Our Best Stories

Saints and the Works of Mercy

This is a collection of stories from Lent of 2016 that pairs experiences of the works of mercy from the Notre Dame family of faith with saints who exemplified these works in their lives. Six excellent stories of mercy twinned with six memorable saints. Read more>

Unlocking Mercy

Last year I was called to the hospital to anoint a woman dying of cancer. The chaplain informed me over the phone while I was still in my office that the patient was also a prisoner. Read more>

The Shame of Poverty in Hollywood

“How about we walk through the food shed before you go?” he asked. I began to panic. “But that food is for… poor people." Read more>

What 'Inhumane' Looks Like

We were escorted through another gate into the prison itself. Even after months, it is difficult to put into words my initial impressions. I can only describe it as a complete overwhelming of the senses. Read more>

A Simple Glass of Water

I have scores of awards and recognitions from six years of providing the utmost in quality hospitality through my first career in the hotel industry. I still practice the skills I honed there, but my experience was recently put to the test by a simple request for a glass of water. Read more>

Craving Love

Ronnie was diagnosed with autism when she was born, and the tag attached to her shoe labeled her as “non-verbal.” She was noted by the rest of her teachers as one of the most difficult to handle in the school because of her constant screaming and self-injurious behavior. I was assigned to mentor Ronnie for the very first day of my summer service placement. Read more>

The Embarrassment of Racism

I am part of this legacy of separation, distance, and ignorance-at-best. I am prejudiced, I am racist, and it is embarrassing. Read more>

Mercy's Unpredictable Path

I wonder if the difference between my children and me is that they have an imagination for failure, an imagination for the world falling apart and having to rework it again. Read more>

The Mystical Embrace of Mercy

Every day since that difficult morning in the doctor’s office, God’s mercy has been visible and tangible, carrying us forward in the affirmation of God’s love. Family, friends, co-workers, doctors, nurses, and strangers have all reached out to bear our weakness and our struggles with us. So many individuals have born us in sorrow, lifting us up to hope in our grief. Read more>

Visible and Tangible Love

All who care for loved ones with dementia know how painful it is to watch them slip away by inches, but this is also where I found God’s visible, tangible love. Read more>

Hope Is Something You Do With Your Feet

She was Lutheran, but I don’t think Grandma would mind that I now see Mary’s light reflected in her. Both trusted in the fruit born by quiet faithfulness. Read more>

The Cemetery, Place of Hope

I don’t know that one ever receives the answers that we demand to the “big” questions that we often bring to God in prayer, the ones that drop us to our knees. I do believe, however, that God can speak answers to one’s heart that point our suffering to something greater. Read more>

Death's Truth is Incomplete

There is certain truth to death—it is the truth of evil, of the unintelligible nature of our broken world. Death is alive in this life of ours, and its reach is far and wide. Still, death remains an incomplete telling of the truth. Read more>

We Live With Death Behind Us

“There are really only two ways to live: living with death in front of you or living with death behind you,” my rector explained. “Christians—we live with death behind us.” Read more>

We Help Each Other Bear the Darkness

From what I could gather as an eavesdropping child, my brother needed good doctors and good prayers and good company and good food. I figured I could help with at least three of those. Read more>

To Go Anywhere Needed

Father Sorin was a missionary from France to the New World, and Holy Cross continues to send missionaries around the world. After spending a decade forming seminarians at Notre Dame, Father Pat Neary, C.S.C., was asked to become a missionary to Africa. Here, he tells how he was asked to take on this role, how he accepted, and how he has learned to thrive there. Read more>

Keep Showing Up

One of the most important truths that I learned as a theology student at Notre Dame is that God does not will our suffering. God accompanies us in our sorrow and works with us ever so gently to bring grace, healing, and goodness out of the brokenness and pain of our lives, but God does not wish pain upon us. Read more>

Stay Together

For a year I traveled across the continent once a month to see my mom. She called me all day every day whether I was there or not. Sometimes thirteen times a day. Dementia has good days and bad days, good hours and bad hours. Lunch was a good hour: “There is no problem here,” she says, dignified and elegant. “I am quite fine and really don’t need anyone’s help.” But by the evening she could not find her apartment, or once inside, her bedroom in her apartment. Read more>

Joseph, Do Something

As a father, you’re supposed to be this pillar of great strength, the carpenter for your family. But from that position of strength there also comes this realization that you yourself are just a little boy, that you are running from room to room asking for help, that you yourself are really a baby in someone else’s arms. We’re not thereal creators and protectors; we’re instruments. Read more>

On Bad Moods and Breaking Bread

I pull the loaf of still-warm bread from the paper bag. Something feels sacramental. I tear off a hunk and offer it to the boy I screamed at hours earlier. He grins and accepts. I do, too. We both chew, quiet and content. I think about Eucharist. Does it help us forgive? Liturgy and sacrament classes swirl in my head; I can’t remember a single connection. But it feels good to slow down and break bread. That much I know. Read more>

How We Wrestle is Who We Are

Eventually my son will need a new heart, a transplant when he’s thirty or forty or so, though Liam said airily the other day that he’s decided to grow a new one from the old one, which I wouldn’t bet against him doing eventually, him being a really remarkable kid. But that made me think: if we could grow new hearts out of old ones, what might we be then? Read more>

Learning to Pray through Sorrow to Hope

For couples like us, who suffer from infertility, Christmas is a dreadful holiday, a reminder of the dearth of stockings hanging from our hearth. The wound of childlessness can be opened at a moment’s notice, but prayer has given it a shape, a reason, a participation in God’s very life. Even through this suffering, the Word desires to become flesh in my life through a prayerful obedience to the will of a God who I can’t quite comprehend. Read more>