If you would like to help preserve Notre Dame’s Catholic identity, please consider getting involved with Sycamore Trust:
Catch Up on Our Investigative Reporting
In our frequent bulletins, online videos, social media postings, webinars, and annual breakfast panels, we do what no one else does: report what’s going on at Notre Dame that undermines its Catholic character. As Professor Walter Nicgorski said at a Sycamore breakfast, now everyone knows they no longer can “sweep everything under the rug.”
This means something — as can be seen in an especially important example: a halt in the falling number of Catholics on faculty. When we entered the scene, Catholic faculty representation was in a decades-long decline and was poised to plunge below 50 percent. But shortly after we disclosed this alarming situation and began publishing the data each year, the trajectory leveled off and has even ticked up a bit. This has saved Notre Dame from continuing the slow-motion collapse that has ended so badly for most other major Catholic universities.
The most important tool we have in this effort is your attention and willingness to remain informed of matters that bear on Notre Dame’s Catholic identity. And the best way for you to do that is to subscribe to our mailing list.
Attend Our Annual Breakfast
Our Annual Breakfast during Reunion Weekend, which has been both a measure of the growth of the organization and of special importance to it, was cancelled with the rest of Reunion 2020 due to the university’s COVID-19 response. While we recognize that there remains a chance that Reunion 2021 will be cancelled as well, we are moving forward with our plans for another blockbuster event on Saturday, June 5, 2021. From its small beginnings in the spring of 2007, the event now attracts an audience that has overflowed the large space in McKenna Conference Center and includes hundreds more who watch the event streamed online. Our speakers are drawn from the very best of the faculty and always include student speakers who reflect on their experiences at Notre Dame. You can watch last year’s program with Rev. Wilson Miscamble, CSC, discussing his book on The Ambitious Life and Conflicted Legacy of Notre Dame’s Father Ted Hesburgh. More about our Annual Breakfast is available here.
Student Groups & Organizations
While about 80% of Notre Dame students self-identity as Catholics, a large and increasing number are only loosely attached to the Church. But the truly Catholic minority is still larger, we believe, than at any other major school, and their organizations are vibrant and absolutely essential to the Catholic character of the university. Accordingly, we maintain close relations with students in organizations like The Irish Rover, Notre Dame Right to Life, Militia Immaculata, and SCOP (devoted to issues of family and chastity). We provide much-needed financial support and assist – very successfully – in their fund-raising efforts. But more needs to be done. And with your support more will be done — to encourage them in their effort to live out their faith and to speak up for fundamental Catholic tenets even as the dominant culture on campus advances its radical opposition to the Church’s teaching on abortion, sex, and marriage unchecked by the administration. More, we look to them for the future of Sycamore Trust and the continuation of our mission to restore the Notre Dame classrooms to the service of Catholic education.
Join Our Apostolate
With our 2017 Annual Breakfast there was an upwelling of interest in establishing an apostolate within the Sycamore Trust community to encourage each other to pray collectively for the faithful and fruitful success of Notre Dame’s Catholic mission. This resulted in an extremely popular Novena project which concluded on the first day of classes during the 2017-2018 academic year — which has been repeated each year since and has been expanded to include other prayer projects such as our 12-Days of Christmas.
Not only are we unlikely to have a final victory without prayer, but it is perhaps the most apposite way to introduce newcomers to our cause and to others in the Sycamore Trust community who share their concerns and support our mission. There is more on our Novena, including a welcoming video by Fr. John Rapahel introducing the project and a concluding video by Bill Dempsey thanking those who participated with us in it here.
Sign our Petitions
Write Notre Dame’s Fellows & Trustees
Become a Sustaining Donor
Our student website, NDCatholic.com, provides recommendations of teachers who will contribute to a truly Catholic education for students who choose their courses. The recommendations and narrative descriptions were furnished initially by Father Wilson Miscamble, C.S.C, the most gifted and courageous advocate of Catholic educational reform at Notre Dame. Unfortunately, he was ordered to disassociate himself from the project immediately after the site was launched. Nevertheless, we have continued to develop the site, updating content, promoting it to students, and adding additional recommendations from reliable sources.
This site is being redeveloped under our main sycamoretrust.org domain with increased functionality and additional resources for students who want an authentically Catholic experience at Notre Dame. With sufficient financial resources, we could also retain a service commonly used by students to select their courses that would integrate NDCatholic into their registration process. This would be a truly significant step, both in terms of helping students and introducing them to our mission
But we need more resources to be more effective by enlisting and training a group of young alumni of The Irish Rover to contribute to our investigative reporting. This will provide stability and continuity to this central part of our mission.