Why South Bend

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When Fr. Sorin was dispatched from France in 1841 to found a college, his journey was intended to end in Vincennes, Indiana - some 300 miles south and southwest of South Bend. The bishop’s plan at the time was to establish primary schools at missionary outposts run by the diocese. Fr. Sorin dutifully began a school at St. Peter, nearly 30 miles to the east of Vincennes, but intended to expand it to a college. The bishop refused, noting the presence of a Catholic college already in the town. As a compromise, the bishop offered land owned by the diocese, near the St. Joseph River in northern Indiana. Fr. Sorin and his companions viewed the river’s name as a symbol of providence, and departed from St. Peter on November 15, 1842, and arrived at the outpost approximately two miles north of what was then the village of South Bend 11 days later.