University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


St. Edward's Academy, 1871

"Mrs. Mary Doyle, who lived on a farm about four miles south of Austin, was a member of St. Mary's parish. She had been sponsor for the first Catholic child baptized in Austin and she had watched with deep interest the parochial development from its inception. Mrs. Doyle bequethed her holdings (about 400 acres of land with improvements) to the Rt. Rev. Bishop of Galveston to defray expenses of educating poor children in the Catholic school in Austin. In September, 1871, the widow apprized Bishop Dubuis of this bequest. The Doyle acreage, part of the San Diego del Valle grant, purchased by the Late Mr. Doyle in 1868, was separated from the highway by the farm of Colonel W.L. Robards, a prominent member of St. Mary's parish. The Colonel in 1857 had purchased about one hundred and twenty-four acres from A.P. Blocker. The Robards tract had been part of the Isaac Decker League grant and it was situated immediately west of Mrs. Doyle's holdings.

"In March 1872, Bishop Dubuis, accompanied by Father Sorin, visited the Doyle Homestead and induces Mrs. Doyle to give her holdings to the Superior General of the Congregation of Holy Cross as a location for an educational institutiion for Catholic boys. On April 6, 1872, Father Sorin purchased the Robards' tract for the sum of $5,189 and, three days later, the Superior General gave a promissory note for $995 to Mrs. Doyle for 398 acres of her holdings. The Doyle tract contained an additional 100 acres which the widow reserved from the sale because she wished to give it to her granddaughter, Mrs. Wm. J. Sneed. She further stipulated that she would retain the farm and homestead as long as she lived, and that after her death an educational institution be established on the land or on the adjoining acreage . . .

"Mrs. Doyle died February 4, 1873. A few days before her death, she signed her last will and testament, which, among other things, bequeathed the sum of $500 to St. Mary's School, Austin, to defray the expenses of the education of poor children. A codicil was added to the will bequeathing to Father Sorin the note for $995, which Mrs. Doyle held against him.

"On August 28, 1874, the Holy Father . . . erected the Diocese of San Antonio. The Colorado River divides the city of Austin into North and South; the former Doyle and Robards' tracts were thus placed within the boundaries of the new diocese." Rev. R. J. Clancy, C.S.C., 1946, THE CONGREGATION OF HOLY CROSS COMES TO THE DIOCESE OF GALVESTON

"In the spring of 1872, the promise of a permanent foundation for the priests of the Congregation Holy Cross in Texas brought the Very Rev. Edward Sorin to Galveston to look over the possibilities . . . Bishop Dubuis now offered to Father Sorin the parish at Austin, the capitol of the state, and assured that a certain widow, Mrs. Doyle, would give him 400 acres of land, about four miles south of the city, provided a college, school, or other educational institute be established on the said land or land adjoining. Father Sorin journeyed to Austin, and after weighing the proposition from all angles, accepted the parish and the land offered by Mrs. Doyle." Rev. R.J. Clancy, C.S.C.

"On September 21, 1874, two Brothers of Holy Cross, Brothers Maximus and John of the Cross, arrived in Austin to take over the duties of the South Austin property of the Community. They found one large building (the Doyle homestead) and a small building, which had been used as a kitchen and the living quarters of the domestics. These buildings were renovated and the two Brothers were duly installed in the new foundation by Father Spillard. Notre Dame University had advanced the Brothers $1000, a team of mules, a few cows and a wagon. Some necessary farm implements were purchased and work on the farm was inaugurated. Twice a week the Brothers travelled over the four miles which lay between them and St. Mary's Church to hear Mass and receive the sacraments. In November, 1875, three Sisters of Holy Cross from Indiana came to take charge of the domestic duties at the farm. The largest room at that time was converted into a chapel and one of the priests from the city came to the farm and said Mass on Sundays and on a few feast days.

"The chance meeting of the Most Rev. Claude Marie Dubuis and Mrs. Mary Doyle and Fr. Sorin when crossing the Atlantic a year after his election to the office of Superior General is responsible, apparently, for the initiation of the Sisters of Holy Cross into the Lone Star State. Fr. Sorin learned that Mrs. M. Doyle was in possession of property located in Austin, Travis County, Texas, and that she wished to convey it to some ecclesiastic who would pledge himself to erect institutions for the education of Catholic youth. Contact with Fr. Sorin during that memorable voyage convinced Mr. Doyle that he and the Congregation which he represented should be the ultimate beneficiaries of her request. Bishop Dubuis gladly accepted the terms of Mrs. Doyle's offer . . .

"In 1874, Bishop Dubuis requested Fr. Sorin to open a college for young men about three miles south of Austin. In compensation for the expense thereby involved, St. Mary's parish was placed under the care of the Fathers of the Holy Cross. St. Edward's University was the fruit of Bishop Dubuis's request." OUR PROVINCES, The Eastern Province, p. 90

"The Bishop said that $3000 had been offered for those lots in Austin, but that he expected to get $4000 soon. He wishes me to say that he is certain that an outlay of $10,000 will be sufficient to give room for seventy-five boarders in Austin, and that in a couple of years money enough can have been made to enlarge the buildings, etc . . . " Boniface - Sorin, May 17, 1872

See Brother Ephrem's "U.S. Notes from Meetings, Chronicles, 1895"

"Brother John of the Cross has been here since the 1st of July, but he is not expected to go and live over there (St. Edward's) by himself. It is true he could not have done much heretofore, but it is time now to prepare for a fall crop." Fr. Spillard to Fr. Sorin, Aug. 27, 1874

"September 25: We have at present 14 boarders and next week have good reason to suppose there will be 25, all we are able to receive as boarders. 1882

St. Mary's School, Austin

1891 -- St. Mary's Boys' School

Two Brothers of Holy Cross. One lay teacher. One hundred pupils.

1895 -- Two Brothers. One lay teacher. One hundred pupils.

"St. Mary's School. One Brother conducts it." 1878

"Our Rt. R. Bishop has returned and appeared to be in good humor, but expressed some dissatisfaction about Brownsville and Austin. I told him I knew nothing about these places. I promised to mention it to you as he requested." Mount St. Austin, Nov. 21, 1874: Brothers John, Maximus, and Ubaldus. -- Bro. John Chrys. to Fr. Sorin

"I hope you will take into consideration our infant institution particularly in sending us two good working Brothers, now for the vineyard. If you have thought of any particular spot, I wish you would let us know . . . The rabbits have destroyed our garden. The top of the hill will be a fine burying place. All well except Fr. Spillard . . . " Mount St. (?), Austin- Bros. John, Max., Ub., 1874

"There are at the farm now Brothers Maximus, John of the Cross, Brendan, and Sixtus, professed, beside the Novices, vis., Brothers Peter, Benedict, Agatho, and Matthew, and one postulant. Brother Peter has been now with us nearly four years and his novitiate will be completed March 25.

"Brother Justin's health is good. His school is in a most flourishing condition. St. Mary's, Austin

(The 'farm' would seem to be St. Edward's)

"You certainly ought to know by this time that Fr. Demers is preeminently unfitted for a Master of Novices, or in fact to have any important charge. There is a crying necessity for a change there (at the farm) and that without delay . . . (Was there a novitiate at the 'farm'?) Fr. Spillard to Sorin, 1880

"When the Sisters of Holy Cross opened St. Mary's Academy, Austin, Texas, in September 1885, the girls of the parochial school were transferred to the new school and the Brothers took over the direction of the boys. Many of Austin's business men, Catholic and non-Catholic, attended the school when the Brothers taught there. Brothers Conrad and Andrew were the first Brother teachers. Other Brothers who taught there were: Eligius, Justinian, Mansuetus, Florentius, Francis de Sales, and Ambrose. In 1918 the school reverted to the Sisters of Holy Cross." 1885

" . . . when the academy (St. Mary's) was moved to its present site in 1885, two Brothers of Holy Cross, Bro. Conrad, and Bro. Andrew, were sent to open a boys' school in the building formerly occupied by the Sisters at 9th and S. Jacinto St. From 1885 to 1910, the eight elementary grades with a registration fluctuating between 115 and 135, were taught by two Brothers of Holy Cross. No wonder then, that there are memories of classes continuing until five o'clock on week days with extra hours of instruction on Saturdays!

"The Rev. Thos. Hennessey, C.S.C., desiring to establish a co-educational elementary school, dismissed the services of the Brothers in 1910." THE EASTERN PROVINCES, p. 160, Sr. Rose Eileen, 1885

1892 -- Four priests, twelve Brothers, one hundred and forty boarders.

St. Edward's, Austin, Texas
See under Saint Edwards

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›