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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