University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


"Toward the end of the year His Reverence, Moreau, having ordered Father Sorin to protect the Brothers against conscription, he sent the original to Msgr. Wood, Bishop of Philadelphia, who exonerated him from all blame, although he expressed his regrets that such were the unhappy consequences of the fratricidal war between North and South.

"The four Brothers of Philadelphia, once being withdrawn, it was impossible to continue the three schools, seeing that only novices would be left, who by themselves would be unable to manage them. Father Sorin gave no orders in the matter, but was content to send the Brother Director an exact translation of the letter of His Reverence (Moreau).

"Meanwhile, the Reverend Father Carrier, who had obtained excellent letters from General Grant to the President asking exemption for the members of the Congregation, proceeded to Washington, and obtained from the Secretary of War a verbal promise that our Brothers residing at Notre Dame, in consideration of their work shops, would be exempt it the lot fell on them. Therefore, instead of proceeding to Canada, as Father Moreau advised, the Brothers who were just as safe at Notre Dame, resolved of their own accord to return thither.

"The Rev. Father Stanton of St. Augustine's (Philadelphia) found the greatest difficulties, real or imaginary, in replacing those Brothers, and protested against their recall. He unjustly laid the blame on Father Sorin, who was merely carrying out the orders on his superior.

"In the month of August of this year the Brothers' school, St. Paul's Parish, Philadelphia, was closed during Fathe rSorin's voyage to France, the pastor refusing obstinately to give or promise a fixed salary such as the Brothers received in all their other establishments. Experience had proved that otherwise the good Brothers would not make their expenses." SORIN CHRONICLES, 1863

"It was resolved to send Father Carrier to Washington immediately for the special purpose of urging the Secretary of War to fulfill the promise to parole or let free all such of our members who might be drafted in the United States Military Service; the resolution of the Council was necessary, since three of our members were drafted in the late call for 500,000 men." Local Council, September 20, 1864

"It was resolved to offer $500 to the club organized by the drafted men to this township, if such sum is required to make up the amount of $7000 they need. If not, we will give nothing." Local Council, September 27

"The craft question was again discussed and it was the opinion of the members that help should be given to free the township from the draft. $100 for each man liable to the draft was proposed to be offered for that purpose." Local Council, February 20, 1865

"Elections in the states are generally an occasion of some commotion. This year, amid the horrors of war, they could not but be the object of general interest, seeing that of them depended the continuation or the termination of those horrors. The Council of Notre Dame felt how necessary was prudence in such delicate and dangerous circumstances. It took the matter into consideration and adopted a resolution which was calculated to have the best results. Unfortunately it was badly carried out, or rather was not carried out at all, for the member to whom it had been entrusted, foolishly confided in a third person who did not understand the consequences and took no steps in the matter. The result was that the house was very seriously compromised in the eyes of the country.

"Mr. S. Colfax, speaker of the House of Representatives in Washington, and an old-time friend of Father Sorin, as a matter of course counted upon getting the vote of Notre Dame. Now, as most of the Irish in this country imagine, right or wrong, that the Republican party hostile to them, three-fourths of them voted against him. At this he and his friends were indignant. Next month the exemptions that Father Carrier had obtained for five Brothers on whom the draft lot had falled was cancelled, the loss of the Post Office was threatened, all those privileges were to be forfeited momentarily.

"In the crisis Father Sorin did his best to direct all minds and all hearts to the glorious Patroness of the Lake. Now, as so often before, she showed that her arm was not shortened not her maternal heart grown cold. Every member promised to say 1,000 Hail Mary's. Once more Father Carrier was sent to Washington, where after a week of long and earnest week, he succeeded in having the cancellation revoked.

"Fortunately for the Community, Mrs. W.T. Sherman, a fervent Catholic, and a friend of Notre Dame, wife of the famous general of that name, had some months before taken up her residence in South Bend for the sole purpose of having her young family educated at Notre Dame, and St. Mary's. She took a lively interest in the case of the five consceipts, and wrote immediately to President Lincoln and Secretary of War Staunton. Providentially, her letters reached Washington on the very day that the General telegraphed to the government news of the fall of Savannah. It seems evident that the Blessed Virgin this time employed the excellent wife of the general to secure the exemption." SORIN'S CHRONICLES, 1864

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›