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Daniel E. “Rudy” Rüttiger, a former University of Notre Dame walk-on whose story became a feature film, spoke to an online audience Sunday about his life story and faith.

The event, titled “Why I Believe with Rudy Ruettiger,” was streamed on the My Road to Hope and Peace Facebook page and moderated by President James Evanson and his wife, Sister Jody Evanson, who spoke about the Orem Mission in Presiding in Utah The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Rüttiger rose to fame when his early life and experiences as a small walk-on football player at Notre Dame were adapted into the 1993 film Rudy. Since then, Rüttiger has made a career as a motivational speaker. He was baptized into the Latter-day Saint faith in 2017.

Ruettiger, wearing a USA hat and Duke University shirt, explained his story, the making of the film “Rudy”, quoted Bible verses and answered questions for about 45 minutes. He encouraged his audience not to be afraid, to follow their dream, to believe in themselves, to avoid the naysayers and to stay true to their beliefs.

“You must always believe in yourself — that’s the gift the Lord has given you,” he said. “If you don’t believe in yourself, it probably won’t happen because you’ll doubt it your whole life. You need to get rid of doubts and silly thinking people. Get rid of all the people who tell you what you can and can’t be. Go where you want to be, that’s the secret.”

Daniel E. “Rudy” Rüttiger, the famous former Notre Dame footballer, spoke to an online audience on Sunday, July 10, 2022 about his life story and faith.

  • To stay true to your faith: “Sometimes people just don’t want to believe it. Therefore we must go out and be warriors of Jesus Christ to let them know that we are believers and by doing so we are servants of Jesus Christ. When we do that, great things happen and then you get hope.”
  • About miracles and angels: “You see miracles every day. … The fact that I reached Notre Dame is a miracle. How does this happen? People help you get there. People help you understand why you should be here. … The miracle is that you believe in people who want to help you. That is the miracle and you see real angels in your life that can help you get there. … So stay with the people who believe in what you do.”
  • On mentors: “You need mentors in your life. Sometimes you have to go to people who don’t know you. People who know you will make you doubt because they know you. They know your bad habits. They know what you can’t do. But the people who don’t know you, who think it comes back to faith, if they see a good heart they will strengthen that, and that’s what happens when miracles happen. … You just can’t do it yourself, it’s impossible. you need help … God works through men.”
  • As he was carried off the field by his teammates: “It was an embarrassing moment for me because nobody has ever been carried off this field. Why are they carrying me away? “Put me down,” I screamed. They said, “No, no, we’ll take you to the tunnel.” These guys believed in me. These are people inspired by my work ethic. …You don’t know who you’re touching with your work ethic and your beliefs and your beliefs. … You don’t have to go and preach. just do the work go to work do the work do your job People see that you’re retarded, but you get back up.”
  • To let people “discover” his story: “’Rudy’, the film, was a moment of discovery for many people of faith. It wasn’t a belief that was pushed in your face. It was just a discovery. Don’t tell people why they should do this, let them figure out why they should do it.”
  • About the inspiration to film his story: “I never planned it, but God has a way of planting seeds through other people. After the football game I sit in the changing room, take off my jersey, no name on the jersey. I’m the only guy without a name, but everyone sang my name. Why was that? Because I had a lot of relationships with the students in that stadium and they were happy that I got the dress and came into the game. So they start singing “Rudi” and because they start singing “Rudi” other people start singing “Rudi” and it went all over the stadium. A lot of people sang and didn’t know why. A sportswriter chimed in: “Who are you and why are you singing ‘Rudy’? … That never happens in Notre Dame, which I just saw. That only happens in Hollywood.” That’s the seed planted by a sportswriter, unaware it would become a big movie. I did not know this either. … I thought about it years later after seeing another inspirational sports movie called ‘Rocky’.”

View Rüttiger’s entire presentation on Facebook.

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