University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts

ALTON, ILLINOIS Bishop H.L. (Juncker to Fr. Sorin . . . )

"The bearer, Rev. J. Brennan, I sent to you to know whether you can send me a good English teacher, one who could play the organ, if possible; and also to learn whether you have the means and subjects to found a house in my diocese. I have been given a beautiful house and a farm of 280 acres, with stock, implements, etc., on condition that I establish a school or college there. I will place these at your disposal if you are able to furnish the subjects. There is no school or college in this part of the country." 1859

1860 Bro. Bernardine, Superior

1869 Bro. Gregory, Superior

1886 Bro. Felix, teacher

1867 Bro. Adolphus

"Two Brothers have here in the Cathedral parish a fine school of 160 children. The Brothers have been living with the Bishop for two years, and they seem to measure up to the expectations of everybody. The usual salary." Father Sorin, Chronicles, chap. 19, page 12, 1860

"On August 29, 1859, the property south of the Cathedral and extending back 444' to a stone quarry was purchased as a location for a residence for the Bishop and priests and for a school house. The school house for boys, containing two class rooms and four small living rooms and basement for the Brothers was begun at once, and in the following year we find the Brothers of Holy Cross from Notre Dame, Indiana teaching the boys of the parish. Brother Bernardine was the first principal. In 1874 an addition to the school of two mroe large classrooms was built at a cost of $5000." 1860

"The Brothers of Holy Cross continued to conduct this school for boys from 1860 to the summer of 1888 when at their own request, they ceased their labors in Alton." Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, page 252

"As a competent and efficient teacher Brother Bernardine has given here general satisfaction, and indeed I would feel sorry to miss him for the next year." Rev. J. Menge to Sorin

"There are three schools in Alton, one attached to the Cathedral, under the direction of the Brothers of Holy Cross from Notre Dame; Bro. Bernardine, Principal . . . " CATHOLIC DIRECTORY, page 161, 1861

1863: Council decides that Brother Stanislaus shall go to Alton. Aug. 31

1869: On the 1st of June, I, Alexis Granger, Provincial, have visited the school at Alton, Illinois. This school under the direction of Brother Gregory, assisted by Brother Hilary, counts actually only 100 boys, many not orderly. The school house is good, but the yeard is not well kept, particularly in winter. The Brothers lodge in the school but board in town, a great inconvenience. The Brothers are well disposed, but they complain of the difficulty in collecting their dues. The parents are poor and no encouragement is given from the pulpit in fostering the interest of the school. The Brothers also find much trouble in the charge of the sacristy, ringing the Angelus, serving Masses, etc. Three Brothers could be used in this school -- two to teach 200 children (the maximum) and one to cook.

      I found the cash on hand: $14.00      Salary due                 61.00      One month's board          30.00      Laundry                     2.00                                ------                                $32.00 
The new bishop is expected to give a decided impetus to the school.


"The Parochial Schools for the Boys at Alton and Springfield are conducted by the Brothers of Holy Cross." Catholic Directory, 1865

1869: Cathedral Schools, 400 pupils, conducted by the Brothers of Holy Cross and O.S.U. Sisters.

1875: Brother Daniel, Superior - Three Brothers

1879: Brother Hilary, Superior

1888: (Ursuline Sisters)

"Brother Adolphus, Superior, Brother Camillus, Secretary; Brother Hilary.

1860: Brother Bernardine to Alton- Local Council, January 16. Will be replaced at Philadelphia by Bro. Philip." Local Council, 1867

"A letter from Rev. Rinkes was read on the part of the Rt. Rev. Bishop of Alton in which he requests Brothers for his school there." Provincial Chapter, 1868

"At the request of the Rt. Rev. Bishop Baltes I request you to be so kind as to send us three Brothers to take charge of the Catholic Boys' School next September, instead of two, as the number of pupils demand it. As to the selection of the Brothers, the Rt. Rev. Bishop wishes me to beg you to choose the very best you can, so as to let us have three competent, and at the same time, experienced teachers, such as to make themselves popular with the people; for we have Publich Schools of a high grade to contend with, and unless we have competent and popular teachers in our schools we must succumb . . . the ones we now have are quite unpopular, though very competent teachers. Fr. Mohr to Fr. Sorin, March 21, 1870

" . . . There were serious reasons brought forward last year to show the advisability of closing the establishment at Alton. The chief reason was the lack of interest in the school, manifested by the clergy after the death of Bishop Juncker, and the utter unfitness of the accomodations for pupils in the school building, besides some considerable inconveniences about the boarding and lodging of the Brothers; but, as the Rev. Provincial stated that the present disposition of the new Bishop and of the clergy were more favorable, and that this had been shown by the purchase of additional property for school purposes, it was determined to carry on at Alton." Provincial Chapter, 1870

"Brother Urban is director; a good religious; everything in order. His accounts are neatly kept. Economy is well attended to. Brother Hilary, his assistant is also a good religious. They are living a happy and religious life. They have a good brick school house, which although not very large, yet it is sufficiently so to accommodate about all the boys of the parish. They have a private boarding house with a Catholic family. On the whole, I was well pleased with the Alton establishment. Everything is in perfect order, too, in the Bishop's house and every priest as regular as in a convent. This has a good influence on the Brothers. Their attendance at Church is very regular. This is one of the few places where these things are so, and where they are not, the Brothers suffer in consequence." VISIT TO HOUSES, pages 7-8, Rev. P.P. Cooney, 1873

"Director, Brother Daniel, 130 pupils, three Brothers assistants not qualified to teach properly. Do not know how to pronounce or cause to be pronounced the English language. Brothers live in the school. Take their meals at a good house quite convenient. No complaint from Pastors in any of the Illinois schools. We should insist upon regular study among the Mission Brothers, for they are much in need of improvement." Rev. L.J. L'Etourneau, Visitor, May 20, 1877 See also: "Foundations, Ft. Wayne, Alton (9)"

"Two Brothers at present here have charge of the Catholic School frequented by 225 boys. The organist of the Cathedral teaches a class under the supervision of the Brothers. This school was formerly more prosperous. But it has not always been sufficiently patronized, and some of the teachers did not always give full satisfaction. Bro. Hilary is the present director." 1878

1882: Brother Gregory, Director

1883: Brother Gregory, Director

Pupils, 70. Teachers: Brother Benjamin, Francis Borgia. A salary per

annum, $400 W. Corby, C.S.C., Provincial, 1888

"In the first part of the year we had prof. Watson, who was formerly principal of the public school teaching with us. He taught the third class, and was also organist. His salary was $700 a year, but the Bishop was not satisfied with him as Organist and got Prof. Wortmann instead." Brother Hilary to Fr. Sorin -- December 27, 1888

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›