University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


"Notre Dame witnessed the passing away of a character well known and remembered by alumni of the University all over the country in Brother Bruno, a member of the Holy Cross order, who died February 13. Old age with its attending infirmities brought on the death of the venerable religious. For several years Brother Bruno has been confined to the Community House, venturing out only to walk about the University Grounds. Prior to that time for a long while he had the post of steward for the students and it was during that period that his many likable traits of character manifested themselves to the college boys.

"The history of the Brother, who was entering upon his 81st year, borders on the romantic. Born in Tipperary, Ireland, in December, 1831, at an early age he enlisted in the British army, fighting in the Crimean War and all through the campaigns in India. His career as a soldier was notable and he was advanced to the rank of sergeant before retiring to enter the religious order at Notre Dame in 1872." South Bend Tribune

"It is said that Brother Bruno was the first to get out on the roof the day of the 'big fire'. He had a very narrow escape from burning. He noticed how rapidly the flames were consuming the dome, and when he commenced to retrace his steps, he found himself the flames' prisoner. To jump from the roof to the ground below would have been suicidal -- it would have been certain death. Necessity, the mother of invention, came to his rescue. He looking around for some means of escape from his perilous position, he espied the large water pipe that extended down the side of the burning building. Down it he slid in an instant. He was none too soon: A moment later, the ponderous statue of the Blessed Virgin crashed through the roof in a thousand pieces. The prisoner of the roof escaped with slight injuries." SCHOLASTIC, April 23, 1881

"There was another group of lay Brothers, ranging from the expert in Commercial law, who had surrendered fair emoluments to live the simple life in a Community, to the rude and rough ploughman who knew very little besides the doctrines of his religion and the art of making a straight furrow. These Brothers delighted me. There was old Brother Bruno for instance, who had served in the Crimean war; he deviated from the strictest veracity only when he began to relate his exploits at Sebastolpol. He was engaged in the dining-room and, being a good listener, I was often invited with one or two friends to partake of tea and bread and jam between lectures, at the hour of four. As the years went on he waded more and more in blood, and the horrors of the campaign of Sevastopol became almost too thrilling for even the most ardent listener to enjoy." M.F. Egan: RECOLLECTIONS OF A HAPPY LIFE, p. 166

"Yesterday morning a religious well known to the students of other days was laid away in earth in the Community cemetery. Students of the 90's and before will remember without effort the well-known and always popular Brother Bruno. A soldier in his earlier years, many and many a time, like the veteran in Goldsmith's "Deserted Village," did Brother Bruno 'show how fields were won' to some little group of students. He was a prime favorite, a figure distinct and apart, well known and well loved. He was as leaven to the mass. He quickened a smile in every darkest hour, and like the sunlight he scattered the shadows. He was kingly and good. The old boys will all remember him and say a prayer for the repose of his soul." SCHOLASTIC, 45:300

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›