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Before Vincennes – Simon Brute, Anthony Deydier et al

In 1935, Joseph William Ruane, a member of the Society of St. Sulpice wrote a book entitled The Beginnings of the Society of St. Sulpice in the United States (1791-1829). This was actually Fr. Ruane’s dissertation. What does this have to do with Indiana Catholic History you may ask.

Prior to the establishment of the Diocese of Vincennes in 1834, our first bishop, Simon Brute was a member of the Society of St. Sulpice. Their mission then and now was to train young men for the priesthood. They founded the first seminary in the United States, Saint Mary’s, in Baltimore which is still in operation today. Father Brute came to Baltimore to join the faculty at St. Mary’s.

Fr. Ruane wrote:

To encourage and help the houses in the United States, Father Emery sent Simon Gabriel Brute de Remur who was to teach at Mount St. Mary’s if in the judgement of Father Tessier his presence were not needed elsewhere, At the moment a professor of philosophy was needed for St. Mary’s College and so Brute was detained for that office, He was sent to Emmitsburg in 1812 where he was welcomed, and for three years he co-operated zealously with Father Dubois.

Simon Gabriel Brute de Remur was born at Rennes, April 12, 1779. He studied medicine in his native town and then in Paris in 1799, and was graduated in 1803 with the highest honors among one thousand competitors. Despite his worldly success and the brightest prospects for a notable career in medicine, Brute resolved to study for the Church. He entered the Seminary of St. Sulpice at Paris where he was ordained in 1808. After his admission to the Society of St. Sulpice he was sent to teach at Rennes. He came to the United States with Bishop Flaget August 8, 1810, and was sent to teach philosophy at St. Mary’s College for two years. When Mount St. Mary’s ceased to be a Sulpician house in 1826, Father Brute left the Society but his relations with his former confreres continued cordial and sincere. The truth is that although endowed with lovable, admirable qualities and a brilliant mind and pen, Brute should never have been a Sulpician. He had too much of the spirit of enterprise in fields foreign to the work of St. Sulpice, and he found it hard to subject himself and his brilliant talents to the will of another. He was elected the first Bishop of Vincennes in 1834, and died June 26, 1839, generally mourned, His death called forth the sincere sorrow of the Fathers of the Fourth Council of Baltimore,

Anthony Deydier was identified in the same work:

Anthony Deydier, born in Aubagnae, in the parish of Anglar, April 30, 1788, came to the seminary with Bishop Flaget, August 10, 1810. He was also a student of the Seminary of St. Flour, had made his theology with great success, and was tonsured there. He was employed in teaching at the college. He received minor orders March 14, 1812, and was ordained sub-deacon the same day; then deacon, the following May 19. He was then sent to Emmitsburg to teach, where he remained four years, always deferring the reception of priesthood. Finally he left and became a teacher in Albany

Of course, we all know that in later years Brute called him to Vincennes where he was ordained a priest.

[Ruane, Joseph William. The Beginnings of the Society of Saint Sulpice in the United States (1791-1829). Baltimore: The Voice, 1935]


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