University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts

GRACE, THOS. L. Letter of Thos. L. Grace -- Plaquermine, Louisiana.

"In April, 1852, I left my quiet, sunny home and dear old mother to go to college, scarcely knowing, and in my sorrow but little thinking, where. After a few days spent in our great Southern metropolis, I set out for Cincinnati, on the steamboat, James M. Niles, and after an agreeable trip of ten days reached that place. Thence by rail across the growing state of Ohio to Sandusky, where we took a pretty little steamer called, if I remember well, the 'Louisiana' to Toledo, where we again set out behind the iron horse for South Bend, Indiana, which we reached late in the evening . . . .

"After crossing the St. Joseph River, then the northward limit of the town, we soon found ourselves in the country, with woods on either side, principally a mass of black-jack oak and a few larger trees scattered here and there. When within about a mile of the College, we emerged into a clearing, taking a lane leading straight up to the building. 'There is the College' said our driver, and on a summit of the rising ground, half a mile away, stood a sombre-looking white building some 80' long and 5 stories high, with another building to one side, which proved to be the Manual Labor School. I had no sooner taken a view of the College than my eye rested on the graveyard by the roadside to our left. I often think of the feeling which came over me then, as the thought came to my mind that I might never return past it!

"After a year most agreeably spent I returned home and in the beginning of 1855 returned for another year to the institution. The building which I had left over a little more than a year before I found trebled in size, and everything about it necessary for use or comfort had likewise multiplied. It was evident, too, to the casual observer that the moral and spiritual work being done by the institution was keeping pace, if not outstripping, its material advancement, and so, from all accounts continued until it was reduced to ashes last month." SCHOLASTIC, June 14, 1879 Reprint of Grace's letter in New Orleans "Morning Star".1855

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›