You tell 'em, sister

Author: Ed Cohen


A 75-year-old Holy Cross nun, Sister Patricia Jean Garver, stole the show at the first football luncheon of the season when she related the advice she’d given the team at practice a few days before. Echoing the immortal Rockne, she told the players, “You’re going to go out there, and you’re going to line up, and you’re going to look eyeball to eyeball with the guy across from you, and I’m telling you, you’re going to tell them, ‘Boy, am I going to squash you!’”

Coach Bob Davie met the feisty nun when he and some players spoke to a gathering of members of the Holy Cross order. He invited her to the luncheon, introduced her to the audience and bid her to come up the speakers platform.

She hadn’t expected to be asked to speak but went on to tell the audience about how in the 1960s she helped a young Notre Dame player who was in danger of being cut overcome a fear of hurting opposing players.

“He always turned around and helped them up. I said, ‘You need to hit ’em so hard you have to help ’em up.’”

The player was future All-American Alan Page, now a justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court.
The nun also informed the players at practice that there are nuns all over the world with Notre Dame football schedules. “And every Saturday morning you get more Hail Marys than Hershey’s has candy bars.”

The team gave her a game ball after the opening-day win over Texas A&M.