University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


"He came from France with the First Brothers when only 15 years old . . . On his second year in the United States (1843) he was sent to Vincennes where he taught the free school for nearly two years. Next he was sent to Madison where, after teaching for ten months with considerable success, he drowned accidentally in the Ohio River where he had gone with the pastor, Rev. Julian Delaune, to bathe, on July 12. He had been to confession that day. Brother Anselm had a particular talent both for writing and painting a l'orientale. In Madison he was universally beloved. His remains rest in the cemetery here." Fr. Sorin's Memo, 1842

"I have 60 scholars on my list, but if I counted all those who have come since the first of December, I would have very near one hundred. On an average about fifty scholars attend the Male Catholic School in Winter and about forty in Summer. There are in Madison three primary schools, two high schools where they are taught Latin, Greek, etc., and also five or six little schools for children under the age of seven. On an average each of the two Catholic schools (with the exception of one of the seminaries) are more numerously attended than any other school in town. The exact population of this town (already called city) is supposed to be 6,000 of whom 900 are Catholics . . . Last Wednesday I went up to Cincinnati to receive the holy oils. I was very well received by the Bishop (Purcell) and all the priests. The Bishop asked me several questions about our Institution, such as the number of Brothers, the conditions required to be a Brother, the name of the Superior of the Institution, etc., etc. All of which I answered as correctly as I could.

"During my stay at the Bishop's (which was but two days) I was greatly edified by the good and pious priests, and still more by the humble, good, and amiable Bishop Parcell." Bro. Anselm to Fr. Sorin, March 26, 1845

" . . . the time for retreat is nearer now than it was then. . . . acceding to your request I have asked Fr. Delaune whether it wouldn't be in his power to buy me a young horse worth from $25 to $30 in payment of the $50 due. He told me that he couldn't possibly do it before I would go, that his means were very short at this time of the year, that nevertheless he would do his best in order to have the money ready when I would go up, but that he could not have it ready soon enough to buy me a horse."

"Now that Mr. Delaune cannot buy me a horse, what shall I do? Shall I go in the stage, or shall I hire a horse? Shall I go through Indianapolis or through Cincinnati, Portsmonth, Cleveland, Detroit or from Cincinnati to Paulding on the Miami Canal and from there to Fort Wayne and thence to South Bend? This would certainly be the cheaper way, but I do not know if the Miami Canal is finished. The route from here to Cincinnati, Portsmouth, Cleveland would certainly be long but very agreeable at this time of the year, and every way as cheap if not cheaper than the one I took last year to get there. I can go from here to Cleveland in the Cabin for $6, the passage from Cleveland to Detroit cannot exceed $2, and that from Detroit to South Bend $4, making $12 inall, whilst if I go through Indianapolis, it'll cost me $12 for the stage and at least $4 for meals and bed, making in all $16 . . . If you think it would cost me too much to go to retreat, pray allow me to go to some other place where Mr. Delaune would send me. I would like to go up very well, but when I reflect that my going and coming back would take more than half of what I earn for the Community it makes me sick, and I would deprive myself of the natural pleasure I would have in seeing you as well as my dear Brothers and above all making my retreat in order to save a few dollars for the Community."

"I had a great dinner here on the 4th. More than 100 children were admitted to it and behaved very well. Most respectable ladies of Madison helped me to serve at table, and before the dinner sent me pies, cakes, and crackers of every kind: they appeared to take a great interest in it. I dare say, Father, you had not such a dinner at the lake. After the dinner we marched two by two through different streets of the city. Three girls of 16 or 17 years of age carried the banner which I had made the night before, and which, though made in a hurry, was, I have been told by several, finer than any of those the other schools had. I am respectfully your most humble and obedient servant,

Brother Anselm"

Brother Anselm to Fr. Sorin- July 10, 1845

"Left Ste Croix with Fr. Sorin when yet very young; taught three years with great success: learned English and could write it as well as Father: edified Moreau by his devotedness in an undertaking which would have daunted the oldest and most courageous of your Community."

"Fr. Delaune, his pastor at Madison, wrote on his death: "Brother Anselm drowned July 12, 1845 whi.e Fr. Delaune, who couldn't swim, looked on; he was caught in a current of the Ohio, 20' deep, 200' from shore. His body was found at 1 P.M., five hours after he was drowned. Waked in chapel from 1 1/2 - 4, then in Church. More than 1000 Catholics and Protestants present for Vespers of the Dead. Delaune preached on Wisdom, Chapter 4, verses 7 and 55. Verse 13 was displayed on a black banner. Then his pupils kissed his forehead. The two schools walked in procession preceded by the cross; banner carried also, then carriage with corpse, people two by two. Cortege passed through town to cemetery a mile outside." Madison July 14, 1845, Fr. Delaune

"As a result Moreau forbade bathing in ocean or river without order from a doctor or permission from himself, which would be given for bathing in a safe place. (See his circular letters which follow in part.)

"Also taught under Brother Vincent at Vincennes."

"The cross which I have to share with you today is all the more painful for being unexpected, and it leaves us to mourn a very promising Brother from Notre Dame du Lac in America. I refer to Brother Anselm, a novice, who left Ste Croix with Father Sorin at what was still a very early age. After having learned English so perfectly that he could write it as well as he wrote French, he had been a most successful teacher for the past three years. I recal how much he edified me at the time of his departure from the Mother House by his devotedness to an undertaking which might well frighten even the bravest members of your Congregation. Two hours before learning of his death, his superior had just assigned to him a new obedience where he was to render important services. But God willed otherwise . . . There is nothing left for me to do, my dear sons of the Holy Cross but to adore in silence the divine hand which has struck us, and to cry out with Holy Job: 'The Lord gave him, the Lord hath taken him away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.'" Fr. Moreau, 1845

"On Holy Thursday and Good Friday the Catholic Churches of the city were crowded by good and pious Catholic Churches who nearly all went to receive Communion on Holy Thursday. Such an edifying spectacle is not to be seen in Vincennes certainly."

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›