Letters to the editor


Author: Readers

Editor’s note: For space reasons, there were no letters in the Autumn 2013 print issue.

The special reflections comprising the “Notre Dame Inspires” article from the autumn issue were touching. The two very personal stories from my fellow LGBT alumni really moved me. Thank you. The inclusive spirit of the article was very inspiring indeed!

Brian O’Connor ’01
Via email

I opened the Autumn 2013 magazine to the second page, and the scene of the campus I found there caught my breath. As I looked at the full two-page spread of the campus where I only spent four years but which still feels like home to me, I was surprised to notice tears welling in my eyes. Every morning of my senior year, I would wake up in Breen-Phillips Hall and look out my west-facing window at the dome and at Mary, and I would feel the palpable presence of God. The four years I spent at Notre Dame — in so many sacred spaces on campus — helped me to feel that God is alive in the world. Something of what you captured in this lovely photo brought that back for me, and I am so deeply grateful.

Jennifer Tilghman-Havens ’95
Seattle, Washington

I greatly enjoyed the article “Degnan’s Rules” in your autumn edition. The recipe for good writing as prescribed in Professor Degnan’s “clinic” was strong medicine, even for talented writers: rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Although some of my professors at Notre Dame encouraged me to do the same, I resisted, like many young people do, the repetitive task. Rather I confided in the ray of genius that I thought I had, sent to me straight from Mary’s outstretched golden hand on the top of the Dome. Handwritten comments in capital letters by my professors I disregarded; I was inspired and determined to write.

Thankfully, I met my own Degnan in graduate school, when I was ready to listen to sage advice. This teacher reminded me over and over that writing is a difficult task. He told me (and still tells me) that putting words worth reading on a page is a test of endurance, requiring much patience and humility. My mentor, like Professor Degnan, is never unwilling to read and correct, to return to my fraught pages and comment on my repeated errors. Thank you for reminding me that despite our culture’s obsession with flashes of brilliance and sparks of genius, the continually burning low flame produces more radiant light.

Liam Brockey ’94
East Lansing, Michigan

I was casually turning the pages of the latest Notre Dame Magazine and my eyes landed on the first sentence of “A House Full of Surprise.” Mr. Lynch had written, “I wanted to rehab a house.” I have no knowledge (or interest) in rehabbing houses. I don’t know the first thing about it.

However, James P. Lynch can write. I loved his short, crisp sentences and his sense of humor. So please keep writing, Mr. Lynch. You don’t have to rehab any more houses, but you could write about anything and draw the reader into your world.

Maureen L. Tarpey
Lexington, Kentucky

I read the brief article in the autumn “seen & heard” that undocumented students will now be welcome at ND. I get that this fits with the Catholic tradition, but how does it fit with the point that “undocumented” means “within this country without verifiable legal status?” Does this not put the University at odds with the federal government of the United States? More words are needed on this point by “seen & heard.”

Chris Barlock ’82
Via email

In your Letters to the Editor on Page 5 of the Autumn 2013 edition of your magazine, Mr. James J. Rakowski of Bremen, Indiana, hit the nail on the head when he says: “There may have been an attitude fostered in the Church that priests are beyond the law.” I agree wholeheartedly. Transferring a pedophile priest from one parish to another parish is definitely not the right thing to do. God have mercy on them all. And people wonder why I’ve stopped going to Mass on Sundays?? Thank you for your attention.

Roberto Concepcion ’78
Via email

The picture of Caroline Fullam [p. 48 of the Spring 2013 edition of Notre Dame Magazine ] is haunting. It still haunts me many months after I first saw it. Like Caroline, I grew up on Staten Island, graduated from Notre Dame and am the child of a New York City fireman who loved Notre Dame and who was so proud that one of his children graduated from Notre Dame. The picture and story of Caroline lighting a candle at the Grotto and waiting and hoping for her father to get well enough from his lung cancer caused by 9/11 World Trade Center dust to visit the Notre Dame campus are heartbreaking. FDNY Lt. Marty Fullam never got strong enough to visit Caroline at Notre Dame before he died.

The article prompted me to read Anthony DePalma’s City of Dust. As someone who comes from three generations of FDNY firemen, the book sickened me. It is well-written and well-documented. It demonstrates that so much of the illnesses and suffering of rescue workers (primarily NYC firemen and cops) from World Trade Center dust and chemicals were almost wholly avoidable — but for the arrogance of many public officials: Republican and Democratic; local, state and federal. The article about Caroline and her dad, as well as City of Dust, serve as a chilling reminder that even now — 12 years out from 9/11 — many of our fellow Americans continue to suffer from and deal with the harmful consequences of that terrorist attack. We should, I would respectfully suggest, keep these rescuers, and their families, in our prayers.

Matthew T. Fitzsimmons ’75
Cleveland, Ohio

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