University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts

VINCENT, BROTHER (John Pieau -- died July 23, 1890)

"The report of the Inspector of Primary Schools was deemed satisfactory, and the Circuit committee hastened to approve the erection of a boarding-school, which was opened (at Le Mans) on November 22, 1836, under the legal direction of Brother Vincent who was licensed to teach." -- Life of Father Moreau, p.72, 1836.

(1838) "We. . . . N. . . . N. . . . the primary boarding school directed by M. Pieau, in religion, Brother Vincent; The primary school was visited also and found in perfect order" -- Life of Moreau, Book 2, p. 32.

"One of the original Brothers of St. Joseph and one of the 13 who signed the Treaty of Union in 1831, when political chaos threatened to destroy the Community; one of the six Brothers who came to the wilds of Indiana in 1841; became the first Master of Novices of the Congregation in the New World.

"Born at Courbeville, France, 1797; entered Postulate November 1, 1821; received the habit in August, 1882; professed, August, 1838; Died July 23, 1890" -- 1831.

"Companion of Father Sorin. Among the six Brothers who left France with Sorin. Brother Vincent was probably most closely associated with Sorin. Did not accompany Sorin on his first trip to Notre Dame, but remained for a time at St. Peter's.

"Father Sorin's father placed Sorin in the special care and guardianship of Brother Vincent, who was much older than Sorin. Later Sorin introduced Brother Vincent to Pope Pius as the patriarch of Notre Dame. The Pope embraced Brother Vincent tenderly" -- Register, Nov. 5, 1879, p.2, c. 2.

Born at Courbeveille, Mayenne, 1797; came to Novitiate at Ruille, November 8, 1822. Named to Leschamp as teacher and Chantre, 1822; then to St. Germain-le-Guillaume. August, 1861, director of Professed Brothers; Master of Novices (Bros.) 1853; Director, St. Mary's Orphanage, New Orleans, 1848; Director of Postulants, 1854.

"Vincent and Augustine arrived at Ste. Croix, July 3, 1844. Brother Augustine to teach English at Ste. Croix. Brother Vincent left Havre with Fr. Granger, Brothers Justin and Augustus. Arrived New York after severe crossing, October 12. Left, October 15, almost perished on Lake Erie. (4th colony). Arrived Oct. 28 at Notre Dame. Brother Albert painted a picture of Brother Vincent 1879." "Scholastic, 13.10, 154.

(Brother Vincent to Moreau: April 10, 1842) "The whole down-town section is French, which is the reason I can teach there, for two thirds of my pupils speak French. A pious seminarian comes twice a day to give reading lessons and ciphering. There also is at Vincennes a girl's school conducted by the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul, seven of the Eudists have a small college of less than 20 students. Bishop's house serves as a seminary, having only ten in attendance. Like a good Father, Bishop has us all at his table at which we partake of the frugal abundance. Our Cathedral, though not like that of Le Mans, is the best I have seen in the United States however. Vincennes is situated in a vast plain almost surrounded on all sides by immense marshes only a quarter of an hour's walk away and covered with woods, filled with all sorts of reptiles, and is separated from Illinois tribes, formerly so wild and cruel, only by the banks of the Wabash" Etrennes Spirituelles, 43. P. 73-4.

(Brother Vincent to Moreau: April 10, 1842) "Since Dec. 15, 1841, at Vincennes. Returned to St. Peter's for feast of St. Joseph. Had three Masses that day at which the faithful assisted in large numbers. We had the whole ceremonies of Holy week as solemnly as possible and curiosity as much as devotion filled constantly our little chapel.

"In a state of perspiration we can drink cold water without any discomfort; if I did that in France I'd be sick" 1842; (Bro. Vincent to Moreau)

(1847) "Brother Vincent will be steward in lieu of Bro. Theodolus."

(1848) Nov. 22, Brother Vincent is appointed Steward.

(1847) Assistant superior and singer.

(1846) See "Brothers' Studies, 1886."

See: "Indianapolis, 1848" and "Brooklyn, 1848."

1844: May 10 -- "The Council of Administration ordered the room below to be prepared for an infirmary. The same Council appointed Brother Vincent to attend to the sick in the new infirmary."

"Our nourishment is coarse. Our mattresses and pillows are of straw. When perspiring etc . . . (As Above)"

"Brother Vincent, who had accompanied Father Sorin from France, and when we all know as the venerable Director of the Brothers' Novitiate, where he is so highly revered, could not remain at St. Peter's while Father Sorin was at Notre Dame,; by his advice, and having obtained permission, he transplanted the whole establishment of St. Peters' to Notre Dame in the month of February, 1843. He and Brother Lawrence had been throughout the efficient aids of Fr. Sorin. Father Sorin's joy at their arrival was no less than the Brothers, and theirs may be judged from what he wrote shortly after their arrival, 'Our separation had lasted four months -- it seemed to them four years'" -- Silver Junilee; Howard. 1842-43

"Until such time as the waters of the Wabash are high enough to permit the transportation of our little Community with the least possible expense" -- Sorin to Moreau, Dec. 5, 1842L Moreau's Letters, p. 63, Vol. I. 1843.

". . . the ship tilting sometimes on one side and then the other seemed every moment on the point of being submerged by the waves. Brother Vincent and I ran through the ruins. We prayed aloud. We were surrounded by a Protestant family, which deemed itself happy to have us aboard. Brother Augustine sicker than I was. But Providence spared us Brother Vincent. He was our guardian angel" -- (Father Granger to Moreau. Oct. 13, 1844).

(1860) "Elected a General as Assistant by the General Chapter" -- Le Mans, August 11.

1844: Appointed Assistant Master of Novices.

1865: Provincial Councillor.

1844: "Council of Administration decides that Brother Vincent is to attend to the sugar making" -- Feb. 12.

"Provincial Assistants, 1858."
"Augustine to Sorin, Havre, 1844"
"Le Mans, Sept., 4, 1844."

1859: (Brother Boniface to Sorin) "If you cna't pay us a visit yourself, good Brother Vincent will be very welcome by all of us as a visitor, but under the condition that he will spend at least a couple of weeks with us for our edification" -- Cincinnati, Feb. 1, 1859.

1845: See "Early Notre Dame -- Kilroy's."

(Second voyage) "About six in the evening a storm broke. We got up at 9 when the rocking of the ship threatened to throw us out of bed . . . an entire row of beds were thrown out into the middle of the ship and all those in the upper berths were pitched out. Only one was hurt, but he suffered no broken bones. Brother Vincent and I went into the midst of the debris; we prayed aloud; a Protestant family gathered about us, happy to be near us. Soon the ship was transformed into a church. . . . Faith was reawakening and danger made everyone pious. Oh! But the night was long! It was a battle between life and death; one sail was ripped. The storm abated about 6 in the morning after lasting for twelve hours. . . . Brother Augustus, however, was worse than I. As to Brother Vincent, Providence took care of him. He was our guardian angel. May God reward him for what he did for us and for many others . . . . During the great storm, Brother Vincent made a promise to have a thousand Hail Mary's recited at Notre Dame de Sainte Croix and at N.D. du Lac." -- Moreau "Letters," p. 95-96.

(Subscriptions to new tabernacle, 1873 -- Brother Vincent: $10.00 -- Ave Maria, 9:813.

1868: "Master of Novices of the Josephites" -- Local Council, May 4. Introduces candidates for profession.

1857: Elected an assistant to Superior General Moreau.

1860: Ditto.

1874: See "Lamp for N.D."

1844: October 27, Brother Vincent returned from France accompanied by Father Granger, Brothers Augustus and Justin, and three Sisters.

"The bake shop, in charge of Brothers Joseph and Vincent, occupied the west side of the basement" (of the first college, now the Mission House) -- Rev. J. J. Trahev: Dujarie Hall, 1906. (1844)

1852: "On Monday, May 17, Father Sorin, with one priest, one seminarian, and four young women postulants for the sisterhood, sailed for this country from France. The voyage lasted 44 days. To quote from Sr. Euphrosyne's vivid account of the arrival at Notre Dame: 'On arriving at South Bend we were met by Brothers Vincent and Lawrence, each the driver of a wagon. Father and his companions were taken into Brother Vincent's wagon, the postulants into Brother Lawrence's; and the party proceeded to Notre Dame;" -- Rev. J.J. Trahey, Scholastic, 39:400

"Brother Vincent and Brother Augustine (Irish) arrive at Le Mans. Latter to teach English." July 3, 1844.

May 27, 1844: Brother Vincent writes from Detroit to Sorin that he must come to Detroit to settle about Beaubien's property so that the deed will be as Sorin wants it. Lots are in good position near the Cathedral, the foundations of which are just dug.

1865: "Provincial Council unanimously agreed Brother Vincent should be Assistant Master of the Josephite novices and makes the change."

May 27, 1844: "Brother Vincent on way to Europe with Brother Augustine via Detroit; slept at Bishop's; then to Canada, guest of a good Jesuit for two days; steamboat to Buffalo paying $5.00 for both cabins and food for the 300 miles. Bad roads from South Bend to Detroit 'over which we had to ride all night in a miserable stage'".

1844-45 Member of Council of Professors. (Prefect of Discipline), and in charge of the "soup" too.

Brother Vincent to remain steward as appointed by Moreau. No under-steward necessary. August 28, 1846. (Arch. Of N.S., 49 pp. 16-7)

This decision reversed: Brother Vincent to cook. There will be no steward. Brother Dominic to be under-steward and butcher.

1859-60 Master of Novices, assistant. Chapter of 1860 -- named Assistant General to represent United States province and must reside at St. Croix.

(Brother Vincent to Moreau; April 10, 1842) Says his only headache is that Sorin is asking Moreau to bring back Brother Vincent to help Sorin with the Novitiate before since he couldn't understand or make postulants understand but happiness is in obedience .

1858: Just arrived from France; is named assistant of Provincial for the Josephites. (Sept. 20, 18858)

July 1846 Brother Vincent to work and bake in the kitchen until Sorin's return from Europe. (Archives of N.D. P.15).

Born . . . Courbeville, France, 1797; Father of Pieau was a weaver; entered Sept. 1, 1821; received habit August 15, 1882; Professed Aug. 22, 1838. Taught at Larchamps, 1823-7; three years director at Larchamps. 8 months in boarding school at Ruille then director there from 1836; Ste. Croix, Sept. 1840; 8 months at Ruille la Gravalacs; econome, master of novices, etc. 1841; two months at St. Peter's; opened school at Vincennes, 1842-43; 1844, assistant at Notre Dame; 3 months in France; cook, 1846; master of studies, steward, 1848-49, Director of Brooklyn School; 1849, Econome, assistant; 1850, Director of Asylum at New Orleans.

Went to France 1845: 1) to try to bring Moreau over to visit the mission; to enlarge or decrease it; to regulate status of Brothers and Sisters. 2) From what has been done in three years, we can hope for great good in the college and missions. Already 6 dioceses want the Brothers. Sorin thinks that schools should be free on condition that the founder will pay the sum of $40.00 for the clothes of the Brother, plus traveling expenses. 3) Can't Ste. Croix do something for the Sisters. Land for 2,000 francs should be bought and a building erected by next spring at least. 4) Can they take students in on a demi- pension; from families who desire their salvation as long as it is no expense to the Congregation? 5) -- 6) Want Constitutions in English. That Brother Augustine continue to study medicine. Provincial Archives, Sorin -- Cor. II.

N.D. Congratulations of the Postulants and Novices of St. Joseph Novitiate to Brother Vincent. ". . . We will not indulge in many eulogies upon the past, nor speak about the veneration we have for you as the Patriarch of our Dear Society, but simply express our heartfelt gratitude in return for the many obligations under which we are towards you."

"Brother John and Brother Vincent shall work in the lime yard" -- Council of Administration; 1846.

"Brother Lawrence, having hired men for the lime yard, Brother Vincent shall work with the book binder" -- Council of Administration; 1846.

"Brother Vincent shall ask Brother Basil to bake during the harvest and Brother Vincent shall go to the kitchen" -- Council of Administration; 1846.

"Brother Vincent shall be told not to work in the kitchen any longer, but merely to oversee there" -- Council of Administration; 1846.

"Brother Vincent shall do everything and all business in town shall be transacted by his orders." -- Council of Administration; 1846.

"During this time, Sisters Mary of the Conception and Compassion were sent to Notre Dame to help with the work and to assist at bookbinding. A professional bookbinder had been employed to teach his trade to Brother Vincent and these Sisters" Sr. Eleanore, On the King's Highway, p. 148. (1846)

"Master of Novices and Overseer (prefect)" Minor Chapter Local Councilm 1847.

"Amongst the professed Brothers was Brother Vincent, the first who had joined the Brothers of St. Joseph when that society was originally founded. He lived long an exemplary religious, and the patriarch of the order at Notre Dame. Years after (1874) when bent and grey-bearded, he was taken on a pilgrimage by Father Sorin to the Eternal City, and there had the supreme happiness of an interview with Pius IX. On being introduced to the Pope and Patriarch of the Congregation of Holy Cross, the venerable Pontiff would not suffer the equally aged but humble Brother to fall at his feet, but took him into his arms and embraced him most tenderly" Howard: Golden Jubilee.

"Brother Vincent will take care of the linen of the Brothers" Coun. Of Adminis., 1846.

An expense of $20.00 shall be made for the bookbinder and Bro. Vincent shall learn the trade" Coun. Of Adminis., 1846.

Appointed Assistant Junior Prefect, 1871.

(Brother Gatian's Journal) "The members of the Minor Chapter resolved to depute Bro. Vincent to represent them at the Major Chapter . . . The Minor Chapter having later decided that Brother Vincent should not be sent to France, resolved that he should make a collection among the Irishmen on the railroad, with the assistance of Brother Stephen, for the benefit of the orphans at Bertrand" --

"July 8: Bro. Vincent and Bro. Stephen returned from their collection tour, the 1st, 8 days after his departure; the 2nd, 15 days. Proceeds: $41.40. Number of men only 200 instead of 500" --

In New Orleans, May, 1849, as director of New Orleans Orphan Asylum. In 1852, Master of Novices; in 1854, Director of Postulants and under-steward. Member of Local Council and Director of Professed Brothers.

Died at 93, July 23, 1890. -- Scholastic, 24, p. 12.

(Feb. 11, 1846) "Bro. Vincent shall make the lime and Messrs. Frank McDonald, Theall, and Charles Barret shall help him" Archives, N.D., p. 11

(June 23, 1847) "Council called by Sorin to know whether a delegate would be sent to the Major Chapter at Mother House. Majority decided Brother Vincent should go."

(Decision canceled June 24, to save money for payment of Indianapolis. Bro. Vincent to collect on Railroad instead).

2nd. That Father Cointet should tell Brother Vincent to inquire what lessons the pupils had when he would see them idle and if the boys said that they had no duty or lesson, then he should ascertain the truth of the assertion, and if they had deceived him, punish them severely" Council of Profs. April 7, 1848.

(Description) "I cannot tell you how I regret Notre Dame du Lac, naturally, yet faith makes me like my new obedience and I should rather die in the middle of the Mississippi than to live in some place where I should have my own way" Bro. Vincent to Sorin; Apr. 15, 1849. Provincial Archives Sorin Chronicles (Folder Bro. Vincent)

62 years old in August, 1858; 63 tall; gray beard, gray eyes, large nose and mouth; gray haired from passport of 1858. Prov. Archives, Sorin Corr. I.

"Six hours later we boarded the "Arago" which would take us to Havre, and full of regrets at leaving so many beloved Fathers and Brothers and Sisters, Brother Vincent say "Adieu done, famille cherie, etc."

"Translation 'Farewell, then, my dear spiritual children, whom I leave behind in these far off lands. Farewell, till we meet in that country where God assembles all the saints. Let us work with joy in expectation of that beautiful day; then happily we shall see one another in that celestial abode. You who desire to see France by accompanying me overseas, do not give up all hope, but accomplish well your diverse tasks. Know well how to await with courage the moment fixed by God, stabilized in His work and be ready to serve Him everywhere.'" From Cir. Letter of Moreau On King's Highway, p. 223.

(Sorin Letter, 1858) "We, Edward Sorin, Provincial of the Holy Cross in Indiana, after consulting whom it concerned, have appointed and by the present letter of obedience do appoint, our dear Brother Vincent, recently arrived from the Mother House, as Master of Novices and Assistant Provincial for the Josephites, to visit our House of St. Mary of the Lake in Chicago, and stay there a few weeks, until he has made known the intentions and wishes of our Venerable Founder, according to the new Constitution and until there is a perfect regularity and spirit of Community among the members of our dear little family, recommending to each of them not only to receive him kindly as he deserves, but to show him the best will to being with him the labors of the New Year, undertaking in a truly religious manner in which alone all hopes of success are founded and reasonable. Given at Notre Dame, the 20th day of September, 1858: E. Sorin, C.S.C.

1858: "The third Assistant: Brother Vincent, will be Procurator for the houses in America and will handle their affairs at the Mother House. He will also aid the other two assistants in the examinations. . . ." Letter #92, Jan. 1 (Brother Vincent returned with Father Moreau to France on the conclusion of the General's visit).

(Father Corby to Brother Vincent, March 29, 1864) "In reply to your cordial address sent me on the 10th inst., relative to a donation for the building of a house for the Professed Brothers, all I have to say is that the address with the assurance that your prayers will follow me, more than repays me for any effort made on my part to assist you." Headquarters, Irish Brigade, Virginia.

(Provincial Council, Aug. 12, 1865) "The Council unanimously agreed as to the expediency of placing Brother Vincent in the position of Assistant Master of Novices of the Josephites Novices, and ordered that it be done, they considered the feasibility of removing the Professed Brothers to the new building, thenceforth to be called Holy Cross House.

The 3rd session was passed in hearing the opinions of the Brother Directors on matters pertaining to their schools" Prov. Council, Feb. 26, 1866.

1847: "Brother Vincent promised to help the cooks as often as possible. Brother Lawrence did not like it as it would withdraw him from the important office of steward" Local Council, June 7.

The House of Holy Cross is the residence of the Professed Brothers and is presided over by that model of a good religious, who for more than a quarter of a century, that is, from the very foundation of Notre Dame, has been the mainstay of the Brothers, the consolation of all in affliction, the good friend and prudent adviser in the time of prosperity. I need not name Brother Vincent. He is now the patriarch, the first and oldest Professed member in the Congregation. As might be expected, the community under his charge is composed of men devoted to their rule, zealous in the fulfillment of their duties and self sacrificing; and though the house in which they live is old, being the first brick building ever put up at Notre Dame, and not spacious enough for their number, besides being low and ill-ventilated, yet they live in the patient hope of having a better home, and at the same time do their duty" Sorin's Visit, June 14, 1867.

(Sorin to Bro. Vincent; Le Mans, 1868) "I sent you a few pictures for your dear novices on condition to pray for us (me). You have no idea how often and how much I think of you and of them all. The Brothers are very good and they do their best to make me happy; they are regular as a clock, obedient and devoted to a fault, but my dear ones at home never leave my mind and still less my poor heart.

"I send you something better than pictures, viz., a first-rate and stout Baker who knows how to make the best bread I have ever tasted, and then a musician, a writer, etc. . . ." Dec. 1, 1868.

"Brother Vincent shall admonish the dormitorian and Brother Timothy about their employments" Council of Admin., 1846

"It must be a great consolation for us at Notre Dame to possess such a neat and exact fac-simile of the real Grotto of Lourdes. I will visit it oftener than I ever did, and hope many others will do the same. Dear Brother Vincent, you will come and join me there, on fine days, will you not? You know Lourdes; you will show us how much you love it. I will assign you an objective, an especial blessing to secure there before you die, viz: the increase, the development, and the success of our Novitiates. I promise to join with you on the vital subject" Circular Letter, June 4, (1883)

"Now only Brother Vincent and a few others remain, forming a link between those early pioneers of Notre Dame and the present generations. Good Brother Vincent, over whose head has passed the snows of nearly 90 years (winters), who saw the rise of the congregation of Holy Cross, immediately after the French Revolution, and was one of its first members, still enjoys a healthy old age. . . ." Scholastic, Feb. 8, 1879.

May 9, 1874 Sorin) "Since writing the above, a generous lady having offered to defray our venerable Brother Vincent's expenses to join the pilgrimage and pray for her and for us all, I have joyfully accepted the offer and immediately secured a berth for him on the "Pereire." Circular Letter. (P.S. An American pilgrimage to lay at the feet of the immortal Pius II the homage of the American Church). Sorin.

"It gave us who have known Brother Vincent since our boyhood years, great pleasure to see him depart on this pious pilgrimage . . . a third of a century ago Brother Vincent accompanied Father Sorin in the pioneer band of Holy Cross that settled down on the banks of the beautiful lakelets at Notre Dame; and now, having filled to overflowing his three-score and ten years with merits, it is a pleasure to all his host of friends to know that in his venerable old age he can take part in a pilgrimage to Rome and Lourdes" Ave Maria, 10:348.

(1857): On the 5th of September, in the year 1857, the Very Reverend Father Superior General, wishing to organize the society of the Sisters Marianites conformably to the intention of His Holiness Pius the ninth in separating for the future the temporals of the Marianites from those of the other two Societies, repaired to the community room of St. Mary's, Province of Notre Dame du Lac, and there convoked the two Councils of Notre Dame du Lac, and St. Mary's. Present were Rev. Father Sorin, Provincial . . . Bro. Vincent, Lawrence, Amadeus, Francis, Berardine. . . ." On the King's Highway, p. 211.

(1872) "Brother Vincent and Brother Simon have made the grounds around the Professed House the neatest and most tasteful of all the pretty places that spring can show around the College" Scholastic, Mary 4. (Professed House: Mt. St. Vincent: Community House).

(1873 ) "On Thursday last the professed members of the Congregation of Holy Cross celebrated the patronal feast of their worthy companion, Brother Vincent, now the oldest professed Brother of the Congregation. The Professed House put on its best looks for the occasion and welcomed to its hospitable hall several invited guests, among other, the Very Rev. Father General, who some thirty years ago, crossed the ocean for the first time in company with good old Brother Vincent" Scholastic, Jan. 4,

(1874) Paris "After our devotions we went to see the artist who is making our great Lamp, Mr Arman Caillat . . . We were not long in Mr. Caillat's establishment before we could satisfy ourselves there could be nothing superior in France. . . ." (Letter of Bro. Vincent)

108 pilgrims departed from New York, May 16, for Rome and Lourdes. First American pilgrimage. (See "Bishop Hailandière to Sorin")

(Series of Bro. Vincent's letters to the Editor of Ave Maria)

(1874) "Old men love to speak of their doings," he wrote from Genoa when homeward bound. "Surely you will not blame me for telling you that since my last letter we had a private audience with His Holiness. It might be more modest and more meritorious, on my part, to keep to myself what passed on that solemn occasion. Father General, in soliciting the favor of an audience, had made known to Msgr. de Merode, that he wished to present to the Holy Father the Patriarch of the Congregation of the Holy Cross. . . .

"Promptly at the hour appointed we were at the Vatican, without excellent Fathers Champeau and Ferdinando. I could have walked all the way, for I felt young and light. We waited in the ante-chamber only a short time when the superior General of the Congregation of Holy Cross was called in. We followed him immediately; and after the three usual genuflections we soon found ourselves on our knees in the presence of the Vicar of Jesus Christ. For a poor Religious like me to be ushered in under the eyes of the Pope was almost beyond my strength; but I felt relieved when I beheld that countenance of kindness, of fatherly benevolence, and tenderness, that smiling face, I felt at ease and at home.

"Father General, who was nearest to His Holiness, looked for the foot and the cross, but the Holy Father offered his hand, which he kissed, and we after him.

"'Stand up, Stand up,' said the Holy Father, smiling; 'Stand up, my beloved sons.'

"Father General then began to read a beautiful, charming little address, to which the Holy Father listened with marked interest and pleasure, frequently interrupting the reader with kindest remarks.

"Then came the presentation of our Father Champeau, Superior of our College at Paris; of Father Ferdinando, our Procurator General in Rome, and finally, of your humble servant, the Patriarch of the Congregation, who, Father General said, had come 5000 miles to see the Holy Father. Upon which His Holiness made me come nearer and took me by the hand, and for a while seemed to pay attention to me alone. Again he gave me his hand to kiss, and blessed me, and left me, I might say, half in heaven and half upon earth.

"'This good old patriarch,' said the Holy Father, 'must have a strong constitution to come 5000 miles to see the Pope. May God and His Holy Mother strengthen him for years to come, to the edification of others! Then, turning to the other end of the table, he said 'I must not let you go without something from me; but I have scarcely anything left.' He gave each one of us a fine silver medal. . . .

"What must it be to see God in heaven, if a glimpse of His captive Vicar can confer such a foretaste of happiness here below?. . . No wonder if I did not sleep much that night, for my heart was too full; but I rested well. . . ." -- Ave Maria, 10:477

"Furthermore, I feel delighted to learn by recent letters from the artist, M.A. Calliat, himself, that the lamp he is making for out new church here, which he agreed in my presence to make exactly as that of Lourdes, will be larger by 5 centimeters, and various other ways an improvement upon the first" -- To Editor of "Ave Maria," from Bro. Vincent; 10:703

Lourdes; 1874: "We had not been five minutes in the church when I noticed a priest lowering the lamp and explaining something to about fifteen or twenty persons around him. . . . As soon as he was through, Father General approached and thanked him, and likely surprised him a little by telling him that he would like to have the same kind of lamp, by the same artist, in America. 'In what church?' asked the Father. 'In the new church at Notre Dame'. . . .Such an unfeigned token of admiration of the splendid lamp seemed to gratify exceedingly the good superior of the venerable Basilica.

"But what mode of operation do you suppose Father general has adopted to procure a facsimile of the wonderful lamp of Lourdes?

"He has charged me with the task, and bids me to lose no time in fulfilling my new 'obedience'. He said that I had scarcely done anything for God during the 33 years we were in America and that unless I should make haste it might soon be too late to begin: that, being the oldest and the first who entered the Community, it was befitting that I should leave after me some living testimony of my faith; and that such a monument of devotion to the Holy Eucharist would prove beneficial to our successors for generations to come. 'But' said I, 'Very Reverend Father, where shall I find the $2,000 the great lamp will cost?' He replied that he knew well that I had no money; but this was the beauty of the case; for doing something with abundance of means was common enough. "Father says I must get the lamp; therefore I go to work with full confidence that it will be a success. How could it be otherwise? It is true we know not yet in the new world the devotion to the Lamp; but in old Catholic countries, how well the glorious destinies of the burning lamp are appreciated! The Venerable Mr. Olier, the Founder of St. Sulpice, finding the door of a church closed, knelt down outside to adore the Blessed Sacrament, and looking through the key hole, most earnestly envied the happy lot of the Lamp he saw consuming itself before the altar of God.

"Alas, we cannot pray there as often and as long as we wish; here we shall all have a representative to intercede on our behalf" "Ave Maria," 10:458 (From a series of letters entitled "The American Pilgrimage." This one was written off Corsica).

I readily understand that unless some such good fortune turns up for me, I shall soon be forgotten at Notre Dame, for hitherto I have not done a thing to remind anyone of my long sojourn there. But if I could be the means of suspending such a Lamp in our new sanctuary, and see it burning before the Blessed Sacrament and pray beneath it for those who donate it, I would cheerfully say nunc dimittis, Domine" -- "Ave Maria" 10:459

"I have been commissioned by our Very Reverend Father General to prepare for your pious readers an account of our movements from this city (N.Y.) To Rome; and, despite my 78 years I gladly set to my new task, and shall spare no pains to keep you duly posted on all the events of our glorious pilgrimage" Brother Vincent to the Editor of the "Ave Maria"; 1874.

"As to the lamp for Notre Dame, it can't be finished before Christmas. If anything, it will be superior to its description. . . " (Parey-le-Monial, Lourdes, Lyons, Marseilles shrines) 1874.

"Very Reverend Father Provincial: I asked Very Reverend Father General yesterday if I could not be admitted, notwithstanding my 79 years of age, into the new Society of the "Angel Guardians of the Sanctuary." I would feel secure under the protection of such an association of little angels. He said I could, and handed me a dollar to pay my admission fee. I send you the same 40 cents over and above the regular amount, to make up for my years. I am so happy to be thus among the little ones our beloved Lord loved best" -- Brother Vincent, "Scholastic," October 23, 1875.

"The residence of the Professed Brothers at Notre Dame, Indiana, was the scene of an interesting and beautiful celebration on the 22nd of January, the patronal feast day of the venerable Brother Vincent, and the 56th anniversary of his entrance into the religious state. The jubilarian is an octogenarian, and though his life has been one of incessant toil; he still retains much of his wonted vigor. He was one of the first members of the Congregation of the Brothers of St. Joseph, founded in 1821 by the Very Reverend Father Dujarie. In 1834 this community was affiliated to the Congregation of Priests, founded by the Very Reverend Father Moreau at Le Mans, thus forming the religious society known as the Congregation of Holy Cross. Brother Vincent was one of the little band of missionaries who, in 1842, under the direction of the Very Rev. Father Sorin laid its first foundation in this country. Brother Vincent has resided at Notre Dame for more than 30 years, where he is endeared to all." -- "Ave Maria", April 3, 1877.

(Sorin to Vincent; 1878; Contract with the Blessed Virgin) "My dear good old Brother Vincent, I entrust to you a great secret, viz., my new contract with the Blessed Virgin. But I scarcely even had any secret from you. Therefore, you may read it, and even sign it. After that, you will ask the Sisters to enclose it in a fine white silk emproidered little covering, which yourself and the youngest Minim, will fix permanently in the hands of our Blessed Lady, in her new Church. Please try to have it done on the 2nd prox. The Feast of the Presentation -- Yours ever devoted, E. Sorin, C.S.C.".

"Brother Vincent is still active and bustles around the house, performing light chores, taking special pleasure in those of a humble character, and in being able to make himself useful. Some years ago he was brought by Very Rev. Father Sorin, Superior General, to France and Rome, and was introduced to the late Holy Father, Pius IX, of saintly memory, who clasped the aged Brother in a fraternal embrace . . . .

"Father Sorin afterward told the story of this affecting scene, and Brother Vincent on being asked how he felt when the aged and saintly Vicar of Christ embraced him, simply said: "Well, I felt as if it were a foretaste of heaven." After dinner, the new building was blessed by Rev. Provincial Granger and christened by the name of Mount St. Vincent, in honor of good Brother Vincent." -- Scholastic, Jan. 24, 1879.

See also (Brothers on 'Iowa', 1841) ("Brother Vincent must have been their cook.").

"Of the many deputations which waited on our Very Rev. Fr. Corby on New Year's Day, for the purpose of extending the compliments of the season, there was none, perhaps, which gave him more pleasrue than that of the professed members of the Congregation, who, headed by the venerable Brother Vincent -- now a nonogenarian -- met President Corby in the large parlor. Bro. Vincent was spokesman, and in a few words, Brother presented the Very Rev. President with the contratulations of all present." -- Scholastic, Jan. 8, 1881.

"Saturday last being the patronal festival of the venerable Brother Vincent, an enjoyable time was had by all residing at Mt. St. Vincent, the abode of this venerable Brother, now a nonogenarian. Present on the occasion were Very Rev. Fathers Granger and Reze (Canada). Brother Vincent enjoys excellent health, rising at 5:00 every morning, and never missing any of the daily religious exercises." -- Scholastic, Jan. 28, 1881.

(Mt. St. Vincent -- 1880) "This building, or rather series of buildings connected together, stands midway between the two lakes upon an eminence which was formerly an island in the midst of a large sheet of water -- where some 30 or more years ago there was but one lake. For a long time, even after improvements made by skillful drainage, it was known as 'The Island'; but a few years ago a name was given to it to immortalize the career and active service of good old Brother Vincent, the oldest living member of the Congregation of Holy Cross, and the best part of whose life has been given to the service of Notre Dame, and it is now known as 'Mt. St. Vincent'." -- Scholastic.

"Archbishop Riordan asked if Brothers Vincent, Francis Xavier, August and Charles were yet in the land of the living. I told him that the old priests and Brothers of Holy Cross, as well as the surviving members of the old faculty, must have discovered somewhere in Indiana as they came De Soto's Fountain of Youth, as they appeared just as robust and youthful, and as good looking as when he was a student at the University, yet in his teens; that some of them, if they do not quite exceed the years of Methusula, could practically refute the infidel objections made against patriarchal longevity that existed before and after the deluge." -- Scholastic, June 2, 1888, Silhouettes of Travel", By Rev. Tim O'Sullivan, 1858, Chicago.

"The site of the new (H.C.) Seminary is one of exceeding beauty, and was selected by the venerable Brother Vincent (in 1852), who still lives at the age of ninety-three".

"Portraits of Montalambert, Overbeck, Professor A. J. Stace, and Bro. Vincent have been placed in the gallery of Catholic laymen." -- Scholastic, Nov. 3, 1888.

"On Wednesday, July 23, the venerable Brother Vincent passed peacefully from earth in the 93rd year of his age. He was one of the 6 religiouis, who, in 1841, accompanied Father Sorin from France to the shores of this Western World. Ever since that time he has been the associate of the venerable Founder of Notre Dame in the great work which he inaugurated and has carried on to such a successful issue. For many long years Brother Vincent had directed and watched over the formation of the religious spirit in the youthful candidates in the novitiate, and the lessons inspired by his piety and beautiful example left a deep and lasting impression and contributed materially to the infusion of that zeal and devotion which have made the Congregation of Holy Cross, in the United States, so happily successful in the attainment of its mission. When advancing years deprived him of physical strength, he still continued a model to his fellow religious, whose work he aided by the power of the prayers with which he constantly was occupied. His was a life full of years and merits, and we may have every confidence that is has been fittingly rewarded by that glory and joy which await the good and faithful servant." -- Scholastic, 24:12, 1890.

See cuts in article, '1842 -- N.D. -- 1892', in the Scholastic.

"Indianapolis, December 13, 1847"
"Indianapolis, June 24, 1847"
"Brother Lawrence, 1848"
"Council of Trades, 1847"
"Trustees, Notre Dame, 1850"
"Orphans, Notre Dame, 1847"
"Vincennes Foundation, 1841"
"Notre Dame Council of Administration, 1857"
"Early Notre Dame, 1841 -- Co-Founders" -- Walsh.

1841: "The entrance of the first postulants (at St. Peter's) should have retained the services of good Brother Vincent in the community there, since he came from France on the only important condition -- that of training novices -- yet it became necessary for us to make other arrangements. The Bishop of Vincennes insisted on having this good patriarch to teach his own school. It was necessary to obey. The brothers had found it advisable from the very first to try to retain the good graces of the Bishop." -- Sorin Chronicles.

1840: "Having learned that you are destined with Reverend Father Sorin for America, I cannot pass up the opportunity to write you for the purpose of urging something that seemingly interests the Congregation. It is to entreat our Very Rev. Father Founder to write the Chronicles of the Brothers of St. Joseph before you go; I know that you are capable of giving authentic testimony of what has been done since our origin . . . Turn over to him what I have myself written up to 1826, being careful, however, to erase my name everywhere it appears, for I do not want it to show at all . . . ." Letter from Brother Andre, House of St. John of God, near Lyons, May 18, 1840. (Brother Ephrem's notebook).

1845: (Canada) "Proposed to found establishment in Canada if Bishop of Vincennes agrees. Brother Vincent and two other Brothers were to go".

(Brother Vincent and his group arrived at Notre Dame from St. Peter's on the evening of Ash Wednesday, Feb. 28, 1843) (See also "Father Moreau's Visit, 1857")

1842-43: "Brother Vincent, who had accompanied Father Sorin from France, and whom we all know as the venerable Director of the Brother's Novitiate, where he is so highly revered, could not remain at St. Peter's while Father Sorin was at Notre Dame. By his advice, and having obtained permission, he transplanted the whole establishment of St. Peter's to Notre Dame in the month of February, 1843. He and Brother Lawrence have been throughout the efficient aids of Father Sorin. Father Sorin's joy at their arrival was no less than the Brothers." -- Silver Jubilee, p. 15.

1854: "We had no time in which to ask and to answer question before, with a gentle tap, Father Sorin entered the room . . . Happening to glance through the window, he saw Brother Vincent crossing the yard. 'Ah', said he, 'Here comes good Brother Vincent, one of the six who came from France with me when this place was only a wilderness. He is a model of saintly obedience. There is something rather singular about him for a Frenchman: he cannot touch wine and it makes him very sick.' A gentle knock was then heard at the door, which was answered by 'Come in', in a tone he had not previously heard from Father Sorin. All eyes were turned on the humble Brother, who facing us, bowed gracefully, then stepped to the head of the table and handed the mail to Father Sorin, who introduced him to us. Having poured out a glass of wine, Father handed it to the Brother saying 'You must drink this to pledge these ladies that they remain always with us.' Judge of our surprise when, instead of making an excuse, the Brother, with pale face, took the glass and bowing toward us raised it to his lips . . . . We were struck dumb with astonishment.

"Mother was the first to recover. In an indignant voice she said: 'Father Sorin, you said that good man could not possibly touch wine, and you commanded him to take it.' I saw that all her one-time prejudices against a cruel and wily priesthood had revived at such an evidence of unkindness. I was aghast, but Father turned smilingly toward us, saying: 'I wished only to test his obedience and profound humility. Certainly his holy example will never be forgotten by any of us.

"I have always known his virtue and I wanted you to see how truly he follows the way of the Cross and how, like his Master, he would be obedient even unto death. I could kiss the floor on which he stands, but I shall never wound his humility by the slightest allusion to his edifying act. Because he is much older than I am and because I was quite young when we left France, my own dear father confided me to his care. Imagine what must be his merit before God at this moment, for he would have swallowed every drop of that wine in cheerful obedience.'" -- Life of Mother M. Angela, by Mother M. Elizabeth, quoted by Mother M. Eleanore in On the King's Highway, p. 189-190.

1877: "The residence of the Professed Brothers at Notre Dame, Indiana was the scene of a notable celebration on January 22, 1877, the patronal feast day of the venerable Brother Vincent and the 56th anniversary of his entrance into the religious state.

"One of the first members of the Brothers of St. Joseph, founded in 1820 in France, on of the six original Brothers who accompanied Father Sorin from France in 1841, he is now an octogenarian" -- Catholic Telegraph, Cincinnati, Feb. 8, 1877.

1868: "While at sea for the first time (1841) we sent to heaven a dear little soul, only two years old, who otherwise would never have seen God. Happy fortunate little Mary! She was the first fruit of our mission. Ever since she prays for us . . . .

"Brother Vincent should not forget in his old age his precious god-child now in the company of her Blessed Patroness for 27 years and 5 months." -- Sorin Circular Letters, p. 8. (As reference to the Protestant child baptized on the 'Iowa')

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›