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All Saints-2014

Happy “All Hallows Eve”… My friend and I were lamenting how much the celebration of “Halloween” has grown — not because it is the vigil of All Saints, but because of the commercialism that the celebration brings. Not only that, there is, in our mind at least, a definite bent toward the whole notion of evil and death and very little, if any, focus on the true meaning of the feast and the season. However, it is still important for us, as believers, to celebrate this feast as it was intended. The Feast of “ALL Saints”. It is a day that reminds us of the “community” of which we are a part of. Within my narrow focus on that community, namely the Church in Indiana, the label of Saint points to a number of people in our collective history as the Church in Indiana.

The Gospel reading for this year’s feast is Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount, commonly known as the Beatitudes. Our “Indiana” Saints exemplify those virtues. Here are some of the names that come to mind…

Mother_Guerin_IconMother Theodore (Anne-Thérèse) Guérin comes to mind. This holy woman who founded the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary of the Woods lived the Beatitudes. The universal Church has come to recognize this. Servant of God, Simon Brute de Rémur also comes to mind. This holy man, who came to the Indiana wilderness in 1834, exemplifies all the Beatitudes as well. Retired Archbishop Daniel Beuchelin began the cause for Brute in 2005. It appears that Archbishop Tobin, who quoted Brute in his installation homily, will continue to pursue his cause. That cause will take time, yet, in the minds of those who seek his intercession, Bishop Brute is already a saint.

Then we have all the holy men and woman who have the served the Church in Indiana throughout all these years. From the earliest missionaries, the Jesuits and others who labored here through all the trials and tribulations. People like Father Julien Devernier SJ who was removed from Vincennes in 1763 when the Jesuits were suppressed. His predecessors whose records go back to 1749, but whose presence goes back to the early 1700’s. Those that followed the suppression, including the layman, Etienne Philibert dit Orleans who kept the records and performed the baptisms. The patriot, Father Pierre Gibault and many others.

The 19th century which brought so many immigrants to Indiana and the people who ministered to them, including the many many religious women. Mother Theodore, mentioned above, but also Mother Mother Theresa Hackelmeier of the Sisters of Saint Francis at Oldenburg Indiana. The Sisters of Charity from Emmitsburg who labored for a time in Vincennes. The Sisters of Saint Benedict in Ferdinand Indiana and many more women and men, professed and not professed.

All-Saints-Day-2We honor them all, known and unknown. We seek to emulate their holy lives. The whole reason for this website is to remind anyone who stumbles across it that we are “Keeping alive the memory of those who have gone before us”. I am always reminded of the movie, The Mission. At the end of the film the bishop says: “…the spirit of the dead will survive in the memory of the living.”

There isn’t enough room here to mention all of my saints. They not only include all those mentioned above, but people unknown to just about anyone reading this. There are over 10,000 canonized saints and no head count is available. I am talking about those who were models not only for the whole church or the local church, but also those who are models for us individually, such as parents, grandparents, etc. I read an article in Saint Anthony Messenger which referred to this great cloud of witnesses as ‘God’s Glorious Nobodies’. The author, Kathy Coffey writes:

“œTHEY SET FORTH no decisions or judgments, nor are they found among the rulers” (Sirach 38:33).

Snow shovelers, flight attendants, phlebotomists, kindergarten aides, car mechanics, postal workers, gardeners, cooks, farmers, computer technicians, produce managers, librarians, garbage collectors: They make a lovely litany for the Feast of All Saints!

What does this great cloud of witnesses celebrate? They celebrate ALL Saints and ALL Souls. In the case of All Saints, not just those who are officially recognized by the Church, but also those who are not, as well as ourselves. We are all members of the Communion of Saints. That is one reason why we try to remember those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith.

Then, on November 2nd we celebrate All Souls Day. This is the day we remember and pray for those who have died, those who are being purged and those who have been through their purgatory and are now enjoying the full Beatific Vision.

As always, on this site, I try to highlight those men and women who have connections closer to home, namely Indiana. So, this weekend we honor all of those holy men and women who have contributed to the the Church in Indiana. We also honor and pray for all those who have served the Church in any way. Those who are not named here and those who have been forgotten. Priests, Sisters, and of course, ‘Lay’ persons.

The first reading on November 2nd, the Feast of All Souls, is taken from the Book of Wisdom: (3:1-9)

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.

Here is a partial list of those who are especially remembered this day for their part in the building up of the Church in Indiana:

Servant of God, Simon Brute – First Bishop of Vincennes
St. Mother Theodore Guerin – Indiana’s first “Canonized” Saint
Simon Lalumiere – Born in 1804
Anthony Deydier – Brutés “late” vocation
Stephen Bazin – 3rd Bishop of Vincennes
Vincent Bacquelin – Served Shelbyville and Indianapolis
Julian Benoit – Oldenburg Franciscans
August Bessonies – Early Pioneer Priest
Joseph Chatrand – Bishop of Indianapolis and Cincinnati (almost)
John Corbe – Chaplain of the Sisters of Providence
John Chasse – Pioneer Priest
Francis Chatard – Bishop for 40 years
Hippolyte Dupontavice – First Priest of Hailandiere
Martin Marty – First Abbot at St. Meinrad
Joseph Ferneding – Pioneer Priest
Celestin de la Hailandiere – Second Bishop of Vincennes
Joseph Kundek – Brought Benedictines to Indiana
Fintan Mundweiler – Early Benedictine leader
Benjamin Petit – Trail of Death martyr
Nicholas Petit S.J. – Brutés choice for Bishop
Maurice de St. Palais – Fourth Bishop of Vincennes
Michael Edgar Shawe – Madison pastor
Roman Weinzapfel – Persecuted Priest

There are many many more men and women that could be named here, but for now, this will suffice. Use this day to remember them and all the unnamed, including our own ancestors, who have helped to build up the Church in Indiana.

As they say… ‘In Other News”…

November is also the anniversary of the kidnapping, in the nighttime, in November 1763, of Julien Devernier, (De Vernier?) then pastor of St. Francis Xavier, Vincennes, by an armed force from Louisiana. The church property and all records were carried off to New Orleans. This was the suppression of the Jesuits. (see above) 1

Finally, this month also celebrates the building of the first church on the site of the present cathedral in Vincennes, in November 1702 2.

November is a busy month and there is more to come…

  1. Cauthorn – History of the Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier, p. 228[]
  2. Cauthorn – History of the Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier, p.228[]

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