The University of Notre Dame is a special place. How? We may have the best ‘undergraduate program/graduate school/dining hall’ or be ranked in the top 10 ‘dream schools,’ but to ‘love thee Notre Dame’ is something greater than all of the above. We can love Notre Dame in the midst of even the worst football season because of our Catholic identity rooted in the Congregation of Holy Cross’s tradition, to ‘educate the mind and the heart.’ It is that mission of Blessed Basil Moreau’s upon which I wish to focus.
While there is plenty of room for discussion on how ND may be educating the minds of its students according to the model of an intellectually vibrant and truly Catholic university, we must never take for granted how easily accessible the sacraments and many opportunities for spiritual growth at Our Lady’s University are to us..
At the center of this university is Christ himself. Notre Dame is truly a town of the Blessed Sacrament. Every dorm has its own chapel, as do a number of the academic buildings. Daily mass is offered throughout the day, from 6:45 AM to 10:00 at night. Campus Ministry hosts Eucharistic Adoration in the Coleman-Morse Chapel on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 11:00 AM to8:00PM, Tuesday from noon to8:00 PM, and Friday in the Lady Chapel of the Basilica from noon to5:00 PM (you can sign up for a weekly half-hour time slot online too).
Confessions are offered daily around campus. Aside from asking any priest you may run into, confessions are heard at the Basilica starting at 11:00 AM, 4:45 PM, and 7:00 PM Monday through Friday (except no 7:00 PM on Fridays), and Saturday in the Crypt at 10:00 AM. One can receive the sacrament of Confirmation or enter the Catholic Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) on campus in the beautiful Basilica of the Sacred Heart by contacting Campus Ministry.
And of, course how can we forget that we are students of Our Lady’s University? Our Grotto, modeled after the grotto at which Mary appeared to St. Bernadette in Lourdes France, is one of the most beautiful places on campus, withstanding many fires but never deterring its numbers of devotees, who visit her with Saint Bernadette throughout the night and day. If you really want to YONDO (‘You only Notre Dame Once,’ and yes, I know I am using this as a verb), you can never visit Our Lady too many times, who is our ‘vita, dulcedo, spes,’ consoling us and loving us at all times.
The rosary is prayed daily at the grotto at 6:45 PM and at 11:00 PM (led by our fellow students in Holy Cross formation, the Old Collegians), and groups such as Children of Mary (CoM) and the Militia of the Immaculata (MI) offer special masses on Marian feasts and. CoM also host a Rosary around the Lake on Sundays after Vespers in the Basilica, a great introduction to the Liturgy of the Hours if one is unfamiliar with this prayer of the Church, and a May Crowning.
One grace of being at Notre Dame is that no matter where you may be in your prayer life, from having a non-existent prayer life, to returning to the Church or thinking of entering the Church, and even from occupying the highest interior castle, you can always find a place at Notre Dame.
Campus Ministry offers a variety of retreats: Freshman retreats, a Sophomore Road Trip to mysterious-place-or-places-that-shall-not-be-named, Notre Dame Encounters, Silent Retreats, and Discernment Retreats. Iron Sharpens Iron, an interdenominational fellowship group, meets on Thursday Nights at 10:00 PM. Catholic Four: 7, a communal prayer and worship group, meets in the Cavanaugh Hall Chapel at 9:00 Tuesday nights and welcomes persons of all faiths.
This is just a taste of what Notre Dame has to offer when it comes to personal spiritual growth. Your fellow students, professors, priests, and religious on this campus may all play a significant role in bringing you closer to Christ intellectually, spiritually, through spiritual direction (I wish I asked for spiritual direction from certain priests sooner during my time at ND) or through apostolic work (see the Center for Social Concerns and especially their seminars or service programs-I do not think I would have met the Little Sisters of the Poor, a community I am currently discerning, if I did not do an SSLP with them). Everything can bring us to the Lord in the end, and I only hope you choose and continue to choose Him in everything. May God bless you and may our hearts increasing be like the Sacred Heart.
Sandra Laguerta is a theology major who recently came back from a beautiful summer in France, working with postulants and novices at the Motherhouse of the Little Sisters of the Poor. She loves talking about all things theology, pulling pranks, and ironing her clothes. Always looking for someone to have tea with, please, “call her maybe” at email@example.com.