University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


"Council wants further explanation on Louisville. 1) Sorin didn't consult St. Croix on Louisville plan. Ste. Croix declines responsibilities, regretting Sorin went beyond his rights; declares such steps made outside Rules and Constitutions in future are to be regarded null and void.

2) Sorin began Orphan Asylum without authorization and recommended it to public charity." May 20, 1846

"At General Council Sorin tells his ideas of Louisville foundation after receiving letter from United States day before. It seems Sorin had positively accepted the foundation and that the Mobilier of Louisville had been acquired for the -- account of the House, for 1200 plus francs. Council rejects foundation, although this decision compromises seriously promise of Sorin to American bishops. Acceptance would deprive Ste. Croix of priests and Brothers and besides, Ste. Croix couldn't satisfy numerous and urgent needs of the several houses depending upon it, by way of subsidy. Two, United States Administration may not build, found, or send subjects to Ste. Croix, ask for money or alms in France without permission of Moreau." May 11, 1846

"The Council, Sorin being present and consenting, recognizes the advances made up to now by Ste. Croix amount to 53,360 francs, 37. Notre Dame has repaid 53,264, 47."

-- April, 1846

1846: "80 students, mostly Catholic."

"Father Drouelle (Visitor) had seen the secretary's books and that the administration at Holy Cross, Le Mans, was charged $400 for the expenses made in the affairs of Louisville (diocese). Father Visitor proposed to the Chapter the abrogation of that charge, because, he said, the administration of Holy Cross would never have undertaken the foundation of Louisville were it not for the advances made by the administration of Notre Dame du Lac and the repeated assertions that unless the college of Louisville should be accepted, the reputation of Notre Dame du Lac with the bishops and clergy was ruined.

"The other councilors were of the opinion that the charge should remain 'status quo', partly, that it should be reduced by half because, they said, before the expenses of sending a Brother and Sisters were made, Reverend Father Rector (Moreau) and the Major Chapter had decided that Father Superior (Sorin) would have nothing to do with Louisville, and that Bishop Flaget would have to treat directly with the Mother House. To which the Visitor replied, that since all this had happened in consequence of the steps taken by Notre Dame, and to withdraw that establishment from a difficulty they should suffer the losses. He thereupon expressed his opposition to the decision of the Minor Chapter, and said that he would refer the matter to the Mother House."

-- Local Council, Nov. 6, 1848.

"The Mother House having persistently refused to lend assistance to the establishment at Louisville, it is fast going to ruin... The establishment at Louisville has finally failed. Brother Theodulus, with Father Superior, returned toward the end of July."

-- Journal, 1848.

(See Novitiate, 1845.)

"St. Mary's College.... This establishment recently conducted by the Jesuit Fathers is now under the charge of the Priests of the Holy Cross, and the Brothers of St. Joseph."

-- Catholic Almanac, p. 128 1847.

(Fr. St. Palais -- Sorin, 1846) "In a letter Father St. Palais, later Bishop of Vincennes, speaks of Brother Mary Joseph's having gone to Kentucky (to join the Trappists?)

-- Provincial Archives. 1846

"Father Delaune having gone to the Louisville diocese, where he opened up St. Mary's College in Kentucky, Brother Joseph and four novices from Notre Dame assisting him in the work. This house, it would appear, was intended by the Very Rev. Father Sorin to be the novitiate of his Order, where he hoped to have more liberty of action than in the Vincennes diocese; but upon the arrival of Bishop Bazin this design was abandoned."

-- Life of Mother Theodore. pp. 381-2;1846.

"This literary institution, lately conducted by the Jesuits, has been placed by the Right Reverend Bishop of Louisville (Flaget) under the direction of the Reverend J. Delaune, who with the assistance of a competent faculty, already organized, will endeavor to sustain its well merited renown, and to bring it back, as far as circumstances will permit, to the plan upon which it was so successfully carried on for many years by its founder, the late Rev. Mr. Byrne...."


Rev. Julian Delaune, President

Mr. Richard Shortis, Professor History and English Literature."

-- Catholic Directory, p. 123 1848.

"Father Delaune, a scholarly and spiritual man, was one of the missionaries brought over from France in 1836 by Bishop Brute.... In 1842 he was appointed to St. Michael's Church, Madison, where he remained until June, 1846. He then severed his connection with the diocese and went to take the presidency of St. Mary's college, near Lebanon, Kentucky, (previously conducted by the Jesuits), to which Father Sorin of Notre Dame had just transferred his Brothers. Two years later upon the Brothers' return to Notre Dame and the closing of the college in Kentucky, Father Delaune went to Rochester, in the Diocese of Buffalo, to be director of a new college established in that city.... He died in Paris in 1849 at the age of 37 years."

-- Letters and Journals of M. Theodore Guerin-- Sr. M. Theodosia.

"Quoted by Bishop Alarding (Diocese of Vincennes): "He, (Father Delaune) was a pious, active, zealous, devoted and charitable priest, and a man of much energy of character and earnestness of purpose,." p. 353.

"The whole negotiations in reference to St. Mary's have been a very complicated and difficult affair, in which there was probably fault or misunderstanding on both sides. I do not believe that it should cover you with so much 'confusion before the public'. We are all men. The affair will not injure you, I think....

"P. S. M. L'Abbe Paulinus, Prior of the Trapppists of France is here. He traveled with the Visitor sent out by your Rector (Moreau). The Visitor informed him that he came out with express instructions from M. Moreau to break all connection with St. Mary's.... So that you see, Reverend Father, I have not acted imprudently under the circumstances. He confirmed your view of the actual position of Mr. Saulnier, who, it seems, together with Mr. Delaune, caused most of the disagreements in this curious transaction."

-- Bishop M. J. Spalding -- Sorin; July 25, 1848.

"June 17: I profit by the earliest moment at my disposal to inform you that possibly, I may even say probably, your services and that of your order, will not be needed at St. Mary's for the next scholastic year, it being at present probable that the Bishop will make other arrangements for the place....

"We have been left in a state of uncertainty for two years, whether your order would take the college or not, and we can be left in suspense no longer. The last letter of your Rector which I have seen, intimates clearly that he will not take it unless the Propagation of the Faith will make a suitable appropriation for the purpose, and this is not improbable. so that were we to make a temporary arrangement with you, your rector might at any time disturb it and recall you, leaving us in greater perplexity than ever. Besides, we do not think we have been treated exactly right by your rector, whose course in sending us a man so incapable of managing an institution as Mr. Saulnier, and then disavowing his acts, etc. etc. We will have to do what we can to carry on St. Mary's by our own clergy, at least for one year from the first of August next.June 17

"I must however, return you my sincere thanks...."

"June 27: Bishop Flaget has decided that the secular clergy of his Diocese will take charge of St. Mary's College...." Bishop M. J. Spalding.

(See: "Brothers Houses... 1846")

"Brother Theodolus, according to the Reverend Father Rector's (Moreau) order, will go to St. Mary's College, with the title of steward of that institution."

-- Local Council Dec. 6, 1847.

"A bill of $399.38 to be claimed on the Mother House, as an indemnity for the costs incurred by us in Louisville, (St. Mary's College, Lebanon) according to the directions we had received, was presented and paid off."

-- Local Council Aug. 28, 1848.

(See de la Hailandiere, Bishop --"St. Mary's, Kentucky.")

"Whereas it would be difficult to bring the affairs of St. Mary's College to a happy issue without the intervention of Father Superior, and whereas he might, on the same occasion, visit Indianapolis, and Vincennes, the majority of the members were of advice that he would accompany Brother Theodolus."

-- Minor Chapter, Dec. 7, 1848.

"In January, Bishop Chabrat wrote Father Sorin informing him that St. Mary's College at Lebanon, conducted by the Jesuits would be vacated in a few months.

"After communicating the affair to the council, he replied that he thought he could accept St. Mary's to establish there a school of English, perhaps a Brothers' Novitiate, and a school of arts and trades, on condition, however, that the property just as it was -- 400 acres of excellent land on which the society of Jesus, according to the Bishop, had spent $50,000, and whose buildings could house 300 persons- -should be given to the Society of Holy Cross; and, further, that the Bishop would do his best to form at St. Mary's a central novitiate for the United States, sanctioned by all the Bishops of the United States. He added he was on the point of going to France where he doubted not that he could have the matter approved, if it pleased His Lordship.

"On arriving in New York City, Father Sorin found a letter from Bishop Chabrat, who accepted with thanks to the conditions submitted to him and ended by saying he regarded the matter as settled and urged Father Sorin not to fear the least disappointment in regard to St. Mary's.

"Unable to put off his departure for France, Father Sorin wrote one of his old friends, Father Delaune at Madison, Indiana, ten hours from Louisville and a day and a half from St. Mary's begging him to visit there and send him without delay to the Mother House an account of the state of the property and buildings, with as close an estimate as possible of what it would cost to establish the Community there. He informed Bishop Chabrat of his request and embarked for London, desirous of seeking subjects in Ireland.

"Father Delaune speedily complied with Father Sorin's request, but instead of confining himself strictly to the directions, he acted as he felt Father Sorin himself would have done. He believed he was rendering a great service to the Community by buying all that should be needed for the house of the Brothers. Signed an obligation of 9,500 francs for furniture.

"News of the transaction which he received at Ste. Croix displeased Fr. Sorin very much. With the approval of the Bishop of Louisville, Msgr. Flaget, he had already written to the Propagation of the Faith for a grant of 20,000 francs. Pending a decision from there, Ste. Croix did not annul his acts in Kentucky. For four months an answer from Lyons and Paris was awaited. Meanwhile Father Delaune continued to act as he had been doing, feeling his course was approved.

"No answer being received from Propagation of the Faith, and the time of Sorin's departure at hand, the Mother House grew alarmed. Father Sorin is worried about Father Delaune, thinking he may be abandoned in his predicament -- in which his devotedness placed him.

"Mother House decides that they and not Farther Sorin are to deal with Bishop Flaget in the affair.

"Father Delaune is told to be patient, and that as soon as an answer is received from the Propagation, the needed members will be sent to St. Mary's, some from France; some from Notre Dame. Until then Father Delaune had no information of the condition upon which ratification of his acts depends. Naturally he complains and seeks justice.

"Finally Propagation answers that the 2,000 francs asked for is granted. Six months were spent seeking the author and the correction of the clerical error, but no additional grant was made.

"Father Sorin's silence is, of course, incomprehensible to Bishop Chabrat, and Father Delaune. Neither will communicate further with him; and Bishop Chabrat says he will soon leave for France and seek an explanation at Le Mans (October). In May, 1847, he had not yet visited Le Mans or France, nor written Father Moreau.

"Ste. Croix, seeing no way out, in order to help Father Delaune, who deserved to be treated with all delicacy, resolved to send him a priest to encourage him. This zealous missionary had not been idle. Expecting a colony from Ste. Croix, in January, 1847, he opened the college with the help of English speaking professors, to whom he gave lessons in Latin and Theology. 50 pupils, Tuition: $75. Prospects of college good. Within a short time debts could have been paid. Father Sauliner from the Mother House wished to supplant Father Delaune. Men supplied from Notre Dame; orders from Ste. Croix. Brother Theodolus sent from Notre Dame. Also four Sisters. Father Sauliner reversed by Mother House. In vexation at success of Father Delaune, he leaves the Society. Dr. Spalding, Bishop-elect of Louisville, irritated by Ste. Croix's frequent changes of policy, took matters into his own hands, (although he was in favor of C.S.C. retaining school and asked for a priest and some Brothers), and without waiting to see if Notre Dame would keep its word and claimed it had kept diocese in state of uncertainty for two years, and to end all misunderstandings, took the college away. (1848)

"His letter was that of one who had no longer any use for men whom he had lately been begging to remain."

-- Sorin Chronicles. 1847

"...(name as above) From January, 1847, daily awaiting a colony from Le Mans, he (Delaune) had opened the college with the help of English teachers and himself taught Latin and Theology. First year he had nearly 50 students at $75 each. It was while Delaune was running the college and caring for four nearby congregations that Saulnier arrived from Ste. Croix. A man of talent, tact, and prudence could have conducted things properly. Delaune was disposed to stay on for another year in return for a modest competence, and before his leaving all debts could be paid. Prospects for the college were encouraging. No doubt from his arrival he had the intention of being named President, independent of Notre Dame, from which he wanted all necessary help although treating with Ste. Croix for everything. Saulnier presented himself as the agent for Ste. Croix, as regards Bishop and Delaune. Soon he thought he could run the college better than Delaune as if authorized by Ste. Croix with all powers and without saying a word at Notre Dame he made a contract with Delaune, takes all responsibility for college as representative of Ste. Croix, makes himself President and Delaune becomes a simple agent on salary. In October he writes Notre Dame saying Moreau has accepted St. Mary's and ratified all his acts. Saulnier's conduct toward Delaune becomes worse. Delaune complains to Moreau, who annuls all his (Saulnier's) acts as representative of Ste. Croix. Delaune says, 'He (Saulnier) is going to leave the Society'. Msgr. Spalding, Bishop-elect of Louisville, regarded Saulnier as a child with a mysterious mission and said that Ste. Croix had mocked the Bishop of Louisville long enough, that the comedy would soon be over, that Ste. Croix sent weak representatives who said they had all powers and soon were declared to have none.

"Fearing for the reputation of Ste. Croix in the Diocese, Sorin, approved by the Council, went to Louisville early in April, 1848, and agreed with Spalding to give necessary personnel unless Moreau was opposed for the school year in September. Spalding (still wishing to give school (St. Mary's) to Society) asked for only one priest and a few Brothers. Saulnier learns that Notre Dame has the intention of giving him a superior (although it was only a question of giving him Father Gouesse as a helper) and refuses to cooperate with anyone at Notre Dame. Sorin has asked for Gouesse for a year. Spalding wrote Notre Dame fearing that this refusal of Saulnier would destroy Sorin's understanding of April. Sorin wrote that the refusal or consent of Saulnier was immaterial. Then the Jesuits gave up their negotiations with Delaune of Louisville and returned to Kentucky, taking college at Bardstown, question of St. Mary's indirectly affected and all changed. Bishop had to use priests from Bardstown. Without waiting to see whether Notre Dame would fulfill its promises, Spalding wrote Sorin that being unable to leave St. Mary's any longer without immediate help he felt obliged to furnish it independently of any previous arrangement, since Moreau might annul promise as acts of Saulnier and embarrass the Bishop again; that he thought the Diocese had not been justly treated by the Society, and that Notre Dame would have to claim from Delaune all due for Brothers and Sisters. His letter was one of a man who didn't need men any more. Sorin went to Kentucky and saw the Bishop at Bardstown. He insisted on execution of this agreement and showed himself duly authorized, as he had been for the last few days, by Moreau. But the Bishop feared a repetition of Saulnier affair and said nothing could be changed. A few days after Sorin's arrival back at Notre Dame Spalding wrote: 'M. Paulinus, prior of Trappists at Meulberg, who came with your visitor, has just come. He informs me your Visitor has come with orders to close St. Mary's and hence, adds Spalding, I was not wrong in expecting this ultimatum'. Sorin visited St. Mary's in July and brought back Brother Theodolus.... Saulnier quit the Society without saying a word to Sorin, who met him by chance on the streets of Cincinnati while on his way to St. Mary's, as Saulnier was on his way to the Jesuits in New York. With him were three Brothers just recently received by the Jesuits without Sorin's hearing a word about it.... Father Blox(?), Superior of St. Xavier's College, Cincinnati, was questioned by Sorin in the presence of Saulnier and the Brothers how he could receive three subjects without informing their Superior as they had perpetual vows and they had left their posts vacant. He replied that he didn't know all this, and that, since this was so, none of them could become Jesuits. Sorin told them he wouldn't take any of them back and left them as he found them, thinking with Bishop Purcell that the Jesuits didn't always show the respect and the greatest courtesy regarding other religious houses, and promising not soon to forget the lesson he had just received."

-- Sorin Chronicles.

"Father Superior read several letters relative to the important foundation of Louisville. He spoke of the anxiety excited in the minds of Father Delaune and the Bishop of Louisville by our apparent indifference to the said foundation, adding that he would be glad to have the novitiate of our Brothers as they have no chance of succeeding in Indiana.

"...however, among some petitions to the Mother House was this one: 'The Novitiate of the Brothers of Notre Dame du Lac shall be continued."

-- Council of Administration. 1846.

"This foundation was made two years after the foundation in Canada. It was preceded by an attempt at one in Kentucky and in Brooklyn.

"Bishop Chabrat, in January 1846, then coadjutor to Bishop Flaget, offered to Sorin, St. Mary's College, Lebanon, which had been abandoned. Sorin although minus finances and personnel was willing to accept it. His friend, Father Delaune, pastor of Madison, went to take possession of it in the name of the Society of Holy Cross and bought the moveables for 9500 francs ($1900). Sorin and Delaune counted on an allocation of 20,000 francs ($4000) from the Propagation of the Faith. Sorin, then at Ste. Croix, succeeded in getting approval of the enterprise. (He planned to transfer thither the Brothers' Novitiate). Approval was contingent on the consent of Hailandiere with whom the Mother House would directly negotiate the matter. It was soon learned, however, that the grant voted by the Propagation of Faith was for 2000 francs ($400) instead of 20,000 francs ($4000).

"The Official Catholic directory in 1847 announced that 'St. Mary's College, near Lebanon, Kentucky was actually directed by the Priests of Holy Cross and the Brothers of St. Joseph.' Father Delaune who was not a member of Holy Cross and received from Notre Dame any help no letter for several months, wrote to Father Moreau, April 12, 1847: "I am suffering in pocket from the false position I am and have been in for the past nine months, and much more spiritually.' At the same time Notre Dame Du Lac wrote that the grant of 2000 francs was not sufficient, while Father Delaune was writing: 'The Bishop assured me that he had asked the President of the Propagation of Faith for 20,000 francs just as I myself did in my letter to the same President.'

"Yielding to moral force, Father Moreau acted as a father rather than as an administrator and sent several subjects from the Mother House to Notre Dame to assist Father Delaune as much as their ignorance of English permitted. At the same time he authorized Sorin to pay for their trip from South Bend to Louisville.

'"Not having the courage to do away with all your trials, Pere Sorin, and despairing of you letting me know of your acts, I limit myself to telling you that just as soon as your Council will have sent me their plan of saving you from unfortunate business transactions, I will do all in my power to tide you over your latest 'faux pas'. Meanwhile, without in the least binding the Mother House, until such time as a fresh grant can be made by the Propagation of the Faith, I beseech you to stick to your agreement to send Father Delaune the helpers he needs to raise his courage and never again to go foolishly back on your word to him. You may draw on me at sight for 1000 francs to cover expenses of travelers and that you may not fall back on me in your financial difficulties.

"'I pray and I'm getting others to beg our Lord to enlighten and inspire you with more wisdom and prudence in the temporal direction of your house and that He buoy you up Himself till such time I can be of help'" (Moreau to Sorin)

"At the opening of classes, 1847, St. Mary's Lebanon, was manned by seven borrowed professors, and Irish priest, Father Delaune, and another priest who had just come from Le Mans.

"There was one Brother and four Sisters for the care of the house. The property then passed into the hands of the priest from LeMans as having been acquired by the Mother House which disavowed and annulled the contract which was made without its permission.

"Father Drouelle, who in 1848 visited the American foundations and was afterwards to go to Guadeloupe, had orders from Father Moreau to close St. Mary's. During the course of his visit, All Saints 1848, there was opened in Brooklyn a school by the Brothers of St.; Joseph. In the preceding year the Archbishop of New York, John Hughes, who had Brooklyn under his jurisdiction, asked Father Sorin to take over the school. Our stay there was short-lived, only till 1850.

"St. Mary's College, Lebanon, Kentucky...This establishment, recently conducted by the Jesuit Fathers, is now under the charge of the Priests of the Holy Cross and the Brothers of St. Joseph."

-- Catholic Almanac p. 1281847.

"This literary institution, lately conducted by the Jesuits, has been placed by the Rt. Rev. Bishop of Louisville (Flaget) under the direction of the Rev. Julian Delaune, who, with the assistance of a competent faculty already organized, will endeavor to sustain its well merited renown, and to bring it back, as far as circumstances will permit, in compliance with the desire of the public, to the plan upon which it was so successfully carried on for many years by its founder, the late Rev. Mr. Byrne.

"To afford those whose avocations in life render unnecessary for them a classical education, a better opportunity of devoting their time and ability exclusively too the acquisition of those sciences which are generally considered as the most useful, no classical course will be taught in the institution, but English and Commercial course divided into three years....

Faculty: John Maguire, Julian Delaune, A. Saulnier, Richard Shortis.

Terms: Bed and Board, Tuition, Washing, Bedding etc.

Bedding per annum (pay half yearly in advance) $75.00

Day School, 1st year $16.00

Day School, 2nd year 20.00

Day School, 3rd year 24.00

Board the week during vacation$2.00"

-- Catholic Almanac. pp. 129-31 1848.

"The foundation of St. Mary's dates back to 1821` when Father William Byrne conceived the idea of establishing a school for boys on the Mt. Mary farm.... He thereupon obtained the consent of Bishop Flaget and, without soliciting subscriptions of any kind, availed himself of the very unusual circumstances of immediate operation....

" reference to the Archbishop Spalding writing of Father Byrne says: 'He was President of the institution, sole disciplinarian, sole prefect, and almost sole professor.... Yet he found time for everything.'

"As indicated, the school grew rapidly and we are told that 1200 boys were either wholly or partially educated there during the twelve years of Father Byrne's presidency....

"In 1831, St. Mary's was surrendered to the Jesuits together with the entire ownership and control of the property. It was a wonderful demonstration of unselfishness and revealed well the singular character of 'Father Byrne.

"The College continued under the direction of the Jesuits until 1846 (7) when it was returned to the diocesan clergy. Temporarily, however, it appears that it was in charge of the Priests of the Holy Cross and the Brothers of St. Joseph. The Directory of 1847 says: 'This establishment recently conducted by the Jesuit Fathers, is now under the charge of the Priests of Holy Cross and the Brothers of St. Joseph.'

"Beyond this reference, there is no definite indication that the Congregation of Holy Cross had charge of St. Mary's nor is there any intimation as to the length of time they remained in charge. It passed into the hands of diocesan clergy before 1850.

-- Study of Catholic Secondary Education up to 1852, pp. 75- 6.

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›