September 16, 2005

The Cause of Canonization of Bishop Simon Bruté is opened

Founder of diocese now may be called ‘Servant of God’

By Brandon A. Evans

Underneath the appearance of paperwork, signatures and seals, a moment of historical significance for the archdiocese occurred this week.

On the morning of Sept. 12, Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, along with other officials and the postulator, Andrea Ambrosi of Rome, opened the Cause of Canonization of the Servant of God
Simon Bruté, the founding bishop the Diocese of Vincennes, which became the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

“It’s a historic day because it formally now inaugurates the Cause for the potential canonization of our first bishop,” Archbishop Buechlein said. “It’s a very satisfying thing to be able to refer to him now as the Servant of God Simon Bruté.”

The opening session consisted mostly in the taking of oaths on behalf of all those who will be involved in the Cause.

The presence of the postulator is necessary because it is he who will officially advocate on behalf of the Cause.

The next step in the process is for the archdiocese—and members of the historical commission and theological commission of the Cause—to aid Ambrosi in presenting to the Vatican evidence that Bishop Bruté led a life of heroic virtue.

Once that is completed, which will likely take more than a year, the title “Servant of God” will become “Venerable.”

The last phases of a canonization cause, often the most complex, consists of searches for miracles attributed to Bishop Bruté’s intervention before God in heaven.

Thus, what was begun earlier this week will likely take decades—or longer—to bring to completion.

“This day means for me and the archbishop the intermediate happy culmination of the preliminary work [of the Cause],” said Msgr. Frederick Easton, delegated judge of the cause and vicar judicial
for the archdiocese.

“Right now, the focus is not on a miracle, but on the reputation for holiness of Bishop Bruté,” he said. “All of the testimonial evidence, as well as his writings, will be looked at through the lens of
investigating that question.”

The Cause will require the help of several people.

Father Paul Etienne, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in New Albany, is serving as the vice postulator, while Father James Bonke, defender of the bond in the Metropolitan Tribunal, is
serving as promoter of justice.

There are also two commissions. The historical commission will collect all the documents that can be found that were written by the historic bishop, and vouch for their authenticity. The theological commission will then work to examine the theological nature of what is found in those writings.

Archbishop Buechlein chose for the theological commission Father Daniel Mahan, pastor of St. Louis Parish in Batesville; William Bruns, executive director of the Secretariat for Communications for the archdiocese; and Father Stephen Giannini, pastor of St. Luke Parish in Indianapolis. All hold degrees in theology.

Those chosen for the historical commission are Father Clyde Crews, a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville who teaches history at Bellarmine University and who wrote An American holy land: A
history of the Archdiocese of Louisville
; Father Albert Ledoux, a priest of the Diocese of Altoona, Pa.; Father John Schipp, pastor of the Old Cathedral in Vincennes, Ind., in the Diocese of Evansville; Janet Newland, archdiocesan archivist; and Joseph White, of Indianapolis, a noted historian.

Father Ledoux recently defended his doctoral dissertation in Church history at The Catholic University of America. His topic was “The Life and Thought of Simon Bruté—Seminary Professor and Frontier Bishop.”

(For more information about this Cause, or the Cause of Blessed Mother Theodore Guérin, log on to †

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