St. Francis Xavier Cathedral
We begin today our pilgrimage, following the steps of Fr. Sorin and his companions from Vincennes—in 1842 the largest city in the state—to a plot of land some 250 miles north, near the south bend of the St. Joseph River. I thank you and admire you brave souls who are making this trek. You are worthy successors to an intrepid French priest who was determined to found a school dedicated to Our Lady.…
As we’re all grown-ups here, can we begin by acknowledging that faith – by definition – is unprovable? Faith is not science. Faith is, in fact, quite the opposite of science. That’s not to diminish faith – not at all – but only to embrace faith’s inherent uncertainty. Science is what one comes to know through proof. Faith is what one believes in the absence of proof. Not knowing…
My former roommate is proof that you should always think of your physician as the responsible, professional medic they are now – and not the college kid they were when, for example, Terry Wilkin (’92) showed up to Moriarty’s Pub dressed as an exceptionally well-endowed Lady Di. It was the London Program Hallowe’en party, sure, but honestly, the photographs I have in my possession should guarantee me free healthcare for life.
Packages include a five-day (Aug. 22-26), 70-mile option; a three-day (Aug. 24-26), 40-mile choice; and a one-day (Aug. 26), eight-mile route.
In addition to the free final day, five-day and three-day pilgrimages are offered.
I’ve been hearing about Brother Larry Stewart, C.S.C., (’60/’61) from the very start of my involvement with the Notre Dame Trail. He’s the sort of man who leaves an impression. In 1997, he celebrated his 40th jubilee as a Holy Cross brother by cycling across the country, sea to shining sea. In 2007, he celebrated his 50th jubilee by doing it again. This year, when considering how to mark the occasion of his 60th jubilee, he jumped at the chance to walk the 300-plus miles across Indiana in the footsteps of Notre Dame’s founder, Father Edward Sorin. Brother Larry is 80 years old. “But I don’t look my age,” he is quick to reassure me. “People tell me that all the time.” Why am I not surprised?
It’s thirty-one days until the core pilgrims set out from Vincennes to start the long walk to Notre Dame, and I wanted to mark the t-minus-one-month mark somehow. But, frankly, I’m just not in a philosophical mood today. The week gone by has me kind of thinked-out.
So instead I’ve decided to share with you the sort of train of thought that rolls through my head as I knock out the miles that used to be “training” and are now just “how I live these days.” There’s no particular rhyme or reason or bigger meaning, so don’t bother looking for one. Just thoughts bouncing around like the little white dot on your old tv in a game of Pong.…
If it’s easy for me to feel proud of myself, walking and biking as much as I am in preparation for the 317 miles I and the other core pilgrims will cover in August, the bubble of my pride deflates quickly when I talk with someone like Pat Hellman (’63). We speak on a day he has completed a 27-mile bike ride as part of his training. The preparation seems to be going well – it reminds the 75-year-old of the last Iron Man race he was in. “Your last Iron Man?” “Oh, yeah,” he says. “I’ve done a few.”
In his 2016 Laetare Address, Vice-President Biden explained how his “grandpop” had played for Santa Clara in the early part of the last century and how he always resented the team being referred to as “the Notre Dame of the west.” The Irish, the proud Bronco had insisted, were in fact “the Santa Clara of the midwest.” Well. That being said...
Brace yourselves. By the time Mark Alexander (’80) and I get back from our two weeks walking the Notre Dame Trail, we will have the world set to rights. We will have it all sorted out. We got this. There’s a lot to say about Mark. He’s one of those people who make things happen. I didn’t ask about his sleep schedule, but it’s got to be pretty thin.
My wife and I describe ourselves as tumbleweeds. We celebrated our 23rd anniversary last year by her kissing me at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut as I boarded a plane for Seattle where I would spend the next week hoping to secure a new place for us to live out here.
We had no reason to be moving to Seattle. We had no connections in Seattle. We had no work in Seattle. When people ask us why we chose Seattle, I tell them “because we had never been to Seattle and thought ‘Why not?’” Life was some version of normal in Connecticut. Our youngest daughter was a junior in high school. We were both working. No one was looking for us to leave. Everything was, by all measures, normal, stable, and good.…
The Boy Scouts of America LaSalle Council created a special ND Trail and 175 anniversary patch. Scouts and their families can learn more and register at https://www.lasallecouncilbsa.org/nd175trail