University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


"The Junior Orchestra composed of some 14 instruments under Brother Leopold's management played the Overture of Dame Blanche and a march. The proficiency of the Junior Orchestra is quite remarkable, and reflects greatly to the credit of Brother Leopold who has proved beyond doubt that much can be accomplished with young students. It is to him that we owe our present orchestral strength and efficiency."

-- Scholastic, -- June 8, 1872

Second bass of Arion Society of Notre Dame, 1873-1874.

First Violin of Orchestra.

"Brother Leopold is now (Dec., 1872) organizing the Senior Orchestra."

-- Scholastic, -- 1874

"The choir is now on a splendid footing, as was well proved last Sunday by its magnificent rendition of Rev. Fr. Will's Mass. Brother Leopold may justly feel proud of his seniors (singers); they surpassed our expectations. If this is the sort of chant that is allowable in church music, then we have not had such music before . . . We have not heard a finer church composition, nor did we ever feel more gratified by fine rendition . . . we wish Brother Leopold God-speed and the realization of long-sought desires."

-- Scholastic, Editorial

"Brother Leopold deserves great credit for the energy he displays in managing the music department." Scholastic, -- Nov.15, 1879

October 23rd, 1880 -- "Brother Leopold informs us that the Junior Orchestra is in full blast and having its regular weekly rehearsals.

"Brother Leopold "runs" the store admirably well, if one may judge from the many expressions of satisfaction heard on all sides."

-- Scholastic, -- (1882)

"Brother Augustine now has charge of the Post Office. He is assisted by Brother Leopold." Scholastic, 22:164

-- "Some would let the curtain drop on

-- That dingy little shop,

Which was built 'about the time Sorin came',

-- But no doubt with meditation, there

will come appreciations

-- Of the quaintest relic here at Notre Dame."

-- Scholastic, 51:64 A. J. Maynihan (1917)

See: 'A Faithful Man', prize essay by George D. Haller,

-- Scholastic, 51:209-12 (1918)

"In a dark silent little room in the Community House at Notre Dame a frail, snowy-locked Brother, even on the hottest summer days, wrapped in a black overcoat, sits day after day, telling his beads.

"He doesn't mind the darkness because he is almost totally blind. He doesn't mind the quiet because his hearing is nearly gone.

"Visitors seldom find their way to the Community House, which lies on the hill between the twin lakes, to single out the old Brother, the oldest member of the Congregation of Holy Cross, and the one has rendered a point of time, at least, the most service (over 70 years). No, he is almost forgotten, now; he has out lived most of his friends.

"But there are countless alumni and visitors to Notre Dame who remember the pathetic little figure hunched over a long-toothed wooden rake, picking up leaves about the campus and carrying them off in his wheel-barrow.

"Four years ago his sight began to fail. Since then Brother Leopold has had to lay aside his beloved rake and his wheel-barrow. On the feast day of St. Serapia, martyr, he was 97 years old. On Sept. 3, 1836 at the time when Texas was throwing off the chafing yoke of Mexico, Joseph Kaul was born in a little village near Heidelberg, Germany.

"The second oldest of a family of nine, he emigrated to America with his parents when he was a boy. From New York City his family moved to Philadelphia, Pa., and then to Lancaster, Pa., where there was a large German population . . . his younger brother, now 88, is the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Pirman Kaul, pastor of St. Anthony's church there.

"Brother Leopold fell behind in his studies because of shifting residences, so he left school to help support his family. He gained employment in a music store and there learned to play the violin, his favorite instrument. A little later he learned the printing trade.

"He first came to Notre Dame when he was 20 and entered the seminary, but soon found he was not equipped for the priesthood, so he returned to Lancaster. Some years later, though, at the advice of Redemptorist Fathers he came back to Notre Dame and was welcomed by Fr. Sorin with open arms when it was found he was a printer, for Fr. Sorin was anxious to found a magazine in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. So with Brother Leopold, the first printer, and Father Sorin, the first editor and contributor, the Ave Maria was born.

"He arrived at Notre Dame and was professed under the name of Brother Leopold, in the last year of the Civil War. He was rejected from war service because of a throat ailment. Knowing music as he did, he was soon put in charge of the little choir at Notre Dame. He taught music for some years.

"His tasks about the university during the 70 years that he has been at Notre Dame here included printing, teaching, and being in charge of the candy store, a Job he filled for more than 20 years.

". . . great names fall lightly from the lips of the aged religious. Names that are now printed in texts and in histories and on tombstones he knew as men, and it was, he says, his greatest privilege to live with them and to serve them.

"He has seen the University grow from a struggling little group of priests and Brothers to a flourishing, internationally recognized University. The first year he was at Notre Dame, two students were granted diplomas . . .

"His only lament now is that his days of service are over. He is fearful lest his best may not have been good enough. His humility is traditional. All his life he has thought himself only the lowest of the lowly, worthy only to tie latch-strings. But one has only to look into the child-like simplicity of his face, into those faded, sightless blue eyes to catch a glimpse of an effulgence far from mundane.

"And so he sits and waits for the Lord to call him. "The good God must have forgotten me -- I have been here so long', he said in a rich voice that time has robbed neither of its vigor nor its range.

"His life is nearly concluded, he hopes. It has been a long life of selfless service. How he is consoled by Milton's words:

-- Carl Zimmerer in South Bend Tribune, -- Alumnus, 12-52

"Those of you who attended Notre Dame at any time between the close of the Civil War and the end of the World War remember him. We will speak proudly of Mark Foote,'73 of Chicago. 'Mark was one of the best violin pupils I ever had', he informs you. 'But then,' he says, 'Mark was smart in everything, you see.' He had ventured the remark that the success of his music students was due to his own musical genius. 'Bro. Basil, my Superior, was miles (ten) ahead of me,' he hastened to add, lest we still had the idea that any credit might be due to his efforts.

"'Yes, I remember Rockne as a student very well,' he responded to our quizzing. 'Only, I remember him as a slim youngster with a wealth of curly blond hair . . . ' Brother Leopold had been at Notre Dame since August, 1864. Before he came to Notre Dame he had been a choir leader for ten years, and he followed one of his pupils to the school beside the twin lakes. He was received with something of acclaim, which ovation he modestly attributes to the devotion of his pupil. The former choir leader received the habit twelve days after arriving, or on August 15th, in order that he might teach music at the opening of school in September.

"When Brother Leopold first began to teach music at Notre Dame, as he expresses it: 'instrumental music was booming'. He had as many pupils then as the whole music department has now, while his assistants taught as many more. Brother attributes this to the fact that there were few if any conservatories of music in this country then, and to the further fact that many musically-inclined Southerners and Latin- blooded student came here in those days. He also thinks that the wide scale of player-pianos, phonographs and radios are replacing the study and practice of music be amateurs. Brother Leopold at the start had his pupils playing the violin, piano and the flute having at one time as many as twelve pupils studying the flute alone. He estimates that in his countless years of teaching he has had something over six hundred pupils.

"At that time Father Sorin was much interested in the musical department and was overjoyed at Brother Leopold's success. After Brother had been teaching a few months, Father Sorin asked him to play for him privately. While Brother made his violin sing like a living thing Father Sorin sat in a trance-like silence. Not wishing to show how much he had been impressed, he said with gravity: 'I wonder if your pupils can play any better than you'? Then his smile gave him away and Brother Leopold's heart leaped with joy for he knew he had pleased his revered Superior.

"In Prof. Girac's school orchestra Brother Leopold played first violin, while his nephew, a student, played second violin. At various times Brother had to substitute for a missing player at the viola, or contra-bass, and one time to play that instrument well enough during summer vacation to take the missing player's place in the fall.

"In Fr. Lemonnier's time Brother Leopold organized and orchestra among the younger students. He call this organization the Junior Orchestra. Besides directing this orchestra, doing choir work and teaching music eight hours a day, he says that 'During my spare time I went around helping everyone'. During his spare time mind you!

"'I helped Brother Louis, the postmaster, and was soon sworn in as his regular assistant. Brother Thomas, the store-keeper who was a brother of the Postmaster, asked me why didn't I help him . . . . he said I seemed to be helping everyone else! I was shocked at the suggestion. I had such a big ideal than, you know, and I thought a music teacher was ten miles above a storekeeper. Besides, I was afraid that I might lose the respect of my pupils, so I said to Brother Thomas (who was a Kentuckian and always said, 'I reckon') got angry and replied, 'Oh, I reckon a merchant is a good as a fiddler any day'. Then I said, 'Oh, I'll help you certainly -- if the Council will let me'. A week later after the Council had met, Brother Thomas came to me and said, 'I reckon that the Council will let you come and work; they think you're totally honest'. And Brother Leopold chuckled aloud at the memory of the scene.

"It was for his work in the store that most of you grads remember him best, . . . but we must remember that as Brother Leopold, a true "Musikmeister" to whom music is a thing apart, a pedistalled glory and a secret shrine, he is best revealed.

"But you remember another characteristic of the venerable stooped old man, with mirth alight in his fine black eyes, and laughter ever ready on his lips. You see him perhaps as he was in 1883 when he took charge of the store on the death of Brother Thomas . . .

". . . Brother Leopold stocked his store with twenty varieties of cakes. He arranged these on a board of four rows, with five sample on each row. There glass-encased samples were numbered from one to twenty and the board was nailed to the will behind the counter. Thus the prospective customer took in Brother Leopold's stock at leisure and designated the preferred by calling its number. Three cakes and two pints of lemonade cost a nickel. Cake number four soon out-stripped the other varieties as a favorite. It was a marshmallow and chocolate confection, topped with a toothsome pecan. The order 'lemonade and four' Brother soon (Bro.') was heard nine times out of ten. 'Lemonade and pretzels' were also another favorite. Times were hard and Brother Cyprian, a teacher of accounting at the University delights to tell how Brother Leopold would spend hours in fitting broken pretzels together like so many puzzles in order that none would go to waste.

"Brother Leopold was not stingy; far from it. It was he who conceived the idea of "set -up" tickets, an institution that has long vanished from the University. These "set-up" tickets were little green slips of paper with the simple initials, P.C.B.L. stamped on them, his hierogram meaning, 'Please cash, Brother Leopold'. Each ticket was worth five cents in trade, and these tickets were given as gifts by Brother Leopold or were purchased by teachers and prefects as rewards to boys who deserved something. Oftentimes the 'set-ups' were as numerous as the nickels -- that reflected Brother Leopold's goodness.

"For 34 years, 1883-1917, Brother Leopold did an enormous business in his 15' by 40 ' store between Brownson and Carroll gyms. Each morning he prepared 12 gallons of lemonade and opened many boxes of cakes. Then, too, pounds of pretzels were consumed each day. But it was '1 and 4's' that lured most of his customers. And it was with '1 and 4's'that the old times invariably link Brother Leopold today.

"But time began to take its toll of Brother Leopold. His 'speak a little louder, please' began to be heard . . . Brother Leopold was transferred at his own request to the Minims' store. There he has been for the past ten years.

"The other day we found him there, happy as ever, but no longer jesting with the little fellows who waited patently for him to serve them. . . After his trade was taken care of, we went up and talked to Brother and told him that we wanted to take his picture. Brother was horrified at the latter idea -- he had never had a picture taken in his life. Temporarily abandoning this idea, we asked him about his early days. At first reluctantly, then like a long-dammed waterfall his words flowed swiftly from his bearded lips. As memories of other days became more clear in his mind, his fine eyes shone with a luminous glow and a faint blush crept into his cheeks.

"We told him we must simply have a picture of him -- that you will be happy to see his likeness again.

"Rather dubiously he consented to pose. And after we had taken the picture, he told us a story that is a revelation of his un-Germanic sense of humor.

"'You are just like my brother, Msgr. Kaul of Lancaster. He and my sister, a member of the Sisterhood of Holy Cross for 60 years and who passed away only four years ago, always were pestering me to pose for a picture in ,my religious garb. The only picture they had of me was one they had taken as a boy. Every summer I visited my home in Lancaster, Pa., for a vacation and my brother and sister would keep heckling me each year to pose for a picture.

"'But' -- and here Brother's eyes twinkled --

"'I would fool them and never bring home my habit. They always accused me of having my habit with me, but of having hidden it away somewhere. One day a lady visitor at our home joined them in their pleas.

"'You would look fine in the habit of Holy Cross', she beseeched.

"'All right, I finally said, if you want me so badly to pose in the habit of Holy Cross, I suppose I'll have to please you.

"'Well, the three of them waited while I got dressed, but when I came down to get "snapped", they got the shock of their lives. I had on the habit of Holy Cross all right, but it was my sister's! They never asked me to pose for them again.'

" . . . So we regretfully parted from him at the Grotto . . . As his black habit merged into the shadows of the stately evergreens that lined the wooded path, we found ourselves murmuring half aloud the words of the poet:

-- Alumnus, 6:97 -- (Lemonade and four) by E. J. Cormack

"Brother Leopold, C.S.C., who had been at Notre Dame for 80 years in varied capacities, recently observed his 97th birthday. His labors according to the Rev. John Cavanaugh, C.S.C., former president of the University have let him to 'be kindly remembered and cherished by all the students and to be idolized by every member of his Community.'

"Born in Baden, Germany, Brother Leopold came to America when he was ten years old and arrived at Notre Dame when he was 17. A few years later he became a member of Holy Cross, and at first served as a teacher. About this time Fr. Sorin, C.S.C., founder of Notre Dame, needed a printer for the Ave Maria and Brother Leopold having had previous training in such work was chosen to be compositor under Rev. Daniel Hudson, C.S.C., at that time editor. For many years he taught the piano at the University, music being another of his accomplishments."

-- Association of St. Joseph, 3:4

"In the quietness of night that surrounded St. Joseph Hospital, Brother Leopold, the oldest Brother in the Community, met the call of death at 2:20 A.M., Monday morning after a lifetime of service that extended over 98 years (His mother died at 100).

"To the innumerable alumni and clergy who knew him, the persevering little religious' death will mean the passing of a man who was admired even by those who never knew him personally but only through his work at Notre Dame. To the present generation of students the faithful Brother was a familiar tradition of an earlier Notre Dame.

"Seventy-two years of Brother Leopold's life was spent at Notre Dame. . . . In 1876 Brother Leopold began his forty year span as manager of the candy store, where, as time went on, he became somewhat of a tradition among the students. As a merchant he won the friendship and admiration of countless numbers and was known to most students as Brother 'Leep'.

"Coupled with these activities during this period the pious Brother for a time taught music and directed the University choir. In 1916 he was relieved of his duties to retire and devote the remaining years of his life to God by leading a meditative life in the Community House.

"Many things still engrossed the attention of this vital man, however, even in his old age. Brother Cyprian, who knew him for many years said, 'It seemed to us that Brother Leopold must have made a vow never to waste a minute of time, for he was always doing something for somebody. Even until the last few years he would insist upon raking the leaves and sticks around the Community House'. This fully characterizes the aged Brother in his later years."

-- Scholastic, March 15, 1935

"Death came to Brother Leopold, aged 98, at 2:00 o'clock this morning as he lay on a cot in St. Joseph Hospital and fulfilled the wish he had often voiced in the last few years.

To thousands of alumni of the University of Notre Dame the news of the passing of the tiny, silver-haired religious man who gave 72 years of his life to the University will come as expected but none the less sorrowful information, for the oldest member of the Congregation of Holy Cross was known by nearly every student who had studied under the golden dome.

" . . . As is the custom in the Congregation, no sermon will be preached at the funeral Mass.South Bend Tribune, March 11, 1935

"Brother Leopold was buried today in his 99th year. His was a long life, full of activity, yet shrouded in shadow.

"Brother Leopold was known to generations of students by the nickname, 'Brother Leep'. It was a term of affection. It stood for gentleness, patience, simplicity, sly humor and humility.

"When this Bulletin shall have come to old students, there will flash before their minds, familiar pictures -- the little store, a diminutive old man, gray-beaded, gray-headed, undisturbed by the insistent din of implacable youth wanting to be served.

"He moved slowly, methodically, questioning quietly, 'What will you have, sir?' 'Lemonade and fours.' 'Lemonade and sixes.' They were served in turn, the nickel scrupulously accounted for, surety demanded for the return of the heavy glasses."For 44 years he served the boys their lemonade and cakes, their candy and tobacco (if you were grown, and had permission from home, and the consent of authority at school, to smoke a pipe).

"Old students returning with their young wives brought them into the 'store' to see Brother 'Leep'. The wives had heard all about him and his lemonade and cakes and humor and patience, a hundred times. Now they were to see him. He remembered you, perhaps the town you came from. The lady of the house noted that! He gave her lemonade at the oil-cloth covered table, 'on the house'. And not to be a piker, you bought twice that much in candy and cigars.

"The old man smiled inwardly. 'Honesty is the best policy!' 'Yes, generosity is a pretty good policy too'. Kindly Brother 'Leep' tells how he had invested a free glass of his lemonade, and it netted a half a dollar sale in cigars.

"His familiars called him 'rascal', 'hypocrite'. He smiled. He liked that. He defended his virtue to provoke more abuse. He got it; and smiled some more.

"He was not always in the store, however. Brother Leopold was a fine musician, a violinist. He taught music for years; and during the hours between he set type for the Ave Maria. He saw the first issue of that magazine come from the press.

"But through all his years, he was a simple, humble, cheerful religious. Virtue made him good-natured, tolerant, forgiving, slyly mischievous. He thrived on faillery, welcomed it; feared to be without it. He had stored up a head full of spiritual lore which he could illustrate with a story for every use (case). He had a lot of the St. Philip Neri-Cure of Ars kind of sanctity. It wasn't long-faced or terribly solemn. It was as practical as shoe leather, and like shoe leather was always on the ground.

"Brother Leopold didn't fear the death that places his tiny body today in the Community Cemetery. He knew that his broken body could no longer serve, and consecrated service was the watchword of his life. Surely, wherever he is today, his heart can reach up to God in prayer , for the University and the 'boys'."

-- Religious Bulletin, March 13, 1935

"Brother Leopold, Cakes and fours, please."

"Here you are Stony McGlynn, and -- oh wait a bit my boy, aren't you forgetting something?"

"I'm sorry, Brother. Here, I'll leave my hat. I'll get it back though; I've never broken a glass yet."

"To Notre Dame alumni of past generations no identifications of locale? is necessary to accompany the above dialogue. Brother Leopold and his famous candy store are part of the rich tradition of Notre Dame. In the little building which to Notre Dame of 1906 was known as the Carroll and Brownson gym and to Notre Dame of 1936 as the Physical Educational Building, Brother Leopold was king. The building is gone now, torn down the past month to make room for a new residence hall, but the memory will remain long with numerous alumni.

"It was there that Brother Leopold dispensed Philosophy and lemonade, kindness and cakes. The cakes nailed to numbered boards and the young purchaser, to get his favorite flavor, called for it by number. If lemonade was ordered to go with the cakes, the Brother demanded some token to insure the return of the glass which contained it.

"Brother 'Leep' was a great favorite with the boys. To the clerics at Notre Dame he was the 'Rascal', always under the fire of good- natured badinage with a sly retort that would turn his adversary's jest back on himself.

"On first coming to Notre Dame Brother Leopold taught music and played in the University orchestra. In 1885 the gym 'rec' hall was built and Brother Leopold was placed in charge.

"For an alumnus to return to the Campus and not visit Brother Leopold in his candy store was unthinkable and the 'rascal' always insisted on treating his former favorites to lemonade and cakes. It was seldom he failed to remember the particular cake the old student had most often demanded while at Notre Dame.

"Brother Leopold's memory, even in his later years, was remarkably acute. The older members of the local community still chuckle over a story which illustrates this point. When Brother Leopold was 92 (he died at the age of 98), an alumnus who was paying his first visit to the campus in 35 years came to see him.

"'Well, Brother, ' said the alumnus mentioning his name, 'I don't suppose you remember me.'

"'Remember you, ' replied the 'rascal', a twinkle in his eye, 'How could I forget you? You left me owing 94 cents.'

"Brother Leopold died March 11, 1935, and with his death there was a break in a tangible Notre Dame tradition. March 7, 1936 marked the end of that tangibility with the demolishing of the building in which he had spent so many constructively happy years.

"But the building, after all, to Brother Leopold was only a symbol of service to Notre Dame men. In its place will rise a new residence hall, a part of the newer Notre Dame. There will be no calls of 'lemonade and fours, please, Brother!', but if they were, sure there would be a sound of glass-upon-board, for Brother Leopold won't be far away."

-- Alumnus, 14:192 (1936)

"On looking back, what you dislike the most about Notre Dame life?

"There's noting I dislike except the passing of fine men like Brother Leopold."

-- Senior, -- (1935)

1935:"Brother Leopold, beloved member of the Holy Cross Order is dead.

"Seventy years of service and loyalty to the vows he had taken when a youth of 28, ended at 2:30 A.M. Monday, when after a month's illness in St. Joseph Hospital, Brother Leopold quietly closed his eyes.

"Joining his only survivor of his family, a brother, Right Rev. Msgr. John Kaul, of Lancaster, Penna., in mourning will be thousands of Notre Dame men who frequented Brother Leopold's candy shop in old "Rockerfeller" Hall.

"For forty years Brother Leopold sold candy, cakes, cookies, lemonade, pop, milk chewing gum and other between classes refreshments over his tiny counter. Before the days of the popularly named candy bars, chocolate tops and the like, he saw that it was difficult for the 'boys' to call for fig newtons, coconut bars, etc., so he arranged cookies in regular order on a small hanging placard, numbering each brand. Thus the usual order at Brother Leopold's store was 'lemonade and fours', or 'milk and sevens' etc.

"As is customary among college students trying to 'outsmart' Brother Leopold was attempted during the first weeks of school. The attempts, however, never succeeded, and Brother Leopold became known as a shrewd merchant. . . .

"When Brother Leopold closed his candy store for the day and there was no lingering student to confide with, he would go to his tiny room and play the cello. On other occasions he would accompany some young man to the grotto there to recite his beads or office or to one of the chapels for a quiet hour of meditation.

"His main recreation was music. Stories that have circulated among the faculty and students alike are that Brother Leopold's renditions of musical compositions on the cello were so good that the late Father Sorin invited him to join the Founder of Notre Dame for an 'evening of music'. Father Sorin playing the violin and Brother Leopold the cello, spent hours together . . . .

"Like all other religious who await for the hour of their death, he spent his last years fingering his Rosary and reciting other prayers . . . .

"'God has forgotten me' he would used to say as he prayed for a happy death."

-- South Bend News-Times(1935)

See also under: "George D. Haller"

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›