Notre Dame graduates on the way to sainthood

Three men who once walked the halls of Notre Dame are on the path to sainthood. Fr. Patrick Peyton’s devotion to the family rosary, Bishop Vincent McCauley’s missionary work in Uganda, and Archbishop Theotonius Ganguly’s ministry in Bangladesh continue to inspire Catholics, and have led some to call for their canonization as saints.

Patrick Peyton (Class of 1937)

Venerable Patrick Peyton, C.S.C. (1909-1992) dedicated his life to spreading devotion to Our Lady and her rosary. Fr. Peyton was born in Ireland into a family committed to praying the rosary together every night. Peyton moved to Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he was hired as a sexton in St. Peter’s Cathedral. In the daily silence of cleaning the church, he heard God calling him to the priesthood.

Peyton and his brother Tom discerned their vocations to the Congregation of Holy Cross and completed high school at Holy Cross Minor Seminary in South Bend. In Peyton’s autobiography, All for Her, he wrote, “Not in our wildest imaginings did my parents or my brother or I dream what Our Lord had in store for us in America.” His devotion to the rosary continued in his religious formation: “There, we continued the family rosary with our new family, the priests and our fellow seminarians.” 

In 1933, Fr. Peyton professed temporary vows at Moreau Seminary and began his studies for a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, graduating with honors. Soon after, he contracted a severe case of tuberculosis. After a year of suffering, Peyton entrusted his health to Mary, and he attributed his miraculous healing to her alone. Inspired to serve Mary in return, Fr. Peyton returned to his studies and was ordained a priest in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in 1941. 

As World War II approached, Peyton pledged a goal to have 10 million families commit to praying the rosary for peace each night. Peyton championed the phrase “A family that prays together stays together.” He became known as the “Hollywood Priest” and the “Rosary Priest,” appearing in films and hosting Catholic Hollywood stars on the radio, including Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Frank Sinatra. 

A good friend of Peyton, actress Loretta Young, spoke of his love for Mary in an interview, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man—ever in this world anyway—in love with a woman the way he was with her. There was no pretense about it. You could see him just glow when he would talk about her.”

Through his life’s work, Peyton spoke to over 28 million people. He died peacefully praying the rosary on June 3, 1992. His cause for canonization was opened on June 1, 2001, and Pope Francis named him Venerable on December 18, 2017.

Vincent McCauley (Class of 1930) 

Servant of God Vincent McCauley, C.S.C. (1906-1982) was the first bishop of the Diocese of Fort Portal in Uganda. McCauley devoted his life to paving the way for native Africans to enter the priesthood. 

Father McCauley was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa to a faithful Catholic family. From a young age, McCauley felt called to missionary work. He entered the Congregation of Holy Cross and graduated from Notre Dame in 1930 after completing five years of religious formation. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1934 in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. 

Father McCauley went on mission in Bangladesh with the hope of encouraging native vocations, however, his poor health forced him to return to the United States. This did not impede his missionary zeal, and he was made the superior of the Foreign Mission seminary in 1946. During this time, Fr. McCauley developed skin cancer and underwent over 50 surgeries, yet he petitioned to be sent back to East Bengal. After 14 years he was tasked with founding the first Holy Cross mission in Uganda. 

After running the mission for many years, Fr. McCauley was appointed the first bishop of the new Diocese of Fort Portal, Uganda. As bishop, McCauley continued replacing the foreign missionary clergy with native clergy, often to the chagrin of his colleagues, and he eventually established a minor seminary in Uganda.

Bishop McCauley’s work was largely inspired by his deep love for the Blessed Virgin Mary. Father Arnold Fell, C.S.C., Director of Holy Cross Missions, said, “You cannot understand him at all apart from his devotion to Our Blessed Mother Mary. It is a great love story. She was his heroine, his inseparable companion.” 

McCauley died on November 1, 1982 and was interred in the Holy Cross Community Cemetery on campus. His cause for canonization was opened in August of 2006. His case continues to be reviewed as of 2022. 

Theotonius Ganguly (Class of 1949)

Servant of God Theotonius Ganguly C.S.C. (1920-1977) is the first Bengali Catholic to earn a doctorate degree, become a bishop and archbishop, and have a cause for canonization. 

Ganguly was born in modern-day Bangladesh. As a child, he had a great love for the Eucharist and played Mass with his friends, using leaves for hosts. A talented student, his teachers were still more impressed by his gentleness and friendliness. After graduation, he attended seminary in India and was ordained a diocesan priest in 1946.

In 1947, Ganguly traveled to Notre Dame to earn his master’s degree and doctorate in philosophy. His studies centered around refocusing the Hindu philosophy of yoga into a Catholic lens. While he was at Notre Dame, he grew to love the mission of the Congregation of Holy Cross. He entered the novitiate and professed first vows in 1952. 

Upon returning to Bangladesh, Ganguly fostered many vocations to the priesthood. He was appointed principal of Notre Dame College and was later consecrated Archbishop of Dhaka.

Archbishop Ganguly is best known for caring for his flock during turmoil, including Bengali political tensions, a deadly typhoon that wiped out more than 45% of the population, and the Bangladesh Liberation War. He lived simply and drove a decrepit vehicle that embarrassed many of his priests. Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, a former archbishop of Dhaka, said, “Inside he had love, forgiveness, tolerance and sacrifice. He was kind and led a simple life. Nobody ever saw him angry. He never hurt anyone. As a servant leader, he accepted all kinds of hostile situations.”

Archbishop Ganguly died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 57. His cause for canonization was opened in September 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI. His case continues to be under review. 

Lydia Poe, a sophomore studying management and international business, has discovered that there’s a patron saint for absolutely everything, including coffee, explosives, and procrastination. If you’re in need of assistance for an oddly specific situation, reach out to her at, and she’ll help you find the perfect heavenly ally.

Photo Credits:
Peyton Source:
McCauley Source: Bluffs native on path to sainthood
Ganguly Source: Asia | Congregation of Holy Cross

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