Clearly I haven't spent much time posting lately- I've been kept really busy. In addition to the sightseeing around Chicago and NW Indiana, there were family activities, like my niece's show, back-to-school night (wow- is that WEIRD from the seats now!), a cook-out at the neighbors'; things like that filled my week there.
Sunday was particularly wonderful. DB drove us to South Bend to visit the campus at Notre Dame. One of my favorite former students is now a senior there and he generously spent several hours with us, giving us a campus tour and telling us all the lore and legend.
First stop- because it is closest to the visitor's parking lot!- was the famous football stadium. Tightly closed, we didn't see much, although later in the day on the other side, we could see the famous tunnel and the center of the field, but only from outside.
For me, the Grotto, a scale duplicate of the one at Lourdes, was the most sacred moment. There is a rock from the Lourdes grotto embedded in the wall here, and to be able to pray while touching Lourdes was very moving.
There is a strong sense of the Catholicism of Notre Dame all around it, but it is a joyful and wondrous faith sense. This is clearly a place which speaks to the heart and encourages living the faith in the best sense.
Here's a picture of Steve outside the main building- with the famous golden dome. I enjoyed the day the most from seeing how he has grown both as a person and an intellectual during his time here. It was a total delight to listen to him, knowing that he had really stretched himself and become someone of great talent and skill through his studies.
My last picture is of "Touchdown Jesus", more correctly known as "Christ, the Teacher". The TJ name comes from the fact that the top of the mural (which adorns the side of the Hesburgh Library) can be seen over the top of the scoreboard from inside the stadium- and the hand position in the mural makes the nickname obvious. It's a nice mixture of religion and whimsey!
After this visit I can certainly understand the maniacal allegiance of Notre Dame graduates to this wonderful school. The campus is gorgeous, the tradition rich, and the environment powerful. I still don't get the attachment of Irish Catholics who've never set foot in South Bend, but can forgive their insanity a little, having seen what they imagine.
It will never replace my affection for my own Alma Mater, LaSalle University, and the wonderful Christian Brothers, whose charism and efforts created for me a marvelous undergraduate experience and left me with a lifetime of thought and much of my inspiration as a teacher. But Sunday might have been enough to make me take a peak, with interest, at a ND football game some Saturday. AND.... I even bought a jacket- and will WEAR it, lol!
School meetings all day today, and the students arrive tomorrow, so it's seriously back to work now for me. Time to get ready for the (YUCK!) early morning alarm clock tomorrow.
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