Sister Bernadette was from Coffey's Cross Bridge, a small town in County Uibh Fhaili, Ireland. She once was a remarkable teacher, but because of age, in the 1950s she led the Friday rosary At Saint Frances of Rome. Sister Bernadette was my brother's first-grade teacher.
One cold morning in the fall of 1959, in her rich Irish brogue, Sister Bernadette beseeched, "Children, bow your heads; pray that God gives our beloved Notre Dame a victory over USC." The following day, Notre Dame beat USC, 16-6.
The Sisters of the Presentation were of Irish decent and deeply devoted to Mary, the Blessed Mother. Notre Dame, founded on a 524-acre land grant in 1846 by Father Edward Sorin, was dedicated to Our Lady as Universite de Notre Dame du Lac (The University of Our Lady of the Lake). The university became the personification of Catholicism and embodied our very essence. Our identity as Catholics and devotees to the Blessed Mother was actualized by our passion for Notre Dame football.