University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


See under "Mother Theodore", Madision", "Early Notre Dame."

See under "Lancaster, Ohio," L-11; "Indianapolis," I-9; "Mother Theodore", T-12

"At Mishawaka, as well as at South Bend and Niles, as soon as it was known that Father Sorin and his Brothers intended to build a College and a novitiate, there was much objection and even alarm manifested. The number of priests was exaggerated from one to twelve, and the seven Brothers became "Twenty monks out at the lakes." Moreover, it was added that the Pope of Rome had already sent Father Sorin $99,000 and would soon send an additional $10,000 to make the even number. If there were not a possible element of danger in this wild talk, it must have seemed rather amusing to the poor priest and his shivering Brothers who made their hard beds in the bare floor where bitter snow sifted in upon them through the chinks in the walls. There was indeed nothing very encouraging in this reception." Howard, p.49, 1842

In Indiana: "Every kind of absurdity and calumny finds acceptance with some of the peoples here. They were even so foolish as to believe that our chaplain had horns. One mischievous little woman, now a Catholic, told the villagers that if each of them would give her 25 cents, she would beg Father Corby to take off his hat and let them see the horns. Not seeing them on his head the people wanted to look in his hat, supposing he had left them there." Sister St. Francis Xavier, St. Mary-of-the-Woods: LIFE AND LETTERS, p. 291 1840's

See "Mother Theodore on Bigotry", also "Mishawaka", 1854

Know-Nothing -- Fifties. "In the fifties, when the Know Nothings frequently threatened to reduce Notre Dame to ashes, if the college were not evacuated and the Community dispersed, his (Sorin's) chief concern was for his dear students. He little knew that these amiable young gentlemen, both Catholic and non-Catholic, were prepared to give the knight-of-the-dark-lantern a warm reception with powder and ball, grape, and canister." Reverend Tim O'Sullivan 1892, SCHOLASTIC, 26; 205. See also "Early Notre Dame, 1855 -- The Know Nothings, 1850's

Early Notre Dame -- 1855 -- The Know Nothings: "Opinions were divided (i.e. death of Brother John of the Cross and the many others of the recent summer and winter), everything having his own, but there was unanimity in declaring that under the actual conditions the place was unhealthy. No one said positively: this is the cause or that, but all kept repeating: There is a cause, and more's the pity. Such was public opinion . . .

"It was at the beginning of the reign of the Know Nothings, sworn enemies of the Catholic Church. Notre Dame could not but appear to them as deserving the most intense hatred. It was almost the only stronghold of Catholicity in Northern Indiana. It was quite natural, then, that the Know Nothings should avail themselves of such favorable circumstances to hasten its fall, without incurring on themselves the odium" (Death had carried sway one fifth of the Community) Father Sorin Chronicle, 1855

"The Protestent ministers continue to do their utmost to destroy our schools. They have obtained a general tax for the purpose of education of all the children in the same schools without distinction of sex or fortune. These schools now in vogue throughout the Union have closed all the others, with very few exceptions. The Catholic schools are nearly the only ones remaining open. But the attendance is much smaller than in preceding years, especially in some localities." Mother Theodore to Bishop J. Bouvier, Le Mans, January 6, 1854, JOURNALS AND LETTERS, pp. 362-3, 1854

"So-called native Americanism had scattered its calumnious falsehoods throughout the land, even into the smallest villages; bigotry was rampant; prejudice had been excited and was kept alive by all kinds of evil tales about priests and nuns, to keep parents from sending their children to Catholic schools." St. Mary's Archives, 1850's

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›