1909: Born in Simbach, Germany 1923: Arrived at Ellis Island, unable to speak English and with a sign around his neck that said “Deliver to Notre Dame, Indiana” 1923: Entered Holy Cross minor seminary at Notre Dame and, thus, began an association with the University which lasted 75 years 1930s: Became an advocate of liturgical renewal and lay activism 1932: Graduated from Notre Dame and went to France to study theology 1936: Ordained a Holy Cross Priest in Paris and began working in the poor neighborhoods there 1939: Returned to U.S. following the outbreak of WWII 1939-1966: Taught theology at the University of Notre Dame 1966-1972: Served as Rector of Moreau Seminary 1972-1979: Served as Director of Family Life Services (Ft. Wayne, IN), Harvest House (South Bend, IN), and Senior Living Program (Phoenix, AZ) enriching the lives of seniors 1974: Established Forever Learning Institute 1998: Passing of Fr. Putz OUR SCHOOL:
FOREVER LEARNING INSTITUTE and Father PUTZ
In the early 1970’s as Fr. Putz approached his retirement years, he became very interested in older adults. He saw life as a chain with three links: the age of learning, the age of earning, and the age of returning. He chose to focus on the third age because it is that time in life when there is the opportunity to give back one’s knowledge, talent, and experience in service to others. Likewise, he believed that “service adds years to your life and life to your years” and that “isolation is the greatest malady of older adults.” Fr. Putz’s beliefs sowed the seeds then for his vision of a school for seniors where students could come together for the pure joy of learning, for interaction with each other, and for their own ongoing personal and spiritual development. Additionally, this school would have well qualified teachers who would serve without pay. Thus, on May 24, 1974, he assembled his first advisory group to flesh out the mission, goals, and structure of the school.
Subsequently, Sr. Madeleine Adamczak, S.S.J., was selected as the school’s first administrator; a call went out for teachers; the first floor of the former novitiate (now Trinity School) for the Sisters of St. Joseph, the Third Order of St. Francis, became the site for the school; and Fr. Putz ably secured funding from various religious and lay organizations and persons. On September 24, 1974, volunteers began to register students for classes which began October 1st. Fr. Putz had anticipated 40 students for this first semester, but 115 students enrolled in 22 classes. Since that date, Forever Learning has grown and flourished and has always remained true to Fr. Putz’s vision and beliefs. In 1995 Fr. Putz retired to Corby Hall at Notre Dame. He passed away on June 24, 1998 at the age of 89.
SOUTH BEND SITE LOCATIONS
1974: FLI opened its doors at the novitiate for the Sisters of St. Joseph, 107 South Greenlawn Avenue 1979: FLI moved to the vacant St. Patrick’s Grade School, 308 S. Scott Street 2006: FLI moved to Little Flower Parish Center, 54191 Ironwood Road (current location)Here is how his friend, colleague, and brother, Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., emeritus president of the University of Notre Dame, summarized Louie’s curriculum vitae in a foreword to a biography entitled, “You Are Church! The Life and Times of Louis J. Putz, C.S.C., Prophet, Servant and Visionary”, by Bob Ghelardi: He lived a life filled with fresh initiatives, starting with creative work with students of Notre Dame and across North America, later with publishing ventures which announced (largely through translations) the transformations of the Second Vatican Council for an American public, then responding to the call of his Congregation of Holy Cross to implement the council as rector of Moreau Seminary at Notre Dame, after which he brought the message of lay involvement in the Kingdom of God to retired folks.