University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


Through South Bend, 1851) "Joy , lively over its coming despite the directors of the M.C.R.R., who had long been opposing the project. Prayers frequently said for success of Railroad through South Bend, Mishawaka, Elkhart, etc. Firing of cannons communicated news everywhere along the territory. Convenient for Brothers destined to teach in reaching their missions.... Now within two days of New York, 20 hours from Cincinnati, 8 hours from Chicago, and only a few days from our most distant missions."

-- Sorin Chronicles. (1851)

"Joy in northern Indiana in 1851, for a vital question had been decided by the legislature at Indianapolis, giving of a right of way for a Railroad through the St. Joseph Valley. Michigan Central fought it. Community has long prayed for it. Sound of cannon conveyed the news in early January. Link between the East and West. Notre Dame assured now of two means of transportation for its missions, Brothers and Sisters, and students. Ought to help bring European immigration here and develop Catholicism thereby. Notre Dame will be two days from New York.... Of absorbing interest for next 6 months. Cars promised for South Bend by September 1st.

"Another advantage of the Railroad is a Post Office for Notre Dame. attempt made since 1850, but failed under pretext of nearness of South Bend. More prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph until Henry Clay, one of the most remarkable men of the time in the United States, obtained this favor for Notre Dame to the satisfaction of all. It meant a saving of money and trouble. Another gain: the mail coach passes regularly under the windows of Notre Dame, and thus the school becomes better known and routes for reaching must be kept up better. Consideration for roads important enough to have Sorin named as Inspector of Public Ways in virtue of which he hopes to help Notre Dame's interests. Post Master-ship also a nuisance. He takes it, but Brother does the work. Important for an Institution like Notre Dame, often regarded by Americans with all the prejudices of non-Catholics about convent to ally itself closely with the interests of the country and the welfare of the locality; to be zealous and convince everybody that one is a citizen at heart as well as in name. It is a new way and often the best to prove one's honesty by the exactness with which accounts are kept and of doing justice to all concerned, time giving confidence to men and also by placing them under obligations and so gaining their friendship. It was in this spirit that Sorin and some of the Brothers went to the polls. He did it at once and experience only left him to regret that he hadn't done it sooner, since there is not the lowest office which doesn't bring out some honest candidates who are always disposed to help.... The Presbyterians, in particular, can't stand seeing the power of the ballot with all its consequences in Catholic hands."

-- Sorin. 1851.

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›