"Notre Dame, Our Mother" is the alma mater (official song of devotion) of the University of Notre Dame, a private, Catholic research university in northern Indiana. The song is addressed to 'Notre Dame', a reference to both the university and its patroness and namesake, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Joseph Casasanta, a 1923 Notre Dame graduate, composed the song for the Oct. 11, 1930, dedication of Notre Dame Stadium.
Rev. Charles O'Donnell, C.S.C., president of the university at the time of composition, wrote the song's lyrics in honor of the university's patroness, Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Besides the usual role an alma mater plays for the school, it is part of the postgame show of the Band of the Fighting Irish and is the traditional conclusion to Notre Dame pep rallies, football games, other sporting events, and major religious services, often sung before the last hymn at Mass. When singing the alma mater, students often put their arms over each other's shoulders and sway as they sing. This is especially common at the end of home football games. Video Reference from University of Notre Dame website.
Lyrics to Notre Dame, Our Mother Edit
Notre Dame, our Mother
Tender, strong and true
Proudly in the heavens
Gleams thy gold and blue
Glory’s mantle cloaks thee
Golden is thy fame
And our hearts forever
Praise thee Notre Dame
And our hearts forever
Love thee Notre Dame!
- 'Notre Dame' is French for 'Our Lady' and refers to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the patroness of the school (many churches and chapels in France are dedicated to her under this name, such as the famous church in Paris, just as in Spanish-speaking countries they are dedicated to 'Nuestra Señora'). The priests who founded the university in 1842 came from France;
- There is an obvious and rich double meaning of 'Notre Dame' – simultaneously referring to both the school and to the Virgin Mary. This double meaning is made all the more poignant when one realizes that the song style 'Alma Mater' in Latin literally means 'dear Mother' or 'nourishing Mother';
- In traditional Catholic Christian theology, Mary is celebrated as the 'Queen of Heaven and Earth' and is often shown crowned in heaven and attended by angels - This belief is not held by Protestant Christians;
- In traditional depictions, Mary is shown in blue robes with a white head covering;
- A second meaning of 'in the heavens', the Main Building on the campus of Notre Dame is topped by a golden dome on top of which stands a massive 4,000 pound, 18'7" tall gilded statue of the Virgin Mary (the building is typically referred to simply as "the Golden Dome");
- Gold and blue are the colors of the University of Notre Dame.
- Notre Dame Educational Association, Inc, a network of Notre Dame Schools in the Philippines, adopted the alma mater song "Notre Dame, Our Mother"