University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


"The chance meeting of the Most Rev. Claude Marie Dubuis and Mrs. Mary Doyle with Father Sorin while crossing the Atlantic a year after his election to the office of Superior General, is responsible, apparently, for the initiation of the Sisters of Holy Cross into the Lone Star State. Father Sorin learned that Mrs. Mary Doyle was in possession of property located in Austin, Travis County, Texas, and that she wished to convey it to some ecclesiastic who would pledge himself to erect an institution for the education of Catholic Youth. Contact with Father Sorin during that memorable voyage convinced Mrs. Doyle that he and the Congregation which he represented should be the ultimate beneficiaries, of her request. Bishop Dubuis gladly accepted the terms of Mrs. Mary Doyle's offer....

"We (company included Father Sorin) went from St. Mary's Notre Dame, to Cairo, Illinois, a distance of 500 miles by RR.; from Cairo to New Orleans by the Mississippi River. We were six days going; stopped there a few days; then crossed the river in a ferry boat to a place called Algiers; took cars and went 80 miles; stopped at Brashears where we got the boat and went up the Gulf of Mexico. We were two days and two nights. We then reached Galveston...and then started by RR; for Austin where we arrived the next day."

-- Letter from Sr. M. Raymond, March 29, 1872.

"In 1874, Bishop Dubuis requested Father Sorin to open a college for young men about three miles south of Austin....

" old man of the city (Austin) had fallen from his horse and had been fatally injured. Although he was thought to be in great poverty, it was found at his death that he possessed property amounting to a large fortune. He had willed his estate to Mr. Bremond, who divided it among St. Edward's College, St. Mary's Church, and St.. Mary's Academy."

-- Our Provinces. p. 97, Sr. M. Rose Eileen.

"Brothers John, Maximus, and Ubaldus write Sorin"--

-- Provincial Archives. 1874

"In April, 1873, Mrs. Mary Doyle, because of her great interest in Catholic education and friendship for Father Sorin, deeded to Father Sorin 364 acres of land, adjoining the 123 acres which father Sorin had already purchased....

"In 1878 a small school was opened on the old Doyle homestead about one mile east of the present administration Building, and on the land which is known as the St. Edward's University Farm. For the succeeding three years the school enrolled students from the surrounding country. Then the demand for a boarding school caused the erection of another building.

"In 1881, the first boarders were enrolled.

"...In 1885, the school administrators obtained a charter from the State of Texas, under the name of St. Edward's College."

-- St. Edward's Catalog. 1943.

'Years ago, just after the Congregation of Holy Cross had established themselves in Austin, then a town of scarcely 5,000 inhabitants, a good and pious Christian woman, by the name of Mary Doyle, bequeathed to this order, as a site for a future college, a tract of 300 acres of land lying about 2 1/2 miles south of Austin.

"For some years after the good woman's death, little, if any good could have been accomplished by the opening of a college. The site of present building was selected as the most suitable place for the erection of a college when circumstances would warrant it. A few Brothers lived on the farm place during this time, and employed themselves in tilling and caring for the land. After a time a small building was set aside for school purposes, and the first work of the College began. It's first sessions opened with an attendance of three pupils. Not a very flattering prospect, you will say, but it was all that was expected at that time. The school had simply opened for the accommodation of the neighboring boys, and its director was content to bide his time and wait until the time was ripe for educational work on a more pretentious scale. Rev. D. J. Spillard, pastor of St. Mary's Church, Austin, was next placed in charge of the school, and entrusted with the task of establishing the new college. He had made a very successful start when he was recalled to Notre Dame. Rev. Fr. Robinson succeeded him, and for some years he successfully carried on the work of his predecessor. He was succeeded by Father Hurth. (Later to become Archbishop Hurth) Under his able and energetic management the little college progressed rapidly and steadily. The present session opened with an attendance of upwards of 70 Boarders. At the close of the last scholastic year, the accommodations were found inadequate...preparations were immediately begun for the speedy erection of permanent college buildings...Father Scheier and Brother Stanislaus were there."

-- Scholastic September 29, 1888.

"In 1871, Sorin passed through Texas and aware of the great future of the South, bought a tract of 120 acres -- the very place on which the new college buildings now stand -- with a view to establishing an institution for boys."

-- C.S.C. Chronicles, 1895.

"First opened for educational purposes in 1884, and chartered in 1886. Had over eighty students last term (June). Published a paper "The College Echo" which would do credit to a much older institution.

-- Scholastic -- Hon. J. Moore. September 29, 1888.

See also under "A" -- Austin, Texas.

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›