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Prayer for the Cause of Bishop Brute

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.)

The Death of Simon Bruté

June 26th is merely a weekday in “Ordinary Time”, but one day it could be the Feast Day of “Saint Simon Bruté”!

June 26th is the 178th anniversary of the death of Servant of God, Simon Gabriel Bruté de Remur . It was on this day that he breathed his last. After suffering the effects of Tuberculosis, the “Saintly Bishop” (as he was always referred to), died at about 1:30 A.M. The bishop had written a letter on June 18th, knowing that he was going to die soon. This letter was addressed to all the people of his diocese, Catholic or not. He told them that “…in life, or in death, I humbly rejoice before my God.”.

Brute had labored for five short years as bishop. He had seen many of his priests die before their time and now he himself was about to go. Although he was always “French” and loved his native Brittany, he also truly loved the Church in Indiana. He spent almost 20 years in Maryland ministering to Elizabeth Ann Seton and the Sisters of Charity, as well as to the colleges of St. Mary’s, the one in Baltimore, which was the first seminary in the United States and remains open to this day, and Emmitsburg, known as “The Mount”, the second oldest Catholic College in the United States which Bruté referred to as his “beloved mountain”. Yet, he took to this new place, Indiana, as though it had always been his home.

Brute had a great deal of influence on the Church in America and not just in Indiana. Having been a theologian sought out by many bishops, especially the bishops of Baltimore, Brute’s thoughts and words were highly prized. He had an opinion and always a learned opinion, on just about everything having to do with the American Church.

In his last days he was ministered to by Father Jean Vabret, a member of the French, “Society of Eudists” who were asked to run St. Gabriel Seminary at Vincennes. Ironically, there is very little known about Vabret. The Eudists eventually left the diocese and Vabret’s fate is unknown except that he probably died about 1860.

After his death, Elihu Stout, editor of the Vincennes newspaper, the Western Sun, wrote:

The news of his death produced a general and almost unanimous expression of grief amongst our citizens: and well have we cause to lament this even, for to many, very many he was dear; to the one as a friend, to the other as a comforter, to the third as a teacher or literary companion, and to all as a pattern of goodness, morality and pure piety. His character was truly amiable and his manners so conciliating, that whenever he could not make friends, he was sure not to make enemies and we can safely affirm, that he died without the latter.

Perhaps the best tribute to Brute came from a man who arrived in the United States at the same time as Brute, (1810), but who was not ordained until much later, reportedly at the urging of Simon Brute. His name was Antoine (Anthony) Deydier, founder of the Church of the Assumption at Evansville. He himself was a very saintly man and he preached at the 1844 Diocesan Synod. In his sermon he said of Brute:

“Is it not true that when he was with us, we did not feel our weariness? Is it not true that nothing was hard to us; that we scarcely knew we were poor, though really devoid of every necessity of life? …These are men whose labors we have to continue to perpetuate–the models we have for our imitation in life and in death!”

John Gilmary Shea (1824-1892), the 19th century church historian, who has been called the “Father of American Catholic History, wrote in one of his many works, A History of the Catholic Church Within the Limits of the United States about Simon Bruté. He spoke in glowing terms. You can read that chapter of his book here

Brute was buried on June 28, 1839 in the crypt of the (Old) Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier in Vincennes. Since that time, there have continued to be efforts made on Bishop Bruté’s behalf to make his name and his work known. In 2005, Archbishop Daniel Buechlein, retired Archbishop of Indianapolis, began the long and arduous process to seek canonization for Bruté. Archbishop Joseph Tobin has continued that process. There have been schools named in his honor. For many years the Archdiocese ran the Bishop Bruté Latin School. Archbishop Buechlein founded the Bishop Bruté College Seminary for young men, from many dioceses, who are studying for the priesthood. The seminary is affiliated with Marian University in Indianapolis.

One of the themes of this website is… “Keeping the memory alive of those who have gone before us” This applies particularly to Simon Bruté and his work.

Last but not least, please say the prayer for the canonization of Bishop Bruté, which you find to the top left of this article.



Comment from Rev. Francis S. Tebbe, O.F.M.
Time August 2, 2017 at 12:49 pm

As a Franciscan, and native-son of the Archdiocese of Indianappolis, I was intrigued to see the Franciscan coat-of-arms (the arm of Christ and the arm of St. Francis with a cross) on the coat-of-arms of Bishop Simon Brute.

Do you know the significance or history of his connection with the Franciscans or where I might research this connection? There were Jesuits in the area prior to his arrival.

Thank you.

Father Francis

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