When I returned, Kerry Temple, the editor of Notre Dame Magazine, emailed to ask me to write a short piece on Sister Jean. I accepted. My freshman composition students had just turned in their first essay of the semester, writing on the topic of "My Everyday Hero." I gave them a word limit of 750 words. The ND Magazine editor gave me an 800-word limit to write about my hero. I took a creative approach, more prose poem than essay, he accepted it, and it will be published in the next issue.
Sister Jean was a theology professor, the rector of Farley Hall, and eventually the Vice President for Student Affairs at ND. She was also a terrific storyteller and writer. Her book, Loyal Sons and Daughters: A Notre Dame Memoir, vividly captures the early years when ND went coed after 130 years as an all-male university. When I first read her book in 2006 and when I re-read it over Christmas break, I laughed and cried. I'm grateful Jean got these stories down so they won't be lost. And other Jean stories will continue to be told as they were at her Franciscan motherhouse in Joliet, at her memorial service at Sacred Heart Basilica at Notre Dame, and online at the ND Division of Student Affairs.
We love you and miss you, Jean, but you're alive in our hearts and stories. Farewell for now.