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A Few Days in February

Here we are in mid-winter, waiting for Spring. Taking a look at the calendar shows us that this is an important week in the history of the Catholic Church in Indiana.

First,we look at February 10th. This is the day, in 1839, that Father Benjamin Marie Petit, the apostle to the Pottawatomie, died in Saint Louis while he was returning from accompanying them on the “Trail of Death” I like to think of Petit as a “Martyr of Charity”. You can read more about this amazing young priest in a previous post

The second event is February 11th. On this day we celebrate two people who were extremely important to the history of our Church in the Middle West. Antoine (Anthony) Deydier who came to the United States with Servant of God, Simon Brute, died on this day in 1864 at the “Highlands”, just outside of Vincennes. Deydier helped to buld the Church in southwestern Indiana, founding the Church of the Assumption and seeing it to completion. When he retired, he moved to the orphanage that was located near Vincennes and he is buried in their cemetery. The Diocese of Evansville honored him by naming their House of Discernment for him. Ironically, Deydier took a long time to discern. He was ordained a deacon and then refused ordination until Brute called him to Vincennes and ordained him a priest at the age of 49.

Lastly, we remember the man who served as a bishop from 1808-1850. Benedict Joseph Flaget, a French Sulpician, came to the United in 1792. He served the people of Vincennes as well as the area of Kentucky, known by some as the “American Holy Land”. In 1808 he was named as Bishop of the new Diocese of Bardstown. One of four new dioceses carved out the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

In 1839 the See of Bardstown was transferred to Louisville and Flaget continued to serve until 1850. Ironically the Archdiocese of Louisville just announced the naming of Bishop Shelton Fabre, the first African American archbishop of Louisville. He will be the 10th bishop of the (Arch)diocese.

Remember these holy men who served in the frontier for so long. Also, as we remember Pope Francis’ intention for February, as we pray for religious sisters and consecrated women; thanking them for their mission and their courage as they too helped to form the Church in the Midwest.


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