On November 20, the 100th Anniversary of the death of Br. Columba O’Neill, C.S.C., the Holy Cross Family in the Notre Dame area and many lay faithful, including many students, gathered at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the campus of the University of Notre Dame to remember this holy brother and pray for his cause. Fr. William Lies, C.S.C., Superior of the United States Province of Priests and Brothers, presided at the Mass, and Deacon Mike Ryan, C.S.C., Rector of O’Neill Family Hall, preached.
Br. Phil Smith, C.S.C., Local Coordinator of Br. Columba’s Cause, also offered a reflection on Br. Columba following Communion.
“Brother Columba was an ordinary man, with a profoundly simple prayer life, utterly focused, like so many others in the early 20th century,” said Br. Smith. “He was intent on using his skills for the better of self and community.”
The Mass was part of a wider commemoration of the anniversary at the University of Notre Dame. There was a novena, co-sponsored by the McGrath Institute for Church Life and the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture, which began on Monday, November 13. There was also a special spotlight exhibit entitled “Path to Sainthood: Brother Columba O’Neill” on display in the Rare Books and Special Collections room in the Hesburgh Library.
A cobbler at the University of Notre Dame for 38 years, Br. Columba is known for curing those with illness or ailment, taking no credit for the cures, but claiming they were the result of his “intercession to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” From the writings of his Superior at the time, he was also known for his “humility, love of neighbor, confidence in God, lively faith, devotion to the Sacred Heart, life of prayer, of poverty . . . and all realized that in these was found the secret of his sanctity.”
As the Congregation continues to work on Br. Columba’s cause, one of the greatest needs at this time is to find people—lay, religious, and ordained—who can provide testimony in the tribunal of their devotion, and that of others, to Br. Columba as well as signs and favors received through his intercession. If you or someone you know were to fit those criteria, please contact Br. Smith at: Columba@brothersofholycross.com