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Feast of All Saints – 2021

Happy “All Hallows Eve”, “All Saints” and “All Souls”

November 1st is the Feast of “ALL Saints”. It is a day that reminds us of the “community” of which we are a part of. Within my narrow focus on that community, namely the Church in Indiana, the label of Saint points to a number of people in our collective history as the Church in Indiana.

There was an article in Church Life Journal in 2017, entitled, “Belief in the Communion of Saints Isn’t Optional”. The article, of course, points out the fact that we “confess” this belief every time we recite the Apostles Creed. Here is an excerpt from that article: 1

Though death separates the wayfarers from those in the glory of heaven and those being purified after death, the council acknowledges that the faith it inherits and now professes entails belief in a”living communion” between the living and the (blessed) dead””that is, the council espouses belief in an interchange between different spheres of existence. It teaches”that the authentic cult of the saints [consists] . . . in a more intense practice of our love.” The practice of love unfolds as the living communicate with the saints through giving thanks to God for them, accepting their ancestors’ faith as their own, asking for their help through prayer, remembering their lives and witness, and joining them in the praise of God in the liturgy. 2

The All Saints Liturgy’s Gospel reading for this year’s feast is Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount, commonly known as the Beatitudes. Our “Indiana” Saints exemplify those virtues. Here are some of the names that come to mind…

First and foremost because of the recognition by the universal Church, Mother Theodore (Anne-Thérèse) Guérin comes to mind. This holy woman who founded the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary of the Woods lived the Beatitudes.

Servant of God, Simon Brute de Rémur also comes to mind. This holy man, who came to the Indiana wilderness in 1834, exemplifies all the Beatitudes as well. Former Archbishop Daniel Beuchelin (+RIP+) began the cause for Brute in 2005. There is a long road ahead before Bishop Simon can be proclaimed a “canonized” saint, but in the minds of those who seek his intercession, Bishop Brute is already a Saint.

Kathleen Sprows Cummings, of the University of Notre Dame, in the introduction to her book “A Saint of Our Own” about Elizabeth Ann Seton, mentions that Cardinal “…Gibbons would often remind U.S. Catholics that holy men and women had lived not only across the ocean but among them on this side of the water. In 1891, for example, he admonished the citizens of Vincennes, Indiana, that they”need not go on pilgrimages to visit the tombs of saints. There is one reposing here in your midst, namely, the saintly founder of this diocese, the Right Reverend Simon Brute.” 3

Then we have all the holy men and woman who have the served the Church in Indiana throughout all these years. From the earliest missionaries, the Jesuits and others who labored here through all the trials and tribulations. People like Father Julien Devernier SJ who was removed from Vincennes in 1763 when the Jesuits were suppressed. His predecessors whose records go back to 1749, but whose presence goes back to the early 1700’s. Those that followed the suppression, including the layman, Etienne Philibert dit Orleans who kept the records and performed the baptisms. The patriot, Father Pierre Gibault and many others.

The 19th century which brought so many immigrants to Indiana and the people who ministered to them, including the many many religious women. There isn’t enough room to list all the various religious orders who have served the State of Indiana (and eastern Illinois in the early days of the Diocese of Vincennes), but they too are part of this “Cloud of Witnesses”. We’ve mentioned Mother Theodore, but we also remember Mother Theresa Hackelmeier of the Sisters of Saint Francis at Oldenburg Indiana. The Sisters of Charity from Emmitsburg who labored for a time in Vincennes. The Sisters of Saint Benedict in Ferdinand Indiana and many more women and men, professed and not professed.

We honor them all, known and unknown. We seek to emulate their holy lives. The whole reason for this website is to remind anyone who stumbles across it that we are “Keeping alive the memory of those who have gone before us”. I am always reminded of the movie, The Mission. At the end of the film the bishop says: “…the spirit of the dead will survive in the memory of the living.”

Once again, there isn’t enough room here to mention all of my saints. They not only include all those mentioned above, but people unknown to just about anyone reading this. There are over 10,000 canonized saints and no head count is available. I am talking about those who were models not only for the whole church or the local church, but also those who are models for us individually, such as parents, grandparents, etc. I read an article on the Franciscan Spirit website which referred to this great cloud of witnesses as ‘God’s Glorious Nobodies’. The author, Kathy Coffey writes:

“œTHEY SET FORTH no decisions or judgments, nor are they found among the rulers” (Sirach 38:33).

Snow shovelers, flight attendants, phlebotomists, kindergarten aides, car mechanics, postal workers, gardeners, cooks, farmers, computer technicians, produce managers, librarians, garbage collectors: They make a lovely litany for the Feast of All Saints!

What does this great cloud of witnesses celebrate? They celebrate ALL Saints and ALL Souls. In the case of All Saints, not just those who are officially recognized by the Church, but also those who are not, as well as ourselves. We are all members of the Communion of Saints. That is one reason why we try to remember those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith and this is why we proclaim our belief in the Creed.

Then, on November 2nd we celebrate All Souls Day. This is the day we remember and pray for those who have died, those who are being purged and those who have been through their purgatory and are now enjoying the full Beatific Vision.

As always, on this site, I try to highlight the lives of those men and women who have connections closer to home, namely Indiana. So, this weekend we honor all of those holy men and women who have contributed to the the Church in Indiana. We also honor and pray for all those who have served the Church in any way. Those who are not named here and those who have been forgotten. Priests, Sisters, and of course, ‘Lay’ persons.

The first reading on the Feast of All Souls is taken from the Book of Wisdom: (3:1-9)

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.

Here is a partial list of those who are especially remembered this day for their part in the building up of the Church in Indiana:

Servant of God, Simon Brute – First Bishop of Vincennes
St. Mother Theodore Guerin – Indiana’s first “Canonized” Saint
Simon Lalumiere – Born in 1804
Anthony Deydier – Brutés “late” vocation
Jean Stephen Bazin – 3rd Bishop of Vincennes
Stanislaus Buteux – Early missionary in Terre Haute
Vincent Bacquelin – Served Shelbyville and Indianapolis
Julian Benoit – Early missionary and Vicar General of Fort Wayne
Mother Theresa Hackelmeier – Oldenburg Franciscans
August Bessonies – Early Pioneer Priest
Joseph Chatrand – Bishop of Indianapolis and Cincinnati (almost)
John Corbe – Chaplain of the Sisters of Providence
John Chasse – Pioneer Priest
Francis Chatard – Bishop for 40 years
Hippolyte Dupontavice – First Priest of Hailandiere
Martin Marty – First Abbot at St. Meinrad
Joseph Ferneding – Pioneer Priest
Celestin de la Hailandiere – Second Bishop of Vincennes
Joseph Kundek – Brought Benedictines to Indiana
Fintan Mundweiler – Early Benedictine leader
Benjamin Petit – Trail of Death martyr of charity
Nicholas Petit S.J. – Brutés choice for Bishop
Maurice de St. Palais – Fourth Bishop of Vincennes
Michael Edgar Shawe – Madison pastor
Roman Weinzapfel – Persecuted Priest

There are many many more men and women that could be named here, but for now, this will suffice. Use this day to remember them and all the unnamed, including our own ancestors, who have helped to build up the Church in Indiana.

The web site Pray As You Go had an article on All Saints. Here are some excerpts:

Today we give thanks for the great multitude of women and men, who have gone before us in the way of faith. In the Bible passage we hear of the destiny of all who die in Christ; they go to that place where there is “˜no sorrow or pain’ and where they can worship God for all eternity.

All of us have been inspired on our Christian journeys by “˜ordinary’ men and women ““ the saints mentioned in today’s reading and commemorated in today’s feast. Who has inspired you; what captivated you about them? How did they reflect God’s love?

The saints reflected God in their own lives. 4

Returning to the “Church Life Journal” article:

“In recognizing the holiness of its own members, the Church confesses the truth of the Incarnation: that the humanity of Christ was neither temporary nor simply apparent. The humanity of Christ was and is real; it was and is the same humanity that the members of the Church possess. To see the holiness of its own members, the Church sees the merits of the life, death, and Resurrection of the Incarnate Word in human history” 5

The web site Crux Now had an article by Father Jeffrey F. Kirby which, I believe, explains the whole concept of the Communion of Saints.

In calling the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis emphasized this Christian response by teaching:”The Church lives within the communion of the saints.” This week the Catholic Church celebrates this communion through the feast days of All Saints on November 1 and All Souls on November 2.

The belief in the communion of saints begins here on earth as all the baptized, whom the biblical narrative calls saints or”holy ones,” are united in mind and heart through worship, doctrine, pastoral leadership, fellowship, and service to the poor. 6

Finally, here is an excerpt from a homily I heard delivered some years ago:

Today is a very special day for all of us. Because today we celebrate the feast of All Saints. I say “for all of us” for a reason. First of all, who are the “Saints” and what makes this day so special that we have to go to church? The word Saint means “Holy One”. So today we celebrate all the holy ones. Now who does that include? The Holy Ones, are many. First and foremost, the holy ones are the people in heaven, and the people in heaven are made up of all of those people that we describe as “going before us marked with the sign of faith”. What we often times miss is that not only includes those men and women who the Church has officially recognized — the canonized saints. But it also includes all the men and women who you know who have died “marked with the sign of faith”.

This day is an honor to all of those people that we recognize officially and those that we don’t — those who have made the journey through life in good faith. Those who were human, just like us, with human failings and human needs. They were people like my ancestors and yours. People who suffered, people who sorrowed. People who showed mercy and people who were lowly. They were poor people and rich people, and because of their faith, God made them holy, and that is why we honor them.

And so, we want to look up to the saints as models and ask them for their prayers. We also want to remember that we too are called to be saints. God offers us holiness and all we need to do is “keep on trying” — to do our best to live up to the call God has given to us. To “practice” our faith and to share that faith with the people around us.

Happy feast day!

  1. DeLorenzo, Leonard J. “Belief in the Communion of Saints Isn’t Optional.” Church Life Journal. November 14, 2017. Accessed October 20, 2018.[]
  2. Austin Flannery, ed.,”Lumen Gentium: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church,” in Vatican Council II: Constitutions, Decrees, Declarations, rev. ed. (Northport, N.Y.: Costello, 1996), §49, 50, 51.[]
  3. Cummings, Kathleen Sprows. 2019. A saint of our own: how the quest for a holy hero helped Catholics become American. p.10 []
  5. attributed to Karl Rahner – See article for more[]
  6. Kirby, Jeffrey. “In Response to Sartre, Church Says, “˜Heaven Is Other People!’.”[]

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