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The Birth of Simon Brute

Today marks the 231st anniversary of the birth of the Right Rev. Simon Guillaume Gabriel Brute de Remur, known to us as Servant of God Simon Brute.

He was born in Rennes, France, March 20, 1779. Brute lived through the French Revolution and all that it meant to the Church. Michael Pasquier, in his book, “Fathers on the Frontier — French Missionaries and the Roman Catholic Priesthood in the United States, 1789-1870” wrote:

“As I gather up my scattered remembrances,” Simon Guillaume Gabriel Brute de Remur wrote in 1818 from Maryland, “the whole comes back to me very vividly, and I may be said to feel as I did then.” Brute-member of the Order of St. Sulpice and future bishop of the Diocese of Vincennes, Indiana-was referring to his memories and feelings associated with the French Revolution, an event that began
in 1789 when he was a ten-year-old boy growing up in Rennes. Almost thirty years later, Brute recalled the “profane and systematic attempts to root out the Christian Religion from the hearts of the
people and make them infidels.” The persecution of the French clergy played an important part in Brut├ęs account of the French Revolution, as well as his attempt to lionize those priests who died
or went into exile because of their refusal to abide by the articles contained in the 1790 Civil Constitution of the Clergy. …And he remembered “how sad, how desolate everything seemed without that living presence” of a priest able to administer the sacraments and celebrate mass on a regular basis. In sum, Brute thanked God for an end to the days when insult and derision of the Clergy and the ancient faith of the French nation” threatened to destroy the very fabric of Western civilization.

Ironically, this was, in a small sense, going to repeat itself in Indiana, at least the part about the clergy being present. He was ordained a priest at Rennes, June 11, 1808. Bishop Brute died at Vincennes, June 26, 1839. His body is interred in the Old Cathedral, Vincennes.

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