University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame

"Fas est ab Hoste Doceri"

[It is permitted to take a lesson from an enemy]


We do not feel that any apology is necessary for reprinting from the Church Journal, the following communication, entire -- in view of the overwhelming importance of the subject of which it treats, and of the ability and suggestiveness of the matter itself. The article professes to unfold the means by which, in part at least, the Romish Church in this country is bringing to bear upon the fabric of Society, the powerful lever of the training and education of the young, in order to subserve her own purposes of spiritual and temporal aggrandizement. Let us be wise in time, and not fear to take a lesson from the far-seeing policies of our adversaries:

Near South Bend, in Indiana, is the already famous Romish University of Notre Dame. This is one of the most flourishing institutions on the Continent. It has more than 1,000 acres of land, and large, substantial buildings. It has also connected with one of its departments 500 boys, sons of Protestants chiefly. These are drawn to Notre Dame by the superior tuition and the small sum asked for a year's residence. The terms are so low that any family of ordinary industry can avail themselves of the best classical and mathematical instruction. Of course converts are made without number.

When one contemplates this great Institution and all its unexcelled appliances, he is inclined to give evidence to the reputed saying, "Romanists have plenty of money from Europe." The writer has been led to doubt the truth of this, or rather if money comes from Europe, it is gathered there as it is by Romanists here.

The University of Notre Dame owes its prosperity to a helping power much nearer home than Europe. That helping power is an association named "The Brothers of St. Joseph." They are of every profession and calling in life, under their proper head, but united by a vow of celibacy, chastity, poverty, piety, and obedience. All their earnings, and everything they come into possession of, goes into the common Treasury. Some till the land around the University building, some erect the buildings, some teach -- wherever they are and whatever they are doing, the proceeds of their toil, be it laboring by day, or teaching or any other pursuit, all goes to the common fund, and constitutes the endowment of Notre Dame. If this Order number 300, and they average $100 per annum, an income of $120,000 is raised for all expenses. No wonder the buildings are substantial, and the terms for board and tuition are just sufficient to make the parent value what he pays for. No wonder Notre Dame is a tower of strength to Romanism, keeping the youth of Romanist parentage, drawing in hundreds of Protestant youth, and sending forth an increasing number of priests and deacons to proselytize the masses.

Can we, Messrs. Editors, learn a lesson from these opponents? Our Church ought to have the youth of the West. But there is no institution for them. Racine College -- the only rival Notre Dame has as far as the training of boys is concerned -- has its 150, but of necessity on such terms as only the rich can afford. The terms can never be less until Racine College has from some other source outside of its patronage an adequate income, an income to enable it to erect more buildings, and to place its terms at the right sum to cause its advantages to be prized, and at the same time not beyond the reach of nine-tenths of the population. With such an income Racine College can have within four years 1,000 boys, and can begin to do some share of the work that must be done to prevent Romanism from possessing the land. . . .

These suggestions are written because the writer sees clearly that unless prevented by such an effort of faith Romanism is sure of triumph. Nothing else will meet the issue but a combined effort on the part of the poor, or rather not rich members of our Church. Whoever heads such an enterprise successfully, saves his country and his Church. He places himself at the head of the "forlorn hope." God grant that we may soon hear him calling "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!"


As Others See Us