Dear Father Ted,
I am writing a letter everyday for Lent and feel that it is only fitting that today I write my letter to you. It is the late hours of the night, which I also feel is appropriate since it was said that you did most your reading at all hours of night.
I am grateful that I had the honor to meet you twice this semester. When I got to see you give your speech rededicating the Great Hall of O’Shag you shook my hand afterward and you told me Mary was a great name and proceeded to list all the women in your life who had the name Mary. I hear that is a unique quality of yours, to find a personal level to connect with every single person you meet.
Your passing has made me reflect on many things in my life in particular my feelings toward Notre Dame. You made Notre Dame the prestigious place it is today, but more importantly you did this while maintaining the values and beliefs that the university was founded upon. I truly believe it is these values that make Notre Dame such a special place. It is what has made me find a place to call home and wear my Notre Dame gear with pride. I was not a Notre Dame enthusiast before I came to Notre Dame despite the fact that my family has gone here for many generations and at first I struggled since the expectation of its greatness is so high. However, I have fallen in love with Notre Dame. I have found myself in an incredible community of people who I have come to discover and refer to as “My Notre Dame.” It is Notre Dame moments like your funeral procession that remind me of this love.
The weekend before your memorial, my dorm had our first annual Mom’s Weekend. It was right after your passing so you were the talk of everyone (even more so than you usually are). I was sitting in Bigby Coffee with my mom who graduated from Notre Dame and we were Facetiming my grandfather who also went. It dawned on me the impact you have had on my family alone. You made Notre Dame what it is, you made it respected across the country, you instilled its catholic identity in its members, and created a community of people, like my grandfather who have unconditional love for it and who will always call it home. Essentially you gave me family a home.
My grandfather tells me stories every visit about his times on campus. I cannot remember the last time we didn’t just talk about Notre Dame. Then, thanks to you my family’s legacy could be continued because my mom was able to attend. As a Notre Dame woman, I am incredibly thankful for your work. That weekend my mom was here, I was so proud to be a Notre Dame woman. Hearing your quotes that you could not have a prestigious university if you were missing half the brain power of the world truly inspired me. I felt even more connected to my mom as we walked around campus sharing the place that we both have so many memories thanks to you.
For you, it was not just about the football or maximizing enrollment, it was about creating the most valuable experience under the woman on top of the dome. I wish I was a student when you could be found strolling around campus, but I guess I won’t be greedy and I’ll settle for the hour I got to spend in your office hearing your stories on the first female valedictorian of Notre Dame.
I must wrap up now because contrary to your sleeping habits, 4 am is not exactly my ideal bed time. Thank you for everything. There are no words to describe the impact you have had on the world, just look at the impact you had on one girl of a class you weren’t even the president of. Rest in peace Father Ted you will be greatly missed by all and I hope you look down at us here at Notre Dame and are proud as you continue to see your legacy live on in our actions.
Lots and lots of love,