When I first received "The Changing Family" (HCM,
Fall '99) edition of your magazine, I was enthralled.
I found the articles interesting, informative and emotional.
It was brave and courageous to include a portrayal of a
family that has wrestled with the sometimes-isolating challenges
of a child with very special needs. I applaud you and Mr.
Naseef for this honest and wise story. As a mother and
graduate student in special education and social work,
I am immensely interested in the ever-evolving family of
today. However, I also admit to some sadness upon completing
the issue. Reading the profiles, although inspiring, served
to emphasize the almost insurmountable obstacles I face
as a single parent.
My husband of almost 15 years unceremoniously removed himself
from our family soon after the birth of our fourth child.
He left the area and has little contact with the children.
Although divorce is not a statistical rarity, it presents
me with a variety of problems both mundane and heart-wrenching.
Take, as just one common example, the recent "Daddy and Me" night
at my child's nursery school. There were printed invitations
and a list of events in each child's cubby on the day following
the Thanksgiving vacation. I was speechless. How could this
group of otherwise intelligent and enlightened teachers be
I think the answer speaks to our ability to remove ourselves
from each other's pain. It also reminds us of the complacency
we allow ourselves in the affluent suburbs. Even in the year
2000, I know relatively few divorced women in my community.
I am still considered a rather unlucky anomaly.
Of course, all these issues are complicated by the fact
that I am a faithful and practicing Catholic. Let me first
assure you that my parish priest was supportive and loving
during the horrible process of dissolving my marriage. He
made great concessions in our parish's First Holy Communion
ceremony so as not to emphasize my status. (Historically,
both parents accompanied the child to the altar. That part
of the ceremony was eliminated from the Mass.) However,
I am still confused and conflicted about my role as a divorced
Catholic. One of my children came home from CCD and informed
me that I could not receive Communion during Mass because
of the divorce. (I can only hope she misunderstood her teacher's
explanation.) Still, there are many relevant questions. What
if I want to marry again? Do I seek an annulment? Does this
somehow disrespect my original vows or my children? Would
I ever marry outside of the Church? How do I marry outside
the Church and still try to raise my children as devout and
respectful Catholics? Do my parish and my God understand
it when I don't ask my children to attend Mass on Father's
Day? Quite naturally, the homily on that particular day concerns
itself with fathers and family. My children were emotionally
devastated during the last Father's Day Mass. What of the
resentment I feel given that I am the individual who stayed
in the family? He left! Why must my Church force me to grapple
with these questions at all?
Holy Cross is a microcosm of the larger world and, at its
best, an ideal toward which we strive. We all struggle with
very real life problems in a sometimes unyielding and difficult
world. As Holy Cross graduates, however, we need to make
an earnest effort to urge on and support those in need.
Is there a story here? Perhaps in a later issue of Holy
Cross Magazine I'll read of the obstacles that a single
parent encounters. Children are unyielding in the pursuit
of their needs and wants. How do I meet these needs and
still maintain at least some semblance of sanity? What
of my academic studies? On any given day, my studies must
be put second, third, or even fourth. A carpool to Little
League or an ill pet must be attended to immediately. Attending
to an academic article must wait for a calmer moment. The
reality is, of course, those calmer moments do not materialize
often enough. By the time I am ready for bed at night,
I am mind-numbingly tired. I often lose the ability to
form words and speak by 9 p.m. I am sure it is the same
for many single parents. And I am sure there are many of
us among our alumni.
Again, thank you for a wonderful edition. I love the magazine's
new format and courageous subject matter. Keep up the good
Judi Ford '80
Pound Ridge, N.Y.
I note that we have a tempest in a teapot going on
concerning the term "Crusader," (HCM Spring 2000)
with some alumni feeling strongly that there are immediate
connotations of rape, pillage, slaughter and a general antithesis
of Christian values associated with the Crusades.
Well of course those bad things did happen and the Crusades
can readily be seen from the vantage point of history as
not serving God or Man that well, no matter how ideal the
intent of those involved may have been.
To which one might say . "So what?" If no term can be used
as positive unless everyone to whom it was applied was a
paragon of virtue, then we will instantly have to retire
terms like "America," "President," and "Pope," and cease
any use of mere human beings like Washington, Lincoln, Churchill
or Kennedy as objects of admiration and examples to be admired
and imitated for their virtues and achievements.
There seems to be a lot of confusion over the difference
between having ideals and the perfect practice of ideals.
The image of Crusader has been one of a person ready and
willing to sacrifice, suffer, and fight for some principle,
for something larger than himself, for a Good not just himself
or his immediate circle but for the greater community. The
sad fact that there are usually flaws, sometimes major ones,
in any effort for the Good does not detract from the ideal.
One might also mention the inappropriateness of judging
people of a distant time and place too harshly by the standards
of modern day. The Middle Ages were not a gentle time by
any standards and warfare was then, as it is now, the most
brutal activity conducted, so we can scarcely be surprised
that rape and pillage occurred. (Note that in Kosovo the
incidence of horrors was all too well known, so we can confirm
that human frailty and occasional propensity for Evil are
with us still.)
So I do not feel anything but pride in the idea of
being a Holy Cross Crusader and I reject the political correctness
craze that seems to be sweeping over us. There have to be
a lot more things worthy of our attention than minor issues
of nomenclature and the hypersensitivity that leads some
to overreact to them.
R.J. Del Vecchio '64
I had a very positive response to the letters from
Ms. Martha Delaney '86 and John Foraste '67 in the Spring
2000 issue of the magazine. For years, decades, I have avoided
the term "Crusader" in any way available when speaking of
Holy Cross, my Alma Mater that I love so deeply. Known to
be rather outspoken, I actually lacked the courage to bring
this topic to the attention of fellow Cross alums. I didn't
want to acquire the label "radical." However, now that two
other grads have made the subject a matter of public record,
I'd like to be numbered among those who oppose the continued
use of the term "Crusader" when linked to Holy Cross.
While I'm sure there were some devout, idealistic Christians
among those who journeyed to the Middle East to reclaim the
Holy Land, the more one explores the history of those ventures,
the more one sees that perhaps the overwhelming majority
had other interests. They enjoyed killing. Still worse, in
their pursuit of victims, they had two "Hobbies": rape and
pillage! The tragic history of the Crusades has been passed
down for centuries by the Arabs/Muslims. I'm sure that some
of the problems that plague the Middle East today have their
roots in the horrors committed in the name of God/Christ
by these knights wearing the cross of Christianity.
While there are most certainly more important issues facing
the next administration on Mount St. James, I hope that this
will be reviewed with all seriousness very soon. I did not
attend Holy Cross to be labeled as one who places himself
proudly among the hordes that raped the Holy Land.
While "Crusader" is objectionable to the extreme for me,
I do not have a problem with "In Hoc Signo Vinces." This
phrase has its origins with the Roman Emperor, Constantine,
not the Crusades of a later time. Constantine was given the
sign while defending the Empire from heathen masses bearing
down on Rome in the fourth century, I believe.
Robert P. Trudel '64
Interesting dialog about whether Holy Cross wants
to continue to be identified with some "Middle Age" hackers
and pillagers. Even the Hospitalers who tried to heal under
the aegis of the Maltese Cross did more to dismember than
to cure. And I can't imagine that the Holy Cross motto would
sound too inviting to folks whose forebears lay in the paths
of the Crusades, or for that matter, to folks from anywhere
else where people entertain different points of view. Perhaps
the birds on the escutcheon should fly away, too. That is
not to trivialize any of this, either. People are writing
in and asking if words and symbols chosen a long time ago
properly reflect what the school has become and is today.
Perhaps it would be more appropriate to step back two or
three millennia to a time that might better reflect the origin
of some of the College's more classical roots-roots that
go back to the cradle of western civilization in ancient
Greece-roots that are just as strong and even more meaningful
in coping with the issues of today as they were thousands
of years ago. The modern "warriors" could then still have
their spears, but the "thinkers" would now have their thoughts.
Anyway, as to the current Holy Cross colophons, mascot
and motto, I agree, their time has come.
David Golia Paladin '70
A chill struck my heart when I saw that political
correctness had infiltrated the spring issue of Holy Cross
Magazine (Page 79). No more "Crusaders"? The Oxford Dictionary
defines a crusader as one who takes part in a campaign against
something he believes to be bad. Are we to be discouraged
from doing that any longer? I seriously doubt that any Holy
Cross student or graduate imagines dedicating his or her
life based on ancient history. Rather, they see their lives
lived in the present and dedicated to properly campaigning
against those forces that are perceived as "bad." "Crusade" on,
Then we are urged to strike down and out In Hoc Signo Vinces.
Maybe I missed something way back when, but I assumed that
the Signo referred to The Cross and that we were pledging
to go out into the world and try to conquer such things as
injustice, intolerance and ignorance. Did I miss something
in my war-shortened undergrad years?
Please, can't we stick with what we have?
Leo Hession '45
Congratulations on the fine spring issue of Holy
Cross Magazine. We noticed with sadness the death of
Joe Mullany '49.We would like to point out that, prior
to coaching at Providence College, Joe coached at St. Mary's
Academy in Glens Falls, N.Y., before entering the FBI.
Thank you for the excellent job on the magazine.
Daniel F. O'Keeffe, M.D., '42
Glens Falls, N.Y.
John Reardon, Esq., '41
Glens Falls, N.Y.
Please recognize Bart Sullivan, track and field coach
for 50 years. Like many great teachers, he gave us lifelong
lessons through example and his total devotion to us and
to Holy Cross.
Primarily, Bart instilled good sportsmanship and humility
in victory and defeat, traits too often lacking in some coaches
and pro athletes today.
Paul R. Murphy '55
I want to commend you on an outstanding Spring 2000
issue. The great athletic traditions at the Cross are about
much more than nostalgia and speak to the school's great
tradition for excellence and sportsmanship.
I specifically liked the wonderful piece on Cornelius Keefe
Hurley '29. I have been very privileged to work with Connie
Hurley in the writing of a 63,000-word first draft of his
autobiography. Your piece touched on several of Connie's
amazing accomplishments. Some others are: his meeting with
Alexander Graham Bell when he was a boy; having dinner with
Babe Ruth and two of Connie's baseball teammates at the Cross,
in 1929; his selecting a fellow Hale and Dorr attorney, Joseph
Welch, who brilliantly put an end to Sen. Joseph McCarthy
in a confrontation televised live to the nation; his representing
Ted Williams in his divorce proceedings, in spite of pressure
from fellow Catholics; his brilliant career in antitrust
law; and many other colorful and notable achievements.
The first draft of this book, entitled The Glory of
My Friends, is currently being reviewed by the foremost
authority on 20th-century American history and by a number
of publishers. Not just as Con's co-author, but as a student
of history, I would recommend this book for any course
in current American civilization.
One other comment: I know that a review of Holy Cross athletics
could not include, in one magazine, all of our great athletes.
One omission I cannot resist mentioning, though, would be
that of my classmate, Tom Greene, who quarterbacked our football
team to consecutive one-point wins over Syracuse, and missed
an upset over Penn State by less than a yard, a win which
could have meant a trip to the Gator Bowl. Tom was also an
All-American lacrosse forward and played in the American
Football League for several years, in spite of an arm injury.
Please keep up the great work. The magazine is setting
a tone for growth and achievement.
Tom O'Neil '59