The “French Quarter”: Sisters of Holy Cross

Two nuns in a science laboratory during summer school at the University of Notre Dame, c1950.

In 1843 four Sisters of Holy Cross joined the fledgling University community. They soon became indispensible fixtures of Notre Dame life, operating everything from infirmiries and kitchens to farms and the Minim school for young boys. They were type setters, book binders, manuscript translators - any need that surfaced, the Sisters of Holy Cross rose to the effort. They lived an area known as "The French Quarter," space now occupied by Brownson Hall. Records show their numbers swelled from the four in 1843 to as many as 140. By 1958, the number had lapsed to just 14.