CSCs: A homecoming place

Author: Diana Clark and Ed Cohen

Alumni returning to campus who decide to look up a Holy Cross priest from their student days have four primary locations to check: their former residence hall, if he was a rector; Corby Hall, the main priests’ residence, where a cherished former rector or a professor may still be living; the community cemetery above Saint Mary’s Lake; or Holy Cross House.

The last, the heath-care facility for senior Holy Cross religious, has been part of Notre Dame since the 1860s. Located above the northeast shore of Saint Joseph’s Lake, it’s where elderly CSC priests and a few brothers — almost all of them Notre Dame alumni — move when they can no longer get by on their own. All of the residents’ needs are provided for, including a closed-circuit TV feed of the 11:15 a.m. Mass in the facility’s chapel (for residents unable to attend in person). In this house full of priests, responsibility for saying Mass rotates among the residents and several outside priests.

“In addition to the daily Mass in our chapel, they’re able to watch the national telecast of Mass in the Basilica on Sunday and special feeds from the Basilica of funerals for their fellow religious, ordinations of new priests and final vows, and sometimes special events going on elsewhere on campus,” says Father Andre E. Leveille, CSC, ’77M.Th., religious superior of Holy Cross House. “It makes residents feel like they are still part of the community at Notre Dame.”

Not all of residents — there were 54 as of November 2002 — had careers at Notre Dame; many went into mission work. That was the case with the oldest current residents, 96-year-olds Larry Bauer ’31 and Leon Boarman ’33 (who remembers Babe Ruth visiting Knute Rockne on campus). After working at the Holy Cross mission in Bangladesh they both served as missionaries in Texas.

Last year saw the passing of eight Holy Cross House residents, including five whose names will be recognized by many alumni: Father Carl Hager, CSC, ’35, ’41M.A., long-time music professor; Father John H. Wilson, CSC, ’32, former assistant to President Hesburgh, long-time editor of the Province Review and minister to alcoholics; Father George Schidel ’34, ’52M.A., longtime staff member of Moreau Seminary and novitiate and unofficial campus historian; Father Chester Soleta, CSC, ’38, a member of the English faculty for 40 years who also served as vice president for academic affairs under Hesburgh; Father Mark J. Fitzgerald, CSC, ’28, economics professor and expert on labor relations.

In addition to Father Joyce, the following current residents are probably most familiar to alumni: Father Paul Beichner, CSC, ’35, ’41M.A., former vice president and dean of the Graduate School; Father William Botzum, CSC, ’38, one-time chair of the psychology department; Father Joseph Fey, CSC, ’47, former University chaplain and pastor of Sacred Heart Parish; Father Arthur Harvey, CSC, ’47, long-time theater professor and director who lived in Badin, Howard, and Fisher halls most of his life; Father Herman Reith ’44M.A., CSC, former professor of philosophy; and Father George Wiskirchen CSC, ’51, former assistant director of bands, director of brass ensembles and of jazz bands.