Monday, December 20, 2010

The Day I Met Father Jenkins

It was that time of year again, when it gets so unbelievably cold out that I hibernate like a rabbit in Badin, only venturing out to occasionally forage for food in South Dining Hall (and go to class of course). On Sunday two weeks ago, I didn't leave the dorm at all, except for brunch and dinner. I didn't even leave for Mass, thanks to the blessing known as dorm chapels.

Where I attend Sunday Mass at Notre Dame is always a game-time decision. We're spoiled for choices here, and I rotate between the 9 am Tridentine, the 10 or 11:45 am Basilica, 4:30 pm in Badin or 10:30 pm in Dillon. But that day I learned that Father Jenkins (president of the university!) would be saying Mass in Badin, and that settled the question: Badin Mass it would be.

It's not often that I get to see Father Jenkins up close and personal, as it were, so I wanted to make myself a little memorable. Knowing that he's a philosopher, I decided to wear my "Team Aristotle" baseball t-shirt, acquired for a recent PLS party (don't judge; other people were wearing sweatpants or slippers). By a stroke of luck, I ended up sitting next to him and even shared my missal with him at one point. Yes, me, getting to share my missal with Father Jenkins!! It was thrilling. After Mass, I went up to say hello and we had the following conversation.

Me: Father, I just want you to know that I'm praying for you. Thank you for everything you do for the university. [I figured he would be glad to hear that students pray for him]

Him: Thank you, now what is this "Team Aristotle" you're wearing?

Me: Ah, see, I'm a PLS major, and we got to choose between Team Plato or Team Aristotle shirts.

Him: So you're not really a fan of the Forms?

Me: I love the Forms, it's just that I really love the Nichomachean Ethics... it gets me every time. [did I really say that to Father Jenkins??]

Him: Now these shirts... was this for a sporting event?

Ha. I didn't really have a response to that, so I just sort of smiled, nodded, and moved on. If only he knew. ;)

This morning I got to play with not one but TWO babies when my mother's friends came over. We all ate red velvet cake and drank punch, and one little 4-year-old boy delighted my heart forever by singing the Notre Dame Fight Song. I hope your Monday is as nice as mine has been so far!


  1. I'm so happy you gathered up the courage to go say hi :)

  2. Ha yes, I should have mentioned "and it was all thanks to my friend Alex, who practically pushed me into that conversation, but it never would have happened without her." Thanks for helping me be brave, Alex darling.

  3. hahaha... sporting event.


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  5. Vanessa, I figured you would appreciate that. I struggled to keep a straight face when he said that.

  6. Hahaha, I love this story. I think F. Jenkins is on Team Plato; he once told me during an office hours meeting with him that his favorite books were the Platonic dialogues. We should get him a shirt! ;)