The Chronicles of Notre Dame Du Lac
384 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268022709 | July 1992
Hardcover | 9780268007898 | July 1992
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268076597 | August 2020
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.
John M. Toohey, C.S.C., (1840–1905) was born at Birr, Kings County, Ireland. He was ordained a priest in 1864 and was pastor at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Ft. Wayne, IN from 1890 to 1895. He is buried in Austin, Texas.
James T. Connelly, C.S.C., was associate professor of history at the University of Portland and resident director of the University's study abroad program in Salzburg, Austria. He has worked as an archivist for the Congregation of the Holy Cross and has published many articles and reviews on American religious history and the history of 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
“For Protestants who picture [the University of Notre Dame] as a flagship sailing under papal banners, an outpost of monolithic Catholicism in Protestant Indiana, the darling of Midwestern Catholics, these chronicles will be eye-openers.” —The Christian Century
“The Chronicles of Notre Dame represents the best of its genre. ” —The Catholic Historical Review
“. . . a smooth and readable text. . . . This is a worthwhile book. . . . [that] renders well the context of the beginnings of the University of Notre Dame.” —History of Education Quarterly
“The Chronicles of Notre Dame present to the reader the human side of the origins of the Holy Cross community in America and demythologize the beginnings of one of America’s great universities. They are resplendent with financial challenges, stark ambitions, exciting misadventures, and serious infighting.” —Indiana Magazine of History