St. Joseph's Orphanage

May 05, 2015

How many of you were familiar with this item, which I found in the ALUMNUS from May 25, 1934?

The centennial of the establishment of Father Badin's orphanage out of which grew the University will be celebrated this summer. Antedating the University by ten years, the orphan asylum was founded in the summer of 1834 after four years' labor by Father Badin and his assistants. Its primary purpose was to teach the uncivilized Indians, for which purpose Father Badin secured the aid of some few nuns.

Indian School Established

In 1830 after the Quebec Jesuits and Sulpicians had ceased their attentions to the savage converts hereabouts, religious activity was revived in the old St. Joseph missions for the first time in thirty years by Father Frederick Rese, Vicar General of Bishop Edward Fenwick's diocese of Cincinnati. Following him came Father Badin, sixty years old at the time but still strong and active. For a chapel site these pioneers chose a small hill along the St. Joe river and south of the state line, the land north of the line being Indian territory and unsettled by whites. A school for the Indians was established under Miss Angelique Campeaux who had been trained by Father Gabriel Richard of Detroit. Besides her instruction the Indians were taught to till the soil by Father Badin.

Father Badin Purchases N.D. Site

During the winter of 1831 two nuns of the Sisters of Charity from Nazareth, Kentucky, volunteered to help Father Badin in his work. A little later the state legislature opened for sale the land about the Notre Dame lakes, and during the following fall Father Badin purchased 480 acres from the Commissioner of Michigan Road land, Samuel Merrill, and Austin Morris, and 50 acres from the Federal land agent in Fort Wayne. The proposed asylum was incorporated in February, 1833 as St. Joseph's Orphan Asylum. In August Sisters Lucine and Magdalen left their community for the orphanage, arriving in December. By September, 1833 Father Badin had established the orphanage on the present University grounds. Two years later he left Cincinnati, and turned the grounds over to Bishop Brute of Vincennes. In 1842 Father Sorin and five Brothers took possession of the land, built the first college (present mission house), and chartered the University in 1844.


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