Haley Scott DeMaria

Archive for August, 2017


HOPE. What a great way to end the ND Trail.

When we crossed the St. Joe River on Friday, our 2nd to last day, and entered South Bend, it was a powerful feeling to know we had arrived. We were in South Bend. We weren’t quite at Notre Dame, but we were almost home. We celebrated the end of 18 miles that day, and 317 total, with hugs and tears and “we made it!” and “congratulations!” because we had completed almost all of the Trail. It was an emotional afternoon.

The last day, and the last three miles, of the Trail were a celebration. A celebration of Notre Dame, a celebration of the pilgrims (the 32 of us, and all those who joined throughout the journey), and a celebration of Father Sorin’s legacy and challenge to be “a means for doing good.” We paused and prayed at Fr. Sorin’s grave, we prayed again at the Grotto and the Log Chapel, and again as a community at Mass. Then we celebrated 175 years of Notre Dame with the students and community on South Quad.

But while Notre Dame is steeped in history and traditions, the University is always looking forward. Our Lady seeks to honor our history and traditions by continuing to be a means for doing good in the future. In another word: HOPE.

I take all I loved and learned on the Trail and look with HOPE to the future.



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  • ND TRAIL, Day 13: HEART

    “Educate the mind, but never at the expense of the heart.” – Blessed Basil Moreau, founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross

    I am home now after two weeks on the Notre Dame Trail. I tried to write each night, to reflect on the theme of the day and to record a journey that really can’t fully be expressed in words. But on the last two days of the Trail, I spent each waking moment (literally) trying to absorb every moment I could with my fellow pilgrims. As we returned to South Bend, I knew our time together was limited. Two weeks. 320 miles. 32 pilgrims. Countless stories. Hours of conversation. And miles and miles of love.

    I learned so much on my pilgrimage: about myself, about my faith, about the founding of Notre Dame, about the history of Indiana, and about the Congregation of Holy Cross. I learned so much, I don’t even know all I have learned. It will take several weeks, maybe longer, to fully process how this pilgrimage has changed me.

    I do notice some differences. I am more peaceful. (Maybe I am still tired.) I am more patient with my son who didn’t finish his summer work until the night before school started this week. I am more forgiving of those who used to annoy me quickly. I feel as though I am living in a state of grace, a renewed sense of spirit and a challenge to be – as Father Sorin declared – a powerful means for doing good.

    “Doing good” means leading with your heart. Blessed Basil Moreau’s quote speaks to me because it reminds us to lead with our heart. Educate our minds, use our talents, be bold in our actions – but never at the expense of our heart. We are who we are because of the actions in our heart.

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  • ND TRAIL, Day 12: FAMILY

    Today’s theme of FAMILY should be an easy one. Thank goodness, because it‘s almost 11pm and my alarm is set for 4:45am, with 17.9 miles on the agenda for tomorrow. I’ll just round that up to 18 miles…

    FAMILY has always meant two things to me: the family you are born to, and the family that surrounds you.

    I have an awesome family, with awesome parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We are a little intense at times, a little off-the-wall a lot of the time, but always, always filled with love. Throw in my husband, children and in-laws, and my family is complete. I have no doubt, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, we will overcome any challenge.

    The family that surrounds me is just as important, sometimes just as off-the-wall, and definitely filled with love.

    These families take many forms: my Notre Dame family, my St. Anne’s family, my tribe of moms-who-keep-me-sane family, my Xavier family when I was there and my swimming family, and now my pilgrim family.

    12 days ago, I met the 31 other pilgrims who would become the core group on the ND Trail. We are a diverse group: in age, in reasons for walking, in relationship to the University; we are also at different places on our spiritual journey and hail from different parts of the country. Some of us are sore, most of us have blisters, all of us are tired; but the one thing we have in common – without exception – is our gratitude for being on the Trail.

    One core pilgrim asked me today if I had 2nd thoughts about having done the Trail. “No way,” came out of my mouth pretty quickly. We then asked a few others and were met with the same exact response.

    We have learned along the way that friends and family think we are crazy for doing this; and perhaps we are. But it has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. And while I miss my family at home, I am at home with my new family.

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  • ND TRAIL, Day 11: ZEAL

    Today’s theme was ZEAL. Zeal is not a word that passed through my vocabulary, or thoughts, very often until last year. When my son started high school at a Xaverian Brothers sponsored school, Mount Saint Joseph in Baltimore, I learned their five spiritual values: humility, trust, simplicity, compassion and zeal. These values are mentioned often and lived out daily at Mount St. Joe. The first four I was familiar with; but zeal was a new value to explore.

    The last five themes of the ND Trail are the five values of the Congregation of Holy Cross: mind, zeal, family, heart and hope. I am ashamed to admit that I did not know the values of the CSC; but I am glad to know them now, and I am glad Mount St. Joe is so proud and forthright about sharing and teaching their values. In fact, they live and teach their values with zeal.

    Fr. Malloy, Notre Dame’s 16th president, celebrated mass tonight and shared Blessed Basil Moreau’s definition of zeal as “a flame in your heart.” I like that.

    Being new to the term myself, I imagine zeal as the enthusiasm the core pilgrims have as we climb on the oxcart each morning, usually before the sun is up, and greet each other with passion and smiles, encouragement and excitement for the day. I have a flame in my heart for the ND Trail and for my fellow pilgrims.

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  • ND TRAIL, Day Ten: MIND

    Today’s theme celebrates the first of 5 pillars of the Congregation of Holy Cross. Those might not be the correct terms, but honestly- I’m too tired to be concerned about that. And I’m sure the CSC Brothers, Priests and Sisters will understand.

    Today’s theme is MIND. As educators, it is important to educate the MIND and the heart. For the MIND is directed by the heart.

    I am blessed to have had amazing teachers in my life, as a student, as a colleague, and as a parent. I grew up the daughter of an educator, and learned a great deal from my mom, especially to respect and appreciate the teachers.

    Today I walked (in the rain) for all the teachers who educate the MIND and the heart,  especially those at Notre Dame, Mount Saint Joseph, St. Anne’s School of Annapolis, Xavier College Preparatory, Madison #1, and Phoenix Country Day School. Thank you for guiding me, and my children, on this crazy adventure of life!

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  • ND TRAIL, Day Nine: LOVE

    Today’s theme was Love, which is appropriate for so many reasons.

    For one, I LOVE being on the ND Trail. I miss my husband and children, my greatest loves, but I also could stay on the ND Trail with my core pilgrims – who I have grown to love – for many more days. So rarely do I take time to do something just for myself; and the ND Trail started out as just that: something for myself. But I also believe that those I love will be better off when I return. I will be a better wife, mother, daughter, friend.

    Tomorrow we welcome 100 more pilgrims to the ND Trail. They will walk the last 5 days and 70 miles with us. And just as our love multiplies when we have multiple children, so too will our love for these new pilgrims grow.

    Ultimately, this is what life is all about: Love. Love for one another. Love for God. Love of love.

    Right now my closest love is my pillow. I am exhausted!

    16 miles tomorrow in the rain.

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  • ND TRAIL, Day Eight: SORROW

    SORROW seemed like such a sad theme for the day. As my sister pointed out to me, we walked 15 miles for JOY and travelled 39 miles for SORROW; and maybe that was planned.

    Today we offered up our sorrows to God, as well as our aches and blisters. But I also reflected on a saying I use quite often: From great sorrow comes great joy.

    I believe this. I believe that I experience deeper emotions, including joy, because of the deep sorrow I have experienced in life. I think our sorrows teach us to feel more deeply and to love more deeply.

    “A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4)

    Today I walked for all those who have experienced deep sorrow in their lives; and for those we miss deeply, especially MB, CH, KN, MK and my grandparents.


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  • ND TRAIL, Day Seven: JOY

    Today’s theme was JOY. Our fellow traveler, Fr. Dave, said mass for us today in the historic log chapel at the site of the Battle of Tippecanoe. In his homily, he described the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness comes from things and events; Joy comes from within.

    I pondered this thought for much of the day. I often talk about how happiness is a choice; how we can choose each day to focus on the positive or chose to focus on the negative. But is this choice of happiness the same as joyfulness? I’m not sure. Thankfully I have a few more miles to think about it.

    On the Trail with us, we have many examples of this joy; those who radiate joy from within. It’s inspiring and infectious, and I’m pretty sure I don‘t fall into this category (and I’m okay with that right now).

    Joy from within comes from knowing we are living the life we are meant to live; that we are content with ourselves and who we are. By this definition, I am almost joyful. I am hopefully joyful. I am striving for JOY.

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    I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about today. We prayed about HUMILITY before our walk began; I listened to the HUMILITY soundtrack for inspiration; and I reflected on each of the signs posted along the Trail.IMG_1353

    I was also sent a few definitions of HUMILITY: “to be humble, a lack of ego,” and realized that all of us on the Trail are experiencing humility just by nature of the blisters, being last up the hill, or having to skip dinner because we are too tired at 7pm. There is no ego on the Trail.

    Then I went to mass tonight at beautiful Wabash College, and was inspired by the words of our celebrant, Fr. Steve Newton, “Humility is being true to yourself; being who God created you to be.”  These words spoke to me because I often pray that I am doing the work God intended me to do. So in a way, I am praying for humility.

    Fr. Steve has his own remarkable story of miraculous healing. Today I walked in Thanksgiving for those who have been healed and those who are in need of God’s healing.

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    All we need is just a little Patience…

    When you are traveling 31 miles, you sing to yourself a lot. And when the theme of the day is patience, you sing a little Guns n’ Roses.

    While on the ND Trail, no detail is left unattended. So, along with the theme of the day comes a soundtrack with songs relating to the theme. One song included on today’s patience soundtrack was “Wait For It.”

    ”Wait For It” is from the musical, Hamilton, which reminds me of my youngest son, who is a Hamilton fanatic. This is perfect, for many reasons, but mainly because it is my children who taught me patience.

    My parents will tell you that I have never been a patient person. My husband will tell you that I’m still not (especially when my phone or computer isn‘t working and I continue to press buttons…)

    But my children, my two boys, teach me patience everyday. Today I walked for them; probably the only two people in the world who could teach me patience.

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