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Bishop Brute Visits New Alsace 1836

The following account of Bishop Simon Brutés visit to St. Paul Parish in New Alsace Indiana was found in Sister Mary Godecker’s “Simon Bruté de Rémur, first bishop of Vincennes” ((Godecker, Mary Salesia. 1931. Simon Bruté de Rémur, first bishop of Vincennes. St. Meinrad, Ind: St. Meinrad historical essays. p.291))It is attributed to a parish publication, “St. Paul’s Church, New Alsace, Indiana. New Alsace, Ind. 1928.

Late in November, 1836, Bishop Brute visited Father Ferneding’s two parishes at New Alsace and Dover respectively. To that date this was the most distant visitation made since his return from France. Several hurried excursions had been made to less distant stations as St. Peter’s, St. Mary’s, Terre Haute, Cat River, and New Albany, but

While Bishop Brutés extant correspondence and the documents give no intimation to that effect, a parish chronicle records an earlier visit to these settlements:

In 1835, the diocese of Vincennes having been established, Father Fenerding invited the Bishop, Rt. Rev. S. Brute, to bless the church. The Bishop promised to do so, coming over Madison on steamer to Lawrenceburg. The important question was, how to bring him to New Alsace, fifteen miles west of Lawrenceburg. A meeting was called. Mr. Balthasar Hamerle promised to furnish the horse, but how about the wagon. A Protestant owned a one-hol’se wagon, covered with canvas, a committee was sent to the owner of the wagon. Mr. Miller, the owner said, you may have my wagon but my horse will draw it and I will be the driver. This was gladly accepted. On the day appointed, the committee went to Lawrenceburl: to meet the Bishop. He arrived at 1 o’clock a. m., and two clerics were with him. They brought the Bishop to the hotel, refreshments were offered him and a bed. The Bishop refused both and rested on two chairs. At daybreak the journey to New Alsace started. From Lawrenceburg to Guilford the Bishop and clerics said the breviary. Mr. Mueller had an eye on the Bishop, watching him closely. Later he remarked “that if the Bishop was not a saint, he could not believe there was one.”

Arrived at New Alsace, the Bishop repaired to the church. Father Ferneding had the children there for instruction. Among them was a blind boy, whom the Bishop noticed. Father Ferneding told him that the boy was blind. Bishop Brute went to the boy, laid his hands on his head, saying: “Mon Dieu, Mon Dieu,” blessed him and gave him a gold cross.

After Confirmation the Bishop proceeded to Dover. Returning he was met on Tanner’s Creek Hill by some members of New Alsace congregation. Mr. Louis Gutzwiller was good on the violin. When the Bishop came near, they sang “Grosser Gott” in the woods. The Bishop was so touched at this solemn hymn, that he dismounted from the wagon and coming to the singers, with tears in his eyes, shook hands with them, saying: “Such good people must have a pastor.” Before leaving the Bishop promised to contribute $500.00 towards the building of a brick church. On his way East, he sent $150.00 toward purchasing a chalice and vestments, the balance was sent later.


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  1. Mr. Miller (Mueller) Was My Great Great Grand Father. He is buried at New Alsace, Marker is missing, which I have a picture of, in 1983. All in German. His grave is next to Mr. Louis Gutzwiller.

    Eugene J CappelJuly 18, 2022 @ 12:17 pmReply

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