Brother Bernard Francis Donahoe, C.S.C., age 86, died on November 26, 2018 at Dujarie House in Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame, Indiana. He was born in Madison, Wisconsin, the son of John and Mary (Sullivan) Donahoe. He grew up there with his two brothers and a sister, attended Blessed Sacrament Elementary School and Edgewood Catholic High School while graduating in 1950. He was influenced by reading Thomas Merton’s autobiography, Seven Story Mountain, and after seeing an advertisement for the Brothers of Holy Cross in Our Sunday Visitor, he decided to enter the juniorate program in September 1950 at Watertown, Wisconsin. He began his novitiate training at Rolling Prairie in February 1951 and pronounced his first vows as a Brother of Holy Cross on February 2, 1952 and professed final vows in 1955. He began his college studies at the University of Notre Dame and graduated Magna cum laude with a degree in History in 1955 and a Master’s degree with honors in 1958. He joined the faculty of St. Joseph’s High School in South Bend, teaching for a year, then a year at Archbishop Hoban High in Akron followed by four years at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis. In 1961, he was honored with a graduate fellowship at the University of Notre Dame to earn a doctoral degree with high honors, which was awarded in the summer of 1965.
After an intensive life of academia, Bernard was selected and appointed by his superiors to be the new Master of Novices at St. Joseph’s Novitiate in Rolling Prairie in the Fall of 1964. Usually this role as novice master had been assigned to an older religious with previous experience but Bernard had already shown scholarship and an intensive spiritual commitment in his assignments he admirably accepted the assignment. His tall and lanky youthful demeanor and energy on the tennis court and in the classroom served him well in the role as head of the growing number of novices who were attracted to the religious life. He produced innovative newsletters and presentations for his classes and youthful spiritual insights that he communicated to those he led in their early lives in Holy Cross.
Following the role of Director of Novices he took on teaching assignments for the next 38 years at Saint Mary’s College, the University of Notre Dame, and Holy Cross College, including positions as Department Chairs at one or more of those institutions. At this time he also served as superior of the Brothers at Columba Hall for seven years. His remaining years have been spent in scholarly pursuits and contributions to his favorite topics of FDR, American, European, Holy Cross History and other political insights as well as enjoyable challenges on the Notre Dame tennis courts against favorite opponents and with his bridge and other card-playing acquaintances (especially the “dirty hearts group”), along with good food, distilled liquids, conversation and other refreshments.
Bernard says of his time as a leader in influencing fellow professors, his students, and colleagues in Holy Cross: “Living and working for fifty plus years with some of the finest people God has ever put on the earth has been a privilege and a delight. Whether I accomplished anything worthwhile during that time, only God knows.”
Visitation will be held on Saturday, December 1st at 9:30am in the Our Lady of Holy Cross Chapel of the Dujarie House–Schubert Villa Complex at Holy Cross Village. The Mass of Resurrection will then follow at 11:00am with interment afterward in St. Joseph’s Cemetery of the Village. Kaniewski Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.
Memorial contributions, in honor of Brother Bernard Donahoe, C.S.C., to support the mission and ministries of the Brothers may be sent to: Brothers of Holy Cross, Office of Development, P.O. Box 460, Notre Dame, IN 46556.