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stant endeavors to preserve Her favor. Much has been written of the wondrous development during the past half-century of the great metropolis of the Middle West; but, stupendous as has undoubtedly been the growth of the village by Lake Michigan that has come to be Chicago, the political economist, taking account of merely human resources, will find it an easier matter to explain that growth than to assign the causes of the marvelous transformation that has made of the barren wilderness on the banks of the St. Joseph River the most splendid sanctuary of Religion and Science to be found on this continent, if not in the whole world. The true explanation is beyond the economist: Notre Dame was built with "Hail Marys."
It is certainly not strange that, looking upon the material evidences of the success which so abundantly crowned the faith and zeal of Father Sorin, men of eminence in church and state have repeatedly averred that the University which he founded is both the grandest tribute offered to our Lady in the Western hemisphere and the worthiest monument by which to perpetuate the memory of her Franco-American son. In truth, the material Notre Dame, the many acres of fields and campuses, lakes and groves, gardens and parterres; the starcrowned colossal statue of the Blessed Virgin dominating at a height of more than two hundred feet the golden dome of the central edifice; the adjacent noble church, that treasure-house of religious art and beauty, from whose tower a brazenthroated giant booms out the Angelus with louder exultation than sounds from any other belfry in
the land; the number, variety, and thorough equipment of institutes of science and residence halls and religious dwellings scattered over this American Oxford-these naturally impress the minds, and are apt to elicit the enthusiastic praises, of transient visitors to Our Lady's Indiana home.
And yet, without minimizing in any degree the true significance of the noble University-fully acknowledging, on the contrary, both the capital importance of the Catholic education for which it stands, and the far-reaching beneficial influence of the thousands who have learned, and are learning, within its halls to combine practical virtue with intellectual development, it may well be questioned whether Father Sorin did not found a work still greater than the University, and establish his foremost claim to the Blessed Virgin's favor, when, in 1865, he began the publication of The Ave Maria. "They who declare me shall have life everlasting," was the significant text of our Marian Knight's first sermon on the Lady of his choice; and, assuredly, through few other agencies in either hemisphere during the past half-century have Mary's dignity and prerogatives, her beauty and her glory, the quasi-omnipotence of her supplication and the unfathomable depths of her compassionate tenderness been declared so constantly and adequately, with such loving enthusiasm and persuasive insistence, as through the beneficent pages of that magazine "devoted to the honor of the Blessed Virgin," and wearing as its felicitous title the Angel of the Incarnation's greeting to the Lily of Israel, the Judean Maiden "full of grace."
While the present writer's editorial association with the magazine during half its lifetime naturally hampers his pen in writing of its merits, it will be permissible to quote here two, out of many hundred, tributes paid to its excellence by competent eulogists. The first is found in Archbishop Ireland's notable sermon on the occasion of Father Sorin's sacerdotal Golden Jubilee, in 1888. "How much he has done to extend through the country the sweet devotion to Mary, I need not lose time in telling. Mary's journal, The Ave Maria, weekly goes from Notre Dame to scores of thousands of Christian homes in America; and hundreds of practices of piety are made common that otherwise would not be known, and ten thousand acts of love are uttered that Heaven otherwise would not have heard. Of course, in the hurry of our American life, in the manifold labors which we are called on to undertake in the service of souls. the danger is lurking nigh that the interior life be forgotten and we become as sounding brass. A most effective remedy is devotion to Mary, with all its supernal fragrance, and all its sweet inspirations to piety and holiness." Not less cordial and laudatory are the words of a younger member of the hierarchy, Archbishop Mundelein, in his sermon at the Diamond Jubilee in 1917: "And not by preaching and teaching alone, but also by the printed word have Father Sorin and his sons fulfilled their mission in spreading the word of God in this land. Week after week, for more than fifty years, have they sent a message of praise to Our Lady's honor into every part of the English-speak
ing world, and fittingly is it labeled Ave Maria. In these days when the aim of most journals seems to be rather to startle and to scold than to instruct and to entertain, when our nerves are shocked and our passions roused rather than our attention held and our humor challenged, The Ave Maria comes into our homes and into our hands like an honored guest, like a charming, gentle, well-bred lady, with its kindly humor, with its wholesome bits of wisdom, with its interesting stories for young and old. It is one of our few journals that require no apology and no introduction, for once welcomed into a home, it finds its way into the heart, and is surely missed if it fails to return.'
It need hardly be said that the career of our priestly knight of Mary was not lacking in those trials and troubles and fiery ordeals with which Divine Providence seems pleased to strew the way of the strongest souls and the most efficient workers for His glory. Two outstanding afflictions in the history of Notre Dame merit a word of description. In 1854, only a dozen years after the foundation, there broke out an epidemic of cholera that ravaged the ranks of the community, carrying off member after member with a rapidity and a violence that threatened the total extinction of the congregation in the United States. It was a trial calculated permanently to discourage any leader of less than heroic mold; but, indomitable in his zeal for God's glory, and supremely confident in the unfailing assistance of his Heavenly Mother, Father Sorin not only preserved his own courage but effectively rallied the drooping spirits of all his surviving co
laborers, and the work of growth and expansion uninterruptedly went on. A quarter of century later, in 1879, a disastrous fire in a few hours reduced to ashes not only the main university structure but almost every other building in its immediate neighborhood. Apart from the destruction of much that money could never replace, the financial loss, to a religious community, was tremendous; and the available insurance was trifling. The way in which the disaster was met serves to illustrate, better than could pages of analytic exposition, the spirit which ever dominated the founder of Notre Dame and which he was eminently successful in instilling into his religious subjects. With whole-hearted devotedness and whole-souled devotion they worked and prayednay, rather, they prayed and worked. The first gift received by Father Sorin towards the building of a new university—it was a check for one thousand dollars—he sent to a priest in a distant city with a request for prayers and Masses in behalf of Notre Dame. Trust in Providence and in Our Lady was accompanied in those heartrending April days of 1879, as always in the history of Holy Cross, by untiring personal exertion on the part of all its members. Before the ashes of the old buildings were cold, the work of constructing the new ones was begun; and in September of the same year they were opened to a larger concourse of students than the fire had dispersed.
Nothing has been said as yet of the growth, during the late Superior-General's term of office, of the Congregation of Holy Cross in this country; of