The University of Notre Dame’s nickname is “The Fighting Irish,” known in particular for its athletic teams. But The New York Times on Feb. 1, 2013, featured a story on the Fighting Irish during the Civil War.
Those “Fighting Irish” included some Holy Cross priests. The story explains the changes brought to the University, which was founded in 1942 by Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C., during the war. Notre Dame had its own unit of students on campus called “Notre Dame Continental Cadets.”
According to the New York Times: “Indeed, Notre Dame’s participation in the war established a tradition of ‘Fighting Irish’ tenacity on the battlefield by its student-soldiers and spiritual strength imparted by its priests and sisters. Few institutions of higher education can boast of the breadth of sacrifices made by the school: over the course of four years, Notre Dame gave freely of its faculty and students as soldiers, and sent its Holy Cross priests to the camps and battlefields as chaplains and dispatched its sisters to the hospitals as nurses.”
The story concluded: “…(W)hen the war was over, a proud Notre Dame welcomed back several bona fide war heroes and became home to a unique veteran’s organization: a Grand Army of the Republic post composed entirely of ordained priests or professed brothers.”
Read the complete New York Times story on the Notre Dame Civil War presence online.