University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


See under "Early Indiana" and "Early School Buildings", p__

Schools -- Sorin's Plan. 1859.

"The President then proposed the following matter to be deliberated upon by the Chapter; 'Which plan of operations should be adopted in this Province in order the more speedily to pay off the debts of the Provincial House?

1. Whether all the members be re-united and undertake more colleges? or

2. Whether Congregations (parishes) should be taken in each of which two priests at least would be employed and in which the Brothers and Sisters would have schools, or

3. Whether giving up all charge of Congregations, all the members not engaged at the University should be employed in the schools of the different dioceses, having a priest at the principal points who would live with the Brothers, superintend the minor establishments in his district, and preside at their exercises; and who would also, if possible, form and teach a high school.

"The members of the chapter gave their opinion, but nothing was determined. The decision was put off until the next session...."

"A vote was taken upon the three different plans proposed, and resulted in six votes cast for the joining of the first and second plans; and five votes for the second plan. viz., six votes for the Congregations and schools already established; and five votes for the Congregations with the schools attached. The combination of the two plans was therefore adopted; it being the idea of those who voted for the second plan, to continue to carry on the same as usual."1859

High Schools, 1802:

One of the earliest attempts to establish a high school in connection with a parish school was made in Detroit in 1802, and the first Central Catholic High School was established in Philadelphia in 1890.

Schools, Early Indiana:

"The pioneer school buildings were made of hewed logs and had puncheon floors and capacious chimneys and fireplaces. They had also seats without backs, and two long pins above the teacher's desk, on which his whips were laid.

"The State then had no school revenue to distribute, and its school laws were mainly a method of (for) selling school lands, for house building, choosing teachers, etc. Each voter was made a builder. By common consent the voters divided themselves into choppers, hewers, carpenters, masons, etc. If any could not report for duty, they might pay an equivalent for work in nails, glass, boards, or other equivalent, or material which could be used in building. If they neither worked nor paid an equivalent, they could be fined 37 1/2 cents a day.

"When completed, the building was inspected by the township trustees. If unsatisfactory, the workmen were again summoned and the work completed as desired.

"School law of 1824 for Buildings, etc., Sec. 6. Each 'able-bodied' male person of the age of 21 or upwards, being a free holder of household residing in the school district shall be liable to work one day in each week until such building may be completed, or pay the sum of 37 1/2 cents for every day he may fail to work...."

-- The Schools of Indiana. edited by J. H. Smart, pp. 10-11, 1876.

"School commenced at seven in summer, at seven thirty in winter. Recesses, morning and afternoon, were five minutes long, and we had one hour at noon. We were fully ten hours in school in summer. How scarcely endurable was that confinement. We had to sit on backless benches all day.... hours seemed like ages.

"When I look back through the half century of experiences...."

-- School of Indiana, Barnabas C. Hobbs, p. 14.

"Studies in Indiana Schools, 1837: Subjects: Penmanship. A good penman was held in great esteem, and much time and attention was given to writing. Spelling in that day was the foundation of all learning. Reading.. spelling must be studied for months and often for years before reading was begun. Arithmetic was regarded as the most important, because the most practical science. Grammar...we had to commit to memory the coarse print and the rules, and stand in the middle of the room to 'say it'."

-- Ibid.

Early Schools:

"He (Bishop Alerding, Fr. Wayne) attended the schools of Corpus Christi Church, (Newport, Ky.). All the children of the parish, boys and girls, numbering about 150 were taught in one room by one teacher. Scenes such as transpired there are wholly foreign to the present time. The education was in every respect strenuous." (an extract from an autobiographical sketch of the Bishop)

-- The Diocese of Ft. Wayne: Alerding, p. 53.

"In this historical study we find that Catholic secondary education and schools were known by a variety of titles. They were listed as colleges, seminaries, academies, literary institutions and high schools. But it was not until 1838 that the term High School appeared in the Catholic school system in the United States. In that Year, St. Ann's High School, Detroit, adopted the title...."

-- A Study of Catholic Secondary Education, Goebel, p. Vii.

See under "Education", p. 513, The Diocese of Ft. Wayne.

Advanced Grades, 1906....See under "Education, p. 513, Ibid.

Grade School Programs...See under Diocese etc. pp. 499-500; 505.

Schools: European Aid:

"The first was the Association for the Propagation of the Faith, organized at Lyons in 1822, largely through the influence of Bishop Dubourg; and the other was the Association for Aiding Missions, formed at Vienna some years later.... Without the aid received from these sources, the development of the Catholic schools system would have been impossible in the majority of the dioceses."

-- Principles etc. Burns: p. 250, 1912.

School System, Catholic:

"The greatest religious fact in the United States today is the Catholic School System, maintained without any aid except from the people who love it. "

-- Archbishop J. L. Spalding.


"The School-teacher followed close after the missionary and the explorer, and in many instances the school-teachers were the pioneer missionaries themselves."

-- Catholic School System, Burns: p. 39.

(1806; (Sorin; Chicago) "The Congregation, having of its own accord, given up all its missions (parishes) except those of South Bend and Lowell, which are at the very doors of Notre Dame...the consequence is that all its efforts are directed to only one object: education. In Chicago, 86 miles west of Notre Dame, it has a University and four parish schools, where 15 members are at work."

-- Sorin Chronicles

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›