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The Death of Bishop de la Hailiandieré

This post is a repeat. I wrote this post a few years ago, and over time, I’ve gained a new respect for Bishop Hailandiere, who died on this date, May 1st, 1882. He is the bishop we either call crazy, or the one we love to not love… So, call me crazy, but over the years, I’ve learned to respect anyone who put up with the hardships of Indiana in the 19th century, even if they perhaps became controlling, or if they thought that everyone who professed to be a Catholic in the State of Indiana were subject to himself.

Bishop de la Hailandiere, the man who was “second choice” to be the second Bishop of Vincennes. The man who “locked up” a future saint because she did not submit, in his opinion, to his authority. Hailandiere, who, perhaps because of his Gallican background believed that the bishop was the final authority and, perhaps, the only authority.

According to Fr. Robert Gorman, former archivist of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Hailandiere viewed his priests as “religious subjects”. This is not to say that he did not “respect” them, but I think it says that Hailandiere saw them “in their place”. I believe this is the same way he viewed Mother Theodore — not as inferior, but as a “subject” to his own place as bishop and therefore, the final word. The priests of the diocese and Mother Theodore herself understood the situation and although they disagreed with the bishop, they did not ‘disrespect’ him. Some, like Michael Shawe and others, left the diocese. Bishop Hailandiere’s disagreements with Notre Dame founder Edward Sorin are also well documented.

Hailandiere’s “stubbornness” showed through in his resistance to learning English. Bishop Brute struggled with the language, but he always strived to learn it.

Hailandiere was born in Combourg, in the Archdiocese of Rennes on May 3, 1798. He was ordained a priest at Paris on May 28, 1825. He served as Vicar general of the Diocese of Vincennes. Hailandiere was named coadjutor of Vincennes on May 17, 1839. Consecrated at Paris, August 18, 1839, by Bishop Charles Forbin-Janson of Nancy, assisted by Bishop Louis Blanquart de Bailleuil of Versailles and Bishop Jean Louis la Mercier of Beauvais. He resigned on July 16, 1847, and returned to France.

He died on this day, May 1, in 1882. His body was brought from France and interred in the Old Cathedral, Vincennes, on November 22, 1882.

On Saturday (May 3) we celebrate Hailandiere’s birth in 1798.


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