When asked what he wanted written on his tombstone, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh responded with one word: Priest. This giant of a man—a man who advised presidents and counseled popes, who championed civil rights and world peace, who accepted 16 presidential appointments and 150 honorary degrees, who served an unprecedented thirty-five years as president of the University of Notre Dame—could have listed any number of accolades. Instead, he chose his first and most important vocation.
Fr. Ted never felt that his calling to be a priest set him apart. Rather, it drew him into relationships with others and out in service to the world. It was a call to serve as mediator, to bridge the divides that separate church and society, conservatives and liberals, the powerful and those on the margins. He spent his life bringing people together.
This new biography is the first to tell the story of the spirituality that shaped one of the twentieth century’s most distinguished public servants. It is a story to inspire all those who strive to live out their faith in the midst of a deeply divided world.