Location Name
Word of Life Mural on Hesburgh Library Tower University of Notre Dame

Street Address
South Side of the Library facing the football stadium

South Bend

Type of Prayer Place

The Word of Life Mural on the Notre Dame Campus is an amazing place for meditation on the wisdom of Christ that transcends the ages. The mural is on the south side of the Hesburg Library Tower and is often called “Touchdown Jesus” because his hands are upraised in a gesture similar to the hand signal for a touchdown. The mural is made out of 6,700 individual pieces of granite and appears to be at least 4 stories tall. The name “Word of Life” comes from the passage in the Bible in John 1:1-5 where it describes Jesus as “the Word.” The artist, Millard Sheets explains that it depicts “in great processional the idea of a never-ending line of great scholars, thinkers and teachers represented in the library…a continuous procession of one generation giving to the next…with Christ at the twp with the disciples – He is the great teacher.”

In front of the library is a reflecting pool, benches and a stone tablet explaining each epoch of human knowledge represented. These include the Byzantine Era, Renaissance, Eastern World, Prophets of the Old Testament, Medieval Era, Ancient Classic cultures, Age of Science and Exploration and Christians of the Early Church.

capture-notre-dame-library-1How I used this place of prayer
I was taking a walk near dusk on a summer evening and the area held only a few other visitors. I was able to take the time to drink in the beauty and magnificence of the mural and use my mind and imagination to meditate upon God as the God of all human history, of which we are only a link in a divine chain.

Contact Information / Sponsoring Organization
Notre Dame University

Personal Tips
I found that around dusk on a summer evening was the perfect time to visit because there were few people in the area and also the mural was being reflected in beautiful glory in the dark reflecting pool in front of it. Wear good walking shoes as there is limited parking on campus. Also, be sure to read the explanation carved on the stone at the reflecting pool as it reads very much like a prayer of thanksgiving and praise to God and Christ.

One of the biggest pieces of religious art I have personally ever viewed and so packed with meaning and power.

Added by Karen Barber on July 31, 2014