As the University and the Notre Dame family from around the world gathers in South Bend this week to honor, celebrate and reflect upon the life of Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, we are reminded of a man who lived a great life and made a great impact, all while remaining true to his main goal in life: to be a great priest. We all have our stories of Father Ted. This is part three of three.

Come, Holy Spirit.

This was Fr. Ted’s favorite prayer. Simple and powerful, just like the man himself.

As a student at Notre Dame, I did not rely on this prayer often. Probably not at all. But as I have grown in my life as an alumna, and as a Catholic, I have come to appreciate the peace of the prayer. For with the Holy Spirit, we are strengthened.

There is no greater example of this in my life than May 20, 2012. As I processed into Notre Dame Stadium next to Fr. John Jenkins, at the end of the platform party, I was excitedly terrified to give the commencement address to the graduates. And 25,000 others.

When Fr. John asked me how I was feeling, I responded, “I just keep repeating Fr. Ted’s prayer, Come, Holy Spirit.”

Come, Holy Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit. Between the Holy Spirit and my teammates, knew I would be fine.

And I was more than fine. That day remains one of the highlights of my life. I remember sitting on the stage (in the shade) knowing how hot it was for the graduates in their robes. I remember looking up into the press box and seeing my two boys peering through the open window. And I remember looking directly in front of me, over the students, at the man dressed all in black sitting in the front row of the stadium gold seats. Fr. Ted. If he could sit in the 90-degree heat, we all could.

At the end of the ceremony, after Fr. John’s final blessing of – and charge to – the graduates, Fr. John announced that Fr. Hesburgh would celebrate his 95th birthday later that week. With that, the graduates turned around and spontaneously sang “Happy Birthday.” It was awesome. And moving. And touching. Just as it was today to hear Fr. John’s words during Fr. Ted’s funeral mass, and to see the students line the path from the Basilica to Holy Cross Community Cemetery. Fr. Ted’s legacy lives on.

Fr. Ted’s prayer carried me that day. It will carry many of us for the rest of our lives. #ThankYouFrTed

Come, Holy Spirit.