, Illinois. She also served as a “chief nurse” in the Spanish American War in 1899 at Camp Lexington in Kentucky. “Major Glennon wanted the sisters to take over a military hospital for which they would be paid $60 a month.  Sister Lydia would be paid double that amount. Because her ‘common sense….discipline…knowledge, skill and fitness made her an ideal superintendent’” ( Schuller, O. S. F, Sister M. Victoria, History of Orphan Asylums, 1954).  In the book Nuns in the Battlefield it states that “Sister Lydia Clifford was a medalist of the Spanish-American War, in which she served with marked distinction” (155). She also directed three different hospitals in Ohio (1886-90), Illinois (1896-98) and Indiana (1898-1901).  Between 1877-1898 she served as the directress at several homes for orphans in Maryland, Indiana, Virginia and Ohio. In 1874, she was appointed the directress of Dolan Aid Asylum in Baltimore. Along with Sisters Colthilde Fitzgerald and Justina Langley, “ The sisters collected what money and supplies that they could; each week they made trips to the Broadway and Marsh markets where meat, fruit, and vegetables were given to them.  Between forty and fifty children were accommodated at Dolan Aid Asylum” (Souvenir Book, St. Patrick Parish). Sisters and brothers were kept together so that there would be no chance of them drifting apart. Sister Lydia died in 1914 at Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame.

 

Sister Margaret André (Patricia) Wæchter, CSC (1935-2017)

unnamed (12)Sister Margaret André was born in Detroit in 1935.  She was as multifaceted as she was multitalented.  Margaret André lived who she said she was, a Catholic woman and dedicated Sister of the Holy Cross. She was filled with zeal, vivacious and whole-hearted. One could truly say she “was the joy of the Gospel.” Her enthusiastic being and deep spirituality touched many lives and nurtured many faith journeys. She never knew how she helped people grow and how her life inspired so many to help others do the same. Margaret André gave herself fully to whatever she was doing. This started even while she was attending Mass as a sixth grader. When the organist did not show up, Pat, as she was known then, confidently filled in, because, she reasoned, “the church organ was like my piano at home.” She laughed when she said during her freshman year in college, that she “majored in partying and dancing, earning an ‘A’ in both.” She never lost that zest for life, and what she did not find in that lifestyle, she found in the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. She enrolled in Saint Mary’s College and while she served as the receptionist, she met many of the sisters. She said, “I was so impressed with the wonderful family relationship the sisters had.” Once Margaret André decided to enter the Congregation, she did not look back. Her “Let it be done to me according to Your word” attitude led to her profession of perpetual vows in the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1961. She lived her life according to a mantra given by her father: “You can do whatever you set your mind to.” Sister Margaret André did not want to be stuck in music. While many of us may know only about her music, her commitment took her into teaching in elementary and high schools, adult education, diocesan liturgical ministry, campus ministry at the University of Texas at Austin, Congregation candidate director for the United States, and, where many grew to know her, as the music director at Saint Mary’s. She had the sisters sing the “Hallelujah Chorus,” from Handel’s Messiah for her master’s degree thesis concert for triple master’s degrees in voice, organ and directing.  At night when she was in the music room practicing, if a homesick or struggling postulant came in (during grand silence), she would continue playing, ask what music the individual liked, and just be. Margaret André so lived the symphony of her life that she became the music. She epitomized the expression, “the eyes are the windows of the soul.” Her life is best defined by the familiar refrain from Marty Haugen’s Canticle of the Sun: “The heavens are telling the glory of God, /and all creation is shouting for joy. / Come, dance in the forest, come, play in the field / and sing, sing to the glory of the Lord.”  (Adapted from a eulogy written by Sister Helene Sharp, CSC, 2017) 

Brother Celestine (Francis) McAlaine, C.S.C. (1845-1896)

image1 (6).jpgThe following excerpts were written by Daniel V. Casey ’95 in Scholastic, Vol. 29: 50, 1896.  “On Tuesday morning the service flag fluttered half way up the staff on the Campus, stopped there and streamed out in the sunlight; and every student and professor who saw it knew that Brother Celestine was dead.  His death was sudden yet not unlooked for. He was of the sort whose death comes always as a shock to friends and acquaintances. He never complained or made much of his pains; he never intruded his own personality on the public, and when he was cut down, apparently in his very prime, his passing seemed a mystery to many.  Acute pneumonia set in and his struggle with death was brief. He died as he had lived, quietly and peacefully, with his friends about him, master of himself to the last. He was a lad of eighteen, whom men knew as Francis McAlaine, when he left Philadelphia to enter the Congregation of Holy Cross. That was in ’63 when the war clouds hung low in the south, and the war was hardly ended before Brother Celestine was Assistant Secretary of Notre Dame.  [A]fter thirty years’ service [he] naturally was as sunny and unwarped [sic] as when he took up his duties in ’65.  It is no easy task to manage without friction boys of all ages and conditions, but there was something magnetic and inspiring about the man and the smallest Minim felt its influence and answered as readily to it as did his brothers of Sorin Hall.  The years ran on; Notre Dame grew and her sons increased in number; generation after generation of students came and tarried and went away to call her their Alma Mater, and not one of them had known anything but kindness from Brother Celestine. His funeral, fittingly enough, was almost a military one; and he who had been in life a true soldier of the cross was borne to his grave last Thursday to music of wailing trumpets and muffled drums.  Many flowers had been sent in– arm-loads of calla lilies among them, and the Sorin Cadets carried each a lily instead of a musket. We have good reason to thank God that men such as Brother Celestine are still to be found in this money-getting, soul-ignoring age of ours—men whose lives are trumpet-calls to the battle-shock for Christ and the right.  He gave his life and his labor to our Alma Mater, gave it freely and confidently, and his name will long be a sweet memory of Notre Dame.”

Father Frederick Schmidt, C. S. C. (1907-2003)

image1 (10).jpgIn the 1930s four Spanish-speaking Holy Cross priests, Fathers Frederick Schmidt, C.S.C., Thomas Culhane, C.S.C., Alfred Mendez, C.S.C., and Joseph Houser, C.S.C. were assigned to Central Texas. They formed Catholic Communities which soon became parishes in which Spanish was the primary language. It was not until the 1970s that Holy Cross expanded its ministry into México. In May of 1972 at the age of 65, Father Frederick Schmidt, C.S.C. requested a sabbatical. After 35 years of work with Mexican Americans in Georgetown, Killeen, Copperas Cove and Round Rock in Texas, Fr. Schmidt desired to spend some time in México. What the Provincial at the time, Father Christopher O’Toole, C.S.C., didn’t know was that he was looking for a parish in México that had no priest. He soon found one in the mountains of San Luis Potosí and received permission to spend his sabbatical year there. As his ‘working sabbatical’ was drawing to a close, he called Fr. O’Toole and pleaded with him to remain. He described how the people had waited for him for hours when he first arrived and how the children greeted him with flowers and put on a magnificent fiesta. Every day the people would unnamed (10).jpgtell him how important it was for him to stay with them. They desperately needed a priest in their town. After contemplating Fr. Schmidt’s request, Fr. O’Toole brought the matter to his Provincial Council and it was agreed that Fr. Schmidt could stay in Ahuacatlán. He was pastor there for the next 25 years and pastor emeritus for five more! During that time, Fr. Schmidt was also chaplain to the Dominican Sisters in the neighboring town of Xilitla. He founded a group of Franciscans’ Recollect in his parish where, with some help from benefactors in the United States, he built a beautiful convent that would hold 40 sisters. Soon the convent was full. Fr. Schmidt died in 2003 at the convent and was buried in the crypt of the convent chapel. (Holy Cross in Mexico https://www.holycrossusa.org/spes-unica-blog/holy-cross-in-mexico/)

 

Brother Robert Elwood Fillmore, C.S.C. (1939-2015)

image1 (5)He was born in Barberton, OH in 1939 and attended St. Augustine Elementary School in Barberton and St. Mary’s High School in Akron graduating in 1957. That winter he decided to join the Brothers of Holy Cross and pronounced his first vows in 1959. His first assignment was to teach at Boysville of Michigan, for seven years and then he served as Vocation Director for another seven years. He studied for a year to earn a degree in spirituality at the Berkley School of Theology, and he put what he learned into practice by serving for 20 years as the campus minister at Holy Cross High in River Grove, IL, at Our Lady of Westside Schools and Holy Trinity High School in Chicago, IL, and Archbishop Hoban High in Akron, OH.  While in Chicago he was co-director of the TEC (Teens Encounter Christ) for four years. His mission in life was youth ministry, and he was a mentor for hundreds in Chicago’s inner-city youth. When Brother Bob taught at Holy Trinity High School his students had homework assignments to provide service to people in the neighborhoods. Living on the south side of Chicago, he took pride in leading youth retreats especially in Kujenga Leadership retreats. One of his favorite slogans was “We don’t fear the future, we embrace it.” He helped many teenagers stay away from drugs, so that parents loved him. Always a “people person,” he didn’t preach selfless service, but selfless service, leading from the front. Brother Bob’s leadership skills were evident while serving on the Midwest Provincial Council for seven years, being chosen to be the Assistant Provincial in 2000.  He was unanimously elected Provincial Superior in 2003. Even in this new responsibility, Brother Bob maintained his friendly out-going interest in people and ministries in the Midwest Province and on trips to Ghana and Bangladesh. He had a strong belief in the help of Blessed Moreau and St. André Bessette. When a decision had to be made, he would pray over it and was firm and unafraid in making it and moving forward. When his role as Provincial Superior ended in 2009, he spent the last four years of his life in Schubert Villa and Dujarie House in South Bend, IN with people who were so dear to his heart. His brother, Rick, said in his eulogy that “Bob’s life and accomplishments touched so many people that they all could fill Notre Dame’s stadium more than ten times over.”

Rev. Louis Job L’Etourneau, C. S. C. (1828-1910)

“Notre Dame’s oldest priest is dead at the age of 82. He was also the oldest resident of the university community in point of service. Rev. Father L’Etourneau died at 9 o’clock last night, following an illness of several weeks. He wimage1 (7)ill be buried in [the] Notre Dame community cemetery [Holy Cross] Saturday, following services and the celebration of solemn requiem mass in Sacred Heart Church. The students will attend the mass. Rev. Father L’Etourneau was a priest at Notre Dame for more than half a century, and he held many high offices in the Catholic church and was a former head [Provincial] of the Holy Cross order [Congregation], an office now held by the Very Rev. Andrew Morrissey, [C.S.C.] in the United States. He was also assistant superior-general. He was born in Detroit, Mich., Oct. 3, 1828. He finished his theological work in Italy and was ordained a priest in Rome in 1857.  Father L’Etourneau’s parents came to this country from France in the early days of the last century. They amassed considerable wealth and as a young priest he inherited much money which he devoted entirely to charity, one of his gifts to Notre Dame being Corby [H]all. Father L’Entourneau in life linked the past generations of the college with the present. He was one of the most popular priests the members of the university alumni of the past generation recall. For 25 years he held the honored position of master of novices at Notre Dame. He was also for a time superintendent [superior] of the community house [Columba Hall]. After his ordination in Rome, Father L’Etourneau visited France and was present at one of the greatest events in Catholic history of the 19th century, the exercises in the establishment of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception” (South Bend Tribune. Thursday, October 20, 1910).

Sister Paula (Winifred) Casey, C.S.C. (1836-1927)

image1 (9).jpg“Sister Paula, a young novice who had left her family in Ireland entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross at age nineteen.  She had only been in the convent three years in 1861 before she was sent to Saint John’s Hospital in Cairo [Illinois]. Out of the freshness of youth, she describes the appalling conditions of the hospital upon her arrival.  ‘As we stepped in-to [sic] each room on the first-floor [sic] what a frightful sight stared us in the face.  Every room was strewn with human legs and arms.…At this time the fighting was going on in good earnest.  We were shown through the different wards by the genial Dr. Burke, but O! terrors. We could see nothing but human flesh everywhere around some of the wards on the first floor [that] resembled a slaughter house the wals [sic] were so splattered with blood …. Sister M.  Isadore and I cried with horror until we were tired. to [sic] our heart-felt disappointment we met far more than we expected or ever thought of. of [sic] course we never knew what war was until that 7 day of Dec. 1861.  Then we tasted it to the fullest extent.’ [She goes on to say] ‘Mother Augusta was in charge of the hospital at Cairo.  Mother looked at us both [Sister Isadore] a kind, pitying look, and said now stop, you are here and must put your heart and Soul to the work.  Pin up your habits, we will get three brooms, three buckets of water and we will first begin by washing the walls and then the floors.” Sister Paula reported that they succeeded in cleaning the hospital after ‘some days and nights of constant brooming and watering’”.  Father Moreau called the novice unnamed (9).jpgnursing sisters back to Notre Dame. The sisters responded obediently to the superior general, yet many felt guilty that they were leaving their patients. “Sister Paul evokes a compelling image [of these feelings] in her recollections. She recalled that they left at night, but as they were preparing to leave, the mules that were to take them to the railroad station ran away.  Sister Paul lamented, ‘The poor mules understanding the situation of the whole affair talked the matter over between themselves and naturaly [sic] came to the conclusion. If we take those sisters to meet the train it will surely be a great injustice to the poor sick and dying, and again it will stir up the wrath of Dr. Franklin which is always near at hand. No we will not take them we will break loose and run away and hide in the woods until morning, and so they did….The night was extremely warm….neither moon nor stars were visible.  They too seemed not pleased with our leaving the poor sick and dying as they refused their light and …. hid behind the thick clouds which guarded them well’” ( extracted from Wall, Barbara Mann. “Grace Under Pressure: The Nursing Sisters of the Holy Cross, 1861-1865” as published in Nursing History Review, Vol. 1, 71-78, 1993).