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It probably means very little to most people, but being serious about “Keeping the memory alive of those who have gone before us… for me, also means “keeping track” of them as well.

I’ve written previously about Father Louis Nicholas Petit S.J. the Jesuit who was born in Haiti, served on the faculty at St. Mary’s in Kentucky, as well as at the Cathedral in Vincnennes, and the man who was Bishop Simon Bruté’s first choice to succeed him as Bishop of Vincennes.

The Superior General of the Society of Jesus stubbornly refused to allow Fr. Petit to be considered for Coadjutor of Vincennes. His reasoning had much to do with the shortages of Jesuits.

Gilbert Garraghan wrote:

Bishop Brute of Vincennes made repeated efforts to obtain a Jesuit for his coadjutor, having proposed to Rome in this connection the name of Father Nicholas Petit of St Mary’s College, Kentucky. “I give up,” he wrote to Father Roothaan, [The Jesuit Superior] “my prolonged and useless efforts to obtain a coadjutor from your Society”

That appointment was obviously never to be. Fr. Petit went to New York after the Jesuits gave up St. Mary’s in Kentucky, and eventually he ended up in St. Joseph’s Parish in Troy, New York. It was there that he died of February 1, 1855. He was buried in the church yard. That burial place was virtually unknown until now.

Here is a photo of Fr. Petit’s stone: [Thanks to Deacon Charles Wojton of St. Joseph’s Parish]

A loose translation would be: Nicolaus Petit S.J. Born in Haiti (Hayti) 8 July 1789 – Died 1 February 1855.


Categories: Postings.