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Consecration of Simon Brute- 1834

Today, October 28th is the feast of Sts. Simon and Jude. It was on this day that Simon Gabriel Brute was consecrated in St. Louis, as the First Bishop of Vincennes. The year was 1834. The “new” cathedral in Saint Louis had just been completed and it was Brutés wish as well as the other bishops, that he be consecrated in that place on this day. Writing at the time, Brute said:

“…Bishop Flaget had returned from Cincinnati, and I set out with him for Louisville, where Bishop Purcell joined us. Crossing the Ohio, we proceeded directly to St. Louis, across the vast prairies of Illinois, and passing through the town of Vincennes, half incognito. It was a source of great happiness and consolation to me to pass so many days in the company of these holy Bishops, and to meet that most excellent Prelate, Dr. Rosati, of St. Louis. On the 26th of October, assisted by Bishops Flaget and Purcell, he consecrated his new and beautiful cathedral, which was an occasion of joy to the whole city.”

Brute continues to write:

“Two days after on the 28th of October, the day of the Holy Apostles, St. Simon (my patron) and St. Jude, I was consecrated in the same cathedral, by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Flaget, assisted by Bishop Rosati and Bishop Purcell.”

The “Old” Cathedral, as it is now known, still stands in St. Louis. The neighborhood where it stands has changed. The tattered look of 1900, (as seen in the black and white photo on the left) contrasted by the look today. If you have never been to the old cathedral, it is worth a visit. One thing you will notice is the resemblance to the cathedral of St. Francis Xavier in Vincennes.

The day was chronicled in an article from “The Jesuit or Catholic Sentinel”, the forerunner of the present day Boston Pilot, the official newspaper of the Boston Archdiocese. The title of this publication had really nothing to do with the Jesuits. It is the second oldest Catholic newspaper in the U.S. (the first being the “Catholic Miscellany” which was published in Charleston South Carolina.). The article is followed by a short blurb taken from the Vincennes Gazette about Bishop Brutés arrival into the city of Vincennes.

Jesuit, or, Catholic sentinel (Boston, Mass. : 1833), Volume V, Number XLIX, 6 December 1834
[From the Catholic Telegraph.] ST. LOUIS.

The learned and pious Bishop of Vincennes was consecrated by the venerable Bishop of Bardstown, assisted by the Bishops of St. Louis and Cincinnati, on Tuesday, 29th of October, Feast of St. Simon and Jude. Nearly all the clergy that had assisted at the dedication of the Cathedral, staid to witness this interesting rite, by which a new successor was given to the Apostles, a Bishop placed to rule a large portion of the Church of God, and a most valuable addition made to the Prelacy in the United States. The sermon was preached by the Bishop of Cincinnati, from the text, St. John xxi, 12,”Simon, lovest thou me more than these ?” In the course of his remarks, the Bishop established by several brief but peremptory arguments from Scripture and tradition, the divine institution of Episcopacy ; expatiated on the services rendered by the first order of the Christian Hierarchy to religion, by the vigilance with which, whether assembled in general council, or in their respective provinces and Sees, the Bishops detected and proscribed every error, avoided the profane novelties of words, reduced to silence the oppositions of knowledge falsely so called, and faithfully” kept the truth committed to their trust.” In proof of the salutary influence possessed and exercised by the Episcopal body, in the middle ages, for the improvement of legislation, the extinction of feuds, the diffusing of learning and consequent amelioration of the condition of the human race, he adduced the authority of Protestant as well as Catholic historians ; finally, after a short but vivid exposition of the virtues which so eminent a station imperiously demands in him who has been raised to it, he concluded with the impressive and edifying admonitions in Scripture, addressed particularly to the Bishop:

“œHave they made thee Ruler? Be not lifted up : be among them as one of them. Have a care of them. Feed the flock of God, taking care of it, not by constraint, but willingly, according to God ; not for filthy lucre’s sake, but voluntarily, neither as lording it over the clergy, but being made a pattern of the flock from the heart””Pursue justice, godliness, faith, charity, patience, mildness, fight the good fight of faith ; lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art called ; keep the commandments without spot, blameless, unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, from whom you shall receive a never-fading crown of glory. To Him be honour and empire everlasting, Amen.” During the octave of the dedication of the Cathedral, we had the satisfaction to hear many excellent discourses delivered to crowded, and it seemed to us, deeply interested auditors. We listened with especial pleasure to the sermon of the Rev. Mr. Abell, on the divinity of the Christian Religion ; of the Rev. Mr. Hitselberger on unity of faith, a discourse replete with beauties of the highest order of composition, yet perfectly intelligible even to the uneducated mind ; of the able President of the University of St. Louis, Rev. Mr. Verhaegen, on”speculative intolerance of truth perfectly compatible with the practical charities of the gospelof Rev. Messrs. Smith, Timon and Vandevelde, respectively, on the doctrinal subjects of the Catholicity and Apostolicity of the true Church ; the utility and lawfulness of invoking the intercession of the Saints, and on purgatory.

On the feast of All Saints, Pontifical High Mass was sung by Rt. Rev. Dr. Purcell. The Bishop of Vincennes preached””what faith teaches us of Heaven””what faith teaches us of the preparation we should make for it. Next day, Sunday, the good Bishop of Vincennes officiated pontificaliy, and the Bishop of Bardstown preached in his peculiarly paternal manner. The effect of his discourse will, we devoutly hope, be long remembered in St. Louis, and the graces bestowed, during the entire week of benediction continue to produce fruits of conversion and sanctification, a hundred fold. At noon, on Monday, 3d Nov., we bid an affectionate farewell to Right Rev. Dr. Rosati and his zealous clergy, and, homeward bound, recrossed the” great father of waters,” whose banks, already adorned with so many noble temples, are vocal to the praises of the only true and living God, and whose stream, like the ancient Nile, in its course through the richest valley in the known world, is destined to pass by institutions of piety and learning surpassing those of the Thebais, in the golden ages of the Eastern Church, in number, in fervor, and in duration.

A deputation of the citizens of Vincennes, consisting of Protestants and Catholics, on horseback, galloped up to the stage as we approached the termination of the prairie, near the oldest city of the West, and by their organ, the Rev. Mr. LaLumiere, greeted most cordially the arrival of their lately ordained Bishop. Dr. Brute briefly responded, and addressed a fervent-prayer to heaven, invoking a blessing on the scene of his future labors, where many a privation, no doubt, awaits him, but which generous devotedness to his enlightened sense of duty will teach him to disregard, that he may gain souls to Jesus Christ.

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[Vincennes Gazette – November 8, 1834]
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Brute, Bishop of Vincennes, lately consecrated in St. Louis, arrived at his Episcopal residence, on Wednesday, Nov. 5th. He came accompanied by the Bishop of Bardstown, Kentucky, Dr. Flaget, and the Bishop of Cincinnati, Dr. Purcell. The installation, according to the prescribed forms of the Catholic Church, took place on the evening of his arrival ; when, after the address of Dr. Flaget to the new prelate and his reply. Dr. Purcell spoke in English to a numerous and respectable congregation. Every evening during this week at 6 o’clock, an English discourse will be delivered. On Sunday, a Pontifical mass will be celebrated by Bishop Brute, at 11 o’clock, A. M., at which Dr. Flaget will address the congregation in French, Vespers will commence at 3 o’clock, and at candlelight an English sermon will be preached.

Regarding the influence of Bishop Brute, former Archbishop Joseph Tobin made a pilgrimage to Vincennes in 2014 where he celebrated the Eucharist in the Cathedral of Saint Francis Xavier. After his visit it was reported by Natalie Hoefer in the Criterion.

Archbishop Tobin shared how, during the retreat he made in the week prior to his installment as archbishop of Indianapolis, he read about the life of Bishop Brute. “What jumped out at me off of those pages was what he did after he was ordained as a bishop in 1834, after he was sent here. He wrote a pastoral letter to people he had never met, and he said, “˜Do not be afraid. Fear is the devil’s instrument. Do not be afraid.’ ((The Criterion Friday, October 17, 2014 Page 9))

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