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Dolly Duffy on Fr. Hesburgh

| Sunday, March 1, 2015

In the few short days since Father Hesburgh’s passing, I’ve been struck by the overwhelming stories. Not the stories of his work on civil rights or immigration. Not the stories of his meetings with world leaders. And not the stories of the brilliance and foresight that made him a transformative figure in Catholic education.

Those impressive feats are inspiring and well-documented, but I’ve been most moved by the humble stories of how deeply he touched so many Notre Dame alumni, students, parents and friends. The stories of a kind word after the death of a loved one. Of the loving advice given to an expectant mother. Of taking time out of his famously busy schedule to play in a friendly poker game. Of welcoming anyone to one of his daily Masses. Of opening his door at any hour of the night for a student brave enough to knock and come inside for a friendly conversation and a blessing.

He was available to everyone, and nearly everyone who has been a member of this community over the past 80 years has at least one of these stories. We were blessed by his presence. We loved to catch a glimpse of him on campus.  We savored our chances to strike up a conversation with him, even if just for a moment.  And we loved to hear others’ stories about how he impacted them.

This week, we celebrate Father Hesburgh’s legacy as a University president, an influential advocate for peace and justice and an adviser to popes and presidents. But we also celebrate the legacy he leaves behind on this campus and with all of us around the world who are proud to call ourselves members of the Notre Dame family. For us, Father Ted was a friend, a teacher, a mentor, a colleague and most importantly, a priest.

Dolly Duffy
Executive Director
Notre Dame Alumni Association

 

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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  • jeff

    I want to say thank you to the University for the connection many of us feel through the internet having access to the video recordings of the wake, funeral, and memorial service. I wanted to be there so much, but my responsibilities kept me where I am. I don’t feel alone in mourning our loss. I’ve spent hours listening and reflecting on what others have said about Fr. Ted. It is all priceless! It takes me time to absorb an understanding of his life and character. I’m so glad I have Fr. Ted stories, too. My affection for the University of Notre Dame is huge because it was nurtured by Fr. Ted – even to this day. When I visit the campus again, I plan to take time at the grotto, in the Basilica, and the cemetery to pray Fr. Ted’s prayers. I’m so proud he signed my diploma. At times like this it is clear that the University continues on in the excellence of God’s merciful heart. Thank you, Notre Dame, Fr. Ted, and fellow domers for the love here, now, and forever.