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Sorin, Edward Frederick


Founder of the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind.; b. Ahuillé, France, Feb. 6, 1814; d. Notre Dame, Oct. 31, 1893. He entered the diocesan seminary at Le Mans, France and was ordained May 27, 1838. He later joined the Congregation of the holy cross, founded by Basil Anthony moreau, a professor at the Le Mans seminary, and was professed Aug. 15, 1840. When Bp. Célestine de la Hailandière of Vincennes, Ind., on a visit to France in 1839, asked Moreau for missionaries for his diocese, Sorin and six brothers volunteered. Reaching Vincennes in October 1841, they settled first at St. Peter's, in Daviess County. The following year Hailandière offered Sorin a plot of land near South Bend on condition that he start a college within two years. The land's original owner, the missionary Stephen T. badin, called the site Ste. Marie des Lacs. Sorin accepted the condition, appealed to France for more men, and began to build. On Jan. 15, 1844, the General Assembly of Indiana granted him a charter for the University of notre dame du lac, and the first building was completed in time for commencement that June. Sorin was president until 1865; he also served as provincial superior, and took care of the missions in northern Indiana and southern Michigan.

In 1843 he received a group of Sisters of Holy Cross from Le Mans, and established them the following year at Bertrand, Mich. The site of the present motherhouse was secured in 1854 for the sisters' convent and academy. He brought to the community Eliza Maria gillespie, who, as Mother Angela, guided and inspired the sisters after their separation into a distinct community. At his direction, priests and sisters cared for the soldiers during the Civil War. In 1865 he began publication of the magazine Ave Maria. He was elected superior general of the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1868, and thus supervised the community's educational and missionary activities in France, Canada, and Bengal, as well as in the U.S. In 1883 he suggested the establishment of the Laetare Medal award. Sorin retained the presidency of the trustees of Notre Dame until his death.

Bibliography: e. f. sorin, Journal and "Missions Attended from Notre Dame," Notre Dame Provincial Archives. t. e. how ard, History of Saint Joseph County, Indiana, 2 v. (Chicago 1907). Notre Dame University, Brief History of the University of Notre Dame du Lac, Indiana from 1842 to 1892 (Chicago 1895). e. and t. catta, Basil Anthony Moreau, tr. e. l. heston, 2 v. (Milwaukee 1955). a. j. hope, Notre Dame: One Hundred Years (Notre Dame 1943). w. mcnamara, Dictionary of American Biography, ed. a. johnson and d. malone, 20 v. (New York 192836; index 1937; 1st suppl. 1944; 2d suppl. 1958) 17: 399400.

[t. t. mcavoy]

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