Chronicles of Notre Dame Du Lac, The
384 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268022709 | July 1992
Hardcover | 9780268007898 | July 1992
When Edward Sorin left France in 1841 to lead the first band of missionaries sent by the Congregation of Holy Cross to the New World, the rule of the young community required him to keep and send back to France an annual account of the significant events in the life and work of the men and women on the American mission. Chronicles of Notre Dame du Lac contains this running account of the history of the University of Notre Dame--from its foundation in 1842 through the end of the Civil War--written by the man honored as its founder and whose vision for this now world-famous Catholic university is still invoked today. Through crippling snow storms, devastating fires, and epidemics of cholera and typhoid, the men and women of Holy Cross persisted in their mission to build a college on "this property [that] was then known as St. Mary of the Lakes ... half a league from South Bend; one league from the northern boundary of Indiana; about twelve leagues from Lake Michigan." With warmth and humor Sorin discusses their humble beginnings, "A single room was placed at the service of the priests, and the Sisters had to themselves the ground floor below the chapel, where they spent nearly two years. Except for the fact that there was only one window, and in consequence of the close atmosphere there was a large stock of lice and bed bugs, they were, as they say in America, pretty comfortable." Sorin's judgments of people and events are recorded with a blunt frankness, including his conflicts with various bishops and his own superior general back in France. If his biases are revealed in these chronicles, so, too, is his commitment to the projects that shaped his life and work.
Edward Sorin, C.S.C. (1814–1893) was born in the west of France, was ordained in 1838 and joined the newly founded Congregation of Holy Cross shortly thereafter. In 1841, Father Sorin was sent to establish a mission in Indiana. After a year’s service in Vincennes. . . Sorin was offered a tract of land in the diocese’s northernmost section—on the condition that a college be situated there. . . and arrived at the property, located near the south bend of the St. Joseph River, in November 1842. He was a man who overcame great odds to found and grow one of the world’s premier Catholic institutions of higher learning.
James T. Connelly, C.S.C., is the congregational archivist for the Congregation of Holy Cross. He is the author and editor of a number of books, including The Chronicles of Notre Dame Du Lac by Edward Sorin, C.S.C. (University of Notre Dame Press, 1992); The University of Portland: A Century of Teaching, Faith, and Service; and Basile Moreau and the Congregation of Holy Cross.
“The Chronicles capture Edward Sorin’s vision for [Notre Dame] and the shrewd steps he took to develop it, ranging from successful lobbying for a railroad to provide access to the unsuccessful sending of a band of brothers to California to mine gold to fund their operations. . . . They are remarkably frank.” ~Church History