Father Hesburgh memorial service attendees share stories

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Hundreds came to celebrate Father Hesburgh at a memorial service Wednesday night, and brought with them many unique stories about the late priest.

The memorial service was filled with Notre Dame students, staff members and alumni.

Caitlin Kinser is just one of them.

Kinser is now an employee of Notre Dame, and a former student.

Her mother attended this school as well, and inspired Kinser to come.

Kinser said Father Hesburgh helped her give her mother a gift they'll treasure forever.

"My mom always felt this very deep connection with him. So, my senior year of undergrad, I bought her a rosary and the beads were all Notre Dame colors. And I took it up to his office and had him bless it for her," Kinser said.

Kinser said the rosary became more of a treasure after Father Hesburgh passed away.

"When I talked to her that morning after we found out that he had passed, she said, 'You know, I'm just sitting here holding my rosary and thinking about how really special that is to me now, to be able to have that sort of piece of him to always keep with me,'" Kinser said.

Notre Dame freshman Janet Stengel attended the memorial service with her parents.

Her father is a Notre Dame alumnus, and their family has photos of Father Hesburgh hanging in their home.

"We're all kind of realizing how influential Father Hesburgh really was, and taking that spirit and putting it out into our own lives is what we're all trying to do right now," Stengel said.

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