A Conversation with Father Monk Malloy, Part 1

College campuses in Michiana are buzzing with activity as students and professors get settled in for another school year. They spent their summers in various ways -- traveling, working and some donating their time or money.

At the end of summer two years ago, former Notre Dame President Father Edward "Monk" Malloy spent his time donating a kidney to a total stranger. At the end of this summer, Monk is getting to know his students' faces prior to starting his freshman class.

“The fun thing is I teach first year undergraduates and they're at a time in their life where they are looking for heroic figures, they're looking for world shaking things to do, they want high ideals, they want high aspirations and so I can test that out and, if the time is appropriate. I can say, ‘well, I've tried to do some things with my life and this is one of them,’” says Monk.

The "one of them" Monk is referring to is donating a kidney two years ago, just two weeks before teaching the same class.

“It was the first time in human history that a matched pair and an unmatched pair were involved in a swap. It's fun breaking some kind of barrier in human history,” he says.

Monk had agreed to donate a kidney to his nephew, Johnny, who developed kidney disease in his late 30s. Then, just before surgery, doctors at Johns Hopkins asked him instead to donate his kidney to someone else.

Monk says it didn't take him or his nephew long to make their decision and agree to help total strangers. He says he always felt in some way prepared.

“The irony is that my father through much of his life had one kidney and I was aware of that but never though much about it, so that was one connection that came back. I used to teach about this when I started teaching at Notre Dame, I was teaching biomedical ethics, heart transplants were big, but I also talked about other transplants,” says Monk.

The then 68-year-old Father Malloy donated his kidney to a 60-year-old mother and her 30-year-old son donated his younger kidney to monk's nephew.

All four are still healthy today, and two years later, in addition to teaching, Monk travels nationwide to bring the need for kidney donation to light.

“It doesn't require some superior anything, virtue in order to be a donor. I really do believe that the people that I know, that I think of as innately generous, faced with the same set of circumstances that I did, would do what I did,” he says.

As for teaching two weeks after donating a kidney?

“As it turns out, it was easy to teach. All I had to do was sit there,” says Monk.

He won't be sitting this semester, but says the topic will undoubtedly come up in class as a tangible way you could make a difference in the lives of others.

“For me it's been a beautiful opportunity that I am glad came along and I'm glad to be able to tell the story,” says Monk.

Watch NewsCenter 16 Wednesday night, just before 6:00, for more of Maureen’s conversation with Father Malloy. He gives his thoughts on the recent priest scandal and his opinion on the upcoming Notre Dame football season.


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