University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


"The indefatigable Father Badin purchased a section of 640 acres, and in 1833 erected an orphanage for Indian children near his log church, Sainte Marie des Lacs. Even there, the Indians, embittered by the continual usurpation of their lands by white settlers, were beginning to move westward. Finding less and less need for the orphanage, Father Badin closed it two years later, and gave the property to Bishop Brute on condition that he assume the debt and establish a school on the ground whenever means permitted."

Flame in the Wilderness. p. 77 -- McAllister. 1833.

"Here in 1833 he (Badin) established St. Joseph Orphanage for the care of the Indian children and secured two Sisters of Charity from Kentucky to take charge. Among the trustees of the institution were Father Simon Lalumiere, of Daviees county, and Father Louis Picott, of Knox County, the last of the missionaries who cared for Indiana before the appointment of its first Bishop.

"Probably because the Indians were at this time beginning to move westward the asylum was closed at the time when Bishop Brute came to visit Father Badin's mission in the spring of 1835. Therefore, on the occasion of this visit, Father Badin gave the section of land to the Bishop on condition of his assuming the debt upon it and of his at some time establishing an educational institution here."

-- On the King's Highway. 1833.

"In 1832 Badin bought the land now called Notre Dame from national state, and private owners -- 532 acres in all, 50 from the Federal Government, 250 from the state, and the rest from Mr. Merrill and Mr. Morris.' (Deeds in the Treasurer's Office.) Father Badin had been anxious for some time to build some form of shelter for abandoned Indian children of nearby villages of Pokagon, of Carey Mission, and Grand River -- and he chose this site as being the most suitable for such a project. But Father Badin wanted his orphanage to be directed by religious....

"On December 29, 1832, he wrote General John Tipton, informing him of his application to the legislature of Indiana for the incorporation of such an institution to be called ' St. Marie des Lacs'". His petition was granted. But the enterprise was a failure. (It is doubtful if he founded one.) In 1835 he surrendered possession at Notre Dame to Bishop Brute on the condition that an orphan asylum or some other charitable or religious institution be established on the grounds.

Rdzok's Essay. Library M.S.

See also "Manual Labor School" Hailandiere to Sorin."

(Badin's Letter to Bishop Purcell) "Besides engaged in making a new establishment near this place for an orphan house, and I must begin with erecting a chapel. You may perceive that at the age of 66 I have a sufficient share of toils. I would wish rather to enjoy solitude and retirement, in order to prepare for my fast approaching dissolution..." Indiana. Provincial Archives. May 10, 1834,

Stephen Theodore Badin. South Bend, St. Joseph County,

"Rev. L. Picot, Knox County; Francis Comparet and D.H. Colerick, Allen County; Alexis Coquillard and William McCartney, St. Joseph County.

"The two priests administered to the wants of the Catholics in Indiana before the coming of Bishop Brute. Father Lalumiere was the adviser of the first four Bishops of Vincennes, where he was born in 1804.

"Bishop Brute visited Father Badin's mission late in the spring of 1835."

-- James E. Deery.

"In 1835 work upon the Illinois and Michigan canal was begun and as a result thousands of laborers were attracted from the East by the generous offers made to all who would take employment in the completion of this enterprise. The greater part of these laborers were Irish Catholics who were located for the time being at Chicago, Joliet, Seneca, Marseilles, Ottawa, La Salle, and Peru. Thus were established several larger settlements of Irish Catholics, people who remained as long as the digging of the canal furnished them work and then spread out upon the fertile prairies of central Illinois to make prosperous farming communities which are held even at the present time by their numerous offspring."

-- Scholastic, 51:396. A.J. Hughes

(Sorin to Bishop Hailandiere) Sept. 29, 1843. "Frenoye's five orphans arrived, only ten or eleven years old; thought they were fourteen, but will keep them anyway, but this made me feel a keen desire than ever before to have here one day an establishment for little orphans. Such it was, it seems, the first intention of Mr. Badin in buying this land. How happy I would be one day to fulfill this pious intention.

"The College is advancing rapidly. The walls are now 23'-- 24' high; in 3 weeks, we hope it will be under roof. We haven't had any money for 2 weeks. If your Excellency would (could) send us a little, we should be very grateful."

-- Sorin, Sept. 29, 1843.

"Although orphans were received in the house in 1843, it is only from 1844 that they can be regarded as a distinct cl ass having their own masters and rules. However, important may appear today this establishment of apprentices, we must say it was not the fruit of reflection when Providence sent the first of these abandoned little ones, pity made us receive them. They were, therefore, divided successively among the shops at present open and held by the Brothers. Once they entered we had to think of giving them employment. Soon the idea came of teaching them a trade, which would one day permit them to earn their living honorably. A certain number having been imposed on the house their future as well as the responsibility assumed seriously awakened the attention of the Council. We saw in this act of charity, so imperatively ordered.

a means of bringing about some vocations for the Brothers, perhaps even of the priests. Execution of this plan required money, but permitted hope late of recovering is in the fruit of the work they were taught. A charter was sought and obtained by the same representative from the Legislature with the title of the Manual Labor School for the Brothers of St. Joseph. In the eye of the public this made them a legal body and they could treat legally regarding apprentices, make their regulations and conditions and enforce them juridically. It was a precious privilege. Later a legal form of contract was drawn up and printed which was to be signed by the guardian, the applicant, and the Superior. One of the principal clauses was the one requiring the apprentice to remain till he was 21. It was also understood that the Manual Labor School would give him a good ordinary course in English. When possible, parents or guardians were obliged to pay an entrance fee of $40.

"Apprentices at first were with the College boarders, whose numbers they increased. Soon the need of separating them was felt, but the lack of resources didn't permit a complete separation of the two groups. The Community was obliged to keep them under the same roof, but they were forbidden to communicate with each other. Except for two and a half hours a day and Sundays and feasts the apprentices were to pass the rest of their term in their respective shops where some of them made remarkable progress at their trades."

Essay. Rdzok:

"The Council resolves that materials for twelve caps for the orphans be cut by the Sisters, and the same to be sent to South Bend to be made."

-- Minute Book, October 14, 1844

See also: "Bro. Stephen -- Peoria" -- Edwards on Sorin -- "Brothers of St. Joseph."

"The Orphans' relatives will furnish them with clothes"

-- Council of Professors, January 28, 1844

"Last visit to Notre Dame in 1836. Admires all: offers Sorin two lots in Louisville to keep and help support work of orphans as well as to purchase some 200 acres between Notre Dame and the river, provided he was paid an annuity of $400. Badin valued the lots at $12-$15,000. Really sold in the same year for $6,000. Not consummated."

Rev. S. T. Badin to Sorin, 1845.

(Sorin -- Frenoye, July 20, 1843) says colony has arrived at New York and that Brother John will be in Philadelphia in four or five weeks to get the orphans and bring them to Notre Dame."

"For the future roundabouts and not coats shall be made for the apprentices."

-- Minor Chapter, November 2, 1846.

"There shall be every week, three classes for the apprentices, viz.: on Sundays after supper, on Tuesdays and Fridays at 6:00."

-- Minor Chapter, June 5, 1848.

(Bishop Kenrick of St. Louis to Sorin) "During my absence from the city last winter, Mr. Keegan, a gentlemen from Pennsylvania left a note informing me that any of our orphan boys who were fit to be put to trades would be received in your benevolent institution for the education of children in the mechanical arts. I need not say how thankful I feel to you for this offer.

"We have a free school for boys attached to the cathedral at present directed by two clerics of St. Viateur. One of them goes to the seminary in a few months to complete his studies, which he began in France; the other is obliged to decline the office of teaching owing to ill health. I would be glad to have two or three of your Brothers to take charge of the school in which there are 180 children.... for the moment the two Brothers would be sufficient, as for the present they would have to share with me my house and table. Next year I have reason to hope, I would be able to place them on another footing...should you yourself think proper to accept my offer, I would be able in a short time to place at your disposition from 80 to 100 acres of land, not many miles from St. Louis, where an establishment similar to that you have raised in South Bend might be erected, or where, at least, a noviceship of the Community might be placed."

Provincial Archives

"The orphans or apprentices (for they are no longer distinct)

"The apprentices shall have school every day after supper except on Wednesdays."

-- Minor Chapter. 1845.

See also "Manual Labor School", Catholic Almanac advertisement. 1846.

(Around 1845; Provincial Archives) "To be admitted a child must be at least 12 years old and be bound to remain till 21 years of age. As security a sum of $40 is exacted at entrance, and will be returned in clothing at the expiration of the time. The success of the establishment sufficiently justifies what has already been said of it: 'Blessed is the youth thus sheltered from the first needs of the soul and the body, and prepossessed of all desirable blessings; but twice blessed those who devote their lives to procuring them those favors."

(See "Advertisement (of) N.D.

-- Catholic Almanac 1846.

"Advertisement of N.D. Orphanage; 'Catholic almanac, 1846. 'First appearance of the institution under the above title, Bros. of St. Joseph school appeared in advertisement previously both in Washington, Indianapolis and at South Bend, St. Peter's." 1841-42.

"An orphan asylum and Manual Labor School in process of erection for orphan boys, 12-16 years of age. Provided for partly by funds left by Rev. Father Badin.

"Eight clergymen, 32 Brothers, and 5 postulants in the institution. Number of boarders, 40.

-- Catholic Almanac for 1846, p. 121.

"Orphan Asylum and Manual Labor School, Notre Dame -- 1846.

Conducted by the Brothers of St. Joseph, who have an extensive farm connected with the University of Notre Dame du Lac. This circumstance enables the institution to receive among the Brothers of St. Joseph, not only these young men who are qualified to keep school or to teach a useful trade, but even such as can but work on the farm, and among the pupils of the University, young men whose limited pecuniary means would not allow them to pay for their education in money."

-- Catholic Directory p. 115; 1846

(N. D. Orphanage; Deed of November 3, 1846) "It is agreed by the Reverend E. F. Sorin that in consideration of the sum of $6,000 paid to him by the Rev. S. T. Badin for the pious purpose of educating and bringing up Orphan Children, he, the said E. F. Sorin, his associates and successors, will purchase at such time as may be suitable the land now belonging the Mr. Graham -- and that the aid Edward F. Sorin or his heirs or successors shall continue to increase the number of orphans in proportion to their means of maintenance." -- (signed) E. F. Sorin. Bertrand, 3rd Nov. 1846.

(Letter) "I take delight in recommending to our good Irish friends, actually working on the railroad, Brother Vincent and Brother Stephen, whom, I have no doubt, they will receive as their own Brothers, and whose pious and honorable object will find a ready answer in every true Irish heart.

"Your faithful and ever devoted friend and father in Jesus Christ, E. S., Superior." June 28, 1847.

"Blessed are they that understand concerning the needy and poor; the Lord will deliver him in the evil day." Psalms 11:12 (See also "Edwards on Sorin").

"I, the undersigned priest of Notre Dame du Lac, certify that the bearers, Brother Vincent and Brother Stephen, members of our institution, are duly authorized to make a collection for the orphans educated in the said Institution; and we recommend them to the generosity of the pious Catholics and the liberty of all those who like to succor their fellow men. Father Cointet." N.D. du Lac, June 28, 1847.

Collectors on Railroad: 1847: Bros. Vincent and Stephen. see (Indianapolis Minor Chapter, 1847).

"Only a few boarders and 7 or 8 orphans" Sorin Chronicles.

"The digging of canals was the chief labor of Irish immigrants between 1820 and 1840. Indeed, it has been stated on reliable authority that practically all the canals constructed in America prior to the Civil War were dug by Irishmen."

"Charities in the U.S." O'Grady's "Orphans paid once and for all 214 francs ($42) and engaged themselves to stay until 21 years old." 1848.

"Orphanage, 1849. his Lordship wished to make of the establishment of the orphans at N.D., his diocesan establishment"

-- Sorin Chronicles.

(Father St. Palais to Sorin, 1849) "With my recommendation and that of the Bishop of Chicago, Bro. Stephen should succeed in his work." -- (Bro. Stephen was one of the collectors for the Orphan's Home at N.D.)

1846-7: 20 orphans at Notre Dame.

"A proposal was made to know at what price the orphans which may be sent to us by the Right Reverend Bishop of Vincennes, could be received, and it was agreed that the yearly payment for each one should be $45 if under 12, of $30 if over 12 and under 15."

-- Local Council, Nov. 5, 1849.

"A gate shall be placed on the bridge that leads to the novitiate to prevent the hogs and cattle from going and destroying our wheat."

-- Local Council,

"They (Sisters of Holy Cross) have also there (Bertrand) an academy and a female asylum, nearly on the same plan as that of the Brothers."

-- Catholic Almanac, p. 110, 1850.

(Orphans -- Waste Book, U.N.D., 1851) "Feb. 7...Bishop of Vincennes:

By amount of subscription for orphans, per Father Cointet at St. John, $9.00; amount at Plymouth, 54 cents; amount at Laporte, $7.00; amount at Des Coutes, $1.31; total: $17.85."

"The Association of Holy Cross, whose Mother House is in Le Mans, France, founded an establishment in 1842 at Notre Dame de Lac, where it possesses on an extensive farm, a university, a novitiate for the priests and for the Brothers, and a manual labor school, in which orphan boys are taught by the Brothers, the most useful trades of the country, together with a good common English education....

-- "Catholic Directory," p. 93. 1851.

"The next time I heard of the Congregation was from a priest of Holy Cross, the Reverend Father Baroux, who had come to France from America for the purpose of collecting funds for the building of what he then called the Boys' Orphan Asylum at Notre Dame, which later I understood to have been the kitchen, over which were a few rooms in which some orphan boys slept. This had been burned down."

Sister M. Euphrosine,

"On the King's Highway", Mother M. Eleanore.

"Rules nearly the same of those of the Brothers of the Christian Doctrine. After six months they get the habit, and twelve months later make profession. Perpetual Vows -- 3-4-5 years later.

"Object of the Brothers: to teach poor children in the ordinary branches of a good English education; in orphan asylums to this they join the teaching of trades. Brothers at Notre Dame take 6 or more orphans to teach them trades."

-- (Provincial Archives; Sorin Corr.)Feb. 9, 1854.

(Bishop Whelan to Sorin; 1855) "A lady of this place...wishes to place two orphan boys in apprenticeship at the Lake if it accords with your rules. She would expect make the deposit required only leaving the children, as is done with orphans, entirely to your care....Please reply without delay as she will send the children in charge of Mrs. Keating."

"Richard Vincent, (Whelan), Bishop of Wheeling."

(Bishop Whelan to Sorin) "Mrs. Keating tells me that she proposes to send to your institution some orphan children taken by her seven or eight years ago. It was on her part quite an act of charity then and she is now doing a more charitable act in proposing to send them to N.D. She is by no means wealthy and whatever you may think of her petition, it is not at least unreasonable....

"My kindest regards to my own Ward."

"R.V. Whelan, Bishop of Wheeling, Aug.. 28, 1855".

" 1858: Male Orphan Asylum under the Brothers of Holy Cross" -- Dunnigan's Catholic Almanac,

(Father Sorin listed as Superior General of the Vicariate of Indiana).

(See under "Bro. Stephen", and in "O'Grady's Charities in the United States, pp. 43,44,51,53,77,78").

(Orphanage...Baltimore, 1860) (St. Vincent's Male Orphan Asylum) "Orphan's Home on Harford Avenue, near the city limits, under the charter of the Brothers of Holy Cross, who teach various trades to the boys. Number of Orphans, 30" --

"Catholic Directory, 1860, p. 60. (Christian Brothers. 1865?)

(Caring for Male Orphans) "Nearly all the early Catholic institutions for dependent and neglected children in this country confined themselves, exclusively to the care of girls. It was part of the tradition of religious communities of women that their work should be confined to the care of children of their own sex. The pioneer of the Church in this country hoped to secure Brothers from Europe to take charge of boys, or failing in this to institute new communities of men. Early efforts, however, to secure European Brotherhoods or to develop new communities of men in this country were unsuccessful. In the meantime the Bishops had to provide way s and means of caring for boys as well as girls who had been bereft of their parents. Their only alternative was to press the Sisters into service. This plan seemed to meet the situation until the Sisters of Charity were withdrawn from the boys' orphan asylums in 1846.

"In New York and Cincinnati, where the Sisters of Charity decided to become diocesan organizations they continued to take charge of the boys.... Other dioceses again considered the possibility of securing Brothers. They looked to the Brothers of Holy Cross, who had just opened a manual labor school at Notre Dame.... For a number of years the Brothers of Holy Cross took charge of the boys' asylum at New Orleans.... The demands made on the Brothers in the field of education and their limited membership soon compelled them to surrender the orphan asylum they had taken over and the bishops again had to call upon the Sisters.

"The Industrial School Movement of the sixties and the seventies again turned the attention of the bishops to the Brotherhoods. The Sisters could not be expected to care for the older boys. In many instances the Brothers of the Christian Schools came to the rescue.... In the work of the industrial schools, as in the orphan asylums, the Brothers were handicapped by the demands made upon them by education and their limited membership. Most of the orders of Brothers found it exceedingly difficult to secure vocations in the United States."

"Catholic Charities in the U.S." O'Grady, p. 396, 1930.

"The Irish immigrants of the Twenties and Thirties of the last century almost built the canals.... Irish laborers and the contractors had an important part in the building of the Illinois and the Michigan Canal extending from Chicago to La Salle, a distance of about 100 miles.

"...Because of financial embarrassments, the state substituted 'Canal Scrip' for cash, in payment of canal workers and contractors. The 'Scrip' however soon revealed a point at which it was no longer negotiable for cash. The only source of relief was in exchanging 'scrip' for land in the neighborhood."

"Catholic Charities in the U.S." O'Grady, pp. 43,44.

"Orphanage here bore the title of St. Joseph Orphans' Manual Labor School",

-- Letter 1882.

(Badin's Orphanage) (1833) "By building a log chapel under the name of Sainte Marie des Lacs, on the banks of the St. Mary's Lake within the present limits of Notre Dame, he reestablished the mission founded by Father Allouez in the long ago, and bought a section of 640 acres. Here in 1833 he established St. Joseph Orphan Asylum for the care of the Indian children and secured two Sisters of Charity from Kentucky to take charge....

"Probably because the Indians were at this time beginning to move westward the asylum was closed at the time when Bishop Brute came to visit Father Badin's mission in the spring of 1835."

"On the King's Highway," p. 103.

"It must have been devoted to the care of the Indians, as there were very few people in St. Joseph County at the time. No reference is made to this orphan home in any of the Catholic histories, and Judge T. E. Howard does not mention it in his history of St. Joseph County.

"The first reference we find to the orphan home is in a letter written by Father Badin to U.S. senator John Tipton, dated at Fort Wayne, December 29, 1832, in which he says: 'I have next to inform you that I have applied to the Legislature of Indiana to incorporate an Orphan Asylum, and that I have placed your name at the head of the Trustees, who according to the bill I framed, may act by proxy if on account of distance or affairs they could not attend the meeting of the Board.'

"Preamble of the bill states that Father Badin of St. Joseph County, is desirous to establish an orphan asylum in the County and to endow it with 300 acres of land.

"Trustees for the first year of incorporation included Senator John Tipton, at that time one of the most distinguished men in the State, General in the War of 1812, Rev. S. P. Lalumiere, Daviess County, Rev. L. Picot, Knox County; Francis Comparet and D. H. Colerick, Allen County; Alexis Coquillard and Wm. McCartney, St. Joseph County...."

James E. Deery, 1832 .

"The construction of the Michigan and Illinois Canal was authorized in 1835 by a bill of the Illinois State Legislature. The project was meant to provide a Lake-to-the-Gulf waterway in connecting Lake Michigan and the Chicago River with the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. 'The contractors who had the work in hand, sent circulars to all the seaports of the U.S., which were distributed among the immigrants, who were at this time coming in multitudes to America. Thousands started westward to find ready work and it is a noticeable fact that the majority came from Ireland, as the tide of emigration from the Green Isle to America set in at this time."

McGovern, The Catholic Church in Chicago. p. 14. O'Grady's

(quoted by Garrigan.)

(Bertrand, November 3, 1846) "It is agreed by the Rev. E. F. Sorin that in consideration of the sum of $6,000 paid to him by the Rev. S.T. Badin, for the pious purpose of educating and bring up orphan children, he, the said E. F. Sorin, his associates and successors, will purchase at such time as may be suitable, the land belonging to Mr. Graham and such other lands adjacent as far as possible. And will carry fully into

effect the objects which the said T. S. Badin is desirous to complete making, by all lawful securities, the land so to be purchased an integral and permanent part of the property known as the property of the University of Notre Dame du Lac, and that the said E. F. Sorin and/or his heirs and successors shall continue to increase the number of orphans in proportion to the means of maintaining them."

-- E. F. Sorin.

"Although Orphans were received into the house already the previous year, still it was only in 1844 that they can be considered as forming a distinct class in the institution, having their special rules.... When Providence sent the first of these little abandoned ones, pity caused them to be received.

"In nearly every large city in the United States there is an orphan asylum nearly all of which orphans are in the charge of the Sisters of Charity. This is an immense benefit to Catholic children up to the age of twelve or thirteen, but what will then become of them? It is, then, as a complement to all these pious asylums that the one at Notre Dame is established so that the children might pass from the hands of the Daughters of Charity to those of the Brothers of (Holy Cross) St. Joseph. 18 orphans are there at present.

"In general they afford as much consolation as they give trouble, and it can hardly be said that they are a burden to the house. God be blessed, who thus, even in the performance of a charity that was almost forced upon the institution provided a genuine resource for the future."

(Leaf found in the Chronicles)

" request of the Franciscan Fathers (Cincinnati..??)

St. Joseph's Orphans...Fr. Voors, four Brothers.

St. John's School, 1852, Brother Ambrose.

St. Boniface's School, Louisville, 1855, at request of the Franciscan Fathers."

See also under "Orphan's Home in large file; 1846,1847.

See Deery article in Large File.

"His Lordship (Bishop Van de Velde of Chicago) wished to make of the establishment of orphans at Notre Dame du Lac his diocesan establishment."

-- Sorin Chronicles. 1849.

(Diocesan Orphanage -- Early Note Dame, 1849 -- M.L.S.) (Letter of Sorin to Cure of Holy Trinity at Laval, France) "Besides the administration of this vast parish, you will remember, dear Father, that we have at Notre Dame du Lac a large boarding school, the diocesan seminary, the diocesan orphanage, and a home for the sick.

"After countless difficulties, we had just completed our new church and a large home for our orphans. Eight days after the consecration of the church, the orphanage caught fire, and despite all our efforts, was reduced in a few hours to a heap of ashes. The ruins are still smoking. Our poor orphans are actually homeless, without clothes, and like the rest of us, without bread, since the kitchen and laundry fell prey to the flames."

(Letter #40 -- Moreau) Nov. 19, 1849.

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›