True to his pioneering and visionary spirit, Fr. Edward Sorin, C.S.C., established Cedar Grove Cemetery in 1843, a year after he founded the University of Notre Dame. At that time, Cedar Grove was on the far outskirts of campus and run by the same Holy Cross priests and brothers charged with keeping a fledgling university afloat. The Holy Cross brothers established a mortuary in these early years, ran operations from the basement level of what is now a women's residence hall, and used a horse-drawn hearse to transport coffins from Sacred Heart Church in the center of campus out to the cemetery. The mortuary operation, one of the first in the state of Indiana, was sold in 1911 to a local owner still in business today.
Throughout the balance of the 19th century and for most of the 20th, Cedar Grove was a Catholic cemetery open to the public, thus its local and historic interest in Northern Indiana. Ownership and responsibility for the cemetery transferred from Holy Cross to the University in the 1970's. In 1977, it became a private cemetery open only to Notre Dame faculty, staff, and retirees with the requisite years of service. After two significant expansions in 1977 and 1999, Cedar Grove Cemetery now encompasses 22 acres, with the newest areas located on land once used as a golf course. Even so, limited in-ground burial space remains.
In response to persistent requests from Notre Dame alumni and parishioners of Sacred Heart Parish (Notre Dame, IN) to be buried at Cedar Grove, and with the limited in-ground space remaining, the University opened the Our Lady of Sorrows at Cedar Grove Cemetery mausoleum complex in 2007. Two additional mausolea opened in January, 2013 bringing the total number of mausolea to four. Each mausoleum offers options for the entombment of the full body and inurnment of the cremated remains of the body.