Edward Sorin

Edward Sorin

  • by Marvin R. O'Connell

  • 788 pages, 7.00 x 10.00 , 52 halftones

  • Hardcover | 9780268027599 | November 2001


This sweeping book offers the definitive account of the life and labors of Edward Sorin, founder of the University of Notre Dame. Born in the west of France in 1814, Sorin was ordained in 1838 and joined the newly founded Congregation of Holy Cross shortly thereafter. In 1841, Father Sorin, along with six Holy Cross brothers, was sent to establish a mission in Indiana. After a year’s service in the Vincennes diocese’s fledgling parochial schools, Sorin was offered a tract of land in the diocese’s northernmost section—on the condition that a college be situated there. Father Sorin and his companions arrived at the lakeside property, located near the south bend of the St. Joseph River, in November 1842.

The next year, the state of Indiana granted a charter to what Sorin proudly and reverently called the University of Notre Dame du Lac. In its early days, Father Sorin’s “university” was composed of a few log shacks and a handful of half-educated brothers, only a few of whom could speak English. There was no money and hardly any students.

But Father Sorin, by sheer willpower, was determined that his university would prosper. Basic to Father Sorin’s success in this regard was his willingness to give free rein to gifted colleagues—men more intellectually sophisticated than himself—and his intuitive understanding of, and growing love for, the unique character of American culture.

Edward Sorin is a lively, colorful history of the man who overcame great odds to found and grow one of the world’s premier Catholic institutions of higher learning.