Saturdays with the Saints and the Notre Dame community
Letter to the Editor | Monday, February 27, 2017
As anyone in the tri-campus community knows, Notre Dame football brings people together. Nov. 19 was the last 2016 Notre Dame football home game. It was a snowy Saturday morning: wet, windy, and cold. With the unpleasant weather, people could have stayed home until the day became nicer later on. Yet, at 10:30 a.m., Andrews Auditorium was filled with people. They were there for the last lecture in the Saturdays with the Saints series: “Saint Elizabeth of Hungary: Wife, Mother, Queen and Champion of Mercy.”
I am a Dominican Sister from Vietnam, and I am blessed to study here at the three campuses of Holy Cross where I have learned what it means to be a person and to be a community. One of my professors, Dr. Catherine Cavadini, usually began her class by writing the name of a saint on the board. This impressed me because I love the saints. It was through her encouragement that I began to attend Saturdays with the Saints during the annual football season at Notre Dame.
At the last lecture of the season, no chairs in the room were empty. My heart was filled with joy for the auditorium was filled with young and old members of the Notre Dame community who came out on a cold and rainy Saturday to learn about Elizabeth. This gathering is a great witness to our community: “No matter how challenging a road we may walk, we are invited to sing as we walk to ease our burden,” Saint Augustine once said. These gatherings to learn about the saints are part of this singing a song as we are journeying in the midst of our challenges.
This gathering calls to my mind one word: love. The saints lived lives of love. Love — or agape — is the foundation of our faith and the shortest doctrine of Christian faith. Saint Therese of Lisieux said, “My vocation is love.” This is also true for all of us: Love is our vocation. The more a person loves God, the more God leads him or her closer to others and vice versa. Every story of the saints is the story of love. For example, as wife, mother and queen, Elizabeth was full of prayer and charity. Her husband worried about their treasure because Elizabeth delivered bread to the poor in secret. When her husband asked her to reveal the contents under her cloak, she opened her cloak and it was filled with roses. This was a visible sign of God’s protection of cheerful givers. Indeed, Saturdays with the Saints invites us to learn about the loving examples of the saints and to live in love and community with those around us.
Notre Dame fans really love their football, but more important than football is the community — a communion of saints. Saturdays with the Saints invites us to transform a secular football Saturday into a day with a holy activity that unites us and brings about community. The lectures give the Notre Dame community something to think about: the lives of saints. Elizabeth was a wife and a mother. Amid this, she was also a disciple who practiced her faith by praying and practicing charity. Saturdays with the Saints bring people together in community to learn about these holy men and women, to talk about their lives and to be empowered to follow Jesus Christ as the saints did when we leave through the auditorium doors.
Sr. Anh Thi Kim Tran, O.P.
Dominican Sisters of St. Rosa of Lima in Vietnam