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1837 Ordinations

Since (at least) 2006, when Mother Theodore was canonized, the October calendar has been mostly filled with news about our Indiana (canonized) saint.

There have been other events in the Indiana Catholic calendar as well and today, October 14th, is one of them. On this day, in 1837, Bishop Simon Brute ordained not only our saintly Father Benjamin Petit, but the equally saintly John Francis Plunkett.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, Plunkett studied at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. In the summer of 1837 he arrived in Vincennes and received minor orders from Bishop Brute. He was, as mentioned above, ordained at Vincennes on October 14, 1837.

He served the area around Vincennes and in the Fall of 1837 he was assigned to assist Fr. Michael Shawe in Madison. In 1838 he was sent east to seek funds for the Indiana missions. By that Fall, he was on his way to the canal areas in and around Joliet Illinois. There were many Irish workers on the canal.

On March 14, 1840, Fr. Plunkett was traveling by horseback to a sick call. It was apparently raining heavily and he hit a low hanging branch and was killed instantly.

The parish in Joliet where Fr. Plunkett labored has an online history. You can read more about him by going to the History of St. Dennis You can also read about a number of other priests of the Diocese of Vincennes since Joliet and all of eastern Illinois were a part of our diocese until the founding of the Diocese of Chicago in 1842.


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