University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


Born 1793; Entered November 20, 1848; Took habit August 21, 1849. Baker.

"We sailed on the 8th of June (from N.Y.) in the ship "Duchess D'Orleans" with Captain Richardson, and we arrived here this morning, making the passage in 26 days. For the first five days of our sailing we had fair winds, but on the afternoon of the 5th evening a strong wind from the north set in, which not only from the rolling of the ship which was so severe that it was with difficulty we could keep possession of our beds, but also from large bodies of water that came down like a second Niagara into our miserable steerage. Our clothes and trunks were wet and some of our provisions; the sea was angry and swollen; it was forming into mountainous waves with deep valleys between. Our ship at one moment was over 100' above the usual surface of the sea, and in the next it was engulfed between immense mountains a corresponding distance in depth. Our danger was not a little (especially as we were on the Banks of Newfoundland during this time, which are considered dangerous even in the finest weather in consequence of the heavy fogs . . . ) Those mammoth waves threatened destruction every moment to our noble "Duchess", but the power which saved St. Peter in his frail bark did not desert us . . . In the midst of our greatest danger, Brother Vincent, with his characteristic solid faith, remarked, "I have one hope and that is in the prayers of so many holy persons which are offered for us daily." On Sunday the 16th when the storm was at its height we went on deck to say our Vespers for we had not sufficient light in the steerage and took our seats where we least expect a wave, but ere long we were honored by a shower bath, for a large wave dashed over our heads and drenched us thoroughly. Unlike me, Brother Vincent received it with his usual good humored smile . . . We presented a petition for our orphans to the cabin passengers through the Captain who behaved kindly towards us. A lady, an acquaintance of Mrs. Ryerly, took charge of it and collected $7.63. Our passage was lengthened from 18 to 26 days in consequence of a dead calm we met with in the Channel, which continued seven days." Brother Augustine to Fr. Sorin, July 4, 1844

"This good Brother lived in the Community for many years and worked faithfully at his trade of baker. Stout and healthy, he was never sick. But in the last year of his life he became weak and could not do much work, but he was a great reader and all his free moments were spent in reading the Ave Maria. He had a stroke of apoplexy, with a serious fall and died in consequence. Aged 83. Father Granger, C.S.C.

"Brother Augustine, a venerable religious of the Congregation of Holy Cross, departed this life at Notre Dame, October 12, in the 83rd year of his age and the 28th of his religious life, closing a beautiful and edifying life by a holy death. May he rest in peace. Amen." AVE MARIA 12:682, 1876

"Sorrows and afflictions are never far separated from our joys here below. Last night our excellent Brother Augustine expired in the Professed House here, fortified by the sacraments of the church, in his 83rd year, much regretted by all our religious."

"For more than a quarter of a century, until lately, Brother Augustine, had been the regular baker of the institution which he never left even for a moment since his arrival in 1849. He was ever a model of regularity and devotedness; he was possessed of a genial and kind disposition, and never knew what it was to offend anyone by an unkind act or word. In his death the Community loses an uncommonly meritorious member, whose memory will live long among those he fed, literally, with excellent bread for so many years. For my own part, I who knew him so well, but to esteem and love him the more, shall remember with edification, as long as I live, his many virtues, his long and substantial services to the Community and even his ever-cheerful countenance, which alone would make it a delight to converse with him." Fr. Sorin's letter, Oct. 13, 1876

"Brother Vincent leaves for the United States on "Zurich" September 8th. He is accompanied by three Sisters, two Brothers, a shoemaker and a tailor (Brothers Justin and Augustine), by a priest, Fr. Granger, who made his profession this last retreat . . . Brother Vincent has bought a splendid clock, a cross for processions and many other things. He has received a good many articles from charitable persons, such as clothing, linen for the altar, also some money. He takes with him a beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin for the Sisters and a small one of St. Joseph for the Brothers.

"With relation to my studies, it seems the facilities for my studying medicine are not so favorable as you anticipated. Rev. Fr. Rector (Moreau) has made some efforts to enable me to attend the Hospital in this town, but the administration in consequence of enmity towards him refused me the permission. What his views are in regard to sending me elsewhere, he has not informed me . . . I do not see any chance of my going elsewhere to study medicine because I will be employed in teaching English after the vacation, and consequently I cannot leave here.

"To judge from Fr. Rector's sentiments on this matter it would appear he does not appreciate the importance a knowledge of medicine would afford to our institution at Notre Dame du Lac. On this subject if it is your desire I should pursue my studies in medicine, you should represent to him the advantage it would afford even to the course of religion. In order to be succesful in this school and to have weight of character so necessary in America, I should spend some time in Paris, which is not very expensive as I could get five months board and tuition for $100 . . . I made my retreat with Brother Vincent and about fifty Brothers at the Solitude, a charming place which has an appropriate name . . . I go every day to "Bon Pasteur" to give lessons in English to the Sisters who are going to America . . . Inform me of the progress of the chapel of the 'Island'." Sorin from Le Mans . . . September 4, 1844

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›