December 18

Benjamin Morrison

Notre Dame football player, Benjamin Morrison felt far behind his peers when he first arrived on campus, but the practice of regular prayer helped renew his strength.

“As time went by, I started to gain some confidence in my new surroundings. I could speak directly to God in those moments and ask him to lead me. It was then that I knew I had found my place. A few weeks into the fall semester, I hit my stride with my time management and started seeing success on the football field. It was important to me to keep going back to places on campus like the Grotto that encouraged me to focus on what matters the most.”

The season of Advent brings to mind the heavenly peace of a newborn resting safe and secure in his manger bed, but his story also confronts us with new, strange, and even terrifying circumstances. Mary and Joseph had to trust that God was leading them through it all as they got used to the new normal. And God did not fail them.



  1. I spent many many visits prayers at the Grotto!! Totally saved me ! Especially during mid terms and finals ! I later became President of Holy Cross hall , made deans list Jr and Sr year ! I still go to the grotto when I visit ND as well as online rosary time at the Grotto !

    Melinda. SMC ‘77

  2. Well done, Benjamin! The Grotto is Notre Dame. May the Lord bless, protect, and guide you all the days of your life.

  3. Thank you for sharing how the Grotto has helped your acclimation to the university; may God bless Benjamin.

  4. Thanks for sharing your story and so glad you are feeling at home now at ND! You have lots of us praying for you always, on and off the field, and you are a wonderful role model to your new teammates who will find themselves in your same situation as they arrive. I know you’ll point them to the Grotto too and the peace that only God can provide!

  5. Benjamin, Thank you for sharing your sacred story of vulnerability and struggle as an incoming ND student and football player. How nice that others pointed you to the Grotto and that you have found this sacred space to be a place of peace. I admire you for being open to this leading, and believe that both Mary and our Lord have blessed you for your faithfulness. My husband and I have enjoyed watching you so successfully contribute to the football team’s wins this season. Go IRISH!! May you continue to feel an ever growing sense of belonging at ND, and may your upcoming Christmas break be a time of great joy.

  6. What a wonderful, uplifting and encouraging reflection. Blessings to you for the rest of your college years!

  7. Wonderful reflection. I’m a member of the ND Club of North Jersey, and we love watching you play. One of our members Bob Lane often mentions how his son knows you, etc. Best of luck to you on and off the field.

  8. Thank you Benjamin for your spiritual Advent words. So happy you are part of the Notre Dame community. Patrick ND ‘72

  9. I am sure Benjamin’s words brought many of us back to our first months at ND, and back to our memories of the Gotto. He is clearly an exceptional player, but also a great example of what makes the Notre Dame experience special. Jim ND ’72.

  10. I was most impressed with you Benjamin following the Clemson game when you were interviewed by NBC. You gave all the credit for your success to you Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. What a wonderful affirmation of our God. I wish you every success as you go through life.

  11. Merry Christmas Benjamin and thanks for choosing ND.
    You are an exciting player and I will pray for your health and
    Success in your studies as God has great plans for you and
    Our Lady ( Notre Dame) is interceding for you.
    Peace in Christ,
    Marilyn Woidat

  12. Benjamin’s words and all of these sacred stories “remind” me of the options of choosing “the practice of regular prayer;” Moments of speaking directly to God our Creator; Listening for direction on How to step forward in our next step; Having a Place we can go to and be in to encourage our next step….; “to Focus on what Matters the Most” in the Present Moment. The Grotto is one of my most favorite places–if not the most favorite. From today’s experience I am going to experiment with using the word Grotto as my sacred word in meditation/contemplation and see what happens. Thank each of You for Being Here.

  13. I found so much solace and inspiration when I walked by the lakes. And Saturday nite mass. I never have found the faith connection since school. But I have my routines which I still carry to this day. The greatest opportunity for me 50 years ago was coming to school. I thank god every day. Really. Good luck to you for the rest of your life. You’ll do well. Bill

  14. Benjamin, thanks for an awesome story. I couldn’t agree more with the significance of places like The Grotto. They serve as a grounding point and moral touchstone for the rigors of daily life. God Bless you. I’m not a betting man, but if I was, I’d take you for the win!

  15. Thank you Benjamin for your witness, my 11 year old daughter watches these with me nightly and knew right away who you were :-).

    God Bless and Merry Christmas!

  16. You brought back such great memories of my time as a student at Notre Dame. You are not alone. Love thee, Notre Dame. Go Irish!

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