Notre Dame President Emeritus Father Edward "Monk" Malloy donated a kidney Monday to help his nephew, who needed a transplant.
Fr. Malloy's assistant has given us daily progress reports, but on Thursday I had the opportunity to talk to "Monk" on the phone.
"I think I am feeling amazingly well. Each day, of course, is better," he told me on the telephone from Johns Hopkins.
When I sat down with Fr. Malloy last week, he told me that what originally was supposed to be a donation to his nephew, Johnny Rorapaugh, had turned into a swap.
Doctors asked Fr. Malloy and Johnny to swap kidneys with another family.
Monk told me it was after surgery that the surgeon told him how important that swap was.
"As far as he knows, we're the first compatible pair -- my nephew and I -- that were put in the pool along with incompatibles. We were the first mix, because the other incompatible swaps have all been done because people had no other option. We were the first, I think -- at least we were at Johns Hopkins -- to consent to go forward when we had the other option available to us," Fr. Malloy explained.
And with all four patients making good recoveries, it could have a profound effect on everyone waiting for kidney transplants.
"So what they think is, with the need for 80,000, if they can expand the pool and have good reasons for recommending in certain situations, that compatible donors think about being part of swaps," Fr. Malloy told me.
When I sat down with him, I asked if this was one of his biggest callings as a priest.
He said that he's concerned about the wellbeing of others, which is compatible with being a priest, a believing Christian, and a human being.
"I don't want to romanticize the role that I played, because I am just part of a coterie of people, all of whom have been willing to give a kidney or some other organ that others might have a healthier life, and it's nice company to keep."
Fr. Malloy checked out of the hospital Thursday afternoon and plans to spend the next week in Washington, D.C. with his sister.
He will be back at Johns Hopkins next week for a check-up, and then it's back to Notre Dame so he can prepare to teach his freshman class.