A Catholic University

Jun 07, 2013

...from Scholastic, 1916...

About eighty miles' southeast of Chicago, in the State of Indiana, the traveler is greeted by a golden dome silhouetted against the sky and crowned with a beautiful statue of the Virgin Immaculate. This "dome, and statue are the crowning-glory of the great American University of Notre Dame.  This school is justly regarded as the type Catholic institutions of-higher education in its situation is a charming one. Located in the midst of pretty woods; Notre Dame under the abundant foliage of its graceful elms and gigantic maples, comprises some score of edifices devoted some to lodging and others to instruction still others to administration to play and to prayer.

The first college building that he constructed out of his poverty is reverently preserved, and as a consequence, one is permitted to appreciate better by contrast with the present magnificent pile, the benedictions and future promises that this foundation contained.  The tiny seed, sowed seventy-four years ago, has grown and flowers to-day in the garden of Notre Dame.

Picture to yourself on the bank of a little lake of tranquil waters, an immense central pavilion, cruciform and crowned with a-cupola two hundred feet in height, whose main corridor is decorated with the frescoes and which contains an historical museum, an art gallery, a library of sixty thousand volumes, the offices of the Administration, and dining-rooms for the whole personnel.  Imagine, nearby a gothic chapel, completely decorated with Italian frescoes, and measuring 275 by 120 feet. The tower of the chapel contains a six-ton bell and chimes of thirty-two bells. Imagine, at a little distance and opposite the chapel, an edifice called Washington Hall, comprising the halls of the faculty of Music and an   Auditorium capable of seating 1200 persons. A little farther on rises Science Hall, consecrated to  physics, geology, mineralogy, zoology and botany; beyond Chemistry Hall, the home of the chemists and pharmacists; next Engineering Hall with its Mechanical Shops, its forge, foundry, laboratory, and electrical apparatus; the Meteorological Observatory the six great dormitory buildings, the infirmary the gymnasium, not -to mention the kitchens, ratatorium, stores, printing offices, baker shops, etc.

Represent to yourself this beautiful group of university buildings, and add to it in close proximity the other houses of the Congregation of Holy Cross, the Provincial house, the Novitiate, the Seminary or Juniorate, the Mission House the Juniorate for the Brothers and still others - and you have an idea of the vast extent of Notre Dame. All these buildings are of white brick, and in the June sun, framed as they are in verdure, surrounded by lawns, bushes and flowers, trees and beautiful walks, they offer to the astonished visitor the most enchanting of pictures. Turn now from the buildings and landscape of Notre Dame to the life that animates her. Follow the comings and goings of the more than eleven hundred students and the sixty professors, admire the amiable courtesy of the whole community, the deference of the students to the priest, the paternal cordiality of the priest to the student, see the study-halls, silent yet teeming with intellectual life, the Campus so full of animation, admire the intelligent discipline, the esprit 'de corps of this truly American organization where everything tends towards the economizing of every moment and towards doing only that which "will be of some use".

Say to yourself that these young men are all working for some diploma, in letters, in the sciences, in  philosophy, in law," in engineering, even in journalism, and in many other specialties unknown among us.

Realize; finally, that the old students, the Alumni, profess, a real devotion to their Alma Mater, that they are there received as around a paternal hearth, and that often their attachment is translated into fine subscriptions which singularly promote the equipment of Museums, the beautifying of buildings and the procuring of expensive apparatus.  You have now an idea, sufficiently exact, though somewhat superficial, of how the University of Notre Dame appears to the eyes of the visitor.

When leaving this beautiful home of Catholic education, after having compared it at every point with the limitations of our Own Laval University, we are consoled, and in a practical manner, in telling our hosts what Laval contains, the many masterpieces of art, the treasures that are there in abundance, the collections, geological, mineralogical and zoological, the hundreds of thousands of volumes of its library and the inestimable riches of its archives; we are consoled in thinking, without emphasizing it too strongly, of the remarkable results that it accomplishes with such modest resources.

"Translation of an article" by Monsieur Abbe Germain

*A learned Jew of Chicago, Mr. Max Pam, founded three years ago a chair of Journalism at Notre Dame having realized that Catholic education was most efficient for remedying the evils of American society.


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