University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Notre Dame: Foundations, 1842-1857 / by John Theodore Wack

Chapter II
Beginnings, 1843-1845

The new arrivals were all Frenchmen, fresh from beyond the ocean . . . . But time wore on and wrought its inevitable changes. These alien . . . traits and prepossessions gradually passed away, and our peculiar type of national characteristics steadily gained the ascendancy till the University of Notre Dame du Lac became distinctly American in its every feature.{1}


It was indeed a French school which was opened for the first full academic year in 1843-1844. The priests, the Sisters, and many of the Brothers were French in origin and in language. Even the new college building had a distinctly French flavor to its architecture. Naturally enough, the character of the college was at first based on that of French schools and seminaries; on what other example might Sorin have drawn? Yet, as with the farm at St. Peters, he soon found that French academic methods did not always suit Americans, and the character of the college changed accordingly, after a pragmatic fashion.

This ability to adapt, to change in order to face a new situation, was a prime factor in Sorin's success. His ambitions soon proved to extend far beyond the staggering decision to build a college in the woods of northern Indiana. Notre Dame was not to be simply another Catholic college, or even another major university; such dreams were far too limiting for the young French-American priest. Notre Dame du Lac was to be a major center of Catholicism in America, offering intellectual and religious learning to all classes of society, the child, the youth, and the man, the laborer, the man of business, and the intellectual. With the foundation of a boarding school for women a few years later, the dream would be extended to the feminine half of society. Almost any young person would fit somewhere into the educative process which would be conducted at Notre Dame or conducted elsewhere by people from Notre Dame. A seminary would provide priests to teach in the college, and the novitiate would supply Brothers to teach in the elementary and secondary parochial schools of the country, forming a massive educational system on a national level which would have the University of Notre Dame du Lac as its capstone.{2} In addition, the institution would make room for young orphans and other young men and train them to be useful and intelligent craftsmen, thus providing for those young Catholics who were not capable, for one reason or another, of attending college. Of utmost importance in this system, the college and the apprentice craftsman school would, hopefully, not only encourage moral and intellectual discipline and learning, but would call forth candidates for the priesthood and Brotherhood. In brief, Sorin came to America as a missionary, but not as the usual missionary, working to win converts among the pagans. The American West had lost its Indians and instead was being rapidly filled with a heterogeneous multitude of people, many of whom were Catholics. In the inevitable uprooting which accompanies migration, many of these Catholics were without contact with their Church. The problem was not the conversion of the Protestants, but the rescue of the Catholics.{3} Even more pertinent to Sorin's plan, the United States was manifestly virgin soil, an ideal laboratory for the experimentation of the bold. From this raw material of the immigrant Catholics, taking advantage of the lack of fixed institutions in the American West, and gambling heavily on the future development of that area, Sorin, as the saying went in those days, "hitched his wagon to a star," hoping his dream would be brought to fruition in the dynamic atmosphere which he sensed around him in this land of all-opportunity.

Did such a dream exist in the mind of Father Edward Sorin? Most certainly it did. How was it formulated? It did not exist in the form of any complete program or long-term plans. Instead, it was a continually expanding dream, something which responded pragmatically (for Sorin was intensely pragmatic) to the changing situation. The Brothers of St. Joseph at St. Peters needed to be trained to teach; thus, some sort of a college must be built, and why not a college which would be a base for the teaching Brothers and a center to which their best pupils could be sent? And so a college appeared at Notre Dame du Lac -- but the students who arrived were not of college caliber. To reject the unprepared was unthinkable, for the missionary purpose of the institution was the religious training of the Catholic youth of America; thus, elementary and preparatory training was provided. Other young boys and young men, some of them orphans, came or were sent to Notre Dame but were incapable, for one reason or another, of pursuing an academic degree, and for these the apprentice school was formed, taught by those Brothers who were themselves unqualified to teach in the academic schools and who served their community by their manual skills. Each new segment of the institution was a single and comprehensible whole. When he spoke of Notre Dame du Lac or wrote of it in his letters and "Chronicles," he did not simply mean the college or even the various academic schools. Clearly, all of these were merely parts of the overall institution, parts which combined for one single purpose: the education of youth in all phases of life, intellectual, physical, and, most particularly, religious.

As the embryo college faced its first academic year in the fall of 1843, this broad concept of Notre Dame du Lac was far from being realized. The undistinguished collection of small buildings and huts which clustered on the bank of St. Marys Lake were hardly an impressive sight. To be sure, nearby rose the walls of the new college building, and the fields and grounds showed the signs of recent intensive improvements, but the forest still pressed in around the lakes and the clearing, so dense that on one occasion the Sisters became lost while out walking and the church bell had to be rung to guide their return. Wild animals still roamed the woods, and, when out for a stroll, one was wise to carry a stick to deal with the snakes.{4}

Yet there were students who came up the rough trail to the college in the fall of 1843, and somehow men were found (and sometimes boys -- Brother Gatian was yet but sixteen or seventeen) to give them their schooling, primitive and quite elementary classes, to be sure, but a beginning. Classes were held in the multipurpose brick building; the odor of baking bread must many times have rendered impossible any effort to concentrate on studies.

Of necessity, the faculty was a make-shift one, uncertain of what should be taught and of how to teach it. At first there was little formal organization, but, after the charter was granted and the school incorporated, more formal measures of administration were taken. On January 7, 1844, a governing body for the college was formed and held its first meeting under the title of the 'Council of Professors.'{5} The secretary of the Council, young Gatian, kept a lively and rather opinionated record of their deliberations in a ledger, an interesting document which clearly expresses the confusion and uncertainty which permeated these meetings of the inexperienced faculty, but which also reveals the courage with which they went forward with their work. At their first meeting, the classes were divided as fairly as possible; an attempt was made to take into account the abilities of those who had been called upon for teaching duties. The first entry in the ledger reads:

The Council of Professors assembled in F. Superior's room appointed F. Cointet to teach Latin & Greek; Bro. Paul for Writing & Mathematics; Mr. Riley for Oratory, Grammar, Orthography & Reading; Bro. Vincent for Mensuration; Bro. Augustine for Geography; Bro. Gatian for ancient & modern History; Br. Gatian was also appointed Professor of the French Language & Bro. Augustine to teach Botany & Zoology. Moreover they resolved to meet every Friday at one o'clock in the afternoon.{6}

It was unusual for so small and new a school to have such a large faculty (although most of them could not be classed as college professors, but rather elementary teachers), for most of the western colleges had few members on their faculties and were hard pressed to pay the salaries of those that they did employ.{7} The immense advantages which would accrue to Notre Dame du Lac by the use of both priests and Brothers (not to mention seminarians) in a teaching capacity were already becoming apparent.

The faculty suffered a serious loss on May 8, 1844, when Brother Paul (John De la Hoyde) died of consumption. He had been a valuable teacher because of his knowledge of English literature and his ability at bookkeeping, which he had learned and practiced before entering the Brothers of St. Joseph.{8} His courses were taken over by the others.{9} There were no other changes in the curriculum during 1843-1844. In fact, there were so few college students that Cointet taught French in South Bend three days in the week and Latin at the college only on the other three days.{10}

The students who attended the new college of Notre Dame du Lac in the fall of 1843 were not the first to take up their studies there. Theodore Coquillard, the son of Alexis Coquillard, was a day student and attended school off and on until January, 1852, and Clement Reckers was the first boarding student, remaining at Notre Dame some two and a half years, until the late spring of 1845. Both boys had come to Notre Dame for their education soon after Sorin and his Brothers had arrived at the frozen lakes. Reckers worked at the institution for his education.{11}

By September, 1843, some five new students were on hand for the opening of the first full academic year, and, in the succeeding months, these were joined by seven late arrivals. Even after the close of the fall months, students continued to arrive, so that by the beginning of June, 1844, eighteen young men had signed the register, some of whom, however, remained at the college for only a few weeks or months.{12} Very few of these boys were classifiable as collegians. Unfortunately, the Boarders' Ledger which lists their names does not distinguish as to the age or rank in class of the students; thus it is impossible to tell, without additional evidence from another source, whether the student was enrolled in the collegiate program or in the preparatory courses, or whether he was merely one of the young boys who attended an elementary or common school.{13} Sources other than the Ledger indicate that only a very few, possibly just one or two, of the students were taking courses which might be considered to be of the college level.{14}

One of these young men, Moses Letourneau (sometimes written L'Etourneau), most certainly was a college student, probably the first such student to attend Notre Dame du Lac. He was a twenty-one year old from Detroit who came to the college in August of 1843, expressing an interest in the Auxiliary priesthood as well as a desire to take courses in the college. The fact that in the next year he began to teach some courses shows most candidly that he had more intellectual training and ability than the rest of the students -- and, perhaps, more than many of the faculty. Fortunately, Letourneau was from a French-American family, for the only college-trained men there in 1843, as far as we know, were the three priests, Sorin, Cointet, and Marivault, and only Sorin could speak English -- and that would have made the classes quite a chore if, say, Letourneau had been an Irishman with no command of French.{15}

The other students were of a variety of backgrounds and abilities. No young man or boy was turned away who wished to attend Notre Dame and, who could, by one means or another, pay some sort of tuition for his support. A place was found for each student in one phase or another of the curriculum. Those who came to attend the college must have had at least a common school education, that is, the ability to read and write and to add and subtract sums, but few were prepared to undertake any studies which even approached the academic level which was generally conceded to be collegiate. From the first, such students were given preparatory training; in fact, the records indicate that there was no formal teaching of collegiate subjects in this first year. Moses Letourneau and perhaps a few others read Latin and, less likely, Greek, under the direction of Father Cointet, but there were no other regular classes of a higher education level.{16}

Even the preparatory students followed no true curriculum. Instead a daily routine was adopted. The student day was laid out in such a way that all students followed the same regime, with little differences in their classes.

All students, with the certain exception of Letourneau and perhaps one or two others with the same qualifications, took this same daily curriculum on all days except Sunday. It was a confining routine; all students were to remain on the grounds, at all times and always under close supervision; on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons, for their recreation they were taken on long walks in the area of the school, but they were carefully overseen by one of the Brothers.{18} Time was also given from the routine on Saturday afternoon, when History and Geography gave way to the traditional Saturday evening bath.{19} A portion of Sunday afternoon was used for the teaching of catechism, although Protestants and those Catholics who had not made their First Communion stayed in the study room; later on Sunday afternoon time was also found for the teaching of "Vocal Music," which probably was a euphemism for the practice of the church choir.{20} It is notable that the courses listed in the routine schedule for the mornings of class days include several which are obviously not even preparatory courses, but rather are the most basic educational courses. It must be concluded that many who came that first full year did not come to Notre Dame as college students but were young boys who had been sent to the college for their first schooling. This rudimentary curriculum remained in effect until the beginning of the following year when an effort was made to employ a more varied and advanced course of studies.{21}

In these opening months, textbooks were in short supply -- one wonders as well how the French priests could read the texts in English, much less teach from them. At first, only three books were ordered to be used as texts in the school. There were an arithmetic book, "Mr. Emerson's Arithmetic," which indicates that some sort of mathematics must have been taught even if the course is not listed in the daily routine; a geography and atlas, "Mr. Mitchell's Large Geography," which was used in subsequent editions for many years at Notre Dame; and a rather obscure history, "Mr. Hales's [sic] History of the U.S."{22} These were all elementary or preparatory texts. As for the college texts, there was uncertainty as to what should be used. Sorin and Cointet were, of course, only familiar with academic works in French; they had no knowledge of the books in common use in American colleges. On March 15, 1844, it was decided that Brother Paul should write to the Jesuits at the University of St. Louis, "to know what books we must adopt."{23} There is no record of a reply to this letter, but, acting on some information, the Council determined on May 15 that "Classical books shall be got from N. York & France as soon as possible."{24} In this first year, most probably Moses Letourneau and any other Latin scholars were taught their classical language from books already in the possession of Cointet, Marivault, or Sorin. Perhaps Samuel Byerley, reputed to be a learned man, loaned them books from his library.

Such a haphazard system of studies plus the lack of experience on the part of the faculty and administration, was a prime breeding ground for disciplinary problems, especially considering the rather rough and raw nature of the students, the sons of illiterate and uneducated immigrants and pioneers, the children of families with very few intellectual traditions and little interest in education except as a force for material advancement. One of the major difficulties which faced the frontier educator concerned the type of discipline to be employed. Punishments which were too severe might aggravate the independent pride of the student and his family, resulting in his departure from the school and, eventually, in a poor reputation for the college. This was a particular problem in a Catholic school placed in a Protestant community and matriculating Protestant boys. There had already been signs of trouble from some of the more radical Protestants in the area. Father Sorin noted that "all the surroundings were strongly Protestant, that is to say, enemies more or less embittered against Catholics."{25} When Father Cointet and his companions arrived from France, rumors swept through the towns and farms of the area, fearfully speculating on the designs which Rome might have on the St. Joseph Valley: ". . . twelve popish priests and twenty monks" had arrived, they said, and were at the Lakes building a college for which the Pope himself had sent them $90,000 "and would send shortly $10,000 more to make a round figure! . . ."{26} "A little later when the walls of the college began to appear, people seemed to take a delight in saying that we might go ahead with our college, but as soon as it was completed they would burn it."{27} No such action ever materialized; instead, through the careful diplomacy of Sorin and through the common sense and simple neighborliness of the townspeople, relations between the two groups became more and more cordial.

Understandably, however, discipline, especially of the Protestant boys, was a thorny problem. This gradually led to a considerable split between members of the faculty and the administration, the progress of which is recorded in the "Register of the Council of Professors."{20} The teachers of the schools used discipline of all sorts to keep their unruly students -- and some of them were unbelievably unruly -- in some sort of order. Those students whose conduct was felt to be particularly offensive, whose antics were beyond the control of their teachers and supervisors, were brought up to the Council by the "Prefect of Discipline," or by their other prefects and teachers, who asked for advice on their correction, or, not infrequently, pleaded for their removal from the college. Almost invariably the Council, under the direction of Cointet and, usually, at the advice of Sorin, would recommend a lenient punishment or no punishment at all. Brother Gatian, perhaps because of his youth, tended to be severe and rigorous in his demands for punishment for recalcitrant students; as a result, his notes as Secretary of the Council grew increasingly critical of Sorin and Cointet. The problem was a diplomatic one. Too severe punishments could cause disgrace or even ruin to the school; moreover, they created an atmosphere of severity based on fear, which would not be conducive to learning and, more important then, which might drive away tuition-paying students. Too lenient punishments left the discipline of the school (and the offended faculty member) unsatisfied; moreover, a definite order was needed if the academic ends of the school were to be served. It must have been a source of frustration, to those whose duty it was to enforce the discipline of the school in an age when the physical punishment of school boys was a common thing, to receive such directives as these:

Mar. 14, 1844 . . . . the Council urges prudence & moderation in the infliction of punishments.

June 15, 1844. Bro. Gatian said that he could not keep Mr. Floran busy during his class, without neglecting the other boys, wherefore the Council resolved that Patience and Hope were the only remedies they could give.

September 1, 1844. The Professors shall not speak either of imprisonment or detention to the pupils.{29}

The last note may hint a little of desperation on the part of the faculty, but such notices were only indications of the beginning of the struggle between the faculty and the administration over the question of discipline. In succeeding years, the directives became more pointed in their determination to prevent punishments which might lead to unpleasant results -- and, for that matter, Brother Gatian's comments on the directives became equally pointed. Yet, Fathers Sorin and Cointet were correct and wise in their decision. Severe punishments or expulsion, if used liberally in so new a college, would only decrease the numbers of the already too-few students and, of course, would mean a loss of income at a time when the loss of the tuition of one or two students could mean the difference between the success or failure of the college. It was difficult to appeal to the students' common sense, to their emotional maturity, to their love of learning. Most of them were young boys. Many of them seem to have considered the college, as boys always have considered their boarding schools, as a private prison, and their teachers and superiors were viewed as black-garbed guards whose exercise of authority must be under cut and frustrated at every turn. This was no community of young scholars who would eagerly accept a monastic discipline as a means to the fullest intellectual and moral life.{30}

The solution brought to bear on this problem at Notre Dame was one which was familiar to most American Catholic colleges and, for that matter, to colleges of any sort, religious or secular, for all colleges suffered from the problems connected with the maintenance of discipline, especially the discipline of young boys too immature for advanced academic work. The denominational colleges, in particular, were prone to difficulty here. These institutions were, first of all, religious schools, and it was expected that candidates for the ministry and the religious life would be found among their students.{31} As a result, discipline was considered to be a subject of the utmost importance, for discipline was universally recognized as essential to the practice of a religious life, not only the life expected of a priest or minister, but also the upright, God-fearing life which was meant to be the choice of the alumni of these colleges. This religious life was the primary end of these schools, their reason for existence, overshowing the academic ends. However, even in the secular school strict discipline was held to be beneficial. Intellectual advancement could best take place under the rule of 'good order'; academic freedom was useless, wasteful license unless it was tightly confined by strict discipline. The young intellect must be prevented from drifting into error and taught to approach truth only by the well-known and well-tended paths of knowledge.

In the Catholic colleges of America, social and moral discipline was rigorous, and the conduct of daily life was virtually regimented. The example followed was that of the priests' seminary; a closely controlled discipline designed to prevent all disorder and to remove the temptations toward sinful things, combined with a program of spiritual exercises and services designed to increase virtue in the students. Consequently every moment of the day was to be accounted for; no matter whether the student was at study or at play, in a classroom or a dormitory, on the campus or on a rare visit to town, the rules followed him. The student was almost never alone; his letters, his reading matter, his very speech was censored. He must rise early to attend Mass, and his day was closed by night prayers said in common. He ate, studied, recited, exercised, played, and slept on a uniform schedule.{33} Such a system now appears to have been a stultifying one, strangling all incentive, and severely retarding both the students and faculty in their pursuit of intellectual knowledge. Even in an age in which the rigid restrictions of self-discipline were thought to be essential to the development of character, the discipline of the Catholic college was notably severe.

Notre Dame du Lac, unfortunately, was no different from the majority of the denominational colleges. A seminary-type of discipline was imposed from the first, and, while it was difficult to enforce such a system rigorously in the first years of the college's existence, discipline became more rigid, more regimented as the years passed. Nevertheless, in these fast-paced years of building, Sorin had little time (and little inclination) to pay much attention to the formulation of innovations in the system of seminary discipline. He clearly saw the dangers of a rigid system; frankly, he needed the tuition money of every student who might come down the dirt road to the college. Temporarily at least, he was inclined to be inconsistent and liberal in his enforcement of the school's rules; the problem of petty discipline, despite the protests of Brother Gatian, was thrust into the background. Sorin had major crises of his own to face.

One of these occured late in 1843, when fire broke out in a partition close by the furnace of the nearly completed college building. The alarm came in the night when nearly all were asleep, but the college was quickly roused and the Brothers and workmen were able to extinguish the blaze before great damage was done. This was the first of many fires which were to threaten and nearly destroy Notre Dame in the course of her history; three of them would occur before the end of 1846.{34} Nevertheless there was no money to be spent for fire insurance until 1848 and even then Sorin could afford to purchase only $3,000 of coverage.{35}

The fear of fire might cause a young priest to struggle awake at night, fleeing a nightmare of flame, but the fear of financial collapse was more insidious, causing sleepless nights of worry. By the end of 1843, the treasury of the school was depleted. The funds from the Bishop had been spent, and Father Marivault's draft on his family had been refused in France; in addition, six hundred francs had been charged as a fee for handling the draft. The school owed Samuel Byerley close to $1,500, and the expenses for the college building had come to some $5,580. Conditions were not all bad, however, A loan was secured for nearly $2,000 from a half-breed Miami Indian chief, LaFontaine, who had lived and traded furs near Fort Wayne. One of the Frenchmen recruited by Bishop Bruté, Father Julian Benoit, helped Sorin to secure the loan.{36} Additional sums were sent to Notre Dame du Lac by Father Moreau and by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, but the total debt of the institution at the end of 1843 was nearly $4,000.{37}

Fire, the burden of debt, the threats of the Know-Nothings, the lack of capable -- or incapable! -- students, the inability of the faculty to teach the courses required of a college, problems of discipline, problems of curriculum, problems of housing, of feeding, of sickness, all of these made this first full year at Notre Dame du Lac a busy and crisis-filled one. All were busy: "Bro. Vincent sometimes kook, Bro. Gatien he went sometimes theach with his apron on him from the kitchen, he was strong on mathematics."{38}

The Brothers were in heavy demand. Not only were they needed as "kooks" and "theachers" in the college, but also they were required for a variety of other tasks throughout the institution. In addition, they were expected to fulfill their primary function in America, the teaching of Catholic youth in schools throughout the diocese. By the beginning of 1845, school foundations had been made in Vincennes, Madison, Fort Wayne, and Notre Dame, all in Indiana, as well as a mission among the Potawatomi at Pokagan, Michigan.{39} Bishops in other dioceses were requesting that Brothers be sent to them, much to the concern of Bishop de la Hailandiere, who insisted that the Brothers were not to leave his.

There were simply not enough of these Brothers. Their presence at Notre Dame was as essential to its success as was that of Father Sorin, for without them (and, of course, the equally valuable Sisters) he could have had no tools with which to build, no food to eat, no clothes to wear, and few teachers in the classrooms. But satisfactory candidates for the Brotherhood were not to be easily found. Some who came were too old to learn to teach; others were without the necessary intellectual gifts. As a result, most were put to work as laborers or, in the case of those with trade skills, as craftsmen. There were not enough teachers, even half-qualified ones, for the Diocese of Vincennes, much less for the whole of the growing nation.

As a part of his agreement with de la Hailandiere, Sorin had promised to establish and maintain a novitiate for the teaching Brothers at Notre Dame du Lac as well as to build a college. Late in 1843, Sorin decided to erect this novitiate on the island-like area between the two lakes. It was begun in the spring of 1844 and finished by November of that year. The novitiate and its chapel was blessed and dedicated on December 8, 1844, under the title of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary. The novitiate chapel served as the community's church until 1848; the new log church remained to serve as a parish for the local Catholics.{41}

The new novitiate, however, did not by its mere presence guarantee the arrival of any of the needed postulant-Brothers. From 1841 to 1848 there came only forty-three postulants of which number seventeen had left and three had died by 1848, leaving but twenty-three of these Brothers remaining in the community in that year.{42} What few other Brothers there were at Notre Dame had come there directly from France and had not been postulants at the American novitiate. At this time Father Sorin looked upon these men of his native land as his most valuable aids; he had found that the American-born candidates or even those who had spent some time in America were the most difficult of the novice Brothers to control and the quickest to leave the novitiate. He blamed the American democratic character for this; too much freedom had spoiled them for religious discipline.{43} Accordingly, after the arrival of Father Cointet, Brother Vincent was sent to France to bring back more Brothers, if any could be spared by Father Moreau. Vincent returned in October of 1844 with only one other Brother and three more Sisters, but his mission was not a vain one, for he returned accompanied by another priest from Notre Dame de Ste. Croix, Father Alexis Granger.

Father Granger was to be connected with Notre Dame du Lac for almost as long a period of time as was Father Sorin, for Granger died in July of 1893 at Notre Dame, just three months before Sorin's own death there, yet the little French priest remains comparatively unremembered in the annals of the university. He was a quiet, timid man, a very religious and pious person who must often have been taken aback by Sorin's impetuosity. One may wonder if he was not sent to Notre Dame by Moreau to act as a calming influence on the audacious Sorin. If so, the experiment was not successful, for Granger soon was caught up by Sorin's personality and by his vision and he remained devoted to Notre Dame du Lac and to Sorin for all of his life. He found his niche as a prototype of the Prefect of Religion, responsible for the religious life of the whole institution, pastor, confessor, and novice master in one. His first task was to serve as Master of Novices in the new novitiate.

Granger was badly needed by the Brothers' novitiate. His new position was one which Sorin felt was essential to the success of the novitiate,{46} and Sorin was developing plans which would require the use of many more Brothers, even those who were not capable of teaching in the schools around the diocese. The nineteenth century was an age which produced many orphans, the products of frequent epidemics, industrial accidents, malnutrition, and other aspects of poverty. In a society dislocated by industrialism and by immigrations and migrations, there was no longer sufficient private charity to care for the homeless orphan, and he frequently was sent to the care of some state-supported or church-supported institution. Father Badin had hoped to build an orphanage at the Lakes, and this was also the desire of Father Sorin.

Five young orphans had arrived at the Lakes in September, 1843, and Sorin was thus forced to begin this charitable work almost immediately.{47} The orphans were first put to work helping the Brothers in their various tasks, washing dishes in the kitchen, hoeing on the farm, sweeping floors, and so forth. It then occured to Sorin that he might train the older orphans as apprentices in the various skilled crafts which were represented among the Brothers of St. Joseph. Such training would provide the boys with a useful skill for their future life, and, of course, the apprentices would help to pay their way by their work. In addition, Sorin hoped that there might be some candidates for the Brotherhood or the priesthood among the boys who came to Notre Dame in this way. Each orphan would remain at the school until he was twenty-one, when he would depart with a common school education, two suits of clothing, and some sort of manual training.{48}

This place of training was given the name of the Manual Labor School; it was chartered under that name through Senator Defrees at the same time as the University. The School was not restricted to orphans; any boy could come and learn a trade. It was more than an orphanage or some form of a workhouse; it was an early type of trade school, a major step in the plan to make Notre Dame a center of education for all types of young men. The Manual Labor School remained, however, a separate and distinct organization from the college. The apprentices were not college or preparatory students, and it was endeavored to keep the two groups separate at all times, although this was not always possible in the early years.{50} This arrangement was a reflection of the class ideas of nineteenth century society; no parent would wish his college-bound son to associate on an intimate basis with the rougher, menial-trained apprentice. Thus, even when forced to keep the two groups together for common meals or recreation, they felt it necessary to prevent them from any communication.{51}

Of course, some of the college students found it necessary to work to finance their education, and, in America, students often found employment at their own college, helping on the college farm, serving at meals, tutoring, or even teaching.{52} In the early years of Indiana University, during the 1830's, it was proposed in the State Legislature that a 'Manual Labor School' be established at the University. This was to be a community of students established on a large farm, where they would work to pay for their education, and the farm goods would be consumed by the university, thus cutting the costs to the state for the support of higher education. The bill, however, was defeated.{53} Such a system would not have been of the same type as the Manual Labor School which was organized at Notre Dame, for there, it must be emphasized, the apprentices were given training in various skills and were quite separate from the college students. However, it was not long before college students were accepted at Notre Dame who paid all or part of their tuition in work, and it was sometimes difficult to distinguish them from the apprentices. They were listed as college students and took their courses with them, but they often worked side-by-side with the apprentices.{54}

This Manual Labor School constituted an additional task for the Brothers, but it made effective use of those Brothers whose training or intellectual talents did not fit them to be teachers in the Diocese of Vincennes. These nonteaching Brothers were busy men; they farmed the land, built and maintained the buildings, worked at trades and produced products to use or to sell, trained the young apprentices, and proctored the students. It is not remarkable, then, that many years later, after Notre Dame was a fair success, a Protestant paper noted:

The University of Notre Dame owes its prosperity to . . . 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 . . . all goes to the common fund, and constitutes the endowment of Notre Dame . . . . No wonder Notre Dame is a tower of strength to Romanism . . . .{55}

The article continued to recommend that the Protestant colleges in the American Midwest adopt the same practice. There was some exaggeration here in attributing the whole success of Notre Dame du Lac to the work of the Brothers of St. Joseph, but certainly the labor of these Brothers, no matter how humble, was as much an endowment to Notre Dame as the land she owned or the gifts she received.

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