Our Mission and History

Our Mission and History

A Catholic University, as Catholic, informs and carries out its research, teaching, and all other activities with Catholic ideals, principles, and attitudes.

(Pope John Paul II, Ex Corde Ecclesiae) Tweet

The mission of Sycamore Trust is to provide a source of information, a means of communication, and a collective voice to Notre Dame alumni and others in the Notre Dame family who are concerned about preserving the Catholic identity of the University.

History

The question is whether Notre Dame will be able to recapture its Catholic identity and its place in the Church. The answer is in doubt.

(William H. Dempsey, Brent Society Lecture, 2009) Tweet

Sycamore Trust was established in the summer of 2006 by a group of Notre Dame alumni concerned by mounting evidence of the weakening of the Catholic identity of the university. The precipitating event was Father Jenkins’s reversal of his tentative decision to bar the student on-campus performance of The Vagina Monologues. His reversal, taken in response to intense faculty pressure, triggered a storm of protests by alumni as well as a number of open letters by dissenting faculty.  These letters, together with what alarmed faculty have written and have said in later panel discussions, focused the attention of the Sycamore organizers on the radical reduction in the proportion of Catholics on the faculty.

The organizers’ study of the secularization of other colleges and universities disclosed that their alumni had become aware of this transformation too late, since the alteration of the faculty had taken place out of their sight. To prevent this happening at Notre Dame, Sycamore has investigated all issues relating to the weakening of the Catholic identity of Notre Dame and has issues an extensive series of reports to its growing list of subscribers, which now numbers over 17,000.  It has communicated often with the university and has urged its supporters to do so as well.  Its purpose is to continue to extend its reach, to keep its supporters informed, and to do what it can to reverse the secularization trajectory that the university has been on for some time.

The Vagina Monologues

The Vagina Monologues

The Vagina Monologues
The unyielding and successful insistence of the faculty that Father Jenkins approve The Vagina Monologues is strong evidence of loss of Catholic sensibility.
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Sex or Violence?
A marker for a profligate notion of academic freedom incompatible with Notre Dame’s claimed Catholic identity
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Catholic Campuses
Only a small and shrinking number of Catholic schools shared Father Jenkins’s expansive view of academic freedom.
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Panel Discussions
Illuminating relevant Catholic doctrine and tradition in relation to The Vagina Monologues?
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Although this play is performed annually on the campuses of hundreds of secular colleges and universities, it has gained little traction at Catholic institutions, as Dr. Hibbs noted. The small group of Catholic institutions hosting the play peaked at 32 out of about 230, and it has shrunk to but 15 as criticism has mounted.

Our Brand

Name

Like ghosts of birds, the flocking flakes / Amid the leafless branches fly.

(The Dome, V. 39.)

Sycamore Trust takes its name from the “Guardian of the Grotto,” the ancient tree standing watch over the Grotto that, according to legend, reaches with its gnarled branches toward God in prayerful memorial to the innocent Indian murdered where it took root.

Like the sentinel which is perpetually protective of the Grotto, so, too, are alumni perpetually protective of Notre Dame’s formative heritage — at the heart of which are  the school’s Catholic identity and its sustaining relationship to the Church.

There is more about the landmark sycamore tree in Dorothy V. Corson’s The Spirit of Notre Dame: Its History, Legend.

Logo

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.

(Revelation 12:1-2.)

Sycamore’s image contains visual references to Mary Queen of Heaven, Notre Dame’s golden dome, and the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. The circle of stars in our name represents the crown of twelve stars on Mary’s head. The golden arch between the blue and gray represents the golden dome and the sun clothing Mary. The blue arch in the foreground, the traditional color of Mary’s mantle, represents the Grotto. And the gray arch in the background represents twilight — whether from the sun setting on our beloved University or rising over her depends a great deal on the success of Sycamore and others working to preserve Notre Dame’s Catholic identity.

Our Brand

Name

Like ghosts of birds, the flocking flakes / Amid the leafless branches fly.

(The Dome, V. 39.)

Sycamore Trust takes its name from the “Guardian of the Grotto,” the ancient tree standing watch over the Grotto that, according to legend, reaches with its gnarled branches toward God in prayerful memorial to the innocent Indian murdered where it took root.

Like the sentinel which is perpetually protective of the Grotto, so, too, are alumni perpetually protective of Notre Dame’s formative heritage — at the heart of which are  the school’s Catholic identity and its sustaining relationship to the Church.

There is more about the landmark sycamore tree in Dorothy V. Corson’s The Spirit of Notre Dame: Its History, Legend.

Logo

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.

(Revelation 12:1-2.)

Sycamore’s image contains visual references to Mary Queen of Heaven, Notre Dame’s golden dome, and the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. The circle of stars in our name represents the crown of twelve stars on Mary’s head. The golden arch between the blue and gray represents the golden dome and the sun clothing Mary. The blue arch in the foreground, the traditional color of Mary’s mantle, represents the Grotto. And the gray arch in the background represents twilight — whether from the sun setting on our beloved University or rising over her depends a great deal on the success of Sycamore and others working to preserve Notre Dame’s Catholic identity.

sycamore-mark-41

Sycamore Trust
2028 E Ben White Blvd
STE 240-1842
Austin, TX 78741

(888) 844-1390
info@sycamoretrust.org

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