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A soul-sized endeavor

| Friday, August 18, 2023

Welcome back to a new year! I want to especially welcome those of you who are first-year students. I pray that you will receive the same kind of Holy Cross hospitality that I experienced this past year. What you are about to embark on is so much more than a college education. As Sister Madeleva Wolff, C.S.C., the president at Saint Mary’s College from 1934-1961 would say when welcoming her first-year students, this endeavor is “soul-sized.”

About a decade ago, the leadership at Holy Cross College, Saint Mary’s College and the University of Notre Dame adopted a term that has become common parlance — the tri-campus community. I discovered in my first year that there is truly no place like this tri-campus community anywhere in the country, and maybe even in the world. Our common roots and heritage date back to early 19th century France when Blessed Basil Moreau founded the Congregation of Holy Cross. At a time of intense division and despair, Fr. Moreau and the young brothers, sisters and priests embarked on this educational enterprise to change the world, as disciples with hope to bring.

When Fr. Sorin and the six brothers who accompanied him stood on the hill overlooking Saint Joseph’s and Saint Mary’s lakes, he envisioned a university community that would go on to become one of the greatest forces in the world … and indeed it has as carried out by Notre Dame since 1842, Saint Mary’s College since 1844 and Holy Cross College since 1966. Together, we stand on this hallowed ground. Together, we learn through the lenses of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, Catholic Social Teaching and our Holy Cross tradition, considering how we will make a difference in the world. Together, we can change the world! 

In front of you lies an extraordinary opportunity to be formed as engaged scholars, courageous citizens, virtuous leaders and hopeful disciples. With this opportunity, and on this platform, you also have great responsibility. The most familiar line from Blessed Basil Moreau’s treatise on education, titled “Christian Education,” written in 1857, states that “the mind must not be cultivated at the expense of the heart.” From this mandate, the tri-campus community, in our own unique ways, seeks to form our students in both virtue and scholarship balancing faith and reason, instruction and education, school and community, virtues and daily living, kindness and truth, justice and peace and between the human condition and the transcendent. For Moreau, these implied tensions prepare us to be “citizens in this world and for heaven” who possess “the competence to see and the courage to act” (Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross).

As you begin this “soul-sized” endeavor, know that you are in my prayers. I look forward to meeting you in person and to walking this journey with you. I also ask that you pray for one another, for your faculty and staff, for the administrators and volunteers, for the donors and benefactors, for your parents and family, for the priests, brothers and sisters of Holy Cross, for the South Bend/Michiana community and for the world. Let us collectively be disciples with hope to bring and continue the legacy as one of the greatest forces for good in the world.

Ave Crux, Spes Unica, 

Marco J. Clark, Ed.D.

President, Holy Cross College

Aug. 14

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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