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Simon Brute

237 years ago this coming Sunday, March 20th, Simon Guillaume Gabriel Brute de Rémur was born in the town of Rennes, France. To us he is known as Servant of God, Bishop Simon Brute, first Bishop of the Diocese of Vincennes, Indiana, now the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

In 2005, then Archbishop Daniel Beuchlein, began the process to seek the canonization of Bishop Brute. That process is long and difficult because the Church does not take it lightly. 11 years in “Church time” is a little like a week or two in a regular year. The historical record for Bishop Brute is long and scattered. Even though he wrote extensively and corresponded with a lot of notable people, the paper trail is scattered. Manuscripts have to be translated and studied. Archives in France and the United States have to be searched.

Sean Gallagher, a writer for the “Criterion” wrote in 2008:

Bishop Brute’s beatification cause progresses slowly
By Sean Gallagher

The Cause of Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God Simon Brute, the founding bishop of the Diocese of Vincennes, was formally opened in 2005.

Since then, much work has been done to trace and get copies of all of Bishop Brute’s known writings.

Msgr. Frederick Easton, archdiocesan vicar judicial, has helped oversee the work of gathering some 2,000 pages of writings.

He said the work of the Cause’s historical commission in authenticating these writings should be complete in a year or less.

“œIt’s taking longer because we keep finding new writings,” Msgr. Easton said.”And the more you get, the more difficult it is.”

The work of gathering the writings has been so meticulous that it led Mary Ellen Hauck, a judge instructor/assessor in the archdiocesan Metropolitan Tribunal, to remark at one point that they had everything but Bishop Brute’s grocery list.

“œShe spoke too soon,” Msgr. Easton said.”We [now] have his grocery list on which were written some homily notes.”

After the historical commission completes its work, the Cause’s theological commission will evaluate the writings to ensure that there is nothing that contradicts the Church’s teachings on morals and doctrine.

Even though this was written 8 years ago, the search and the work continues. So, what does that mean? For most people, they don’t really care much about saints, or they already have their “favorites”. When I was growing up saints were far off, both in time and space. It was 1975 before a native born American, Elizabeth Ann Seton was canonized. It has only been 10 years since Mother Theodore was canonized. Does it mean anything that there is a Saint of the Catholic Church buried near Terre Haute?

For many, however, it is a big deal and getting Simon Brute canonized is a priority. Realizing that Saints are just like us and that they too know the difficulties of daily life and the struggles involved with that. Their lives are not far off. Their example is not one of perfection, but one of struggling through all the trials of life on this earth to recognize God’s presence in the midst of it all. They are our companions.

That being said, how do we move the “Cause” of Simon Brute forward? Obviously the process does need to continue, but then what? The Archdiocese knows what to do according to Church Law, but what do we do?

Looking at others who have been canonized, or who are in the “process”, one of the things that people are doing are forming “Guilds”, much like a “citizen support group”. Here are some examples.

  1. Servant of God Solanus Casey. Note the activities that the Guild participates in.
  2. The Cause of Dorothy Day Notice the “Prayer Calendar” where people sign up to pray for Day’s canonization.

Perhaps a Simon Brute Guild is what is needed? Perhaps more encouragement to PRAY for the canonization of of Bishop Brute. What else can we do?

Your Bishop, beloved brethren, entering thus on his holy duty, begs humbly and earnestly your prayers, and entreats also fervently, the God of mercy to bless you; to fill you with that spirit of peace, charity, and piety, which has the best promises both of the present time and of the life to come. Jesus Christ said”I am the way, the truth and the life” may He ever find the pastor and the flock His faithful followers, and receive them together in the kingdom of His glory. 1
“”Servant of God Simon Brute

  1. Simon Gabriel Brute–Pastoral Letter, 29 October, 1834[]

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