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Fr. Theodore Hesburgh 1917-2015

| Friday, February 27, 2015

University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh died 11:30 p.m. Thursday night at the age of 97, a University spokesperson confirmed.

DSC_1620 copyObserver File Photo

Hesburgh served as president of the University for 35 years from 1952 through 1987.

University President Fr. John Jenkins said plans were underway to commemorate Hesburgh’s life.

“The Congregation of the Holy Cross and the University will celebrate Fr. Ted’s life in coming days with visitation hours and a Funeral Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, a procession to Holy Cross Community Cemetery afterward, followed by a memorial commemoration at the Purcell Pavilion.  Details will be forthcoming,” he said in an email to students, faculty and staff. “Notre Dame lost a piece of its heart today, but Fr. Ted’s spirit lives on at Notre Dame and among the millions of lives he touched around the world.

“He is now with Our Lady, whose university he served so well, and with the Lord.”

According to a University press release, in lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Fr. Ted Hesburgh, C.S.C., Fund for Excellence in Catholic Education at Notre Dame or to the Congregation of Holy Cross.

“Fr. Ted had long prayed that God would allow him to say Mass on his last day on earth. Fr. Hesburgh, C.S.C., did just that at 11:30 a.m. Thursday among his brothers in Holy Cross,” Fr. Paul Doyle, rector of Dillon Hall, said in an email to the hall’s residents.

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  • R. Murphy

    I took a look at hs wikipedia page today. As a current undergrad at Our Lady’s University my knowledge of his accomplishments and influence on the world is limited. The long list of accomplishments, awards and honors is stirring.

    But for me, and for so many other current undergrads and alumns it is what he did here on this campus. Everything we have, every gift, every friend, every opportunity we can accredit to Fr. Hesburgh and his vision.

    It is overwhelming.

    Come now Holy Spirit, take your servant back and allow him to rejoin in and with You.

    Fr. Hesburgh challenged us all to find the truth of leadership. A truth rooted in service to fellow man. “Do not sound an unsure trumpet”, well now, Father, the horns sound for you.

  • Patrick Wirtz

    He was an icon, a true embodiment of Our Lady’s University.

  • jeff

    When I was a student in 1980, Fr. Ted and I sat in his office for three hours discussing various topics as I was taking notes as a writer for SCHOLASTIC Magazine. He told me about how he wanted tuition to remain under $10,000 per year so not-so-wealthy Catholics could afford to get a Notre Dame degree. We also talked about the history of the University, and he planted the seed in my mind of being a student fireman. I eventually was hired my senior year. At times, I joined him for mass in the crypt. And years after graduating when I lived in Chicago, he remembered my name at an alumni event. When I asked him how he could remember my name twenty years later, he said he always remembered me from the fact I lived in northern Wisconsin – because Land O’Lakes was one of his favorite places for a vacation. Fr. Ted was real; his sincerity was where the rubber hit the road. He got things done, and he wasn’t boastful, in my opinion. He was proud – but grateful – for his accomplishments. For me, he is synonymous with the University of Notre Dame. I’m glad he signed the diploma I was given. I’m blessed to have been so close to a true legend in the church, our country, and at our university. I miss him already.

    • AubLibDir

      He always remembered me because I was from Maine.

  • Pav Sterry

    Father Theodore Hesburgh’s commission on immigration called to trade amnesty for future worksite enforcement. We got amnesty and more illegals than ever. Hesburgh acknowledged immigration hurt the poorest Americans. The promises made in 1986 have still not been kept. We need immigration enforcement, like mandatory E-Verify not another amnesty.

  • Guest

    Father Theodore Hesburgh’s commission on immigration called to trade amnesty for future worksite enforcement. We got amnesty and more illegals than ever. Hesburgh acknowledged immigration hurt the poorest Americans. The promises made in 1986 have still not been kept. We need immigration enforcement, like mandatory E-Verify not another amnesty.

  • Jet

    I am a 1973 ND grad, when in 1985 my son was born at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, he was in neo natal intensive care having suffered complications at birth. When the doctors did not give my wife and I any concrete answers as to his fait, I called Father Ted and asked his secretary if he had a moment to speak to an alum. He consoled me, and said he would pray for my son’s recovery. This was is middle March. The ground was not snow covered, and the morning after he and I spoke, South Bend had an uncalled for light snow, and when I woke up and saw the large snow flakes, I looked to the heavens and smiled and said, “Father Ted” I expect you had something to do with this”, and when I called the ICU at memorial, the charge nurse said, “we we getting ready to call you, you son is breathing on his own more and more and we believe he will be ok”!!!! Father referred me to his book, “God Country and Notre Dame” which I recommend to anyone, and in that one chapter he related how a similar event occurred, where a married ND couple had a child that was not expected to survive at birth, he went, took some cold water from the sink in the room, and splashed it on the baby’s face who had been unresponsive until then, and while Father Ted baptized him, at that moment, the little child started wailing and grew up to be an ND grad! God has received one of his greatest assets on our planet and for me, I wish Father Ted god speed in his future enterprises. For God Country and Notre Dame, we have lost a giant!

  • WAP1102

    Fr. Theodore M.
    Hesburgh was without
    question one of the greatest Catholic leader of our time. . . . I have never
    forgotten what he said during his address to our class during freshman
    orientation week of 1956. He spoke of the unique privilege we had been
    blessed with as part of the Notre Dame Family . . . and of our mutual
    commitment to Excellence in all that we do and all that we stand for. . . . I’m
    so pleased that my grandson, Nathan, now a sophomore, was able to visit Father
    “Ted” in his office when he arrived on campus. . . . My last exposure to him
    was at our 50th class reunion in 2010, at the Grotto of Our Lady.

  • CJ

    He had some great accomplishments to be sure. But he was a liberal whackadoodle. Rest in peace.