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Elizabeth Seton and Simon Brute

The month of March is a busy time in the history of the Catholic Church in Indiana. Some of the events of this month happened outside of the state, but all of them had an effect on our Indiana Church.

For example, Saturday, March 14, marked the 204th anniversary of Elizabeth Ann Seton’s entry into the Catholic Church. On that day, in 1805, Reverend Matthew O’Brien (1758-1815) received Elizabeth’s profession of the Catholic faith at Saint Peter’s Church, Barclay Street, in lower Manhattan. She went on to lead an exemplary life which included her becoming a close friend of Simon Brute, our first bishop who is now known as “Servant of God”.

As we celebrate the birth of Brute on Friday, March 20th, I want to reiterate the fact that although Elizabeth Seton has been declared a Saint of the Church, and rightfully so, her journey to Sainthood is marked by those who accompanied her on that journey. Among them, Simon Brute, her spiritual mentor and guide. Mother Seton’s holiness and example was, in some ways, a reflection of the holiness and example of Brute.

Brute was born in Rennes, France, March 20, 1779. He was ordained a priest at Rennes, on June 11, 1808. He came to the United States in 1810 and served at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore as well as serving most of his time in the place he loved so well, Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland. In 1834 he was asked to become the first bishop of the newly created diocese of Vincennes. He was consecrated bishop of Vincennes in the cathedral at St. Louis, Missouri, on October 28, 1834, by Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget of Bardstown, assisted by Bishop Joseph Rosati of St. Louis and Bishop John Baptist Purcell of Cincinnati. Bishop Brut� died at Vincennes, June 26, 1839. His body is interred in the Old Cathedral, Vincennes.

Here is the official prayer for the cause of Simon Brute

Heavenly Father, source of all that is holy, in every age, you raise up men and women who live lives of heroic love and service. You have blessed your Church through the life of Simon Brute, first bishop of Vincennes and spiritual director to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Through his prayer, his intellect, his love, and his pastoral care, Simon Brute formed future priests and guided your Church in the early days of our country. If it be your will, may he be proclaimed a saint. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.


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