University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


"A final matter of major importance, regards our Brothers. A new future opens out before them. they have lost, especially in the United States the parochial schools; but the Catholic High School is a need which is nowadays universally felt. More and more attention is henceforward to be given to such schools, for they have become indispensable. Of what avail it is, indeed, to give Christian instruction and education to the young up to age of 12 or 14 years, if during the years immediately following, the most dangerous in life since they are exposed to all seductions, these young people have no special environment in which the fruits of their primary education may be sheltered and developed, if they are reduced to the necessity of attending schools in which the light of Catholic faith and Catholic delicacy of conscience are threatened with trouble, with change, with extinction.

"To acquiesce in such a condition would be to invite the confusion of the two men spoken of by our Divine Lord: the one who began to build a tower and could not finish it, and the other who went our with an inferior army against his enemy and was forced to conclude a humiliating peace.

"From this time forward, the High School is the outstanding vocation of our Brothers! It is a vocation grander and more sublime than they themselves can conceive. Accordingly they must prepare themselves for it, in the first place by reinforcement of the whole religious life, and then by a thoroughly well acquired and well digested knowledge of the branches which under these new conditions they will be called upon to teach. And they must be vigorously encouraged and helped along in this new line of activity.

"These High Schools will be their own houses. They will accomplish therein their special work, will develop the spirit congruous to their condition, will mould themselves conformably to the special demands of their calling. Instead of being practically buried and lost in the general works of the Congregation, they will find ample scope in their new field for their personal initiative and ample opportunity as well for the development of a religious spirit that will unite them still more closely to the Congregation as it exists today, ad to the religious priests who are their brethern in Holy Cross.

"In a word the High School furnishes an element of durable and holy peace between the two branches of our society. Both will hereafter march unitedly forward like two distinct forces that make but one, and that aid each other mutually. It is good, useful, nay, necessary to create a tradition to that effect." Very Rev. Gilbert Francais, Jan. 2, 1912

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›