Site menu:


Prayer for the Cause of Bishop Bruté

Heavenly Father, source of all that is holy, in every age, you raise up men and women who live lives of heroic love and service.

You have blessed your Church through the life of Simon Bruté, first bishop of Vincennes and spiritual director to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Through his prayer, his intellect, his love, and his pastoral care, Simon Bruté formed future priests and guided your Church in the early days of our country.

If it be your will, may he be proclaimed a saint.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. —Amen.

(Contributions to defray the expenses in furthering the Cause should be sent to Bishop Bruté Fund, Archdiocese of Indianapolis, P.O. Box 1410, Indianapolis, IN 46206.)



Recent Posts


Bishop Hailandiere returns to Vincennes

Here are some interesting news articles from 1882 concerning the return of the body of Celestine Guynemer de la Hailandiere, that is, Bishop de la Hailandiere, the second Bishop of Vincennes, to the United States following his death on May 1, 1882.

The Bishop had always wanted to be buried in Vincennes. After his resignation in 1847 amid much controversy, he returned to his native France where he remained for the next 35 years. Obviously much had changed in this country and certainly in the Diocese of Vincennes. Two bishops had come and gone (Bazin and St. Palais), and the third, Bishop Chatard had moved to Indianapolis.

Bishop St. Palais had overseen the largest growth in the Church in Indiana as well as the further division of the Diocese to include the new Diocese of Fort Wayne.

The November 17th edition of the New York Times had a small article about the arrival of Hailandi?re’s body in New York. His nephew, Rev. Ernest Audran, who was ordained by Bishop Hailandiere, accompanied the body from New York to Vincennes.

In another article from Morning Review, Decatur, IL on Nov 20th, 1882 Bishop Chatard enters the picture, although he was not present at any of the ceremonies honoring Bishop Hailandiere.

Indiana has been blessed with the canonization of Mother Theodore Guérin, (and now the possibility of our beloved Bishop Bruté someday being canonized), however, that recognition for Mother Theodore’s example of holiness brought some national attention to the journey that Mother Theodore took to become Indiana’s first saint. Specifically the relationship between Mother Theodore and then Bishop of Vincennes, Celestine de la Hailandiere.

I’ve written here, numerous times, that all the bad things that are reported to have happened between Mother Theodore, the Sisters of Providence and Bishop Hailandiere did happen. There is no denying that, but modern pundits have put a spin on it which, I do not believe ever existed. It seems that everyone looks at the situation as it existed and comes to the conclusion that Hailaindere was this evil sexist individual who wanted nothing more than to destroy Mother Theodore. He’s even been called mentally unstable.

I believe that the bishop was simply what we now call a control freak, a micromanager. Yet, this is the same man who gave up everything and came to America to serve the Church in the Indiana wilderness just like Mother Theodore did. Her perseverance, in the face of opposition, not only from Bishop Hailandiere, but also many others, is part of what made her a true saint. My purpose is to give Bishop Hailandiere some credit for the sacrifices he made and for his love of the Church in Indiana. He may not have been a saint, but he certainly gave much to the cause of the Catholic Church in Indiana.

When he died in May of 1882 he could have instructed that his body be buried in France, his birthplace, but he did not. Instead he asked to be buried in Vincennes. On November 17, 1882 Hailandiere’s body arrived back in the United States after after a 35 year self imposed exile. He was interred in the Old Cathedral, Vincennes, on November 22, 1882. This wish to be returned to Vincennes, says something, I think, about his character and his love for the Church in Indiana.


November 5, 1834

On this day in 1834, at 5:00 P.M., newly consecrated Bishop Simon Gabriel Bruté took possession of his Cathedral in Vincennes. He celebrated pontifically for the first time on the following Sunday, November 9, 1834.1 This was the end of a long journey to Saint Louis, and the pomp of the consecration of a Bishop, and then the long ride to Vincennes on horseback to take possession of his Cathedral and his new Diocese.

Servant of God
Simon Bruté

When Bruté was nominated as bishop, many thought that he was too scholastic, unprepared for the rigors of life in the wilderness of Indiana. Of course, Bruté proved everyone wrong and in the short five years that he was Bishop of Vincennes, he made great strides in promoting Catholicism on the ‘frontier’. For all those reasons he is no longer known only as Bishop Bruté, but as Servant of God Simon Bruté

In Charles Blanchard’s History of the Catholic Church In Indiana (Vol-1) he writes of Bruté’s arrival in Vincennes:

As if impatient to begin his labors in his new diocese, Bishop Brute, in company with Bishops Flaget and Purcell, left St. Louis the following Monday after his consecration, November 3, and journeyed on horseback to his future home, arriving at Vincennes November 5, 1834. Mr. Cauthorn, in his history of St. Francis Xavier’s cathedral, says that the coming of their new bishop had become known to many of the citizens of Vincennes, and a large number of people of all denominations crossed the Wabash river to meet the approaching prelates and escort them into the town.

The installation of the new bishop took place in the cathedral that evening, and the sermon was preached by Bishop Purcell to a congregation which completely filled the sacred edifice. The remainder of the week, continues Mr. Cauthorn, was devoted to religious exercises in the church. Many clergymen from a distance were in attendance, including Fathers Abel, Hitzelberger and Petit, who were all able, learned and eloquent men. Two services were held each day in the church, one at ten o’clock in the morning, and another at six o’clock in the evening, at which sermons were preached in French and English. On Sunday, at ten o’clock. Bishop Brute for the first time officiated pontifically in his cathedral, and Bishop Flaget addressed a large congregation in French. Vesper services were held at 6 o’clock in the evening, and Bishop Purcell delivered a sermon in English. Almost the entire population of the town attended all these services.

On the following Monday the visiting prelates and clergymen left for their respective homes, and Bishop Brute found himself literally alone in his wild and thinly settled diocese. And it was from this moment on, during the time he was bishop of the diocese, that he gave evidence of and developed, contrary to all expectations based on human reasoning, the wisdom and peculiar fitness of his selection as bishop of the new diocese.

When Bishop Brute came to Vincennes in 1834, it was a very small and poorly built town. The cathedral was situated in the most populous part; but there was not (excepting the cathedral and the small pastoral residence) a single brick dwelling in all that part of the town. The houses were mostly built of logs and plastered over with adobe, of a uniform size and appearance, being only one story’ high, with a small porch in front, and generally whitewashed. He had in all his extensive diocese but three priests, and two of these were stationed at a distance of not less than 200 miles from him, and the third, Rev. Lalumiere, who was the first priest ordained specially for the diocese, was stationed some thirty miles distant. The cathedral was wholly unfinished, being no more than the four bare walls, unplastered, and the eight large square timbers supporting the roof were entirely bare, with no sanctuary or any kind of ornamentation. It presented a very desolate appearance. The entire revenues of the church did not amount to over $300 per annum, and the most of this was paid in produce. The $200 donated him by the Sisters of Charity, when he was appointed bishop, had been necessarily spent in his travels before he reached his diocese; and the revenues at his command were nothing compared with the needs and demands of the diocese. The outlook, it must be admitted, was anything but encouraging, and sufficient to dampen the zeal of any ordinary man. But Bishop Brute, student and recluse as he had previously been all his life, did not repine, but at once commenced to perform the work that had been assigned him.2

  1. Cauthorn – History of the Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier, p. 228 []
  2. History of the Catholic Church in Indiana – In Two Volumes. Volume 1. Illustrated Edited and Compiled by Col. Charles Blanchard. Logansport, Indiana, A.W. Bowen and Company. 1898. []

All Saints 2017

Happy “All Hallows Eve”…

I post this, or at least a version of it, every year. This feast day is, for me, one of the most important feasts of the year.

Tomorrow (November 1st) is the Feast of “ALL Saints”. It is a day that reminds us of the “community” of which we are a part of. Within my narrow focus on that community, namely the Church in Indiana, the label of Saint points to a number of people in our collective history as the Church in Indiana.

The Gospel reading for this year’s feast is Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount, commonly known as the Beatitudes. Our “Indiana” Saints exemplify those virtues. Here are some of the names that come to mind…

First and foremost because of the recognition of the universal Church, Mother Theodore (Anne-Thérèse) Guérin comes to mind. This holy woman who founded the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary of the Woods lived the Beatitudes.

Servant of God, Simon Bruté de Rémur also comes to mind. This holy man, who came to the Indiana wilderness in 1834, exemplifies all the Beatitudes as well. Retired Archbishop Daniel Beuchelin began the cause for Bruté in 2005. There is a long road ahead before Bishop Simon can be proclaimed a “canonized” saint, but in the minds of those who seek his intercession, Bishop Bruté is already a Saint.

Then we have all the holy men and woman who have the served the Church in Indiana throughout all these years. From the earliest missionaries, the Jesuits and others who labored here through all the trials and tribulations. People like Father Julien Devernier SJ who was removed from Vincennes in 1763 when the Jesuits were suppressed. His predecessors whose records go back to 1749, but whose presence goes back to the early 1700’s. Those that followed the suppression, including the layman, Etienne Philibert dit Orleans who kept the records and performed the baptisms. The patriot, Father Pierre Gibault and many others.

The 19th century which brought so many immigrants to Indiana and the people who ministered to them, including the many many religious women. Mother Theodore, mentioned above, but also Mother Mother Theresa Hackelmeier of the Sisters of Saint Francis at Oldenburg Indiana. The Sisters of Charity from Emmitsburg who labored for a time in Vincennes. The Sisters of Saint Benedict in Ferdinand Indiana and many more women and men, professed and not professed.

We honor them all, known and unknown. We seek to emulate their holy lives. The whole reason for this website is to remind anyone who stumbles across it that we are “Keeping alive the memory of those who have gone before us”. I am always reminded of the movie, The Mission. At the end of the film the bishop says: “…the spirit of the dead will survive in the memory of the living.”

There isn’t enough room here to mention all of my saints. They not only include all those mentioned above, but people unknown to just about anyone reading this. There are over 10,000 canonized saints and no head count is available. I am talking about those who were models not only for the whole church or the local church, but also those who are models for us individually, such as parents, grandparents, etc. I read an article in Saint Anthony Messenger which referred to this great cloud of witnesses as ‘God’s Glorious Nobodies’. The author, Kathy Coffey writes:

“THEY SET FORTH no decisions or judgments, nor are they found among the rulers” (Sirach 38:33).

Snow shovelers, flight attendants, phlebotomists, kindergarten aides, car mechanics, postal workers, gardeners, cooks, farmers, computer technicians, produce managers, librarians, garbage collectors: They make a lovely litany for the Feast of All Saints!

What does this great cloud of witnesses celebrate? They celebrate ALL Saints and ALL Souls. In the case of All Saints, not just those who are officially recognized by the Church, but also those who are not, as well as ourselves. We are all members of the Communion of Saints. That is one reason why we try to remember those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith.

Then, on November 2nd we celebrate All Souls Day. This is the day we remember and pray for those who have died, those who are being purged and those who have been through their purgatory and are now enjoying the full Beatific Vision.

As always, on this site, I try to highlight those men and women who have connections closer to home, namely Indiana. So, this weekend we honor all of those holy men and women who have contributed to the the Church in Indiana. We also honor and pray for all those who have served the Church in any way. Those who are not named here and those who have been forgotten. Priests, Sisters, and of course, ‘Lay’ persons.

The first reading on the Feast of All Souls is taken from the Book of Wisdom: (3:1-9)

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.

Here is a partial list of those who are especially remembered this day for their part in the building up of the Church in Indiana:

Servant of God, Simon Brute – First Bishop of Vincennes
St. Mother Theodore Guerin – Indiana’s first “Canonized” Saint
Simon Lalumiere – Born in 1804
Anthony Deydier – Brute’s “late” vocation
Jean Stephen Bazin – 3rd Bishop of Vincennes
Stanislaus Buteux – Early missionary in Terre Haute
Vincent Bacquelin – Served Shelbyville and Indianapolis
Julian Benoit – Early missionary and Vicar General of Fort Wayne
Mother Theresa Hackelmeier – Oldenburg Franciscans
August Bessonies – Early Pioneer Priest
Joseph Chatrand – Bishop of Indianapolis and Cincinnati (almost)
John Corbe – Chaplain of the Sisters of Providence
John Chasse – Pioneer Priest
Francis Chatard – Bishop for 40 years
Hippolyte Dupontavice – First Priest of Hailandiere
Martin Marty – First Abbot at St. Meinrad
Joseph Ferneding – Pioneer Priest
Celestin de la Hailandiere – Second Bishop of Vincennes
Joseph Kundek – Brought Benedictines to Indiana
Fintan Mundweiler – Early Benedictine leader
Benjamin Petit – Trail of Death martyr
Nicholas Petit S.J. – Brute’s choice for Bishop
Maurice de St. Palais – Fourth Bishop of Vincennes
Michael Edgar Shawe – Madison pastor
Roman Weinzapfel – Persecuted Priest

There are many many more men and women that could be named here, but for now, this will suffice. Use this day to remember them and all the unnamed, including our own ancestors, who have helped to build up the Church in Indiana.

The British web site Pray As You Go has an article on All Saints. Here are some excerpts from that site:

Today we give thanks for the great multitude of women and men, who have gone before us in the way of faith. In the Bible passage we hear of the destiny of all who die in Christ; they go to that place where there is ‘no sorrow or pain’ and where they can worship God for all eternity.

All of us have been inspired on our Christian journeys by ‘ordinary’ men and women – the saints mentioned in today’s reading and commemorated in today’s feast. Who has inspired you; what captivated you about them? How did they reflect God’s love?

The saints reflected God in their own lives.

The web site Crux Now had an article by Father Jeffrey F. Kirby which, I believe, explains the whole concept of the Communion of Saints.

In calling the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis emphasized this Christian response by teaching: “The Church lives within the communion of the saints.” This week the Catholic Church celebrates this communion through the feast days of All Saints on November 1 and All Souls on November 2.

The belief in the communion of saints begins here on earth as all the baptized, whom the biblical narrative calls saints or “holy ones,” are united in mind and heart through worship, doctrine, pastoral leadership, fellowship, and service to the poor. 1

As they say… ‘In Other News”…

November is also the anniversary of the kidnapping, in the nighttime, in November 1763, of Julien Devernier, (De Vernier?) then pastor of St. Francis Xavier, Vincennes, by an armed force from Louisiana. The church property and all records were carried off to New Orleans. This was the suppression of the Jesuits. (see above)2

Finally, this month also celebrates the building of the first church on the site of the present cathedral in Vincennes, in November 17023.

November is a busy month and there is more to come…

  1. Kirby, Jeffrey. “In Response to Sartre, Church Says, ‘Heaven Is Other People!’.” []
  2. Cauthorn – History of the Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier, p. 228 []
  3. Cauthorn – History of the Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier, p.228 []

Consecration of Simon Brute

Today, October 28th is the feast of Sts. Simon and Jude. It was on this date the Simon Gabriel Brute was consecrated in St. Louis, as the First Bishop of Vincennes. The year was 1834. The “new” cathedral in Saint Louis had just been completed and it was Brute’s wish as well as the other bishops, that he be consecrated in that place on this day. Writing at the time, Brute said:

“…Bishop Flaget had returned from Cincinnati, and I set out with him for Louisville, where Bishop Purcell joined us. Crossing the Ohio, we proceeded directly to St. Louis, across the vast prairies of Illinois, and passing through the town of Vincennes, half incognito. It was a source of great happiness and consolation to me to pass so many days in the company of these holy Bishops, and to meet that most excellent Prelate, Dr. Rosati, of St. Louis. On the 26th of October, assisted by Bishops Flaget and Purcell, he consecrated his new and beautiful cathedral, which was an occasion of joy to the whole city.”

Brute continues to write:

“Two days after on the 28th of October, the day of the Holy Apostles, St. Simon (my patron) and St. Jude, I was consecrated in the same cathedral, by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Flaget, assisted by Bishop Rosati and Bishop Purcell.”

The “Old” Cathedral, as it is now known, still stands in St. Louis. The neighborhood where it stands has changed. The tattered look of 1900, (as seen in the black and white photo on the left) contrasted by the look today. If you have never been to the old cathedral, it is worth a visit. One thing you will notice is the resemblance to the cathedral of St. Francis Xavier in Vincennes.

In addition, we want to feature this article from “The Jesuit or Catholic Sentinel”, the forerunner of the present day Boston Pilot, the official newspaper of the Boston Archdiocese. The title of this publication had really nothing to do with the Jesuits. It is the second oldest Catholic newspaper in the U.S. (the first being the “Catholic Miscellany” which was published in Charleston South Carolina.).was published in Volume V, Number XLIX, December 6, 1834. It is followed by a short blurb taken from the Vincennes Gazette about Bishop Bruté’s arrival into the city of Vincennes.

Jesuit, or, Catholic sentinel (Boston, Mass. : 1833), Volume V, Number XLIX, 6 December 1834
[From the Catholic Telegraph.] ST. LOUIS.

The learned and pious Bishop of Vincennes was consecrated by the venerable Bishop of Bardstown, assisted by the Bishops of St. Louis and Cincinnati, on Tuesday, 29th of October, Feast of St. Simon and Jude. Nearly all the clergy that had assisted at the dedication of the Cathedral, staid to witness this interesting rite, by which a new successor was given to the Apostles, a Bishop placed to rule a large portion of the Church of God, and a most valuable addition made to the Prelacy in the United States. The sermon was preached by the Bishop of Cincinnati, from the text, St. John xxi, 12, “Simon, lovest thou me more than these ?” In the course of his remarks, the Bishop established by several brief but peremptory arguments from Scripture and tradition, the divine institution of Episcopacy ; expatiated on the services rendered by the first order of the Christian Hierarchy to religion, by the vigilance with which, whether assembled in general council, or in their respective provinces and Sees, the Bishops detected and proscribed every error, avoided the profane novelties of words, reduced to silence the oppositions of knowledge falsely so called, and faithfully “ kept the truth committed to their trust.” In proof of the salutary influence possessed and exercised by the Episcopal body, in the middle ages, for the improvement of legislation, the extinction of feuds, the diffusing of learning and consequent amelioration of the condition of the human race, he adduced the authority of Protestant as well as Catholic historians ; finally, after a short but vivid exposition of the virtues which so eminent a station imperiously demands in him who has been raised to it, he concluded with the impressive and edifying admonitions in Scripture, addressed particularly to the Bishop:

“Have they made thee Ruler? Be not lifted up : be among them as one of them. Have a care of them. Feed the flock of God, taking care of it, not by constraint, but willingly, according to God ; not for filthy lucre’s sake, but voluntarily, neither as lording it over the clergy, but being made a pattern of the flock from the heart—Pursue justice, godliness, faith, charity, patience, mildness, fight the good fight of faith ; lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art called ; keep the commandments without spot, blameless, unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, from whom you shall receive a never-fading crown of glory. To Him be honour and empire everlasting, Amen.” During the octave of the dedication of the Cathedral, we had the satisfaction to hear many excellent discourses delivered to crowded, and it seemed to us, deeply interested auditors. We listened with especial pleasure to the sermon of the Rev. Mr. Abell, on the divinity of the Christian Religion ; of the Rev. Mr. Hitselberger on unity of faith, a discourse replete with beauties of the highest order of composition, yet perfectly intelligible even to the uneducated mind ; of the able President of the University of St. Louis, Rev. Mr. Verhaegen, on “speculative intolerance of truth perfectly compatible with the practical charities of the gospelof Rev. Messrs. Smith, Timon and Vandevelde, respectively, on the doctrinal subjects of the Catholicity and Apostolicity of the true Church ; the utility and lawfulness of invoking the intercession of the Saints, and on purgatory.

On the feast of All Saints, Pontifical High Mass was sung by Rt. Rev. Dr. Purcell. The Bishop of Vincennes preached—what faith teaches us of Heaven—what faith teaches us of the preparation we should make for it. Next day, Sunday, the good Bishop of Vincennes officiated pontificaliy, and the Bishop of Bardstown preached in his peculiarly paternal manner. The effect of his discourse will, we devoutly hope, be long remembered in St. Louis, and the graces bestowed, during the entire week of benediction continue to produce fruits of conversion and sanctification, a hundred fold. At noon, on Monday, 3d Nov., we bid an affectionate farewell to Right Rev. Dr. Rosati and his zealous clergy, and, homeward bound, recrossed the “ great father of waters,” whose banks, already adorned with so many noble temples, are vocal to the praises of the only true and living God, and whose stream, like the ancient Nile, in its course through the richest valley in the known world, is destined to pass by institutions of piety and learning surpassing those of the Thebais, in the golden ages of the Eastern Church, in number, in fervor, and in duration.

A deputation of the citizens of Vincennes, consisting of Protestants and Catholics, on horseback, galloped up to the stage as we approached the termination of the prairie, near the oldest city of the West, and by their organ, the Rev. Mr. La Lumiere, greeted most cordially the arrival of their lately ordained Bishop. Dr. Brute briefly responded, and addressed a fervent-prayer to heaven, invoking a blessing on the scene of his future labours, where many a privation, no doubt, awaits him, but which generous devotedness to his enlightened sense of duty will teach him to disregaid, that he may gain souls to Jesus Christ. Viator.
Vincennes, Nov. 8.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Brute, Bishop of Vincennes, lately consecrated in St. Louis, arrived at his Episcopal residence, on Wednesday, Nov. 5th. He came accompanied by the Bishop of Bardstown, Kentucky, Dr. Flaget, and the Bishop of Cincinnati, Dr. Purcell. The installation, according to the prescribed forms of the Catholic Church, took place on the evening of his arrival ; when, after the address of Dr. Flaget to the new prelate and his reply. Dr. Purcell spoke in English to a numerous and respectable congregation. Every evening during this week at 6 o’clock, an English discourse will be delivered. On Sunday, a Pontifical mass will be celebrated by Bishop Brute, at 11 o’clock, A. M., at which Dr. Flaget will address the congregation in French, Vespers will commence at 3 o’clock, and at candlelight an English sermon will be preached. — Vin. Gaz. [Vincennes Gazette]

October is a busy month for Indiana Catholic History. This month we have also celebrated:
October 14 — Ordination of Benjamin Petit and John Plunkett
October 15 — Bishop Bazin born in France (1796)
October 15 — Pope Benedict canonized Mother Theodore in 2006.
October 17 — Archbishop George Biskup died (1979)
October 21 — An apostolic decree, creating the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, was issued (1944)
October 24 — Bishop Bazin consecrated third Bishop of Vincennes (1847)


Ordinations 1837

On October 14, 1837, Bishop Bruté ordained two men. Benjamin Petit and John Plunkett. Both men would go on to do great things in service to the Church in Indiana. Both would die outside of the state and within three years of their ordination.

John Plunkett, an Irishman, did heroic work on the canals in northern Illinois, ministering to the people there. He died while on a sick call on a stormy night in March of 1840. You can read all about it in a previous post.

Benjamin Petit, a Frenchman who yearned to serve the Indians in northern Indiana, was also ordained on this day. He came over from France with Bishop Bruté in 1836, inspired, as so many were, by this “Servant of God”. Petit’s biography can be read here. He died in 1838 after accompanying the Potawatomi Indians on the “Trail of Death”.

Remember them…
Pray for them …