What is a home? How do you find a home, make a home, or come back to a home? These questions weighed down my thoughts as I made my first journey from San Antonio, Texas all the way to South Bend, Indiana to start my college career at Notre Dame. I was thrilled to embark on four years of adventure, but I missed the family and the familiarity I was leaving behind in Texas. I knew that this far north the winters would be harsh, the nights would be long, and the tea just wouldn’t be as sweet as it was in the Lone Star State.
From left to right: Michele Warner, Steve Warner, and Rosemary Pfaff outside the Warners' home in Dublin
Luckily, in my first week of school I had the privilege of joining the Notre Dame Folk Choir. This incredible group of lively, intentional, and compassionate people quickly became my family. Through their love and support I began to find my footing here on campus. Rehearsals and mass became weekly family reunions, and our songs provided the soundtrack for my college story.
As my time at Notre Dame started to come to a close, I desperately wanted to give something back to this choir family that had welcomed me in from the very beginning. Then, one syrupy February morning, I received an email from our director, J.J., asking if I would consider being tour coordinator for our upcoming Texas Tour. Giddy, I quickly responded that it would be an honor, and I dug my boots in the dirt and got to work.
Now, here at Notre Dame, I am one week away from graduation. Everything I see and do seems golden, colored by the dome and by nostalgia. I know I have to say goodbye to this vibrant campus to embark upon my next chapter. Before I leave this place and this choir family, though, I get to sing with them in my home state. I have the opportunity to share some of the brightest gems of Texas with the choir, and the privilege of sharing the music and joy of the Folk Choir with Lone Star State.
Next year, I’ll be back in Texas, attending medical school in Houston. I’ll embrace the heat and drink all of the sweet tea I can get, but I know I’ll miss the Midwest and my cherished years with the Folk Choir. I will miss the rehearsals and the Sunday mornings in the Basilica loft. I will miss the music, and I will miss the people. Fortunately, this community taught me what it means to make a home and keep it, no matter where I lay my head at night. I am blessed to know that, back in the South, I will have the songs of the Notre Dame Folk Choir with me always, singing me back home.