All posts tagged: Notre Dame Vision

Madonna with Child.

One Story at a Time

Brandon Stanton, creator of the popular blog “Humans of New York,” does not tell your average success story. Brandon is not a trained journalist and never expected to own one of today’s most popular pieces of citizen journalism. No, drug use, poor grades, and a botched career in finance prompted a radical move across the country to become one of eight million New York City residents. His plan? To photograph 10,000 people on the streets of New York. He was jobless, penniless, and young. He was anonymous and inexperienced. He wasn’t even a very good photographer. These days, Humans of New York (HONY) is a worldwide phenomenon with over 17 million followers on Facebook, features stories from 20 countries and inspires fundraisers for refugees and research. The project has expanded, now incorporating a best-selling book and a brand new video series.  Brandon’s photos are simple portraits of a single person or group of people, often accompanied by a quote.  They are taken from the street relatively at random. His posts have been described as “unbiased,” …

Notre Dame Vision and the Art of Accompaniment

As an undergraduate student imagining what life after college might hold, I joked more than once about wanting to be a professional Notre Dame Vision Mentor-in-Faith. Besides all of the laughter and play that came with the job, I discovered that walking with the high school participants made me come alive. The participants’ unique stories of struggle and joy inspired me, and their impressionability in such a broken world motivated me to pray hard for them and for myself as their Mentor-in-Faith. I hoped to find a way of life after college that might spur me to holiness in the way that being a small group leader did. During my first Vision summer in 2010, a dear friend and Holy Cross seminarian invited some Mentors-in-Faith to wash dishes at Our Lady of the Road, a drop-in center run by the Catholic Worker that offers breakfast, laundry, and showers to anyone who might walk through the doors. I fell in love with the people there and discerned to move into the Catholic Worker house of hospitality …

Notre Dame Vision: Reality Imagined

Reality ignites our imaginations more than possibility does. We can imagine amazing things but only when we first look at what is real and in front of us. Reality reveals possibility, and that is what Notre Dame Vision did to me. My mom is indefatigably resourceful. She looked up opportunities I never would have bothered to find. My junior year of high school, she found a retreat at Notre Dame and sent me the website’s promotional video. Being a high school boy, I watched it while inhaling dinner. I was sold. I was less sold on Notre Dame the institution. My college search had been unexciting. Though I was going to Vision, one thing was certain: Notre Dame was not Catholic enough. Two days at Vision ended that illusion and Vision turned out to be pivotal for my faith. That summer poured gasoline all over the flame I’d received at Confirmation that year. It introduced me to the prayer attributed to St. Teresa of Ávila, “Christ has no body now but yours,” a prayer that …

Stretch of the Imagination: Creative Love at Notre Dame Vision

When I returned home from my first week at Notre Dame Vision as a junior in high school, my dad took me to Chik-Fil-A and asked me how the week was, and I proceeded to cry all over my cardboard container of chicken nuggets. I was utterly disappointed in my complete inability to describe with words just how much had taken place in my heart. And I was soon disappointed about how soggy my nuggets were, too. I think it is imperative that anyone reading this piece understands that the task of trying to select combinations of syllables to adequately express the work that unfolds at Vision, and what it means to me, is and has always been absolutely tear-inducing. I attended Vision as a rising junior in high school, and again as a rising senior. When I say, “I attended Vision,” what I essentially mean is: I found myself more aware of a God who loves creatively and eagerly, I found myself loved and listened to creatively by those around me, and I learned …

Notre Dame Vision and the Miraculous Unlikely

Our God is an unlikely one. I mean this not as an ontological argument (which would be above my pay grade) but as a small observation. To us, the small and the lost, the workings of our God can only rarely seem miraculous, and even when we can perceive them, these miracles of the everyday, it is frequently only possible to do so through that most powerful of lenses, hindsight. In the moment, as they are lived, they instead seem to be merely unlikely. As a twenty-year-old sophomore at Notre Dame, I thought myself to be an unlikely fit for a program like Notre Dame Vision. I knew only a few people who had worked for the program, and while they were wonderful people, this was, perhaps counterintuitively, at the root of my concerns. These people were wonderful, and I was not. My interests and my future lay outside what I perceived to be the confines of a vocational summer retreat for high school students. But I, the unlikely counselor, applied and was perhaps unexpectedly …

Nourishing the Imaginations of the Young Church

In seeking to capacitate young people for mature lives of faith, Notre Dame Vision offers an opportunity for young people and the adults who minister to them to encounter the fullness of Jesus Christ revealed in the Scriptures, the sacramental life, and in communion with the Body of Christ—the Church. Keynote speakers, small group discussions, prayer experiences, and personal reflection cultivate a vision of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, who captivates their imaginations and calls them to respond with the witness of their lives. In the opening session of the week the high school students and adults who serve them gather together to hear Jesus, the Word, ask us: “Are you listening?” In the high school Vision program, the high school students and their college-age Mentors-in-Faith build communities focused on listening to the Word of God, to each other, and to ourselves. Meanwhile, the adult campus and youth ministers form community that fosters a disposition of receptivity to the Word, attentiveness to the workings of grace in our lives, and commitment to a renewal …

Stories of Grace: Episode 13

“I think that, if we’re lucky in this life, we’ll get to come across perhaps three or four really really good ponds.” Visit here to listen to Notre Dame senior Madeline Lewis tell the story of finding the grace to sit with things for long whiles. Subscribe to the free Stories of Grace podcast on iTunes U and receive automatic notifications when a new story is published. Read the full text of Madeline’s reflection below. Really good ponds I think that, if we’re lucky in this life, we’ll get to come across perhaps three or four really really good ponds. This story begins with one such pond: a koi pond at Balboa Park in San Diego. This particularly good pond was something that I happened upon while ambling around the park one sunny June afternoon in the company of someone I dearly love. We weren’t alone in thinking it the perfect day to take advantage of such a treasure: there were dog-walkers and stroller-pushers, families and friends, couples old and young. Loveliness seemed to flutter all around …

Vision for Young Adults: A Summer Retreat for 20- and 30-Somethings

The goal of Notre Dame Vision for Young Adults (YA) was simple. Bring together a group of individuals for a week of prayer, reflection, and rest. The idea was to set a simple schedule where people gather together to pray Morning and Evening Prayer and attend daily Mass together, to listen to and reflect about professionals living out their faith, and to delight in the company of others and the quiet of a summer on campus at Notre Dame. If I am totally honest, my expectations were pretty modest. Perhaps the modesty of my expectations was due to my doubt about the saints. One of the many spiritual pitfalls is treating the communion of saints as (and only as) historical Christian giants who have made it possible for me to consider the different roads that lead to Christ. Ignatius taught me to consider the experience of God; Francis led me to constant material critique; Blaise to be careful when eating chicken wings; and Cecilia to make music part of my prayer. The litany of the …

Stories of Grace: Episode 12

“It’s a messy business, drowning in God’s love and grace.” Visit here to listen to senior John Lee tell the story of encountering the humbling grace of God in the breaking of the bread. Subscribe to the free Stories of Grace podcast on iTunes U and receive automatic notifications when a new story is published. Read the full text of John’s reflection below. Humility After Pride On the 29th morning of October in the year 1994, my mother lost her favorite rosary when she flung it across the hospital room, and broke my father’s hand as she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. They named him John after John the Baptist, because like Elizabeth, my mother had given birth to her first child later in life. They brought him back home to love and cherish forever. Growing up as a cradle-Catholic, I thrived within my Catholic bubble. I absorbed everything in my religion classes, and I loved the stories in the Bible. However, my family and I lived in Los Angeles, and trying to keep a …

Rosary beads

Stories of Grace: Episode 3

“I started to think about how often I had told others I would pray for them.  I used it as a meaningless phrase to convey that they were in my mind.  But had I ever really prayed for them?  Really prayed?“ Visit here to listen to Notre Dame senior Andy Miles tell the story of encountering the God who never tires of our prayers, through the witness of his mother praying the rosary. Subscribe to the free Stories of Grace podcast on iTunes U and receive automatic notifications when a new story is published. Editor’s note: This is the third episode of a regular podcast featuring Notre Dame undergraduate students and others from the university community. In Stories of Grace, listen to others share their encounters with God and his workings in their lives.