University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


"Meaning" "The change to 'free schools', or schools supported directly from the parish funds." Growth and Development, Burns, p. 277.

"...several generous bequests were actually made during this period for the establishment of 'free schools.'"

-- Principles, Burns: p. 94 (Maryland) -- 1865.

"Already in the 14th century a community of religious teachers, the Brothers of the Common Life, exercised great influence upon the spirits of Europe. Hundreds of their schools dotted Germany and the Netherlands giving instruction ' for the love of God alone', and recommending moral discipline to a sadly decadent generation. The purity of Thomas a Kempis, Master of an unequaled method for teaching was perhaps the Noblest characteristic of their achievement. Popes and princes profited by their learning and example."Commonweal, George N. Shuster: 1928.

(Order of St. Ursula; 1727 on) "...We find that there was another teacher known as the 'Master of the Poor School'. The 'Poor School' consisted of those pupils who were unable to pay their tuition, with, probably, the small boys."

-- Catholic Schools in Penna., Burns: (Colonial), p. 25.

"Founded by Bishop Marichal in Baltimore." 1817.

(1800) "In the year 1800, or early the following year, at the insistence of Bishop Carroll, a 'free school' was established at St. Peter's Church, on Barclay Street, New York City."

-- Principles etc. of the Catholic School System, , pp. 170-71. 1800

"Girls' school was supported by an association of ladies formed for that purpose."

"Principles, etc. Burns, p. 253.

"The Catholic Laity's directory for 1822 states that there were then two free schools in Baltimore, 'in which the children are carefully instructed in the various branches of youthful knowledge -- They are generally supported by private donations, and state collections in different churches'". 1822

(In 1824 on returning home from church, after hearing a sermon by Archbishop Eccleston in which he appealed for support of these schools, he (Chas. Carroll) sent a check for $50 for the purpose." Principles , Burns, p. 254. 1824

"A free school for poor Catholic boys was also established in connection with the college. (St. Joseph, Bardstown, Kentucky), the pupils devoting half of the day to farm work."Principles, Burns: p. 323 1820.

"The school was called a 'free school', but the term then did not mean precisely what it does now. It was hoped, however, to make it in time an endowed school, and thus relieve the parents of the necessity of paying tuition for their children."

-- Catholic Colonial Schools in Penna. Burns: 1794.

"In 1794 the tuition charge was 17 shillings, 6 pence for the pupils in the upper room, and 20 shillings for those in the lower. But there must have been difficulty in collecting the money, for this plan was soon abandoned, and the teachers paid a fixed salary out of the parish treasury, the money being raise by means of 'charity sermons', church collections, and occasional gifts."

-- Ibid. 1794.

(Free Schools under Bishop Brute, 1834 "After his return to Vincennes. It might have been reasonably expected that his first care in the expenditure of the funds he had obtained (in France) would be the finishing and decorating of his cathedral, and providing for his own personal comfort by the erection of a suitable Episcopal residence. At least such would have been the course pursued by a worldly-minded man. But again Bishop Brute by his course was to disappoint the reasonable expectations of most people. He postponed these matters for future consideration, and devoted himself exclusively to provide for the education of the children and of those who were destined to enter the ministry.... He also began active preparations to establish and put into operation free schools for both boys and girls, without regard to religious belief. In a communication published in the Vincennes Sun, he announced that the schools he proposed to establish should be free for all persons. In the matter of the establishment of free schools, his ideas and views were at the time considered by most of the citizens of Vincennes, visionary and not practical. The local press of Vincennes, at the time he was preparing to establish the free schools he planned, in referring to it, doubted the success of the undertaking, and, while they did not expressly discourage, all expressed the opinion that the attempt would end in failure. It was attended with such heavy expenses that it could not be successful under the management of the Bishop.

"Before that time, educational matters in Vincennes as well as throughout the entire West, had been neglected, and the only education facilities available were private schools, conducted by individuals for pay, or through private tutors specially employed by such families as were able to do so. But Bishop Brute was not discouraged by the doubts in bringing there (Vincennes) Sisters of Charity from Kentucky and inaugurated his free school system for both boys and girls, and also a night school for the convenience of such as could not attend in daytime. He also founded a college for higher education. These schools were all well attended and perfectly free to everyone.

"This was the commencement in the State of Indiana of free school education, and it must be remembered it was more than twenty years before the present free school system of the State was authorized and organized under the Constitution of 1850. In view of the facts am I not justified in claiming that, at least so far as Indiana is concerned, Bishop Brute was the originator and founder of the free school system?"1834

"Salaries" -- See "Brothers' and Sisters' Salaries".

(Bishop Brute) "Bishop Brute, when he came here as Bishop in 1834, was sorely grieved in consequence of the total neglect by everyone of educational matters. His trained and scholarly mind, accustomed as it had been all his life to educational institutions, could not endure this criminal neglect of such an important factor in aid of civilization and Christianity, and at once went to work in earnest to remedy it, and to provide suitable schools for the education of both boys and girls of all denominations and practically free for all as Heaven's air and sunshine."

-- History of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, Cauthorn Vincennes.

(See also "Pressure for Brothers, 1853")

(Bishop Brute) "The honor and credit of inaugurating and establishing free school education, in Indiana, belong to the Catholic Church; and the Church dignitary who was personally and zealously active in bringing it about was Right Reverend Wm. G. Brute, the first Bishop of the old Diocese...."

-- History of the Catholic Church in Indiana -- Blanchard, Vol. I, pp. 482-3.

(Brute) "When Bishop Brute came here in 1834 he called to his aid and assistance the sisters of Charity from Bardstown, Kentucky, and opened a free school for the education of young ladies. He also opened another free school for men and boys. These schools were maintained by funds supplied by the Bishop himself. He is therefore entitled to be called the father of free school system of Indiana. He also established St. Gabriel's College, here in 1838, for higher education, which was not free and which during its existence had a large attendance from all parts of the West and the South."

-- History of Vincennes -- Cauthorn, p. 152. 1910

(Brute) "He also began active preparations to establish and put in operation free schools for both girls and boys, without any regard to religious belief...his ideas and views were at the time considered by most of the citizens of Vincennes visionary and not practical.

etc. as above."

(1843 August 29) "After invoking the Holy Ghost, the Particular Council took into consideration the propriety of making the schools conducted by the Brothers free, and of recommending the Parish Priest to form a Society of yearly subscribers among the Congregation in order to meet the advance of $40 and sufficient means to defray the traveling expenses of the Brother together with the expenses necessary for the books, etc. of the school." Present: E. Sorin, F. Cointet, Bro. Vincent, Bro. Lawrence, Father Marivault. 1843

See also "Policy of the Brothers, 1843"

See also "Bishop Hailandiere to Moreau", Nov. 18, 1842, #4. and also same of Jan. 26, 1843, #48.

(1842; Bishop Hailandiere to Moreau) "Please pray, Father Superior, (Moreau) and have others pray too that your Brothers will do much good in the poor diocese of Vincennes. Their school here (Vincennes) had to be made free; otherwise it would have no pupils. It got off to a good start. At the end of last year, it had 85 pupils, among whom were several Protestants. Its influence is being felt in the city. How many more schools could we establish!

"But the money...."

(1844: See "Bishop Hughes to Sorin" and 1842: see under "New Orleans -- Free Schools".

(Foundations) "The conditions laid down for a foundation were in strict accord with the rule established for the Brothers of Ploermel by Abbe John de la Mannais, their Founder: 'Every Cure who wants a Brother will be obliged to pay the novitiate; (a) once and for all, a sum of 300 francs; (2) an annual salary of 150 francs, to provide for the Brother's maintenance; (3) a sum of 25 francs to pay for the traveling expenses of the yearly retreat during the vacation. The Brothers must accept no pay from the students. should the Church Trustees, the municipality, or pious people offer them perquisites, these they must hand over in their entirety to the Cure, to help him meet his expenses."

-- Life of Father Moreau, by Chas. Moreau.


"A free school has been opened at St. Mary's of the Lake, near South Bend, by the Brothers of St. Joseph for the reception of boys. The exercises of the school commence at 8:00 a.m. and close at 4:00 p.m. The course of instruction will consist of spelling, reading, writing, and arithmetic.

"No religious qualifications will be required, and parents may feel confident the peculiar tenets of the children shall not be interfered with."

Advertisement from South Bend Free Press, Oct. 7, 1844

-- Some Early Local Footprints, Leeper, p. 5, September 29, 1843.

(Brothers' School, 1843, Sept. 29) "Sorin to Hailandiere: Fr. Shawe's retreat to the Brothers a great success. Brother Anselm to return to his school in Vincennes in three days; another Brother is now at Madison, and a third with the Indians (at Pokagon). Cointet and Sorin gave mission at Pokagon, almost necessary to establish a school there immediately.... schools all free. Sorin and Council decide that all schools will be gratis. Has asked Moreau's approval. Parish to keep maintenance of Brothers. Cure (pastor to pay $40 for the Brother's clothes, Travelling expenses, a year. 'We will be happy if by the sacrifice of a few dollars we can do more good gratuitously'".Sept. 29, 1843

(Vincennes...Sisters: 1843 Catholic Directory)

"Free Schools: Brothers of St. Joseph....(2)

Female academy, connected with St. Mary's

Female academy under the direction of the Sisters of Charity from St. Joseph's

Community, Maryland."

See under "Government of the Society"

See also under "Nashville, 1844."

(Sorin, April, 1844) Richard Henry Whelan, Bishop of Richmond, replies to Sorin's letter concerning advice as to boys and girls in the same classes:

"1) Approve of pay schools.

2) Admit Protestants, making no concession to their prejudices to the disadvantages of the Catholics.

3) Idea of several Mother Houses rather than one, but only after the need arises.

4) Suggests that Vincennes diocese should receive all Sorin's attention at first."

(1844: Archbishop Kenrick, "Gratuitous schools are the most suitable to the charitable genius of our Religion, and the best calculated to promote piety among the people generally. We have colleges already. We need schools for the poor. How they may be supported is, of course, a serious difficulty; but I should hope that the character of the faithful would supply means. Schools on low terms might nearly answer the same end.

"I should think it advisable to extend the labors of the Brothers as much as possible to as many dioceses as desire them. When proper discipline prevails in the Institute, the more widely it is extended, the greater are the advantages.... I should be glad to have some of your Brothers in this diocese as soon as we can make the necessary arrangements for receiving them."

Francis P. Kenrick, Bishop of Philadelphia; March 18, 1844.

(Cleveland; December 6, 1850) "In the boys' free school, each scholar must pay half a dollar on entering and after that no more. It is to be taught by some of the seminarians."

-- F.X. Byerley to Sorin. 1850.

(See "Fort Wayne School, 1865")

(Free Schools in Vincennes; 1856-1865) "The number of parochial free schools in the whole diocese is 43. They are called free, although the parents of the children who attend are expected, and often required, to pay something toward the support of them."

-- Catholic Almanac, p. 122. 1856.

(Free School.. Fort Wayne) "This school is free, being supported by what is known as the School Society." 1895.

(New Orleans) "Holy Trinity Free Parochial School"

-- Catholic Action of the South; Dec. 31, 1942.

"The best of the educational aims of the Community (Mother Seton's Sisters of Charity) was toward the establishment of free common schools, for the poorer classes, rather than that of academies for the well-to-do. At Emmetsburg itself, a free school for the poor children of the neighborhood was started even before the academy.... It is worth recording, too, that not only were text books furnished the pupils free, but their dinner each day as well."

-- Principles etc.: Burns: pp. 215-16. 1912

See: Brothers' Particular Council", 1843; #5

"Brother Anselm (Caillot)"

"Bishop Loras"

European Aid:

"In the foundation and support of Catholic educational institutions, as well as churches, considerable financial assistance was received during this time." 1820-50.

Summer Schools:

"Fine old Notre Dame opened its doors to summer students and more than 200 enrolled are now looking with real regret to the close of the term....."

"A goodly sight to see is -- the army of Holy Cross Brothers worshipping in the old college church, and often stealing in between daytime hours to pay their respects to the Master,-- always one of them kneeling in a shadowy aisle or under one of Gregori's beautiful Stations."

-- Catholic Columbian, Sr. M. Monica, O.S.U., Aug. 16, 1918.

Regular summer school organized in 1918; others before that.

(1927) "As I walked over the campus and into the Main Building -- the first day I was enrolled in Summer School -- I dreamed of the bonds that would one day unite me to the hundreds of priests and Brothers and Sisters, and laymen and women because of our schooldays in an institution dear to us all. At that I had scarcely a speaking acquaintance with members of religious communities other than those of Holy Cross; and I admit frankly that one of my principal hopes was that the priests, Brothers, and Sisters of Holy Cross would make a fine impression on all the other religious and on the men and women students." Alumnus, Mother M. Eleanore, Oct. 1927.

(1928) "Summer School at Notre Dame. Someone opined recently that the word 'medieval' was somehow an 'aura' of implied ignominy; that instead of a certain richness of promise and sturdy daring, the Middle Ages connote a bleak and barren period; that one may not use the word 'Medieval' except at the peril of belittling that which it is intended to adorn.

"If this be true, how can one attempt to capture the atmosphere of the Summer School at Notre Dame by saying that it reminds one of gathering of medieval scholars? and it does just that. The students are largely religious; priests, Brothers and Sisters, though with laymen included to preserve the medieval verities. For in all ages, Christian Education has sought out all men, even as did the Apostles.

"It must be the vaulted interior of the Sacred Heart Church, loveliest of the quiet places in which to pray, that suggested the medieval tone of the picture of Notre Dame. At the benediction hour of evening, like pilgrims of old, hundreds of men and women fill the spacious Church. The variety in the matter of Habits, the color, the design, should startle some moderns who still believe all Catholics are cut out with the same cookie mold. Here is a brown Franciscan, and there a black, but both wearing the white cord of the poor man of Assisi; Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, with their 'little Dutch Cleanser' bonnets'; daughters of the Incarnate Word with scarlet insignia; Sisters of Loretto in blue; Dominicans in white, and gray nuns of the Cross; Sisters of the Holy Cross with their blue girdles and their 'linen halos'; secular priests and members of monastic Orders -- who can know them all?

"Where but in the monastery and Cathedral schools of the Middle ages could one find the prototype of this? Rules of life appealing to individual tastes, opportunities for developing special gifts of mind, the dedication of life to teaching, nursing, social relief, missions, contemplation or charity -- religious Orders in the Catholic Church offer them as component parts of the fabric of Faith."

-- Holy Cross Courier-- Sr. M. Eleanore August, 1928.

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›