June 20, 2008

Bishop Simon Bruté was ordained a priest 200 years ago this month

Bishop Simon BrutéBy Sean Gallagher

June is often a month in the life of the Church when ordinations occur.

On June 7, two men were ordained priests for the archdiocese. On June 28, 25 men will be ordained as permanent deacons.

June 11 was the 200th anniversary of the priestly ordination of the Servant of God Simon Bruté, who in 1834 became the founding bishop of the Diocese of Vincennes, which would later become the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Father Paul Etienne, the vice postulator of the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Bishop Bruté, said the anniversary is an important moment for the faithful in central and southern Indiana. (Read about the progress of his Cause)

“It’s very significant as this man was our first bishop, founding the Diocese of Vincennes,” he said. “But, even broader than that, I think it’s significant in that we, as a local Church, feel that this is also a very holy man.”

Bishop Bruté was ordained in 1808 as a priest for the Archdiocese of Rennes, in the French province of Brittany.

Two years later, he joined the Society of St. Sulpice, which had as one of its primary missions the formation of future priests.

Father Bruté was soon sent as a missionary to the United States.

For years, he taught and was an administrator at Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md.

“He played an absolutely critical role in literally forming the first generation of priests for this whole country,” Father Etienne said. “There were very few priests in this country when he came to the United States.”

Father Bruté also served as the spiritual director for a time for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first saint born in the United States.

“Those two had a very close, spiritual relationship,” Father Etienne said. “I think they were a strong source of support and encouragement to each other.”

Father Etienne encouraged all archdiocesan Catholics to learn more about Bishop Bruté, including visiting his burial place at the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier in Vincennes, Ind., in the Evansville Diocese.

He also said getting Bishop Bruté prayer cards into the hands of Catholics would be a good thing.

“If we can get every family and person in the archdiocese carrying those holy cards and praying those prayers every day, that would help us tremendously,” Father Etienne said.

Father Etienne said he often sought the intercession of Bishop Bruté for future priests when he served as archdiocesan vocations director from 1995-98.

“I think that’s a very important prayer to pray [at the time of] this 200th anniversary of his ordination.”

(To learn more about the Servant of God Simon Bruté, log on to www.archindy.org/brute. To obtain Bishop Bruté prayer cards or to purchase for $2 a collection of reflections about Bishop Bruté written by Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, call 800-382-9836, ext. 1585 or 317-236-1585.)

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