The Juggler Legend

Undoubtedly many fans of the area are convinced that the Notre Dame nickname, the Jugglers, derives from our team's ability in handling the ball on the football fields and/or the basketball courts. This however, is not so.

When Brother Hilary, the school's first Principal, and the other brothers were considering possible nicknames for the new school in the late fifties, ability was of secondary concern. Instead, what they were seeking was a name that they hoped would typify and exemplify all that they desired a Notre Dame student to be. Many names were pondered until, ultimately, their attention was brought to the French Medieval legend of “Le Jongleur de Notre Dame.”

This is the story...

“Once there was a very talented juggler named Barnabe who had tired of wandering up and down the roads of France and decided that it would be better if he were to dedicate his life to God, as a monk. He entered the monastery with which he was familiar and quite happy. Now, it was the custom of the monastery to do things in honor of the Blessed Mother. One monk would write poetry, another would sculpt, another would paint, and so on. The Juggler could do nothing like this and became quite despondent. Then suddenly he was happy again. Soon the Prior began to notice that Barnabe would disappear every day for about an hour. He wondered what the Juggler was doing and followed him. The Juggler went into the chapel and proceeded to do all of his juggling tricks in front of the statue of Our Lady and before the horrified eyes of the Prior. He ran and got the Abbot to see the sacrilege that was being committed in the chapel. But when they both started up the aisle to stop the Juggler they saw the statue come to life and Our Lady wipe the sweat off the brow of the Juggler.”

The moral of this story is quite simple:

If you do the best you can, God will be pleased. In choosing this as our nickname, we hope that all of Our Lady's Jugglers here at Notre Dame will have the same inspiration to do their best.