University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


(1834) "Two Sisters of Charity who were sent as missionaries to work with the St. Joseph Indians wrote: 'I could not believe that such piety existed among them. On the contrary I always believed them to be a very barbarous people that had neither laws nor religion; but I am not convinced of their sincerity and simplicity'" Sisters Mary Magdalene Jackson and Lucina Whitake to Bishop John F. Reze, Feb. 4, 1834. UNPUBLISHED LETTER IN ARCHIVES OF NAZARETH ACADEMY, KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN, "The Pokagons", p. 297

Sorin speaks of the Indians as mild and indolent naturally, but once converted they are zealous and ardent in religious practices. Want only to be good Christians. Commerce, riches or the pleasures of life make no impression on them. As long as they can get a few ears of corn, kill a few wildcats, they are satisfied and come to salute the Blackrobe. Ten years ago they were cruel. Lying and stealing are unknown among them.

See also under; "Old Student Writes" (Under "N")

"The Indians set up a great shout when they saw Father Petit . . . there was an old French lady there, Miss Angelique Campeau, to tell the Indians what the missionary said, for he was not able to speak their language . . . In these woods were over 1200 Catholic Indians. At sunrise a signal was given and they came forth from the woods toward a grassy spot near the log chapel. Together they recited a chapter from the Catechism which had been translated into their language by Miss Campeau." SCHOLASTIC, 54:82, 1834

" . . . . the half grim, half god humored countenance of poor Tom Lafontaine, the son of the chief of the Miamis" J.A. Lyons, "SILVER JUBILEE"

(1840-45) Letter of Marivault fo Moreau -- Describes missions and conditions. 30 leagues distance from Miamis, six to 7,000 Indians. Family of chief is of French origin. Name La Fontaine. He is the only Catholic, but great hopes are entertained for their conversion as the authority of the chief over his subjects is great. Besides, La. F. asks for a Brother for his children; the Brother could also instruct the other children of the Miami and perhaps the adults. Since we owe a great deal of gratitude to La. F. who had just rendered a great service to Notre Dame, we will not fail to profit by the occasion as soon as Providence sends us the means and our engagements with the diocese permit us."

Letters from Sorin to benefactors speak of the Indians as mild and indolent naturally, but once converted, ardent and zealous in religious practices -- want only to be good Christians . . . . . . .

(Sorin)-(Moreau) "The letter of Mr. Rendu recalls to me one thing: When I sent his brother among the savages (Indians), I well understood that a great effect would be derived therefrom for the Propagation of the Faith". July 2, 1844

"Brother Francis inquired about the Indians and some other workmen in order to know what he should do with them." COUNCIL OF PROFESSORS, April 4, 1845 (This apropos of Lining up for Church on Sundays.)

Mr. B.L. Koehler to Fr. Thomas Walsh: "I attended public worship at Notre Dame about the first time Sorin preached in the Log House on the banks of the Lake where now stands the Farm barn when there were Indians and their wigwams all around that beautiful lake and hundreds of Indians at that sabbath morning meeting, and nearly all the white inhabitants that were there at this time in the surrounding country of which there was less in number than were the Indians came a great distance and all over the state of Indiana and State of Michigan." July 11, 1885

Peashway, one time chief of the Miamis was buried at the University." Februray 3, 1875, SCHOLASTIC, 7:20, p. 282

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›