“It is quite true—I had nothing. That was one of the first requisites for success. There were, however, also other requirements in addition to hundreds of thousands of francs. I passed through days in agony. I well remember one dark day when I anxiously faced a large note of 25,000 francs. No money came in; I worked and begged in vain. One would have said all the sources had gone dry. So I put the seminarians to praying. Despite this, I had received nothing in the morning of the day when the note fell due. At two o’clock in the afternoon, a respectable-looking unknown man asked to see me, having first made certain that I was the professor whom the Sovereign Pontiff had charged with the building of the Institute. Upon entering my study, the stranger handed me a sealed envelope, and then left at once, unwilling to disclose his identity. Even today I am ignorant of the name of this benefactor who wished that only God should be a witness to his liberality. His anonymous gift amounted to 30,000 francs.“

-Cardinal Mercier on the founding of the Institute of Higher Philosophy at Louvain, a center for the reunification of Thomism and science
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