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Local Heroes and Saints

I read an article recently about vocations to the priesthood and religious life and the discerning of those vocations. The article suggested that people look to the saints and holy individuals for the examples
that they set of selfless behavior. Great advice! However, the saints and wanna-be saints mentioned were many. Among them, St. John Nepomuk, a 14th-century Czech priest who died as a martyr. Father Edward Flanagan, of Boys Town and others, all of whom ministered and served far away from Indiana.

The point of this post is to remind ourselves that in our collective history here in Indiana, we have any number of individuals that could and should be mentioned if one wants to promote vocations. The history of the Catholic Church in Indiana is rich with examples of selfless behavior, of laying down one’s life for another.

Former Archbishop Daniel Beuchlein, in his promotion of Servant of God, Bishop Simon Gabriel Brute’ quoted Baltimore Cardinal Gibbons, who visited Vincennes in 1891. The Archbishop wrote:

The fact that Bishop Bruté was esteemed as a holy person was strikingly affirmed by the renowned James Cardinal Gibbons during a visit to Vincennes on Dec. 4, 1891. He said, “Worthy citizens of Vincennes, you need not go on pilgrimage to visit the tombs of the saints. There is one reposing here in your midst, namely, the saintly Founder of this diocese, Right Reverend Simon Bruté.

Here is a whole list of men and women who can be models of sanctity for anyone discerning a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. Many of them could easily be considered martyrs of charity. They are especially remembered 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

What is the point? Learn about the history of the local Church in Indiana. Remember those who have gone before us and emulate them!


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