University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
The Basilica
Photography by Robert F. Ringel

The Basilica At twelve, at one, and at two the solemn strokes were sounded as usual. . . . Time marked its ceaseless course through the terrible burning, even as it had done in the hours of peace, study and prayer. We shall never forget that bell, unruffled and peaceful, as it was heard, and barely heard, amid the crackling and roaring of the flames, the falling of walls, the noise of the engine, the rushing and hissing of water and the loud shouts of men -- the peaceful but appalling sound of these sweet church bells striking the hours of God's ever passing time, His quiet, all embracing Eternity.

-- The 1879 fire that destroyed the College.


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Father Hope records Sorin's characteristic spirited response to the disastrous fire: "I wouldn't care, even if we had lost everything! We will begin again! The Mother of God cannot be defeated!" As Father Hope put it, "It was like a grand pep talk between halves."

-- Notre Dame Alumnus, V. 20, March 1942., p. 7.

"God always seemed to spend more time at Notre Dame than anywhere else; at least it always seemed easier to find him here."

-- Student's Observation, 1924-25 Undergraduate Manual, p. 12.

© 2001 by Robert F. Ringel.
All rights reserved.