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170th Anniversary of Fr. Deydier’s Ordination

Sunday, March 25th marks the 170th anniversary of the ordination of Rev. Anthony Deydier, perhaps one of the first of what we now call late vocations.

Anthony Deydier was ordained on Holy Saturday, March 25th, 1837. This was a special time for the Diocese of Vincennes not only because the first ordination in the new Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier had taken place a few weeks earlier, but also because Anthony Deydier, a man who had been ordained a deacon in 1812, was finally being ordained a priest. Why did Deydier wait so long? No one seems to know for sure, however, there are some possible explanations.

Deydier was born in 1788 and he left his native France on June 10th, 1810 on the same boat as Simon Bruté, accompanying Bishop Joseph Flaget. After his ordination to the diaconate he refused ordination to the priesthood and he taught for four years at Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland, which was where Father Bruté spent most of his early years in America. eventually ending up in Albany New York as a private tutor. Apparently his association with Brute at Mount St. Mary’s is what led him eventually to his priestly ordination. Bruté reportedly asked him to come to Indiana. That call obviously struck a chord in Deydier because it was in the missions of Indiana that he shined. As was already mentioned, Bruté ordained him on March 25, 1837 in the new Cathedral in Vincennes.
After his ordination as a priest he was sent to Evansville where, except for a money collection tour, he remained.[1] Much of his time was taken up ministering to the workers on the Wabash and Erie Canal. Deydier’s life in Evansville was not one of leisure. Saint Theodora Guerin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence, St. Mary of the Woods wrote in her journal “So extreme was his poverty and so complete his destitution, that I shall run the risk of being accused of exaggeration in describing it.”[2] Deydier remained until 1859, when he retired to the “Highlands” at Vincennes. He died in 1864 and was buried in the orphanage cemetery, which is now part of the St. Vincent dePaul Parish.
[1] Deydier returned to Vincennes for a short time and arrived permanently in Evansville in November of 1837. His money collection tour took place in September 1838.
[2] Mother Theodore Guerin – Journals and Letters, Sister Mary Theodosia Mug (ed.), St. Mary of the Woods, 1942; pp. 53-54


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