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All Saints – All Souls 2023

Once again, we publish what we have published in the past… but with a few additions and a bit of lamentation for the loss of memory of what this feast (as well as the Feast of All Souls) is about. Regardless of the commercialization, as people put up all sort of decorations, featuring goblins, spiders, ghosts and even Halloween trees. For our part, we continue to celebrate this day for what it was intended — a Feast of ALL Saints – Those named and not named, and ALL Souls — our beloved dead.

The Church recognizes the Feast Day for what it is — a celebration of the “People of God”, or as St. Paul referred to them as “Saints”. Here is one explanation of St. Paul’s intent.

As used more broadly by Paul in his epistles, the term “saints” (meaning ones who have been sanctified, or set apart, for service to God) applies to all Christians everywhere — whether Jew or Gentile. Their sanctification indicates that, by virtue of being Christians, they are “in the world”, but not “of the world” (that is living in the world, but no longer a part of the “world system”, which is generally characterized by godlessness and immorality).

When used in this manner, the word “saint” applies to any Christian — not just those individuals whom one or more church bodies have designated as saints (such as St. Paul, St. Peter, and so forth) because of their dedication to Christianity, or because of meeting certain specified criteria (such as those established by the Roman Catholic Church) for being formally given the title “Saint”. ((https://ebible.com/questions/13834-who-are-the-saints-paul-is-referring-to-when-he-says-but-now-i-go-unto-jerusalem-to-minister-unto-the-saints-in-romans-15-25))

There is always some sort of article or commentary at this time of year telling us about “Saints”. I read one recently which spoke of contemporary “saints” and how we have come to see contemporaries as saints and not just those who lived 100, 200 or even 1000 years ago.

Of course for those of us in Indiana, we also look to the more distant past, albeit the 18th and 19th centuries, for examples of holiness. Saint Mother Theodore Geurin and of course, Servant of God, Simon Brute. One canonized, the other “in process” and both “official”.

The field of potential saints has become more crowded and although this site prefers to look only to Indiana and the early history of the Church in this area, it is exciting to see people like Dorothy Day, Oscar Romero, Sister Thea Bowman, Thomas Merton, Popes John Paul, Paul, John XXIII, et al, being held up as models of the faith.

And yet, these are well known examples. We want to do our part here to remind everyone of people that most have never heard of. People who will never be recognized by the whole Church, not because they are lacking in holiness, but because the process of canonization is long, messy and expensive.

So, that all means that we cannot invoke the names of these “saints” in public ceremonies etc. ((Can. 1187 It is permitted to reverence through public veneration only those servants of God whom the authority of the Church has recorded in the list of the saints or the blessed.)) but when one looks at their life, one recognizes holiness and one can invoke the name or names of those men and women in our private prayer.

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: ((DeLorenzo, Leonard J. “Belief in the Communion of Saints Isn’t Optional.” Church Life Journal. November 14, 2017. Accessed October 20, 2018. http://churchlife.nd.edu/2017/11/02/belief-in-the-communion-of-saints-isnt-optional/.))

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. ((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.))

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-Therese) Guerin 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 Remur 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.” ((Cummings, Kathleen Sprows. 2019. A saint of our own: how the quest for a holy hero helped Catholics become American. p.10 ))

There was also, recently, an article in the American Catholic Studies Newsletter ((https://cushwa.nd.edu/assets/542915/american_catholic_studies_newsletter_50_2_fall2023.pdf)) about the opening of the Cause for Brother Columba O’Neill CSC, who died in 1923. Brother Columba would, of course, also be an Indiana Saint. Not to make too many comparisons, but the article, by PhD candidate Michael Skaggs sounds a little like the story of our own “Servant of God” Simon Gabriel Brute. The good bishop was mourned by many people, but 184 years after his death his memory is scarce throughout the Church in Indiana and in most other places. For Brother Columba, it was the same. Thousands mourned his death, but the passing of years faded some of those memories.

One can look to any list of “Servants of God and see the huge numbers of “saints”, especially holy ones from our present time. I mentioned, above, and once again, regardless of how Simon Brute’s Cause fares, he will always remain a Saint to us!

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:

“THEY 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 week 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
John Plunkett – Served Joliet Illinois and the Canal in that area.
Julian Benoit – Early missionary and Vicar General of Fort Wayne
Br. Columba O’Neill CSC- Holy Cross Brother.
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. ((https://pray-as-you-go.org/player/prayer/2615))

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” ((attributed to Karl Rahner – See article for more))

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. ((Kirby, Jeffrey. “In Response to Sartre, Church Says, “˜Heaven Is Other People!’.” https://cruxnow.com/commentary/2016/10/29/response-sartre-church-says-heaven-people/.))

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

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