University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


"Holy Cross is a recent foundation of four Brothers on Mr. Murphy's land." SORIN CHRONICLES, 1866 (This land was acquired as payment for tuition of a Murphy at Notre Dame)

"Rev. Paul Gillen is the superior, and he has just built a house there for his little colony. It is a mission that will probably be blessed by Heaven, and will be consoling and fruitful." SORIN, 1866

(See on also "Iowa")

(August 23, 1869) "Again it is my painful duty to announce to you the deaths of Brother Aloysius (Novice) who died on July 25 at Holy Cross, Iowa, fortified with the Sacraments and perfectly resigned to the will of Heaven.

"He died of consumption after a long illness accompanied by much suffering, from which he happily derived great profit for himself, leaving, at the same time, most valuable lessons to his surviving Brothers."

"The Chapter was next employed in deliberating upon a new foundation to be made in Iowa on a large tract of land belonging to the Provine of Indiana.

"The Chaper humbly begs the General Chapter to give its permission to establish a house dependent on Notre Dame, remarking that the Bishop has given consent to have a priest and Brothers there. All the members were in favor of the proposed foundation." MINUTES OF PROVINCIAL CHAPTER, 1863

"Permission to build a house on our land in Iowa may be given to a poor man who asks for it on condition he will not cut our woods." LOCAL COUNCIL, March 4, 1861

"Mr. Byerly shall be asked to lend back his $10,000 at 5%, and a mortgage on Murphy's property in Iowa. The whole loan to be returned one part a year from now, the other part in five years. Small debts shall be paid with this $10,000." LOCAL COUNCIL, Feb. 23, 1863

"Rev. F. Carrier shall visit the Bishop of Dubuque and see whether we could begin a mission on our land in Iowa." LOCAL COUNCIL Apr. 20, 1869

"Father Paul Gillen is to be informed of the Administration's wish to close the establishment in Iowa and dispose of the property there." LOCAL COUNCIL, Mar. 6, 1869

"Benton County, Holy Cross Church, Rev. Paul Gillen, S.S.C., With one other priest and two Lay Brothers." CATHOLIC DIRECTORY, p. 176

"Brother Columbanus will go to the Iowa Farm" LOCAL COUNCIL, 1870

"The superior at Iowa is to be written to hire a man to dig the potatoes; he is also required to send us 500-800 bushels this fall." LOCAL COUNCIL, September 29, 1871

(1867) "According to the account of Mr. Garrett Darcey, now 85 years old and living on a farm betwen Van Horne and Keystone, Iowa, not long after the Civil War a pioneer of Benton County, named Murphy wanted to educate his two sons at the University of Notre Dame and deeded to the institution two section of prairie in payment. The land lay in Keystone, Iowa, 28 or 30 miles due west of Cedar Rapids in Benton County.

"In 1867 the Rev. Paul E. Gillen, c.s.c. with Brothers Matthew, Cesaire, and Aloysius, was sent to take possession of this tract of land, to care for the spiritual needs of the settlers of Benton County and surroundings, and eventually, if found advisable, to open a college there. In the spring of that year Father Paul, as he had been familiarly known in the army as chaplain during the Civil War, and as he is still known in Brown County, drove his huge war horse, Sarsfield, all the way from Indiana, with his mission kit and other needs in the buggy. The Brothers drove two yoke of oxen, with wagons loaded with the implements necessary to break up the fertile prairie and raise enough potatoes to supply the needs of the Community and the students at Notre Dame.

"About 40 acres were broken that spring and tilled in the summer. A combination Church and house was built, the Church being given the name of Holy Cross. Father Paul used to drive for miles to celebrate Mass in the house of some Irish settler, whose duty it is to notify his neighbors ahead of time.

"In the fall of 1868, a frame Church which still stands was built on a five acre tract reserved out of the original 1,280 acres for church and cemetery purposes . . . .

"About 20' south of the church in Holy Cross cemetery, in which lies the remains of Brother Aloysius, c.s.c . . . .We called on Mr. S.P. Ward, Belle Plaine, Iowa, who makes a business of erecting grave MARKERS. He showed us a very suitable chipped granite headstone, with a brass inscription plate firmly anchored in the headstone, which includes a base of the same material and a cement foundation to go 2' in the ground. The headstone is to be set in position at an early date.

"I found in the archives that Brother Aloysius (Edward Barnes) was born in 1843 and died in 1869 (July 26). Mr. Darcy relates that the Brothers was not in robust health when he went to Iowa that he kept the accounts in his little attic room, and that when he finally died of T.B. his books in beautiful penmanship were found in perfect order.

"Father Paul was instrumental in bringing many new Irish Catholic settlers to Benton County, eventually selling all of the two sections of land belonging to the Congregation. Father James Gleason, the last of the priests of Holy Cross whose name appears on the parish record, is said to have turned the Church and cemetery over to Bishop Hennessey of Dubuque in 1888.

"Father Sorin is said to have visited Holy Cross, Keystone, several times, and the Treasurer at Notre Dame, Brother Edward used to go there annually to attend to the shipping of the potatoes, which one year amounted to five car loads. Brother Matthew (John Carroll) and Brother Cesaire (Peter McMahon) are both buried at Notre Dame." Brother Bernard in the "Associate of St. Joseph", Oct. 1936

See: also Brother Aloysius Barnes -- 1936

1867-8: Superior, Rev. Paul Gillen

"Concerning the establishment of Holy Cross, Iowa, it was settled that it belongs to the establishment of Notre Dame, and consequently Father Paul Gillen, named heretofore as Superior is merely Director or Agent, and that the Council of Administration of Notre Dame shall have control of that place." PROVINCIAL CHAPTER MINUTES, 1868

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›