“If It Were All Gone, I Should Not Give Up” – Fr. Edward Sorin


Notre Dame is still the best and, along with The Catholic University of America, the most Catholic of the major Catholic universities.

We pause during the Thanksgiving weekend to reflect with gratitude on the many manifestations of Catholic faith and learning that continue to grace the University of Notre Dame and for the rich opportunities for spiritual and intellectual growth that it affords its students.

Our mission obliges us to report on the serious fault lines in the school’s Catholic identity so that the weakening of the school’s Catholic identity won’t go unnoticed until it is too late, but we recognize that this might lead some readers to think that it’s already too late and that Notre Dame has little left to offer parents and students looking for an authentically Catholic school.

But in fact there is much about Notre Dame as a Catholic school to be celebrated, and Thanksgiving is good time to do it.  

We repeat what we have said before: Notre Dame is the best, and along with The Catholic University of America the most Catholic, of the major Catholic universities. There is a palpable religious “feel” on the campus; liturgies, retreats and the like abound; and a solid, if reduced, cohort of excellent Catholic (and some non-Catholic) faculty continue to offer those students who choose carefully a splendid Catholic education.

It is to afford those students guidance that Sycamore Trust has established  a directory of a large number of faculty members who provide the sort of education that should be the stamp of a Catholic university.

Outside the classroom, faculty institutes such as the Center for Ethics & Culture , the Institute for Church Life, and the Toqueville Program, under the leadership respectively of professors O. Carter Snead, John Cavadini, and Phillip Munoz, play important roles in advancing the Catholic mission of the school. And there is the radiating impact of the ACE program under Father Timothy Scully, which trains graduates to teach in under-financed K-12 Catholic schools throughout the country.

The annual Center for Ethics & Culture conference is a good example.  I was joined by our executive director Tim Dempsey and board members Michael Bradley and Jonathon Liedl at this year’s conference a couple of weeks ago. We can all testify to the significance of this event both within and without the university.

Luminaries like Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon spoke, as did many other gifted and prominent participants including a number of Notre Dame faculty; and the 1,000 attendees included many Catholic and Protestant scholars and public intellectuals along with a good many students. (The warmly applauded tribute Professor Snead paid to the Center’s and conference’s founder and long-time leader, Professor Emeritus David Solomon, was a special highlight. Professor Snead announced that the Center has funded a permanent graduate school fellowship in Dr. Solomon’s name.)

The student organizations dedicated to Catholic faith and learning are at least as important. They are home to the many students for whom living as a Christian is a driving desire.

We list these organizations on our website and will continue to pay attention to them in future bulletins, but at this time we want to emphasize that one of Sycamore Trust’s most important roles is to provide support to these students to the fullest extent we can.

For example, several years ago we kept the Irish Rover publishing with a $10,000 donation; we have contributed as much or more to the annual Edith Stein Conferences; we regularly provide the strollers for the biannual showers the ND Right to Life club sponsors for women served by the Women’s Care Center who have chosen life; and we have often responded to requests from other student organizations for help.

We have also on occasion assisted students in their individual missions when the circumstances warranted and we were able.

For example, we provided the funds to enable two Notre Dame students to attend a Texas leadership conference of the Fellowship of Catholic Students (FOCUS), a wonderful organization that sends Catholic graduates to college campuses to be missionaries for Christ among students.  And now that they have graduated from Notre Dame, we are contributing to their support in their first year of missionary work.  Here’s a buoyant newsletter from Megan Fenowich at the University of Texas, and Marco Cerritelli writes from a new outpost in Vienna:

Thank you for your generous support of my work this year. Your generosity makes my work possible. The very important work of your organization is in my prayers.

Because of St. Mary’s relationship with Notre Dame and the collaboration in pro-life matters between the schools’ students, we funded the initial printing of an accomplished collection of photographs and text by a St. Mary’s student, Jana Zuniga, since graduated, about a group of  “choose life” mothers.  (Especially if you are associated with a pro-life organization, note that Jana offers the publication for purchase here.)

We close by asking that you join us in gratitude for the Catholic presence that persists at this great university and in prayer for everyone associated with it, from Father Jenkins to the groundskeepers who garland Notre Dame with one of the country’s most beautiful campuses.

Every Penny Helps!

If, like us, you want to see an authentic Catholic renewal at Notre Dame, please take a minute to consider making a tax-deductible donation to Sycamore Trust.

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10 Responses to ““If It Were All Gone, I Should Not Give Up” – Fr. Edward Sorin”

  1. Wake up, Irish. Notre Dame does not condone abortion, She is an active participant, supplying the weapon used to murder innocent unborn children. The intellectual debates at Notre Dame and in this forum rage on while we witness infants drowning, then turn away.

  2. Bill: Your Thanksgiving message gave reason to ponder. Thank you, Chuck

  3. I have been under the impression that Jenkins was under supervision of the Bishop

    • If Father Jenkins is under the supervision of the Bishop, then the Bishop authorized provision of abortion drugs to students and employees. Either way, we are active or passive killers engaging in this perverse self-serving dialoguge.

    • The Bishop did not authorize Our Lady’s University to deny The Deposit of Faith. This does not change the fact that The Bishop does have the fiduciary duty to shepherd his sheep, and protect his flock from cooperating with that which is evil, for the sake of our Salvation.

      A Catholic University has a fiduciary duty to refuse to cooperate with evil in any way, shape or form.
      “To Whom much has been given, much will be expected”, is true not just in regards to material goods, but also in regards to our Catholic Faith and morals.

      It is the Bishop’s responsibility to inform those who deny that God Is The Author of Love, of Life, and of Marriage, by condoning abortion, and same-sex sexual acts, that they are, in essence, denying The Divinity of The Most Holy, and Undivided Blessed Trinity, and thus Salvational Love, God’s Gift of Grace and Mercy.

      Denying The Divinity of The Most Holy, And Undivided Blessed Trinity, and thus Salvational Love, God’s Gift of Grace and Mercy, is an act of apostasy.

      “CCC 675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.574 The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth575 will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.576”

  4. Sadly, I must agree with the sentiments of Dr Rose and Messrs. Watson and O’Connor. However, those of us who remember the “old” Notre Dame that so well educated us should not give up the possibility ND will return to its role as a Catholic university. Besides prayer, the best way to help is a continued support of Sycamore Trust in its important activities. Kudos to Bill Dempsey and the Board for their constant devotion to the cause.

  5. Deeply Catholic? While Notre provides abortion drugs that starve innocent, defenseless unborn children to death
    without a whisper of discontent from students, faculty, alumni, and clergy. How many infants must die before someone speaks out against trading the lives of the unborn to escape government fines?
    William J. O’Connor

  6. I agree with the sentiment here; I have seen the fervor at the 2011 University Faculty for Life Conference and the ND faculty and staff I have met through that organization. I would note, though, that Providence College was a Newman Guide college for awhile, and wonder if it might be worthy of mention along with CUA and ND as a place where one can get an authentically Catholic education in a legacy university.

  7. I disagree that ND is the best Catholic University.Franciscan University and a few others are not corrupted by secular
    philosophy in their leadership.The University defies the traditions and the Magisterial authority of the Holy Catholic

  8. Philip D. Rose,MD November 25, 2016 at 5:58 am

    Notre Dames secular change began ,in a great part,when Fr.. Jenkins wsa appointed president. Then came the graduation invite of Obama to speak.Followed by apornographic show at Washington Hall and an anti prolife stance taken by the University. Then the school failrd to follow the Little Sisters of the Poor by opposing The Obama Care mandate. Now the last straw The Latare Metal to a pro abortion catholic. Amen!