University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Notre Dame -- One Hundred Years / by Arthur J. Hope, C.S.C.

Notes III

1 Hailandière to Sorin, Nov. 15, 1842. Sorin Corr., Prov. Arch.

2 Father Etienne Chartier was a French-Canadian priest who gave a retreat to the Brothers in mid-August, 1842. He was superior of the seminary of Vincennes at the time but was so taken by the Brothers and Fr. Sorin that he soon desired to become an Auxiliary Priest. He entered the community Oct. 12, 1842. When Fr. Sorin left for South Bend the next month, Fr. Chartier remained at St. Peter's in charge of the Brothers during the winter. A man of fine talent, he would have been of considerable help were it not for his rather uncompromising nature. Ever suspicious of his Bishop, he said his definite entrance into the community depended upon Sorin's receiving the title to the property at Notre Dame. (Chartier to Sorin, Feb. 22, 1843, Sorin Corr. II, Prov. Arch.) When this was delayed, he considered his suspicions of the Bishop justified and, fearing that Sorin would never be free of difficulties with Hailandière left the community and the diocese March 22, 1843. He remained, however, on good terms with Sorin (Cf. Arch. of Notre Dame, No. 27, Prov. Arch., also Sorin, Chronicle, 20-21). The short stay of Chartier with the community had proved invaluable since it allowed Sorin to leave St. Peter's at the time he did. It would have been impossible to take all the Brothers at such a time of the year on account of the poor accommodations at Notre Dame.

3 The date of Father Sorin's arrival at Notre Dame is not certain. In his first letter to Moreau, Dec. 5, 1842, Sorin says he left Vincennes on the 16th of November and arrived at South Bend "on the eleventh day after our departure." The eleventh day would be either the 26th or the 27th depending upon whether the 16th was counted as the first day or not. In his Chronicle, Father Sorin gives the 26th as the day of arrival at Notre Dame. But some years later, in the decade before Father Sorin's death, there appeared in The Scholastic certain brief sentences that seem to indicate that the date has been called in question. For instance, in volume XXVI, 88, we find this: "Nov. 27, 1842, is the exact date of the Founding of Notre Dame." It would seem, therefore, that in discussing this matter, those in a position to know (Father Sorin was still living) had decided in favor of the 27th. To add confusion to the question, however, there is the statement of Father Sorin that he said his first Mass at Notre Dame two days after his arrival and that it was the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (Nov. 30th); and still more confusing, there is the statement of Alexis Coquillard (Schol. XVII, 217) implying that Father Sorin arrived in South Bend, Nov. 24th, and remained in South Bend two days before coming to Notre Dame, which would be the 26th.

4 Sorin to Moreau, Dec. 5, 1842. This first letter written by Sorin from Notre Dame has been frequently published (lettres circulaires du Supérieur Général de la Congregation de Sainte-Croix, I, 1860, 58-64. Circular Letters of Father Sorin, pp. 259-et ss.)

5 Annales de l'Association de la Propagation de la Foi, VI (1833), 158.

6 Cf. McNamara, Wm., The Catholic Church on the Northern Indiana Frontier, 1789-1844, 1931, Chap. III-IV; Lambing, A. A., The Very Reverend Stephen Theodore Badin, the Proto-Priest of the United States, in Catholic Historical Researches, III (1866), 1-13; McAvoy, Thomas T., The Catholic Church in Indiana, 1940, Chap. VI; Webb, Centenary of Catholicism in Kentucky, 106 ss.

7 Some historical records say that Badin was already a subdeacon when he came to the United States. But the Liber Ordinationum, the Register of Ordinations, which is kept in the Cathedral Archives at Baltimore, and which is our most authentic source, says clearly that on Saturday, Sept. 22, 1792, Stephen Theodore Badin was ordained subdeacon by Bishop Carroll; ordained deacon on Feb. 23, 1793; "promoted to priest's orders, having dispensation from interstices and clerical title" on May 25, 1793.

8 Petit, who says she was "very rich," gives her age as seventy-two in 1838, the year she died at South Bend. Cf. Petit-Bruté, May 26, 1838, UNDA.

9 Annales, VI (1833), 166, where Badin says he baptized over three hundred Indians.

10 Badin to Prop of the Faith, Dec. 12, 1831 in Annales, VI (1833) 176.

11 Schmidt, Frederick A., Centenary of the Founding of the First Orphan Asylum in Indiana, 12. (Prize Essay, Notre Dame Library).

12 David R. Leeper, Some Early Local Footprints, 1898, Second Series, Part One, 1. (This is a collection of three reprints from the South Bend Daily Times).

13 Apparently it did not function more than a year, for Bruté writes of it, in 1835, as "the neglected and abandoned orphanage" Cf. McAvoy, op. cit., p. 202.

14 Scholastic, vol. V, (1871-72). 609.

15 Ibid., 610. 16 Ibidem. 17 Ibidem. 18 Silver Jubilee, 29; Howard, History of St. Joseph County, I, 418-419, II, 604: Sorin, Reverend L. Deseille, in The Ave Maria, 1, Dec. 9, 1865. We have followed Father Sorin's account. In the Golden Jubilee, published in 1895, Howard quotes an unidentified source, written after the fire of 1879, which states that Father Neyron, pastor of New Albany in the extreme south of Indiana on the Ohio River, was sent for before Deseille died and that when he arrived at the lake "Father Deseille lay already three weeks dead." It does not mention other priests as having been sent for nor does it say that Neyron buried him. In Vol. II of his History of St. Joseph County published in 1907, Howard cites the same text but gives "three days" instead of "three weeks." In Vol. I of the same work, Howard, citing A Sketch of the History of St. Joseph Parish, South Bend, states that Indian messengers were sent to Chicago, Logansport, and New Albany, the "nearest" stations where there were priests, and that Neyron was the only one that could be found. According to this account Deseille was dead three days when Neyron arrived. But if only eight days passed between the time messengers were sent and the day Deseille was buried, as Sorin states, it would have been impossible it Neyron to be informed of his illness and to make the long trip north within that time. Again, it would have been more logical to send for Fr. Muller of Ft. Wayne. Fr. Petit in his diary (now in the UNDA) states that by the time he had arrived at Notre Dame -- about three weeks after Deseille's death -- Fr. Muller of Ft. Wayne and Fr. François of Logansport had been at the Lake. The story of Fr. Neyron is probably just another one of the Neyron legends. Fr. Matthew Walsh confirms this judgment in Notre Dame, Antecedents and Development in Illinois Catholic Historical Review, IV, No. 2, (Oct. 1921), 275.

19 On Petit, cf. McNamara, op. cit., 69-76; Howard, Golden Jubilee, 36-44; Godecker, op. cit., 362-66, 374-78. Irving McKee, The Trail of Death, Letters of Benjamin Marie Petit. Indianapolis, 1941.

20 Petit to his mother in Annales, II, 382.

21 On the removal of the Indians at this time cf. McNamara, op. cit., 77 et ss, and Godecker, 362 ss. 22 Petit to his mother, Sept. 14, 1838 in Annales, XI (1839), 393-394. 23 Ibidem. 401-402. 24 The Ave Maria, I, 519.

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