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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.)



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Saint Mother Theodore

Tomorrow, October 3rd, is the Feast of Saint Mother Theodore Guérin, Foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary of the Woods.

For the most part I am just repeating earlier posts. There was a lot of good information in there and I wanted to share it again. It is also a day for remembering Bishop St. Palais. This is the anniversary of his being named as the fourth Bishop of Vincennes.

I would first like to point you to an entry in the Indiana Historical Bureau Blog, written last May. It is an excellent summary of Mother Theodore and her journey as well as the journey of the Catholic Church in Indiana.

If you want to see what led up to this honor, the Criterion, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis maintains the “blog” that they published about the time of Mother Theodore’s canonization. You can view that by going here. They also featured an excellent timeline. You can view that by clicking here.

Mother Theodore’s journal, which was preserved with the help of the Indiana Historical Society was featured here in 2008. You can find it in the Wabash Valley Visions and Voices website, which also has a number of other interesting links to the general history of Indiana as well as the Sisters of Providence.

Also, on October 3rd, another milestone in the history of the Catholic Church in Indiana, is the appointment, in 1848, of the fourth Bishop of Vincennes, the Right Rev. Jacques M. Maurice Landes d’Aussac de Saint-Palais. Known to most simply as Bishop St. Palais.

Born at LaSalvetat, France, November 15, 1811, he was ordained a priest at Paris, on May 28, 1836. He accompanied Bishop Bruté on the 1836 voyage to the United States which brought many of the non-canonized saints who served in Indiana. After the sudden and untimely death of Bishop Stephen Bazin, St. Palais was named Administrator of the diocese. He was named bishop of Vincennes, on October 3, 1848. Consecrated in the cathedral at Vincennes, January 14, 1849, by Bishop Pius Miles, OP, of Nashville, assisted by Coadjutor Bishop Martin John Spalding of Louisville and Very Reverend Hippolyte Du Pontavice, vicar general of the Diocese Vincennes. Died at St. Mary-of-the-Woods, June 28, 1877. His body is interred in the Old Cathedral, Vincennes.

October is a busy month in Indiana Catholic History, not only in terms of it’s Saints, but also it’s Bishops. Former Archbishop of Indianapolis, Joseph Tobin, was named to succeed Archbishop Buechlein on October 12, 2012. Then, he was named a Cardinal on October 9th of last year. Bishop Bazin was born and consecrated in October. Servant of God, Simon Bruté was also consecrated in the month of October. With regard to Mother Theodore and her troubles with Bishop Hailandiere, after his resignation, in July of 1847, hope sprang forth with the naming of Bishop Bazin, who came to Indiana from Mobile, Alabama. With his untimely death, that hope, although not lost, was subdued. When St. Palais was named bishop, that hope was renewed, not only because of St. Palais’ ties to the diocese, but also because of his close relationship and support for Mother Theodore and the Sisters of Providence.

There were, of course, other supporters as well. Frs. Corbe, Deydier and others. But, that’s another story…


Archangel Valley

There have always been parishes in what is now the “Archdiocese of Indianapolis” named after saints who were, for lack of a better term, “spiritual beings”. In other words, “angels”. Some unnamed, as in Holy Angels and others after the only three named angels, or archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.

We all know who Michael is, and of course, the angel, Gabriel, but who is Raphael? Raphael is only mentioned in the Book of Tobit, whereas Michael and Gabriel are mentioned in the New Testament. We don’t hear much about Raphael.

Well, just like the angels themselves, when it comes to Indiana Catholic History, we hear a lot about Michael and Gabriel, but not so much of Raphael. In the present Archdiocese there are six parishes dedicated to the Archangel Michael (Brookville, Cannelton. Charlestown, Greenfield, Greenville (Bradford) and Indianapolis) and two parishes dedicated to the Archangel Gabriel, (Indianapolis and Connersville).

The two oldest “angel” parishes are St. Michael in Brookville and St. Gabriel in Connersville.1 Both of these parishes are located in the area that was known as “Archangel Valley”. Taking this further, “Archangel Valley” not only included Michael and Gabriel, but at one time, there was also a Saint Raphael parish, located in the little town of Laurel, in Franklin County. According to Wikepedia:

Laurel was platted in 1836 by James Conwell, a native of Maryland. Conwell had first intended to name his settlement New Baltimore, but instead decided to call it Laurel, after the city of Laurel, Maryland. The Laurel post office was established in 1837.

Father Herman Alerding, in his book “History of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Vincennes” wrote:

Some Irish Catholic families, Butler, ‘Murphy, Early and Londergan, settled at Laurel in 1848 or 1849, when the Whitewater canal was being constructed. Up to 1858, they were attended from Shelbyville about four times a year. From 1858 to 1860 the Rev. W. Doyle visited them from Connersville. From 1860 until October, 1874, the Rev. Henry Peters, residing at Connersville, visited Laurel once a month. In 1869, a lot of about two acres was bought, and a frame church, 40 by 30 feet, built on it, costing about $1,500. Mass, up to this time, had been celebrated in the house of William Early. Edward Zachariah was a prime mover in the erection of the church_ From October, 1874, the Rev. Joseph Fleischmann. residing at Brookville, has had charge of Laurel.2

Father Robert Gorman, in his unpublished history wrote:

Scarcely had Peters completed the church in Rushville when he began work on a church in Laurel, one of his stations where Mass had up to this date been celebrated in private homes, chiefly in that of William Early. Laurel was an old canal town which, at this date, gave promise of developing into a prominent manufacturing center, In the pursuit of his project Peters was aided and influenced principally by Edward Zacharias. In 1868 he himself made a tour in a number of the Whitewater parishes – Oldenburg, Connersville, Rushville, St. Joseph, St. Peter, St. Mary-of-the-Rocks and Brookville – in which he collected $377.00. The following year, 1869, he purchased two acres of ground in Laurel and erected a fine little frame church, 40′ x 30′ at the cost of $1,500. For this [Bishop] St. Pa1ais gave his sanction probably during his visit to Connersville in August, 1869. Laurel, however, failed to fulfill its promise of becoming an important industrial town. It suffered from disastrous fires in 1872 and 1886 which destroyed most of its industries and these were never rebuilt. It never received a resident pastor and Peters attended it as a mission until his death.3 4

Although the parish and the church itself are now gone, the St. Raphael Cemetery remains. There are now a number of sites that include the names on the graves in St. Raphael Cemetery.

This post appeared originally in May 2015

  1. St. Michael in Madison was older, but is not defunct as a parish. The others are:
    St. Gabriel the Archangel, Indianapolis
    St. Michael, Brookville
    St. Michael, Cannelton
    St. Michael, Charlestown
    St. Michael, Greenfield
    St. Michael, Greenville
    St. Michael the Archangel, Indianapolis []
  2. Alerding-p.395 []
  3. Henry Peters died on September 24, 1871 []
  4. Fr. Robert Gorman, Unpublished history of the Catholic Church in Indiana, p.1212-1213 []

The Birth of Simon Petit Lalumiere

September 18th marks the 213th anniversary of the birth of Simon Petit Lalumiere, the “First Priest of Bishop Bruté”. That is, the first priest who was truly assigned, if you will, to the newly created Diocese of Vincennes.

During the Centennial of he Diocese, in 1934, Saint Meinrad Historical Essays published an article by Joseph Casey, entitled “The First Priest of Bishop Bruté” Here is a excerpt of that article:

Perhaps it was consciously that successors of Simon Brute happily used on their part of the canvas the strong colors with which the first Bishop had begun the picture; for, though details may have been lost for years, the Episcopal office insured the living of a strong tradition. But it was unconsciously that successors of Simon Lalumiere as happily took their coloring from the first priest, for his life work, long ago forgotten and lost had not the office and dignity to command that his memory live. In their proper spheres one was the equal of the other; both were masters of their art, the first Bishop and his first Priest.

Simon Petit Lalumiere was born at Vincennes on September 18, 1804, of immigrant stock. The first of the Petit family, Nicholas, had come to America in 1660. The first indication of residence in Vincennes is the marriage of Simon’s parents in 1784. Simon was the fifth of six children. He made his studies at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Bardstown Kentucky. He was ordained a Deacon on November 23, 1828 and a Priest on January 3, 1830. Both ceremonies took place at the Old Cathedral in Bardstown and were presided over by Bishop Flaget.

Lalumiere waited in Bardstown until June of 1830. He then went to Daviess County where a group of Kentuckians had settled near the forks of the White River. This was known as Black Oak Ridge near what is now known as Washington Indiana. Simon also ministered to the Catholic community in Shelby County and numerous other places in the state. He worked with Father Nichols Petit S.J. who operated out of St. Mary’s College, Kentucky.

In 1834 when the Diocese of Vincennes became a reality, Lalumiere, along with Fr. Ferneding at New Alsace were the only priests assigned to the new diocese. In 1842 he was appointed the pastor at Terre Haute where he remained until his death in 1857. He was buried in the church of St. Joseph in Terre Haute, but the exact spot is not known. It is said that the original marker bore the words: “I sleep, but my heart watcheth” 1

Remarkably there was another Lalumiere, who was probably a nephew, named Stanislaus Petit Lalumiere. He was born in 1822 and became a Jesuit and later became the fourth rector-president of Marquette College (now university). For the longest time I thought that the picture that I found of one “S. Lalumiere” was our Simon. Turns out it was Stanislaus SJ, Genealogy records show that Stanislaus was apparently the son of Simon’s brother, Antoine (Jr.).

Back to Simon however. Brute appointed Simon Vicar General in 1835. After Brute’s death in 1839 Lalumiere continued to work with the same zeal as before. He remained Vicar General until the new Bishop, Celestine Hailandiere, could return from France. Lalumiere purchased land for future churches and worked hard to expand the ministry that he and others were engaged in.

When Lalumieré made his visits around the state, he wrote a column for the Cincinnati Telegraph and signed the articles “A Missionary” Below is a link to a PDF file showing Lalumieré’s article from the May 18, 1833 issue of the paper. He talks of his visits to Bartholomew and Shelby counties and his hope for additional priests and a bishop. Keep in mind that this was about one year before the establishment of the diocese and about 18 months before the arrival of Bishop Bruté.

Cincinnati Telegraph

  1. Casey, Joseph P. First Priest of Bishop Brute, St. Meinrad Historical Essays, Vol. 3, No. 2, May 1934, 118-121 []

The Cause of Simon Bruté

On this day in 2005 Archbishop Daniel Buechlein officially opened the cause for the canonization of the First Bishop of Vincennes, Simon Brutè. Here is the text from the September 16, 2005 edition of the ‘Criterion’, announcing the “Cause”

The Cause of Canonization of
Bishop Simon Bruté is opened

Founder of diocese now may be called ‘Servant of God’
By Brandon A. Evans

Underneath the appearance of paperwork, signatures and seals, a moment of historical significance for the archdiocese occurred this week.

On the morning of Sept. 12, Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, along with other officials and the postulator, Andrea Ambrosi of Rome, opened the Cause of Canonization of the Servant of God Simon Bruté, the founding bishop the Diocese of Vincennes, which became the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

“It’s a historic day because it formally now inaugurates the Cause for the potential canonization of our first bishop,” Archbishop Buechlein said. “It’s a very satisfying thing to be able to refer to him now as the Servant of God Simon Bruté.”

The opening session consisted mostly in the taking of oaths on behalf of all those who will be involved in the Cause.

The presence of the postulator is necessary because it is he who will officially advocate on behalf of the Cause.

The next step in the process is for the archdiocese—and members of the historical commission and theological commission of the Cause—to aid Ambrosi in presenting to the Vatican evidence that Bishop Bruté led a life of heroic virtue.1

The Cause for the canonization of Bishop Simon Bruté continues, albeit in the background. There are still volumes of writings that have to be painstakingly researched, translated, etc. Quite simply, these things take time.

One of the things that helps in the process of canonization is public support. Devotion to a particular person is of the utmost importance, but one has to first, learn about that person.

It has been suggested that something similar to “Circles” be formed, just as was done in the cause of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, recently canonized. Like Bishop Bruté, Kateri is a person of the distant past. People may have had a hard time identifying with her because she came from a distant time and place. Bishop Bruté is a little more contemporary. In Saint Kateri’s case, these circles were formed and included anyone interested, however, they were tied together in the fact that many of them were made up of Native Americans. In the case of Bishop Bruté we don’t have that. Regardless, I believe an effort should be made to encourage the creation of these circles. 2

We are blessed that our new Archbishop is very familiar with Bishop Bruté, having been Bishop of Evansville, which includes Vincennes, and prior to that he had served as an Associate at St. Joseph’s, Bardstown, which at one time included all of what was later the Diocese of Vincennes. Archbishop Thompson knows his history.

Finally, and most importantly, we can all “pray”, which is perhaps the best means to achieve the goal of seeing Simon Gabriel Bruté recognized as the saint he truly is. Here is that prayer:

Prayer for the Canonization of the Servant of God Bishop Simon

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.


The Archdiocese also has approved a prayer asking for the intercession of Bishop Bruté. Here is that prayer:

Father in heaven,
you give us every blessing
and shower us with your grace
through our savior, Jesus Christ,
and the working of the Holy Spirit.
If it be according to your will,
glorify your servant Simon Bruté
by granting the favor I now request
through his prayerful intercession:
(Mention your request.)
I make this prayer confidently
through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


(For private use only)

This post originally appeared in September 2015 – with additions.

  1. The Criterion – September 16, 2005 []
  2. Kateri Circles — A Kateri Circle is a group of women, men and/or youth of all cultures within a parish/ mission who want to belong to a prayer circle/group for the purpose of learning and promoting the saintly life of the Tekakwitha Conference patroness Kateri Tekakwitha, a young Mohawk/ Algonquin woman of the mid-seventeenth century. The Circles abide by the guidelines of the Tekakwitha Conference and encourage members to emulate the life of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha []

The Trail of Death

On this day, September 4, 1838 a shameful chapter in American history took place in northern Indiana. This is the day that the U.S. government began the forced removal of the Potawatomi Indians from Indiana to Kansas.

The connection to Indiana Catholic Church history is the fact that a young priest, Benjamin Marie Petit was given permission to accompany the Indians since he had been their pastor, serving them across the northern part of the state of Indiana.

The troubles had been brewing for some time, but we will briefly go over some of the events of the last days before the removal.

On July 26, 1838 Father Petit wrote to Bishop Bruté:1

First, to give you a report of the trip to Washington: it was useless. “I do not wish to speak of it,” said the President. “Your names are on the treaty; your lands are lost,” said the Secretary of War. “But here is one of the witnesses to the treaty who will show you how everything was a fraud.” “I do not need to be shown, and we did not need your signatures: the great chiefs of the nation were entitled to sell your reserve.” Second, the lawyers admit that the case cannot be pleaded before the Federal Court because the government refuses to become a party and no jury is possible. The land is lost, and without recourse, I believe. Our position is still painful, today more than ever, but God protects us. They are carrying the emigration forward, and with a perseverance and tenacity to which a large number of Indians will yield, although there will always remain a certain number among the old who refuse to hear of going there.13 They still ‘have some lands here and there, and later, perhaps, we shall see what should be done. At the council held for the emigration the first chief arose, interrupting the savage interpreter, seized the agent’s hand, and said to him: “Look here, Father; our lands belong to us. we shall keep them; we do not wish to talk to you any more.” This was taken as an insult to the President, and a report was made asking for authorization to use force if they refused to leave their lands. But there will be no occasion for this, as they have no idea of resistance. Such is our present situation; here is my personal one: body tired but in good health, spirit troubled, heart suffering from anxiety and yet calm enough for complete submission. I trust wholly in my all-powerful Lord. If a large number of Christians depart, I should like to be able to follow them, at least until I can place them in the hands of another pastor. Why? Because they depart alone, recent Christians, for the most part hardly steadfast yet, thrust amidst Protestant corruptions which have pulpits everywhere in the place of exile destined for them; in a little while they will lose the fruit of M. DeSeille’s 2 very great labors. Because if our brothers in France know they departed for exile without a priest’s offering to accompany them, they will be surprised, and the fact will be unique in the history of missions. Because I know my presence would be their protection during the journey, for I have learned indirectly that the management of the Indians would be entrusted to me, as the agents recognize that their power is as nothing in comparison with the priest’s influence; until now they have been driven like dogs on these journeys, and they arrived down there broken-hearted and dispirited from mistreatment on the way; it would be fine to see religion with maternal tenderness protecting and consoling these new-born children, so worthy of sympathy and so unfortunate if abandoned. Because the diocese would lose nothing by it: I should return perhaps within a year, as soon as I could place my children, my tender children, in safe hands. Because the time will not be wasted as far as I am concerned, since the fatigues of charity offered to God have value through Jesus Christ. Because in the immense territory on the left bank of the Mississippi which has been opened to the missions it would be of great importance to have a fully developed mission for a base, and by going I could get advantageous concessions from the government for this settlement, which may prosper greatly through His future favor. Because my Bishop could not refuse me this without reducing these poor children to the plight of exposed infants whom Providence, it is true, can save but who, humanly speaking, are completely destitute of aid. Because a good father would not do such a thing, and my Bishop is a good father. Those are many of the reasons for my request; there are still many more.

…At first I was troubled by your memorial to Washington by which, without knowing where we stood in the case, you interfered in its progress with a step against the spirit of neutrality which I observed by your order-a step likely to cast on the Catholic clergy the suspicion (which you say exists at Washington) of our influencing the Potawatomi to remain. At first I thought I saw a lack of ordinary prudence in this. But God can resolve all: I entrusted all to Him. At first, however I was dismayed and unhappy, I confess.

…When you read this letter, I pray our Lord will make you understand it in the sense He desires for His greatest glory and my children’s salvation. “To sacrifice you to the savages, a new pardon from your family would be necessary.” No, Monseigneur, they have given me to God entirely, and for them as for me it does not matter whether I am here or there. . They would not understand why I should abandon my children thus, and if they read of this mission’s destruction and the Christians’ exile in Annales de la Propagation de la Foi3 each will ask with astonishment: “Just where has their priest gone? Why are there no priests with them?” That would be unusual, Monseigneur, in the annals of missions; the Church has always given a consoler for the sufferings of her children. You shall decide, Monseigneur, but I must tell you what is in my heart: there it is. Let it all be arranged, rectified, or changed by my Bishop’s hand, which for me is God’s hand. Your benediction, Monseigneur, on us all, your Indians and your priest, respectful and submissive in Jesus Christ and Mary,

B. PETIT, Ptre. Mre.

Bishop Bruté gave his permission and Petit, who had been ill when the march began, apparently caught up with the expelled Indians.

The Potawatomi “Trail of Death” had started at Menominee’s village south of Plymouth, down the Michigan Road (Old Highway 31), through Rochester on Main Street, through Logansport, and along the north side of the Wabash River to cross into Illinois at Danville. He (Petit) baptized the dying children, among them newly born “who with their first step passed from earthly exile to the heavenly sojourn,” according to one of his letters, which were published by the Indiana Historical Society in 1941.

In them he vividly describes the hardships and the anguish of “my poor Christians, under a burning noonday sun, amidst clouds of dust, marching in line, surrounded by soldiers who were hurrying their steps” and the heartbreak of the Indians as they buried their loved ones and marched on. Across the great prairies of Illinois they marched, crossed the Mississippi River at Quincy, and then made their way through Missouri to enter Kansas territory south of Independence, Missouri. About 40 Indians died on the march, mostly children. Father Petit blessed each grave. He was himself at times sick with fever.

After placing the Potawatomi in the spiritual hands of Jesuit Father Christian Hoecken at the Sugar Creek Mission in Kansas on November 4, 1838, Father Petit again fell sick with fever and painful open sores. On January 2, he started by horseback back to Indiana, accompanied by Abram Burnett (Nan-Wesh-Mah), a full-blood Potawatomi friend, but again was taken ill. With three open sores draining his strength, he rode from Jefferson City in an open wagon, the roads rough and rain frequent. He reached the Jesuit seminary at St. Louis University on January 15. The fathers gave him all the medical attention and care they could, but he grew weaker and weaker. Father John A. Elet, then rector-president of St. Louis University, later wrote that he placed a crucifix to Father Petit’s dying lips and twice he kissed it tenderly. He lay on agony and finally expired 20 minutes before midnight, February 10, 1839, a martyr to his duty and his extraordinary devotion and love for his Potawatomi family. He had lived but 27 years and 10 months.

Father Petit died in the Jesuit seminary building at 9th and Washington Streets and was buried in the old cemetery at 7th Street and St. Charles Avenue. In 1856 the cemetery was moved to make way for downtown St. Louis. At that time, Father Edward Sorin, founder of Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana, came and took Father Petit’s body back to Indiana. Father Petit’s remains rest under the Log Chapel at the University of Notre Dame.4

Then, there is this from the Kansas Historical Society:

On November 4, 1838, the Potawatomi Trail of Death ended in Kansas. The two-month trek on foot proved too difficult for some of the Potawatomis. They had too little food to eat and they were exposed to typhoid. The journey claimed the lives of 42 people, half of those who died were children. A few people escaped; 756 arrived first at Osawatomie in Franklin County. There they expected to find shelter from the coming winter. No housing had yet been built.

The Catholic Church had established the Sugar Creek mission in Linn County and many of the Potawatomis moved there. The elderly French-born Sister Rose Philippine Duchesne came in 1841 to teach Potawatomi girls at the reservation. She worked at the mission until she became too feeble to serve. The Potawatomis named her Quahkahkanumad, which stood for “Woman Who Prays Always.” She was canonized in 1988.

In 1848 the mission was moved to Pottawatomie County. Today the St. Philippine Duchesne Memorial Park is located on the site of the former Sugar Creek mission. Six hundred Potawatomis are buried at the site. 5

We are so removed from this chapter in our collective history that it seems hard to fathom the treatment that the Potawatomi endured. As for Benjamin Petit, can we call him a martyr?

  1. taken from – Petit, Benjamin Marie, and Irving McKee. 1941. The trail of death; letters of Benjamin Marie Petit. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society []
  2. Fr. Louis DeSeille, Petit’s predecessor among the Native American tribes in northern Indiana []
  3. The organ of the Society of the Propagation of the Faith founded in Lyons, in 1822, as “an endeavor to enlist the sympathy of all Catholics and assist all missions, without regard to situation and nationality.” The Society was the chief source of support of the American missions. [Footnote in the McKee book] []
  4. From the Internet site: []
  5. []