Brother Benoit (Michael) Gillard, CSC (1815-1873)

benoit“One of the antiquities of Notre Dame”, he was a locksmith by trade and came from France in 1846 with Father Sorin. For many years he was chief Prefect in the Senior’s study hall and yard. Naturally rough and severe, he kept a perfect order and was generally loved by the students, notwithstanding. The last years of his life he was prefecting in the Infirmary where he died in the sentiments of a lively faith at aged 66” (no citation).  “Another of the old pioneer band that came to Notre Dame in the first years of its existence has parted from the scene of his labors, well laden with good deeds and merits. Perhaps no one at Notre Dame will be longer remembered by old students than Brother Benoit, who for twenty years ruled as Chief Prefect of the Senior Department. And we state what we know, as an old student ourself, that the announcement of his death will cause all the numerous men now engaged in the busy pursuits of life, who were once under his control, to pause in the whirl of business, and say: ‘God rest his soul!’ Brother Benoit had for some years been ailing, and had retired from the position of Chief Prefect of the Senior Department. A few weeks before his death it was evident to those who knew him well that he was in failing health; but on the morning of his death – Saturday – December 19th – he felt better and greeted cheerfully those around him, especially his fellow countryman and old comrade, Brother Augustus, who, despite the fact that Brother Benoit said he was feeling better, noticed a fearful change in him, and told him he was near death. And so it proved. Brother Benoit had received Holy Communion that morning, and just before noon it was evident that he was dying. There was time to administer to him the Sacrament of Extreme Unction (Editorial, SCHOLASTIC, 7:140, 1873). “Once more before the close of the eventful year, it is my sad duty to call upon you to pray for the repose of the soul of one of the old pioneers of our Congregation in the New World. Brother Benoit, for twenty years Prefect of the Seniors, departed this life at 11:30 this forenoon, fortified by the Sacraments of the Church, after a short illness of ten or twelve days. He was in his 66th year. He came to Notre Dame with me on my first return from France in 1846. As a Prefect, he was for many years considered an accomplished disciplinarian; of late, however, owing to infirmities and advanced age, he had been transferred from the Study-hall to the infirmary, where he continued, to the last, to act as Prefect Discipline among the convalescent. For his long and faithful services Brother Benoit well deserves to be gratefully remembered in the Congregation” (Sorin’s letter, 36, Dec. 20, 1873).

Sister Anna Mae (Joseph Anita) Golden, CSC (1930-2019)

anna mae.jpgThe Sisters of the Holy Cross learned early in the novitiate to think of themselves as “daughters of Father Moreau.” In January 2006 Sister Anna Mae Golden shared a reflection on Blessed Basil Moreau: “Moreau’s vision was to have members of the Congregation seek holiness for the mission and to call others to holiness through the mission.” She was a good and holy woman who was mission-driven in every ministry she was assigned. She made the connection between holiness in her own life and mission for others, especially through education and health care. She entered the Congregation in June 1951 after graduating from Dunbarton College, Washington, D.C., with a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics.  After initial profession of vows in February 1954, as Sister M. Joseph Anita, she was missioned to either secondary education or higher education in high schools and colleges sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross in the Eastern Province. Mathematics remained her strong suit, and she earned a Master of Science in in the subject in 1964 from the University of Notre Dame and a doctorate in education in 1981 from the University of Maryland. Her initial goal was to be the best math teacher possible. “Young people need the inspiring example of those who strive for excellence in what they are doing,” she wrote. Beyond her talent for mathematics, positions related to mission, administration and strategic planning came naturally to her. In 1972 she went to Saint Mary’s College, where she gave her full measure of service over several years. The 2004 Resolution of Gratitude from the Saint Mary’s College board of trustees testified to Sister Anna Mae’s quiet unassuming presence and deep faith and loyalty to the college.  She served Saint Mary’s College as a member of the board of trustees from 1994 to 2004 and the Board of Regents from 1976-82; and 1988-94. During those years, she chaired committees to develop the pastoral vision of the college, from which the Center for Spirituality was founded in 1987. Sister Anna Mae was also the director of admission, the admission counselor for the Rome program, coordinator of institutional planning and a lecturer in mathematics. She devoted countless hours to ensure that the young women received a quality education during their four years at Saint Mary’s College by chairing the Education Committee. Elected in 1999 to the General Council of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Sister Anna Mae ministered until 2004 at the international headquarters at Saint Mary’s. It is said that, while on the General Council, she made time to tutor some of the young sisters who had difficulty in their college math classes. Her last active ministry was as a patient visitor from 2005-07 at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, South Bend, before transitioning into retirement due to failing health (Sister Catherine Osimo, CSC).

Servant of God Bishop Vincent McCauley, C.S.C. (1906-1982)

unnamed (7).jpg“The oldest of six children, Bishop Vincent McCauley, C.S.C. was born on March 8, 1906, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. His parish school, St. Francis Xavier, first awakened in him a desire for missionary work and evangelization. Inspired by Holy Cross priests who preached a mission at his parish in the fall of 1924, McCauley left Creighton University and entered the seminary at the University of Notre Dame.  McCauley professed final vows in Holy Cross on July 2, 1929. As he was interested in the missions, he was sent to the Foreign Missionary Seminary in Washington, D.C., and was ordained a priest on June 24, 1934. His departure to the missions in East Bengal in India (a territory that today encompasses Bangladesh and part of India) was delayed two years until October 1936 because of a lack of funds due to the Great Depression.  McCauley’s work among the neglected Kuki Christians (a distinct minority in the overwhelmingly Muslim country) in Agartala confirmed his calling as a missionary. Unfortunately, illness forced him back to the United States in May 1944. He spent nearly a year in recovery before joining the formation staff at the Foreign Mission Seminary in Washington. The unnamed (6)next 13 years of his life would be devoted to seminarian formation and mission procuration, a role in which McCauley made famous the mission appeal slogan – “Wanted to build a better world: Few architects, more bricklayers.”  In 1958, McCauley was sent to lead the Congregation’s new mission to Uganda. As had been the case in East Bengal, the Congregation’s work in western Uganda focused on building up the local Church through the establishment, renovation, and strengthening of parish churches and schools. When Rome split western Uganda into two dioceses, McCauley was appointed bishop of newly created Diocese of Fort Portal. As Bishop, McCauley built the diocese from the ground up, founding numerous parishes and diocesan structures, along with St. Mary’s Minor Seminary for local priestly formation. Remembered for his compassion and leadership, Bishop McCauley guided the Church in aiding countless refugees, widows, orphans, and migrants in the region during the political turmoil of 1960s and 70s. He also took leading roles in the creation and administration of East Africa’s episcopal associations. His leadership in the establishment of both an East African seminary and the Catholic University of Eastern Africa remains one of his distinctly Holy Cross legacies to a region in which global Catholicism finds one of its modern centers-of-gravity. Bishop McCauley’s commitment to the enculturation of the Gospel can be heard in his advice to fellow Holy Cross priests in mission. ‘We no longer use the term ‘adaptation.’ The suspicion is that ‘adaptation’ implies putting African clothes on European and foreign interpretations of Christ’s message. To the African Church the message of Christ is universal and, therefore, should be presented to the Africans as God’s message to Africans. It must be something that can be understood and put into practice in Africa … The Gospel, the Church, must be incarnated in the African culture in which we live.’ In August 2006, the cause for canonization of McCauley was introduced in the Congregation for the Causes of Saints” (http://holycrosscongregation.org/holy-ones/servant-of-god-vincent-mccauley).

Mother Mary Ascension (Mathurin) Salou, C.S.C. (1826-1901)

image1 (1).jpgConsidered upon her death as one of the last Holy Cross pioneers at the University of Notre Dame, Mother Ascension was buried with what might be considered full military honors. Ordinarily, the sisters were buried from their own chapel, but an exception was made for Mother Ascension. She was one of the original band of women who came from France as colaborers with Father Sorin for the founding and building of Notre Dame du Lac. It was for this reason that the faculty and students of the University attended the funeral as a unified presence. “The Reverend President Morrissey was celebrant, assisted by Father [Stanislaus] Fitte. After the celebration of Solemn High Mass of Requiem, the body was blessed by Father L. [Louis] J. [Job] L’Etourneau. The body was taken to the gave by the students, professors, clergy and Sisters in funeral procession” (“The Last of the Pioneers. Scholastic. May 1, 1901). Born in 1826 in France, Mathurin Salou entered the Sisters of Holy Cross in 1845. In 1848 she came to the States and joined Father Sorin. As early as 1853 she was appointed superior of Saint Mary’s Academy and Mistress of Novices in 1854. In 1856 and again in 1860-62 she was Directress of Immaculate Conception Academy in Philadelphia. From 1865 through 1894 she was either Superior or Superior and Mistress of Novices at Saint Mary’s. She retired in 1894 and died in 1901. She was known as the Mother of the missions in Bengal because of her many works of charity. Almost unaided she trained Sisters for hospital work, and when not doing so she taught at St. Mary’s. In a 1901 article in the South Bend Tribune she was described as “always bright and cheerful and even to the day of her death she found pleasure in discussing the works of the Sisters of the Holy Cross.” During the sermon at her funeral, delivered by Father Hudson, he paid the following tribute to the Sisters of the Holy Cross. “You are present this morning not only to show a mark of respect to the Sisters of the Holy Cross, especially to one who trained so many of them to the religious life, but to pay a tribute of gratitude to the truest benefactors of Notre Dame. It is enough to say in explanation that the work of Father Sorin would have been impossible of accomplishment without the cooperation of the little band of religious women whom he summoned to his aid” (Scholastic. 1901).

Father Peter P. Cooney, C.S.C. (1822-1905)

cooney 1Father Peter Paul Cooney, C.S.C. (1822-1905), was one of the most tireless, brave, and successful Catholic chaplains on either side of the Civil War. Born in County Roscommon Ireland in 1822, he emigrated to the United States at a young age and was ordained a Holy Cross priest in 1859. Enlisting in the Union army at the behest of Indiana’s Governor Oliver Morton in October 1861, he served with the 35th Indiana Infantry Regiment (1st Indiana Irish) until victory was secured by the summer of 1865. Repeatedly praised by his commanders, Cooney stayed up late hearing confessions, ministered to the sick in the hospital, and did not shirk from the dangers of the battlefield if a dying man needed last rites. Typical of the praise he received during the war, Colonel Bernard F. Mullen, conspicuously commended Cooney’s conduct at the Battle of Stones Rivers:  “To Father Cooney, our chaplain, too much praise cannot be given. Indifferent as to himself, he was deeply solicitous for the temporal comfort and spiritual welfare of us all. On the field he was cool and indifferent to danger, and in the name of the regiment I thank him for his kindness and laborious attention to the dead and dying.”  The day before he mustered out of the army on June 16, 1865, Cooney’s regiment gave him a farewell gift of one-thousand dollars to buy a new set of vestments and a chalice. Rather than use the gift cooney 2right away, Cooney waited until the fortieth anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood to have a very special chalice constructed depicting scenes from his wartime chaplaincy and of Catholic sisters tending to wounded men in military hospitals. As Father Cooney explained to a friend in February of that year, “The chalice and its ornaments will be a synopsis of the ministrations or services of the Catholic Church in the army, during the war of the Rebellion.”  Eventually, suffering from a prolonged illness and acute deafness, Cooney died on May 7, 1905. His fellow priests bore his coffin “enveloped in the national ensign” to its final resting place nearby Fathers Edward Sorin and William Corby. At the end of the ceremony, Brother Leander, then president of Notre Dame’s GAR post, threw an American flag over the coffin saying, “On behalf of the Grand Republic for whose integrity and unity our late comrade, Rev. P. P. Cooney, offered his services during the War of the Rebellion, I deposit this flag” (Kurtz, William. American Studies, Catholic Humanities and the Digital Humanities. September 29, 2017).

Brother Albeus (John) Lawler, C.S.C. (1857-1913)

brother albeus“Brother Albeus was born in Dunlavin, Ireland, in 1857. At an early age he came to this country and in 1883 he joined the Congregation of Holy Cross. After his profession in 1886 he was for many years, prefect in Carroll Hall and teacher in the preparatory department of the University. He was made treasurer of the University in 1901, in which office he remained until his death. In addition he was for many years Provincial Counselor of the United States Province and a member of the General Chapter of the Congregation. In business ability, Brother Albeus was well qualified for the burdensome office with which he was entrusted for so long a time. He is fondly remembered by the students of many school years for his unselfish devotion to their interests during their days at Notre Dame. Among members of his community, he was always esteemed for his fine spirit of charity, his quiet but tense devotion to duty, and by the exemplary quality of his religious life. The deceased has been troubled for some years by a weak heart, and hence, while his death was sudden, it was not unexpected. He had been dangerously ill during the first week of June, but soon recovered sufficiently to return to his post of duty, where he died a few days later” (Scholastic, 1913).

 

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

SisterMadeleva7“Holy Cross Sister Mary Madeleva Wolff (1887-1964), President of Saint Mary’s College (1934-1961) and “the lady abbess of nun poets”, established the first graduate theology school for women.  Until the founding of the School of Sacred Theology at Saint Mary’s women had been excluded from the theological profession. For more than a decade Saint Mary’s College School of Sacred Theology was the only place in the world where a layperson, male or female, religious or lay, could earn an advanced degree in Catholic theology. Her impact on the course of religion in U.S. history is not unrecognized though her important contribution is not widely celebrated outside Saint Mary’s College. Wolff had a knack for imagination. In 1941, without consultation, but acting on a moral impulse, she moved to admit to Saint Mary’s its first African American student. Some alumnae were enraged yet Wolff wrote in a reflection, “They told me that as a northerner I did not know what I was doing.” She simply ignored her critics. (Hilton, Saint Mary’s College archives, 1959) Sister Madeleva was also a noted poet and published 70 books. In 1964, one of her last public appearances prior to her death was delivering the Eighth Commencement address at Archbishop Hoban High School.

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

peyton_with_beads.jpgVenerable Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C. coined the saying, “the family that prays together stays together;” and fostered prayer by millions of people through radio, television, films and worldwide preaching crusades. He became known as the Rosary Priest for his lifelong mission of encouraging Catholic families to pray at home daily and particularly to recite the rosary.  Preaching his simple message, he often drew tens of thousands of people to his rallies–sometimes hundreds of thousands. His radio broadcasts, which included religious dramas featuring top Hollywood stars, reached audiences in the tens of millions. His mission, he said, fulfilled a vow he made to the Virgin Mary when he was a seminarian ailing with tuberculosis: if he recovered, he would spread the practice of saying the rosary. He was born in Ireland and came to the United States at the age of 19. He first sought work as a coal miner in Scranton, Pennsylvania, but was not strong enough for the job. He became a church sexton, and then studied at Holy Cross Seminary at the University of Notre Dame and was ordained in 1941. In June of 2001 the formal Cause of Canonization was introduced at the Holy See by Cardinal Sean O’Malley and Fr. Peyton was declared Servant of God. On December 18, 2017, Pope Francis approved the Decree of the Heroic Virtue of Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., thus bestowing on him the title of Venerable.

Brother Marcellinus (Thomas) Kinsella, C.S.C. (1847-1914)

Brother Marcellinus“Brother Marcellinus, one of the ablest and best known teaching Brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross, died Wednesday morning at Notre Dame. To scores of Fort Wayne friends and particularly the students of Central Catholic High School, the announcement of his demise will be received with profound regret” (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, by Helen May Irwin July 30, 1914).  “Upon the invitation of Frank McErlain, Brother Marcellinus spent Thursday hunting 8 miles north. The report that no game is left in the state is without foundation, as is also the one that 13 pheasants and 9 rabbits committed suicide upon hearing that Brother Marcellinus was on the grounds. They were the lawful bag of a good day’s sport, as were several squirrels, a young fox and 2 blue-jays” (Scholastic December 20, 1886).    “Brother Marcellinus, who for years was head of the Commercial Department at Notre Dame, and who is now director of St. Columbkille’s School, Chicago, celebrated on last Monday, (19th) the Silver Jubilee of his entrance into the Congregation of Holy Cross. At St. Columbkille’s,  Chicago, he left behind him, not only golden memories, but a superb company of young men, many of them priests, to cherish his name. For 25 years he has been identified with the cause of education, and few instructors have met with greater success…” (Scholastic March 24, 1894).  “Old students of the University will be interested in knowing that Brother Marcellinus, a veteran and much-admired professor of the University in the ‘good old days’ has been recently appointed principal of the new high school recently founded in Fort Wayne, and placed in charge of the Brothers of Holy Cross. There are few teachers who were better remembered than Brother Marcellinus” (Scholastic, 43:30).  “Shortly prior to the 70th anniversary commencement at the University of Notre Dame this year, Brother Marcellinus was stricken with apoplexy of the brain and since that time his condition had been critical. For the past week his death had been hourly expected; the final summons came on Wednesday when he passed away at the Community House, where he had been making his home for a year….Owing to his long service as a teacher, over forty years, Brother Marcellinus remained at Notre Dame and during the past year since his retirement from Fort Wayne taught classes in the Commercial Department. His duties were not heavy and he appeared in his usual health until stricken in June. The beloved teacher was about 67 years of age and throughout his long career in the classroom was eminently successful in his activities. He taught at practically all the higher educational institutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross and was a religious of keen intellectual capacity and administrative ability. A number of Chicago’s leading business and professional men were students of Brother Marcellinus and so popular was he with the Chicago Notre Dame Alumni that no reunion was deemed complete unless he was in attendance. His death is a distinct loss to the great Community of which he was a devoted and exemplary member. He was a member of the General Chapter of the Holy Cross Order and participated in all the deliberations of that body for many years” (Irwin, 1914).  Gifted with an unusual talent, he had a distinguished career, both as teacher and director of schools.

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

unnamedFather BarryFor 19 years (1963-1982) Father Joseph Barry, C.S.C.  served as a religion teacher and chaplain for the members of the football teams at Archbishop Hoban High School.  His name graces the Hoban gym. He consistently told the team to “play from your hearts”. Standing only 5’ 3”, he was a “man’s man”.  In the August 2018 issue of Notre Dame Magazine, John Wukovits tells the story of Barry’s chaplaincy for the 157th Regiment, a Colorado National Guard unit that was part of the 45th Infantry that saw action in Sicily and Anzio in World War II.  Few Hoban students knew of Fr. Joe’s service in the military, but so many remember a man who was there for them when times were light-hearted and when times were dim.  He played from his heart as a true son of Blessed Moreau. Fr. Joe Barry died on September 25, 1985.

Brother Edmund (Frederick) Hunt, CSC ( 1909-2005)

Brother Edmund HuntBorn in Elwood, Indiana, Brother Edmund lived as a Brother of Holy Cross for seventy-three years. He passed away at age 95.  A 1935 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Brother Edmund received a Doctorate in Classical Languages at the University of Chicago in 1940 and later studied at the Sorbonne, Paris. His long and masterful teaching career inspired his students at the University of Notre Dame, at St. Edward’s University, and at several high schools of the Congregation of Holy Cross. From 1946 to 1952, as the first Brother President of St. Edward’s University, Brother Edmund set the institution on a course to become the second largest Holy Cross University in the country. His term followed the lean World War II years and heralded new growth at the university – indeed, many consider him the university “refounder.”  Among his many contributions, he led efforts to build the Alumni Memorial Gym, which was first used for the 1950 commencement ceremonies, at which the university conferred honorary degrees on Texas Gov. Allan Shivers and well-known Galveston businessman and philanthropist William Moody. In 1956, as a former president of the university, he supported efforts to form a lay Board of Trustees, a group that has guided the university since 1957. Brother Edmund also served the Congregation of Holy Cross at every level of engagement, perhaps most notably assisting with a rewriting of the Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross.

Mother Augusta (Amanda) Anderson C.S.C, (1830-1907)

augusta.jpg“Mother Mary Augusta was born in Alexandria, Virginia in 1830 and entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1854.  When she was four her mother died and her father, in his grief, decided to seek a new life on the Kansas frontier. Until he could become established, he left Amanda with her aunt near Lancaster, Ohio. Her aunt was a devout Catholic who, in the absence of a nearby church, made provision in her home for traveling priests to celebrate Mass. She also enlisted Amanda to help minister to Indians on a nearby reservation, which imparted to her a lifelong missionary spirit.  At age 24 and after her novitiate in France, she was assigned as a seamstress and a teacher. At the start of the Civil War, she and two novices were sent to a hospital to care for the soldiers. They were horrified at the conditions and looking at her whimpering companions “pityingly,” Mother Augusta told them, “Now stop! You are here and must put your heart and soul into the work. Pin up your skirts.” In 1875 Father Lawrence Scanlan asked the Holy Cross sisters to consider starting a school in Salt Lake City. Sr. Augusta and Sr. Raymond Sullivan responded. Within a week they had drawn up plans for a school that would cost $25,000, and set out raising the funds. They visited every mining camp in the territory, which is where the money was at the time, and so successful were their efforts that the school opened in September 1875 with 100 pupils. It was the beginning of what became a huge ministry that eventually included several schools, Holy Cross Hospital, and St. Ann Orphanage. Following the approval of the Constitutions from Rome and 20 years since the separation from the Marianites, Mother Augusta was elected the first Superior General of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1882. Certainly she was a force behind the establishment of numerous houses, schools, and of getting the work done, but most affectionately she was known as a superior who was always concerned with the well-being of her sisters, putting them first and standing for their freedom and rights as women religious. She took over where Mother Angela [Gillespie] left off, and built an independent congregation that was well-situated to continue to grow and thrive. Mother Mary Augusta is recognized for her deep love for the congregation and willingness to sacrifice all for the good of the congregation. To many she was and still is remembered as a builder of houses and most importantly, a builder of her sisters, a liberated risk-taker” ( Information taken from an article by Gary Topping, Archivist, Diocese of Salt Lake City and Sisters of the Holy Cross, Capturing the Wind, 2015).

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

paul“Brother Paul, Prefect of the Senior Department of the University, died in the evening of the 12th instant. For a number of years the deceased had suffered from the ailment which finally carried him off, though he had been but a few days confined to his bed before his death. Known in the world as Patrick Connors, he was born in Ireland in 1850, and in 1867 entered the Congregation of Holy Cross at Notre Dame. During the past 25 years he has been one of the prefects of the Senior department, and was ever zealous to promote the happiness and welfare of the students. As a consequence he was deservedly held in high esteem, and by all who knew him, the tidings of his demise will be received with deep and sincere regret” (Scholastic, 27:236) “…the death of Brother Paul [of the Cross] has been a great shock, and a cause of intense sorrow to the members of Brownson Hall, with whom he was very closely connected as Prefect. The last fatal illness was of such short duration that it is almost impossible to realize that he is gone. All are firm in the conviction that the place vacated by Brother Paul will be hard to fill” (Scholastic, 27; 237). “Died December 12, 1893. Aged 42. Identified with Notre Dame 28 years. Most of that time, a prefect. In close intimacy with students, because of his great interest and leadership in athletics. Fine physique and handsome man. As leading spirit in founding Athletic Association and as Chairman of Board of Control, he laid foundation of modern athletic system. A vigorous athlete himself and Director of Athletics at the time of the death” (Scholastic, 1893). “In the early days of the school’s football career, Brother Paul was the only member of the campus religious who was an athletic zealot. He was manager of the first four Irish teams, back in the days of caps and handlebar mustaches” (Ward, Arch.  Frank Leahy and the Fighting Irish). “The ‘enthusiastic boom’ predicted by the Scholastic was not long in getting under way, for in the following week a meeting was held on the Notre Dame campus to form a Rugby Football association with Brother Paul, the father of athletics at the University, being named president. Brother Paul managed the first four Notre Dame elevens [football teams]. It was he who suggested that campus elevens be organized and was instrumental in securing uniforms for them” (Ward, Arch).  “Apropos of the renewal of athletic relations with Michigan, Notre Dame gratefully recalls the day in 1888 when Ann Arbor authorities sent their team, at the request of Brother Paul, to teach us the art of football. Last week in Cleveland, Mr. Ernest M. Sprague, one of those Michigan sportsmen, died. You are asked to pray for his soul. He refereed the game. When a Notre Dame man crushed into the Wolverine quarterback after he had signaled for a fair catch, then knocked the ball from his hands, scooped it up and thundered down the field for a touchdown, Mr. Sprague disallowed it and penalized Notre Dame. ‘In only a split second’, he said, ‘one hundred and fifty wild Irishmen were around my neck. Brother Paul saved me, raised his hand, asked for silence, and said: ‘These boys are our guests. We invited them to teach us the game. Mr. Sprague knows the rules.’ Lucky for me from the rule book I satisfied Brother Paul and the boys. I had treated them fairly.”

Sister Maria Gemma (Ella) Mulcaire, C.S.C. (1896-1982)

mulclaireAfter serving in the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross for 67 years, Sister Maria Gemma died on March 22, 1982.  She was one of the hundreds of Irish sisters who gave up their homeland to serve the Church in America. Ella M. Mulcaire was one of twelve children born in Limerick, Ireland.  She came to the states at an early age and entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1915. She is a member of a legendary CSC family. Ten members of her family have been members of Holy Cross:  two aunts (Sisters Gertrude and Aloysius), two of her sisters (Miriam Gertrude and Aloysia Marie), two of her brothers and two cousins (Fathers Michael and James Mulcaire and Fathers P. J. Carroll and Joseph Quinlan), and two cousins (Sisters Joseph of the Sacred Heart and Hieronyme).  There are few families who have contributed more to Holy Cross and the universal Church. After graduating from St. Mary’s Academy, Sister earned a life license in elementary education. For the next 62 years she taught in elementary schools throughout Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. Her first assignment was to teach the legendary Minims at the University of Notre Dame following in the footsteps of her aunt, Sister Aloysius, who taught there for 43 years.  This writer was taught by Sister Maria Gemma in 3rd and 4th grade at Saint Mary of the Lake School in Miller, Indiana. She was an excellent teacher dedicated to her work and the children in her care.  A strict disciplinarian, she was a devoted daughter of Blessed Moreau as she developed her students not only in secular subjects but also in character and moral fiber.  As one of the best loved Sisters of the Holy Cross, she literally had hundreds of friends among her religious sisters and the laity. She was a woman of integrity with a deep piety and an abiding love of her Community and everyone in it.  Approachable and gracious, kind and understanding and ever ready to help, Sister Maria Gemma radiated a spirit of serenity, joy and peace. Her character can best be summed up with these lines from the Prayer of Saint Francis. “Where there is hatred, let me bring your love. / Where there is despair in life, let me bring hope. /  And where there is sadness ever joy.” (Information found in a eulogy supplied by Sister Timothea Kingston, C.S.C., Archivist for the Sisters of the Holy Cross.)

Father John W. Cavanaugh, C.S.C. (1870 –1935)

cavanaughFather Cavanaugh was the 8th President of the University of Notre Dame from 1905 to 1919.  He was born into a family of coal miners in 1870 and came to Notre Dame in 1886 because his mother wanted at least one of her sons to get an education.  In 1889, he received the habit and worked during his Novitiate for Notre Dame English professor Maurice Francis Egan. He was ordained in 1894 and that same year he became the assistant editor of the Ave Maria.  From 1898-1905, he served as the superior of Holy Cross Seminary.  In 1905, he was appointed the President of the University of Notre Dame by Provincial Father John Zahm.  Among the first of many acts to preserve and to highlight the history of the University, in 1906, he had the remains of Father Badin, the man who bought the ground on which Notre Dame had been founded, re-interred in their final resting place in the log chapel on campus. That same year the statue of Father Sorin was unveiled. Cavanaugh was an intellectual figure  known for his literary gifts. He was considered one of the best orators in the United States as attested to by his many eloquent speeches. During his presidency, he dedicated himself to improve Notre Dame’s academic and scholastic reputation, and the number of students awarded bachelor’s and master’s degrees significantly increased. Cavanaugh also worked to enlighten the public about American Catholics, and convince them that they were not the enemy of the United States but that they were full supporters of their country. He especially fought against the Ku Klux Klan, the American Protective Association, and the anti-Catholic newspaper The Menace through his sermons, speeches and articles. He also supported Ellen Ryan Jolly in her effort to install a memorial to the Sisters of the Holy Cross who served as nurses in the Civil War.  During his presidency, the university also rapidly became a significant force on the football field. Yet Cavanaugh resented the implications that Notre Dame should be known as a football school and almost ended the football program because it had been a money-losing operation since 1913.  Ironically, two of Notre Dame’s most famous football personalities appeared during his tenure, George Gipp and Knute Rockne. After he resigned as President of Notre Dame, Cavanaugh kept himself busy. For two years he stayed at Holy Cross College in Washington, DC to teach English. After his return to Notre Dame in 1921, he taught English until 1931.  His health began declining as early as 1915 when he was diagnosed with diabetes. In 1925 he contracted tuberculosis and in 1934 he fell and severely injured his leg. In 1935, he died in the Community infirmary at Notre Dame. (archives.nd.edu. Retrieved February 13, 2019.)

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

hesburgh 1Hesburgh TimeA native of Syracuse, New York, he served as the president of the University of Notre Dame for thirty-five years (1952–1987).  In addition to his career as an educator and author, Hesburgh was a public servant and social activist involved in numerous American civic and governmental initiatives, commissions and international humanitarian projects. Father Hesburgh received numerous honors and awards for his service, most notably the United States’ Presidential Medal of Freedom (1964) and Congressional Gold Medal (2000). He is credited with bringing Notre Dame, long known for its football program, to the forefront of American Catholic universities and its transition to a nationally respected institution of higher education. During his tenure as president, the university also became a coeducational institution. In addition to his service to Notre Dame, Hesburgh held leadership positions in numerous groups involved in civil rights, peaceful uses of atomic energy, immigration reform, and Third World development. He wanted to become a priest since the age of six. Graduating from Holy Rosary High School in Syracuse in 1934, he entered Holy Cross Seminary in the fall. In 1937 the Congregation sent him to Rome where he graduated in 1940. When the American consul in Rome ordered all U.S. citizens to leave Italy in 1940 due to the outbreak of World War II, Hesburgh returned to the United States to continue his studies. He spent three years (1940–43) studying theology at Holy Cross College and two years (1943–45) at the Catholic University of America, earning a doctorate in sacred theology in 1945. Ordained in 1943, he served as a chaplain at the National Training School for Boys and at a military installation.  Although Hesburgh expressed an interest in serving as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he returned to Notre Dame in 1945. After retirement, Hesburgh was especially active in the development of five institutions he organized: the Ecumenical Institute for Theology Studies at Jerusalem; Notre Dame’s Center for Civil and Human Rights; the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies; the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies; and the Hank Family Environmental Research Center. He died in 2015, at the age of 97. A Time magazine cover story from 1962, named him as “the most influential figure in the reshaping of Catholic higher education in the U.S.” (Information taken from various online sources.)

Brother Francis Xavier (René) Patois, C.S.C. (1820-1896)

xavier“The usual suffrages and prayers of the members of the Congregation are requested for the repose of the soul of Brother Francis Xavier who died at Notre Dame, November 21, 1896, fortified by the Holy Sacraments.  The deceased was born in Clermont, France, July 27, 1820, entered the Congregation Sept., 15, 1840, received the habit, March 22, 1841, and was professed August 22, 1841. Brother Francis Xavier was first called Brother Marie, which was afterwards changed to Brother Francis Xavier. Brother Francis was a model religious, regular at all the exercises, industrious to the very last, devoted to the Community, and led a life of great self-denial. He was a cabinet maker by trade.  From the very earliest history of his life in America, in 1841, he was employed as an undertaker, and he was frequently called up at mid-night, and had to go eight or even twelve miles to attend the dead. Hundreds of times he was exposed in rains, snow-storms; perched on an uncovered hearse, slowly making his way to the Church and cemetery. The most remarkable fact in his history is that he came with Very Rev. R.[sic] Sorin in company with five other Brothers in 1841. He survived every one of that devoted band who founded Notre Dame. It would be hard to find in history a more devoted band of missionaries than the band of which Brother Francis Xavier was the survivor” (Fr. Corby: CIRCULAR LETTER, November 13, 1896). “Brother Francis Xavier, 29, an excellent Brother like[d] by everyone. A master-carpenter; Sacristan. In charge of cellar for Mass wine” (Sorin’s Memo). “Brother Francis Xavier tells of the manner of journey from St. Peter’s [New York] and arrival at South Bend: ‘We came through from Vincennes on an old stage coach, which the Bishop who sent us here picked up somewhere. It was too small a conveyance to hold us all and our baggage, so we took turns at walking. When we arrived in South Bend we stopped for several days at the home of the first Alexis Coquillard as there were no accommodations for our party at the mission. We did not ford the river, ferry it, or go over it in row boats, but crossed it on the old bridge north of the brickyard. Alexis Coquillard might have gone with us, but he was a small boy then. It was resolved that Brother Francis Xavier should be assistant and Master of Novices’” (LOCAL COUNCIL, February 25, 1850). “It was resolved that Brother Francis Xavier should make a steeple for the church of St. Joseph, South Bend” (Local Council, 1851). “Altar made by Brother Francis Xavier on which Sorin used to say Mass in the log church now in east Chapel of new extension of church” (SCHOLASTIC, 19, p.293, 1894). “. . . who has made the coffins for all who have died at Notre Dame and most likely will do the same kind office for many more before he drives the last nail into his” (Prof. Lyons, (J.A.) Silver Jubilee of Notre Dame, p. 11, 1869).  “Since Father Sorin died, Brother Francis has been the Patriarch of Notre Dame; but no stranger who saw the silent, unobtrusive Brother as he moved actively about his work, would have guessed it. He wore his honors gracefully, and to the end he remained the prayerful, laborious, amiable, humble religious that he was in youth. Such men never die. They live again in every life their example has helped to sanctify” ( SCHOLASTIC, Vol. 30, p. 155, 1896).

Sister Euphrosine (Rosalie) Pepin, C.S.C. (1830-1906)

sistersBorn in France in 1830, Rosalie Pepin was known as “Fr. Sorin’s postulant” even though she was out of the Sisters of the Holy Cross for nearly ten years (1871- 79). When she was 19, she heard of the missionary work of two Sisters of the Holy Cross in Indiana. “[They] labored among the Indians, [and because of] the good they effected by their zealous missionary spirit” she desired to join them. In 1852, she sailed from France with Father Sorin and three other women for New York. Professed in 1854, she had early on endured many privations from the time she landed in New York. Her first assignment, caring for a dozen orphans, was in such destitution in all things that “[her] missionary life… looked to the worse instead of [the] better.” During the next 13 years she changed assignments ten times. In 1870, she returned to France to attend to family business and upon her return to the States, she met the Bishop of Galveston, Texas who asked her to return with him to begin a school. She did this and gathered women to assist her. Thinking that Father Sorin had given his permission for her Texas sojourn, she served for nearly ten years as a teacher/director in schools in several Texas outposts. Being away from St. Mary’s for nearly five years without the approval of Father Sorin, she was asked by Mother Angela Gillespie to “abandon the habit of Holy Cross. Always obedient, she changed the headdress, calling her group of [women] Sisters of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus.” She petitioned to return to Holy Cross and was granted permission in 1879. Over the next 20 years, she served in several towns in Utah, Michigan and Indiana. After the main building at Notre Dame burned down, she was asked by Father Sorin to return to France to beg donations for its rebuilding which she did. Finally, in 1899 she returned to St. Mary’s and was a now-and-then patient in the infirmary until her death in 1906. As an early “archivist” she collected memorabilia from many of the missions where she served and from individual sisters. This collection is a memorandum on the Sisters of the Holy Cross from 1852-1862. Prior to her death she listed in a small notebook five graces she asked from God: pardon for her sins, the spirit of faith, his holy love, the grace to do all the good which lay in her power, and finally the grace of a good and holy death. (Information taken from “Sister M. Euphrosine: Pioneer and Enigma” by Sister Campion Kuhn, C.S.C., 1984.) There are no images nor photos of Sister Euphrosine.

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

sorin-1unnamed (5)Though he is not a saint (nor is he currently being considered for canonization), Father Edward Sorin, C.S.C. was a remarkable man who was animated with a stubborn faith and missionary zeal. Born in the west of France in 1814, ordained in 1838, Father Sorin was 28 years old when the Blessed Basil Moreau offered him a parcel of land in north-central Indiana that had been purchased by Rev. Stephen Badin, the first Catholic priest ordained in the United States, and left in trust to the Bishop of Vincennes for anyone who would found a Catholic school on the site. Father Sorin’s original land grant of several hundred acres was the site of an early mission to Native Americans, but included only three small buildings in need of repair. Accompanied by six Brothers of St. Joseph (later the Holy Cross Brothers) Brothers Vincent, Lawrence, Anselm, Gatian, Francis Xavier, Joachim and Father Sorin arrived in November 1842 and called the fledgling school L’Université de Notre Dame du Lac. The early Notre Dame was a university in name only.  It encompassed religious novitiates, preparatory and grade schools and a manual labor school, but its classical collegiate curriculum never attracted more than a dozen students a year in the early decades. Father Sorin’s overarching vision of a great American Catholic university in the tradition of the great Medieval universities has inspired Notre Dame’s growth over its entire history. “So confident was he in his own powers, so sure of the ultimate righteousness of his goals, so deep his faith that God and the Virgin Mary had summoned him to America to accomplish this great work, that no obstacle could confound him,…“He was capable of duplicity, pettiness, and even ruthlessness. But for sheer courage, and for the serene determination that courage gives birth to, he was hard to match” (O’Connell, Rev. Marvin, Father Sorin, 2002). When a catastrophic fire destroyed most of the University in 1879, Father Sorin vowed to rebuild his life’s work.  Curricular, pedagogical and research components were expanded and enhanced to the point that, upon Father Sorin’s death in 1893, the foundation was firmly set for the growth of what has become the world’s leading Catholic university and one of the nation’s top twenty institutions of higher learning. (Information taken from Dennis Brown. December 2001)

Holy Cross Sisters of the Civil War

unnamed (1)civil ware 2On October 22, 1861, Father Sorin writes to the Sisters of Holy Cross living at St. Mary’s College:  “A most honorable call has been made on your Community by the first Magistrate in our State [Indiana], asking for twelve Sisters to go and attend the sick, the wounded and dying soldiers. An admirable opportunity has thus been offered to show our love of country, to gain new claims upon the esteem—nay, the gratitude of our people; and such claims as no one would reject. The call has been unhesitatingly responded to, and this afternoon six Sisters of Holy Cross started for Paducah, Kentucky; namely Sister M. of St. Angela, Sr. M. of St. Magdalene, Sr. M. of St. Winifred, Sr. M. of St. Adèle, Sr. M. of St. Veronica, and Sr. M. of St. Anne. Six more are preparing to start for Missouri within a week—Sr. M. of St. Angeline, Sr. M. of St. Fidelis, Sr. M. of St. Francis de Paul, Sr. M. of St. Gregory, Sr. M. of St. Felicity, and Sr. M. of St. Josephine. They were all chosen from a large number of volunteers; and if we judge of their sentiments by the joy with which they have received their selection, we have reason to believe that they duly appreciate the honor and favor bestowed upon them.” Eighty sister under the leadership of Mother Angela Gillespie, C.S.C. served as nurses between 1861- 1865.

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

pieauHe was one of the first Brothers of St. Joseph founded by Father James Dujarié in 1820 to teach in parish schools in France. Brother Vincent was the senior member, known as the “Patriarch” of the six religious who accompanied Father Sorin in 1841 from France to the States. For many years he took an active part in the direction and formation of the novices destined for the brotherhood. Father James Trahey, C.S.C. wrote in 1906: “How many an icy heart he changed into a burning coal of fervor! How many a marble slab of worldliness he chiseled into the stature of the perfect man! How many a rough bit of quartz he polished into the glittering gem!” Father Sorin spoke of Brother Vincent as the “co-founder” of Holy Cross in America. He and Brother Anselm were picked by Bishop Hailandière to teach in the Cathedral elementary school in Vincennes. He did whatever the task asked of him from brick making and cooking to business master for the fledgling university. Upon his death, the following was written about him in The Scholastic: “On Wednesday, July 23, the venerable Brother Vincent passed peacefully from earth in the 93rd year of his age. He was one of the 6 religious, who, in 1841, accompanied Father Sorin from France to the shores of this Western World. Ever since that time he has been the associate of the venerable Founder of Notre Dame in the great work which he inaugurated and has carried on to such a successful issue. For many long years Brother Vincent had directed and watched over the formation of the religious spirit in the youthful candidates in the novitiate, and the lessons inspired by his piety and beautiful example left a deep and lasting impression and contributed materially to the infusion of that zeal and devotion which have made the Congregation of Holy Cross, in the United States, so happily successful in the attainment of its mission. When advancing years deprived him of physical strength, he still continued as a model to his fellow religious, whose work he aided by the power of the prayers with which he constantly was occupied. His was a life full of years and merits, and we may have every confidence that has been fittingly rewarded by that glory and joy which await the good and faithful servant.” He is buried near Father Sorin in the Community Cemetery at Notre Dame.