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To mark the 175th anniversary of the founding of the University of Notre Dame by Father Edward Sorin, CSC, we will highlight stories about trailblazers this fall. Check back for weekly updates.

 

Everyone Has a Story

Speaking to her, I learned that she was fighting leukemia. It was a good reminder, before the Trail even began. There are no extras. Everyone has a story. Everyone is a hero, just in stories we don’t know.

 

To Go Anywhere Needed

What does it mean to be a missionary today? At its most basic, it still means what it has always meant: a radical willingness to go wherever you are needed, to do whatever is needed, for as long as it is needed. It still means a radical openness to foreign peoples, languages, and cultures. It still means a radical love of the poor, even if the poverty is no longer that of the village.

 

The Only Path Worth Taking

My grandmother, Sue Dominick, showed up for her freshman year of college and registered for French, Italian, and Spanish. She wanted to be in the foreign service and travel overseas, seeing the beauty and diversity this great world has to offer, but her life did not follow the trajectory she envisioned at the beginning of college. 

 

They Did Not Trudge, They Strode

As a Christian, I have always been curious about those who went before us. We wouldn’t be Christians if those who went before us weren’t Christians, if they didn’t live and die as Christians and leave us the witness of their faith. And now, as a seminarian in the Congregation of Holy Cross, I find the same to be true.

 

Their House is Always Full

My host parents are a force of wisdom, intellect, and tireless work. With their credentials and connections, they would have no problem establishing an easier, more convenient life in a Western country. But they have no interest in doing so.

 

There Are No Exceptions

Most of my work in Park City, Utah, is with immigrants—many without documentation. They found jobs, they are raising families, and now they are living in the fog of uncertainty as they experience a change in our national culture. They do not feel welcome.

 

They Light the Way for Us

Trailblazers are oftentimes mentors, colleagues, or idols. They light the way for us and clear a path so we can confidently and faithfully follow a call. They can also be spouses, friends, and classmates, whose self-sacrifice and support make the trail more meaningful and clear.

 

 

The Crosses We Carry

Perhaps in the years to come the crosses I carry will grow heavier. Perhaps I will be called to forge a bold new path like so many of the Saints did. Or perhaps I will continue to be called to slip quietly in and out of the stories of others in the manner of Simon of Cyrene, with my own story never in the spotlight. 

 

 

Joy and St. Francis

To me, Francis is the embodiment of a trailblazer. For as much as I admired his unabashed and unashamed joy, when I dug deeper to learn about and understand his other qualities and anecdotes, the more sacred depth I discovered about him. 

 

Choosing the Path Unknown

As I walked out of my “A Faith to Die For” class in O’Shag Hall my senior year at Notre Dame, I knew my life was about to take a dramatic turn away from Main Street USA onto a more remote path much less traveled. 

 

God Turns Brokenness into Beauty

There are two parts to the story of how God has transformed my life. The first part has been allowing Jesus to heal me. The second part has been for me to accept my brokenness as a place where I can find and live the mission that God has given to me. 

 

Getting off the Bus


I, too, had wrestled with those questions. Like Mev, I had wondered what it meant to grow up in a community where I had access to so much, while others had so little. I had found exactly what I was seeking—an American Catholic prophet of my own in the witness of Mev Puleo.