University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


(Purcell to Sorin; 1844(?) ) "The Bishop of Vincennes on hearing this (Sisters of Holy Cross in Bertrand) appealed to Bishop Lefevre in such a manner that the Bishop of Detroit withdrew the permission he had granted for this establishment, and Father Sorin went to Detroit to bring about a final settlement. His visit was most opportune, for Bishop Purcell of Cincinnati arrived while Father Sorin was there, and to him the matter was submitted. After studying the situation, he decided that Bishop de la Hailandiere's fears were without ground, and, as a result of the conference withdrew his prohibition, renewed his first permission, and gave to Father Sorin and his young Community his fraternal and Episcopal benediction." "Story of Fifty Years", p. 24-5

(Sorin to Bishop Purcell; Indianapolis, July7 23, 1848) To Bishop Purcell of Cincinnati.. "... Oh! how happy I should feel to see my dear Notre Dame du Lac somewhere around Cincinnati. I heartily desire you to procure me as soon as possible an introduction into your diocese; of its being a blessing for our Society, I remain perfectly confident, and I feel equally certain that I will do my best to make it beneficial to the class of Society to which I have devoted my life.... I do not mean that I would abandon Notre Dame du Lac entirely, but I must admit that the same exertions might be far more useful in Cincinnati; therefore I shall content myself with keeping up what already exists there, without laying out any more. I hear that our property in this city may within a few years become worth a great deal of money.... I hope you will not lose sight of my request nor of your promise concerning candidates for our Novitiates."

(Bishop Purcell, Cincinnati, 1851 to Sorin; Provincial Archives) "I authorize you to say everywhere (Sorin was about to leave for Europe) that I highly prize your excellent institution, and I wish it all success in its noble efforts to diffuse sound learning, good principles and pure, undefiled Religion throughout the country. ... affectionate regards to all your reverend associates, and to all the Brothers." 1851

(Purcell to Sorin;) "What you say of the momentous question of education is right. It is the question of the age and the country. It is the great engine of heresy, infidelity and licentiousness for the destruction of faith, morals, of the Church. We have none or hardly any resources to oppose it. We have neither male nor female teachers for common schools, or hardly any -- surely not in sufficient numbers. Who knows how to teach? I told Rev. Mr. Letourneau that your principal English teacher at St. John's in this city could not speak five minutes without a grammatical error. They cannot speak, they cannot write, they cannot spell the English language correctly. They cannot sing -- cannot teach singing.... This province is wide awake on the subject, but while they are negotiating, souls are perishing."

-- Provincial Archives April 22, 1857;

(Consecration of Notre Dame; 1870) "The Most Reverend J. B. Purcell, Archbishop of Cincinnati, at the request of the Very Reverend Superior General of the Congregation of Holy Cross, consecrated the Communities of Notre Dame and St. Mary's, and all the grounds to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, November 10."

-- Ave Maria, 6:744.

"Archbishop Purcell himself was one of the first prelates whose encouraging voice we heard soon after our arrival; and in his happy memory he may yet depict to his mind the old log church in which he preached a most touching sermon on the Sacrament of Confirmation.... That primeval church was none too lofty; for each time the officiating prelate raised himself, as he moved to (at) the railing, he touched the ceiling of the chapel with the top of his miter: haec meminisse juvavit. He it was who first honored our Commencements with his Episcopal presence, and well do we yet remember the leading points of his admirable address, in which he feelingly invited the first pioneers of the Congregation of Holy Cross here to be satisfied with the merit and honor of burying themselves in the foundations of the work."

-- Ave Maria, 9:812.

See "Early Notre Dame, 1842-58"

"A proposal from Bishop Purcell to have the Brothers' novitiate at Cincinnati was considered. Bishop de la Hailandiere wanted it at Indianapolis. action postponed."

-- Chronicles. 1845.

(Archbishop Purcell and Sorin,) Sorin seeks to get foundation in Cincinnati. "Oh! how happy I would feel to see my dear Notre Dame du Lac somewhere about Cincinnati."1848

(Sympathy) "... in this country the Community has hardly found real and permanent sympathy except from the illustrious Archbishop Purcell. It was doubtless the will of heaven that one part of its trials should consist in this painful disappointment; but the more if felt the lack of this direct encouragement... so much the more did it appreciate the kindness and protection of the glorious Archbishop...."

-- Sorin, Chronicles.

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›