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Bishop Brute – Letter to Mother Rose at Emmitsburg

In the 19th century, there were a number of publications investigating the history of the Catholic Church in the United States. One of them was called American Catholic Historical Researches, published in Philadelphia by a man named Martin I.J. Griffin. He would publish original material, attempting to preserve it for future use.

The following is from the American Catholic Historical Researches Vol-15, January 1898. The grammar is a bit rough, mainly becasue it was written by Bishop Simon Brute. A French speaker attempting to write in English. The letter was written to Sister Rosetta Landry White, who succeeded Mother Seton and was called Mother Rose.

Letter of Bishop Brute to Mother Rose, Emmittsburg, Md.
DAVIESS Co., IND., Nov 13, 1834.

This is from the first place I visit, 25 miles from Vincennes, which I rode well enough yesterday; and so I get accustomed to the horse. Arrived Wednesday last at Vincennes; the installation took place the same evening. Bishop Rosati a little indisposed bad not been let come. Bishop Flaget addressed me with his usual fervor in French. Then Bishop Purcell gave a long discourse to a crowded audience, and so, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday morning; Mr. Hitzelberger, Friday evening and Sunday evening. The Sunday I said Pontifical High Maas, Mr. Hitzelberger deacon, Mr. Lalumiere sub-deacon; Father Petit of the Jesuits, master of ceremonies and the two Bishops on their opposite benches. Bishop Flaget said Vespers in French and by candlelight, Mr. Hitzelberger, and I added some words in English. So Vincennes had its full that day with the three Bishops. But alas on Monday morning the two ones that went away ;-the poor one left alone. God Is all; only pray. The people all kindness to me. Kindness and money, etc., may prove very different. But what signifies, you may say, and my whole heart would say if not that polnt of money and helps, a necessary condition for more important other things just as is the health of the body tor the much better things of the soul. Well I if necessary God will afford to it at least Hie adorable and unsearchable measures. Why, perhaps United States money may come this way. The chief of the savage Miamis has a right of Ten Thousand Dollars a year for the education of his young boys and young girls and may be willing to see them trusted to the care of the Bishop,

with Jesuits and Sisters; words have already passed to that effect. But, if he were willing himself in the end, how will I redeem the proffer ? Are you ready to come for the good squaw? Will Jesuits be granted to Vincennes? Father Butler, or Father Sourin be ready in their place, to come with half a dozen of their young men ? Let then the good talk go on, such as some zealous friends here have suggested, and it goes on ; I, for my part, dare not hope much. Of a College of civilized lads or a seminary, I would like to see the talk at hand and Ten Thousand Dollars for it, at hand too. What can be done in a first week? Patience. I took to this more easy step of a visit here, and I can’t help to give you a small account further. This is the place of Mr. Lalnmiere where for a while, at Vincennes, the Sisters of Nazareth kept a school, Being in the Interior of the country, five miles from Washington, the school, as that of Vide-Poche could not be numerons ; it was more so, however, having 25 day-scholars, and six boarders. The house also, is much better than at Vide-Poche, though a plain log-house too. The church is near, acrosa a small yard in grass, a neat frame building 40 feet by 28. A farm is attached of 160 acres, woodland, corn cattle, etc. My fancy, with the good Catholics or friendly Protestants around at one or two miles, etc., this would be my holy hermitage for life as Mr. Le Saulnier at Vide-Poche, But of a thought or fancy for you, I would see this turn, if Vincennes was granted by you, Nazareth leaving See, your Bishop is of Indiana, sowing what best comes across his mind and heart, or his flock and yourselves. “¢ “¢ “¢ All then to God ; all In the result, adoration, love, and resignation to His own unsearchable ways of preparing the future blessing of this new diocese. Pray dear Mother, dear Sisters, who to name here, one by one would be too pleasing.

Pray, and Father Hickey,
+ S. Brute, Bishop.

The death or our Most Rev. Archbishop and so soon actual exercise of Mr. Eccleston, we heard when approaching Vincennes, some gentlemen coming on horseback with Mr. Lalnmiere to meet us. The Friday we had a Mass in black for it by Bishop Flaget who the day after was entering his 72d year- Rev. Mr. Badin his 69th- returned all across Indiana to his Saint Joseph’s River, preaching in the Court Honse at Indianapolis then Mass on All Saints at Logansport, all activity with his snowy bead.

I ought to have told you how kind beyond acknowledgement, were the Sisters of Saint Loulis to me, procuring everything they could imagine: a light purple Cassock, to fold with a small rachet, for the mission ; good, well stuffed over-shoes; large boots, given I think by a Carroll, slater of Henry and Charles of Hagerstown, married at St. Louis. I am in excellent health.

If you have received my letter for Emily for those Fifty Dollars, use your iufluence with her. I have paid out, 1. My traveling expenses. 2. ditto Mr. Hitzelberger’s. 3. Fifty Dollars to send a priest to Chicago who Bishop Rosati has lent me for that place for one year. 4. No subscription has yet been organized for my benefit. I pay my board at Vincennes. 5. And furthermore that of my first seminarian Mr. Ratigan, the good Irishman, all ready to be ordained who I have brought back with me from St. Louis. 1 We make together the conclusion of his seminary, our exercises, etc., in traveling, for I have brought him here with me and this evening we review Ligouri, etc.

Voila pour money.

Oddity! I the organ of Vincennes is a hand organ with a row of pegs same as a set popular tunes! And Sunday at Vespers and at Benediction, for masterpiece the organist gave us the Marseillaise!

  1. Ratigan, the first seminarian in the diocese did not measure up to the bishop’s
    standares. He was a rather persistent young man and had studied previously in
    two or three seminaries. Brute held the first ordination in the cathedral on
    December 22, 1834 when he conferred the four minor orders on him. He aided in
    the,. Christmas services but shortly after that Brute, convinced that he lacked
    not only proficiency in his studies but also prudence, dismissed him. He was
    ordained later, probably in the east, and stopped for a short time at Floyd
    Knobs in the fall of 1837 on his way to St. Louis.
    [Gorman, Ch-10][]

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