University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


"Founded, 1843. Brother Mary Joseph. 77 students, 7 are Protestants"

-- Provincial Archives (1843)

See also: Foundations -- Madison.

(Brother Mary Joseph -- Sorin, October 13, 1843) "I am teaching in the Church; our basement is not yet finished; it will be a fine school room. Besides, Father (Delaune)is getting a room dug out for me to sleep in. I have 38 scholars now, some of them very hard ones. I tried to get along without whipping them, but to no purpose, ... my school has not been kept very regularly yet. I have no clock or time piece. Father says he will buy one when the school is finished. Besides, When I am not teaching, I am working... Father Delaune has me sometimes directing the men... Father Delaune is very kind to me." Provincial Archives (1843)

"Father Delaune, a priest from St. Brieuc, Brittany, eagerly desired to have some (Sisters) at Madison, where he is in charge of a daily increasing congregation. 'The Protestants', he said, 'Try to steal away from me my poor Catholic Children by giving them books, clothing and even money: but my people pay dearly for their presents. The proselytizers begin by ruining their mind, and then by corrupting the heart. Will you not take pity on so many souls whom the evil one is snatching away form us? Will you not come and wrestle with this wicked foe?' " Letters and Journals of Mother Theodore, p. 174

"The Brothers have been established a year here to the great joy of the pastor and his flock. There are 120 children. Usual salary is $150."

-- Sorin Chronicles (1843)

-- Bigotry

"... our mission at Madison is greatly exposed to the persecutions of the enemies of Catholicity. Not long since, our sisters wrote that the Presbyterian Minister assembled his congregation in the church, and then transported by the spirit , disclosed all the

infamies perpetrated by monks and nuns since the beginning of the Church. He ended his harangue by hurling anathemas against the parents who sent their children to Catholic schools, and he predicted that they would not escape the divine vengeance. 'When we go to Mass', wrote a Sister, 'the little rogues of boys, seeing us with our pupils run after us screaming "Sheep, sheep, sheep."' They also pelt us with snowballs (but that does not hurt us), and sometimes even with eggs and with stones.'"

-- Life and Letters of Sr. St. Francis Xavier, S.P. p.290 (1840's)

"They threw stones at us, but God did not permit that any should strike us. Rotten eggs, however, broke upon us; but that did not hurt us... We were snow-balled on our way to church; what matter? Shouts and threats below our windows at night frighten the other Sisters very much. I do not mind them; these things do not keep me awake." St. Mary Ligouri, S.P. -- Mother Theodore (1844) Journals and Letters of M. Theodore Guerin p.xxv.

(Brother Anselm -- Sorin, April 16, 1845) "Last Friday at 2:00 in the afternoon a remnant of the fever I had last year seized me and continues sticking to me very closely....

"...pray, tell me what is the stage fare from Detroit to South Bend. I would like to know, for I have a mind to go to South Bend by water, that is, from here to Cincinnati, from Cincinnati to Portsmouth, and from Portsmouth to Cleveland, from Cleveland to Detroit, and thence to South Bend. This route is undoubtedly longer but then it is as cheap and even cheaper." Provincial Archives (1845)

1845: See under Brother Anselm

1860: "Parish has 200 boys, only 30 attend our school. Rest are on the streets or going to public school. To silence murmurs of people he was obliged to send for a Brother. School in basement of church, 9 feet underground. Water coming through copiously 3 feet above the floor endangering teachers and pupil's health. Boards of floor rotten actually eaten away in patches 4 feet wide. After soliciting, craving and entreating Father Dupontarice for five months, I've succeeded in getting the floor patched....

"My school now consists of 100 boys, divided into twelve divisions, 8 of which are taught by monitors. I teach grammar, geography and arithmetic myself at the same time to the larger pupils....

"All agree, however, that the children have learned more during the past five months, even mixed up as they are, than in the public schools during the two years previous.

"The priest appointed a trusty man to collect the school fund from the parents, who succeeded very well in gathering the first quarter's pay....

"My pupils pass through the whole length and breadth of this city on their way from school in orderly ranks under the guidance of their monitors. This has contributed more than anything else to establish the reputation of our school in these latitudes; for the people judge of what passes in the school from what they see transpiring in the streets.... Many Protestant parents came requesting me to receive their children, which I politely, though reluctantly, declined seeing I had too many for one person."

"Reverend Julian Delaune opened his school in St. Michael's parish, Sept. 26, 1843, at first for want of better accommodations in the Church, which had been fitted up for that purpose. The school was in charge of the Brothers of St. Joseph"

-- History of the Diocese of Vincennes, Alerding, p. 352 (1846)

(Brother Mary Joseph -- Sorin, October 26, 1846) "We arrived in Madison on Saturday evening at 5:00. I was told that Mr. (Rev.) St. Pales was sick and was boarding at a house in town. Brother Francis' feet are a little sore so that he could not walk. I went alone to Mr. (Rev.) St. Palais and presented him your letter. He asked me who told Father Sorin he wanted Brothers? I said that I had; that the people were asking everywhere as I passed through , when would they have two Brothers. I said that if they would write they would have one or two from South Bend; and that the representation I made to you induced you to send two. When we arrived in Madison the people were glad to see us, all except two persons who wrote against Rev. Mr. Delaune to the Bishop; and one said that it appeared we did not want to leave Madison. I said I thought it was necessary, according to our Constitutions to write you before leaving anyplace. I told him that I had done so in regard to Rev. Mr. Delaune. He then said in an angry tone, 'I, as parish priest of Madison, and as Vicar General of this diocese, order you both to leave Madison immediately!' He said that he would defray our expenses back. He said these were his last words, but that he had nothing against us and that if we were to wait six days for your answer, the people would want to detain us to keep school, and that he would not do it.

"As soon as Brother Francis is able to travel, I shall leave for Kentucky (according to your first intention). I will stay with Rev. Mr. Delaune."--

-- Provincial Archives, (1846)

(Brother Bernard -- Sorin, September 21, 1859) "On my arrival in Madison I met with a very kind reception from the worthy pastor as well as from the English and German citizens. The school is still in a miserable basement, in which there are only two windows and these on one side.

"My school numbers more that a hundred pupils, from 6 to 20 years old; and this number would not be too much for me were they all in one or two classes ....

"The people and pastor urge me to ask for another Brother very soon...."

-- Provincial Archives, (1859)

(Brother Bernard -- Sorin, 1847) "I feel very well pleased with my appointment, but the thought of having to go from house to house to collect my fees discourages me very much. The priest (Fr. St. Palais, later Bishop of Vincennes)and I board with an Irish couple within a few rods of the Church, who have no family."

-- Provincial Archives, (1847)

(Brother Joseph, Indianapolis, January 9, 1847) "Brother Thomas left for Madison last evening."

(Brother Thomas, January 28, 1847) "After a fatiguing journey of two weeks and one day, I arrived safely in Madison on the 22nd ult. I will have, when school opens on Monday, it is said, between 70 and 80 scholars. When Brother Joseph and I parted (Indianapolis?) he gave me $4..."

(Brother Thomas -- Sorin, March 18, 1847) "... it is reported that Mr. Herman, a postulant, when on his way to the lake was stopped by one of our Brothers at Indianapolis, and not encouraged to go on to the Novitiate of Notre Dame du Lac .... With regard to the others who are hoping to go to Notre Dame du Lac in August, they number five."

-- Provincial Archives

(Father Maurice St. Palais -- Sorin, February 9, 1847) "It is now eleven o'clock, but I must not put off till tomorrow telling you how obliged I am for your sending me Brother Thomas . He is agreeable as a companion, an important auxiliary, a subject of constant edification. I beg you to tell him when you write that he should act more frankly with me; that is, let me know the things he needs.

"Our school is as yet not large, but it will be before long.

"I can give him board, and send $100 when he leaves for Notre Dame for retreat. If the children pay faithfully the modest sum we exact quarterly, I think I shall be able to fulfill this engagement. Later on, perhaps, I can do more. Please let me know if this is satisfactory.

"I would like Brother Thomas back if you can do so. He has given great satisfaction. I gave him $50 for the quarter. I wish you took over the school yourselves. If you did, I would continue to help it. Some, however, feel that they are entitled to free tuition. This I will not have.

"When going through Indianapolis I met Brother Joseph, who is carrying on a business there, but it will never pay the expenses of his journeys. Bro. Joseph was a colporteur. (travelling slaesman of bibles and religious things) I expected him at Madison, where he could have done well selling the books, etc., but I doubt if his profits would pay his expenses. Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Louisville are so close. (Later on Father Maurice St. Palais became Bishop of Vincennes)

-- Provincial Archives (1848)

"St. Michael's School at Madison, was first held in the Church by the Brothers of St. Joseph, and afterwards in the basement of the Church."

-- History of Catholic Education in Indiana; Sister Salesia, O.S.B., p. 27 (1926)

"Male Free school at Madison conducted by a Brother of St. Joseph. Number of pupils -- 80." Catholic Almanac p. 126 (1846)

"Brother Bernard, Schoolmaster at Madison."

-- Local Council August 27, 1847

"I profit by the departure of Brother Stephen to send you a few lines. He has not been able to collect here although I did all I could to get him permission. A few days before his arrival Father Dupontavice collected $129 to pay for the lot on which is the church. This, of course, makes it difficult for Brother to get anything. Besides, money is scarce. I suggest he should collect among the German Catholics, but he decided not. Nor among the Irish either." Provincial Archives March 11, 1850

"I was happy to learn that already you have opened a school at St. John." (Lake County, Indiana)

"Small School started to great joy of pastor and people. 120 boys. Salary: $150. Established 1859" Sorin Chronicles (1860)

"Brother Anselm, teacher. (1860)

(Fr. Dupontavice to Sorin, March 12, 1860) " boys are on the street. I have none to take care of them. No matter what Brother Bernard may have said, I have a fine school room. A Brother who will take care of himself can live a holy life here as well as any place... the only fault he will find in his situation is that it is too comfortable for one who has the vow of poverty.:

-- Provincial Archives

(Brother Mary Joseph to Sorin, February 9, 1846) "Whilst in Madison the first year I received five or six letters at the same time -- August -- February when the postage was 18 cents on each; now it is five cents."

(Brother Mary Joseph to Sorin, October 2, 1846) "...Rev. Mr. St. Palais (later Bishop of Vincennes) sent for me. I went; he told me that he believed all would be settled. I told him that Brother Francis was sick. He seemed to doubt it and said that he would send the Doctor to see him so that he would know if he would be able to travel. I said I wished to have a letter from you before I left Madison, regarding something I wished to ask you. (This was whether you would allow me to go to (St. Mary's) Kentucky, as I had not settled the matter we agreed to.) He has circulated through the town that Rev. M. ... had taken the peoples' money from Madison to buy the college and farm in Kentucky. These men boasted on Sunday that we would not be received by Rev. Mr. St. Palais. I asked Rev. Mr. St. Palais if he could permit us to teach catechism on Sunday. He said it was not necessary. I replied, 'Very well.' On Sunday we went to the High Mass. Everyone welcomed us to Madison. They asked us when the school would commence, as their children were running wild for want of a school. Others told me that they were sending their children to Protestant schools, but would send them to us as soon as we would start the school. There were over 40 children at Mass, and there has been an increase of Catholic families since I left. All told me they would assist us, some offered us rooms if we would accept them... I told them I would wait until we went to see Rev. Mr. St. Palais to ask him if we should start school as the children were at the school door waiting for us. The school desks were all ready. He told us his house was not ready yet, and he wanted to ask you about the terms. I told him the terms were $50 for each Brother for ten and a half months schooling. He said he would see the people about it. I told him the people had sent their children to school, and that they had paid well last year and said they would do the same this year. Then he said his house was not yet finished and he wanted us to live in his house. It was not yet furnished. He would rather we would return to South Bend. He would pay our expenses back and would send for us when he wanted us. He wished us to leave Madison, but I said we could not leave until we had an answer from our Superior. He would take it upon himself, he said and would give us a letter to you that would be satisfactory. Brother Francis and I thought it best to write you and wait until you should tell us what to do. The members

pg. 362

of the Congregation are much displeased. The say that Griffin and Blenkinsop have prevailed with Rev. Mr. St. Palais to send us back...I could say much more, but I will await your answer."

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›