What is it that makes something beautiful or appealing? There are many answers for the many contexts this question can be asked. Notre Dame’s beauty, to me, was derived from the Catholicity of the campus. In a liturgical sense, a liturgy is beautiful because it seperates itself from the common existence of our day-to-day lives and brings us into the divine.
My visit to Notre Dame was of a related thread. No matter the actual theology being professed at the university now, the campus architects attempted to seperate the ‘real world’ from the academic using the theological overtones known to us by Catholics. The Grotto is amazingly simple. A rocky dugout with a statue of Mary on top of it. An iron fence seperating the world from the enclave. Through the gate, candle racks full of candles, lit for many intentions. At night, the light shines brightly as if a reminder of the light of Christ devouring the dark snares of evil.
The campus seemed at peace. It is still a college campus full of young men and women. The boys still curse like the best of them while playing video games and the students still act like normal college students, yet the environment was at peace. That is what made is a beautiful campus.