University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts

URBAN, BROTHER (ANDREW McKEAON -- Died July 5, 1912)

Presentation to Brother Urban, 1867, in "Scholastic," Nov. 23. November 28, 1867. "The students had an extra half holiday last Friday. The occasion, or, as an old friend of ours used to say whenever he could get a chance, the 'primary cause' of this breaking in suddenly, abruptly, and without pre-meditation on the regular course of classes, was the good spirits everybody was in over the presentation of a testimonial of regard and respect to Brother Urban, by the students of the Senior Department.

"The committee of Presentation was composed of Messrs. Peterson of Chicago and Edwards of Toledo. (J.F.)

"The President of the College expressed the pleasure he felt, not precisely at seeing the Brother the recipient of the gift, but at the good spirit and gentlemanly conduct the gift manifested."

1869: First Superior of Springfield, Illinois.

1871: Director at Alton.

1873: Director at Alton.

("See Alton, 1873")

"Brother Urban wishes to herewith thank those of his student friends who were mindful of him at Christmas time, since he is fortunate in having so many as to be unable to thank them personally" -- "Scholastic" January 22, 1898.

"Brother Urban, who for the past 15 years has greeted the visitor on his arrival, has been permitted to retire to a well-earned rest. There is probably no city or important town in the United States which does not hold warm friends of the devoted Brother whose courtesy has committed him to the respect of all who have met him. Not in vain was he named Urban, for urbanity was his characteristic. No hour too late, and no hour too early for him to serve the chance visitor or to dispense to the public the hospitality of the famous University. The public as well as the immediate personnel of the University feel that in his enforced retirement a distinguished and courteous official has been lost" Scholastic, 42:26. 1908.

"The venerable Brother Urban has commemorated in a characteristically quiet was the 48th anniversary of his admission into the Congregation of Holy Cross. He received the habit of the Community, Jan. 23, 1861. During the half century that has passed since then this devoted and kindly Brother has been doing the work of God as teacher, prefect, and as guest master at the University. His refined and gentle manner, the reflection of a beautiful soul, has endeared him to all with whom he labored, as it always excited the admiration of strangers. To the intense regret of all who knew him, failing health last summer compelled Brother Urban to retire to the Community House, where in solitude and calm he is rounding out a happy and prayerful life" -- Scholastic, 42:319

"January 23rd marked the 50th anniversary of the religious life of the beloved and venerable Brother Urban, for many years guest master at the University. In a characteristically quiet and dignified way, Brother Urban celebrated the event among his confreres and friends. The years lie gently on the head and on the heart of this good religious whose life has been one of education and devotedness. Many were the good wishes offered him on his anniversary day and many the fervent prayers that went up. May he long be spared to the Community and to his friends" -- Scholastic, 44:260, 1911

"Brother Urban passed to his reward on July 5, 1912, at the age of 75. In his early youth he entered Notre Dame as a student and afterwards embraced the religious life there. He had a long and distinguished career as teacher and superior, and for years toward the end of his life he served as guest master at the University.

"No man ever met Brother Urban who could ever forget him. Nature and grace combined to create in him a subtle and unusual charm. Invested with a natural dignity of attractive personal appearance, he went his way through the world, offending none, serving all, and leaving golden memories in the hearts of those who met him" -- Brother Gilbert, C.S.C.; "Alumnus," 3:102, 1912

"Now with profound regret we record the death of Brother Urban, who passed away at the Community Infirmary, Notre Dame, on July 5th. For years his health had been so frail as to require him to give up his active duties and for a considerable time he had been confined to bed. The cause of his death was a general break-down, the infirmity of old age.

"Brother Urban was born 75 (77) years ago in County Armagh, Ireland, his family name being Andrew McKeown. (McKeon?). In his early youth he entered Notre Dame as a student and afterward embraced the religious life . . . .

". . . he went his quiet way through the world offending none, serving all, and leaving golden memories in the hearts of those who met him.

"And these were a great multitude. Many hundreds of visitors passed daily through the gates of Notre Dame, and to them this gentle religious dispersed hospitality and above all a kindness that was more refreshing and strengthening than any mere hospitality could be. Few men were more widely known and esteemed. R.I.P. " Scholastic, 46:11, 1912

1912: "Brother Urban, one of the oldest educators of the Holy Cross Order, died at Notre Dame University, Friday morning: July 5. He had been retired for three years and had suffered for the last three years from rheumatism. He was confined to his bed for a month.

"He was guest master at the University for many years and during that time made numerous friends. One of his duties was to escort visitors through the buildings. He was always in a cheerful mood and was ever ready to answer any question. He was well acquainted with the history of the University and its valuable art collection, and it was a treat to be accompanied by him on a tour of the campus.

". . . When 26 years old he entered the Holy Cross Order and was admitted to profession in 1863. He taught at Philadelphia, Penn.; Camden, New Jersey; La Salle, Illinois; Lafayette, Ind.; and Chicago. He was noted for his excellent ability and scholastic attainments.

"He came to the University several years ago, but did not teach here. Bro. Urban numbered his friends by the thousands and visitors from the University always carried away a liking for him who had made their visit pleasant" -- South Bend Tribune.

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›