Brute, Simon William Gabriel

Brute, Simon William Gabriel an eminent, dignitary of the Roman Catholic Church in America, was born at Rennes, France, March 20, 1779, his father being superintendent of the royal domains in Brittany. He studied in the college of his native city until it was broken up by the Revolution. He graduated at the famous school of Paris with the highest honors, and immediately received an appointment to one of the government dispensaries; but he had resolved to enter the priesthood, and on leaving the medical school he entered the Seminary of St. Sulpice. Ordained in 1808, he became professor of theology in the seminary at Rennes. After his arrival in America, he taught philosophy for two years in the seminary at Baltimore, and was then sent to Emmittsburg to help father Dubois in the management of the College of Mount St. Mary. This struggling institution owed much to Brute. His scholarship extended its studies, his organizing ability established the system upon which the college was conducted, while his gentle and devout life was an example to the young men under his charge. No one has exerted a more beneficial influence upon the Catholic religion than Brute. His humility, piety, and learning made him a model of the Christian priest. At the same time he carried on missionary labors in the country around, sometimes walking fifty miles per day, and giving away in charity his last penny. In 1834 he was appointed first bishop of the new see of Vincennes, Indiana, and consecrated at St. Louis, Missouri, October 28, 1834. The condition of his Church throughout that region was low indeed. There were only three priests in his diocese, and the episcopal residence consisted of one room and a closet. Brute visited all the stations, wrote twice a month to all the priests, sought out Roman Catholic settlers, preached to the Indians, went to Europe and obtained twenty priests and seminarians for his diocese, contributed constantly to the Catholic periodicals, established a college, seminary, orphan asylum, and free school, and built churches. He wore himself out by such labors, and died June 26, 1839. A new edition of Memoirs of Bishop Brute, edited by archbishop Bayley, and illustrated by sketches of drawings left by Brute, was issued by the Catholic Publication Society (N.Y. 1876). See (N.Y.) Catholic Almanac, 1876, page 72; De Courcy and Shea, Hist. of the Catholic Church in the United States, pages 105, 561; Glarke, Lives of Deceased Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States, s.v.

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