By Elizabeth Lowe
One of Bishop Simon Guillaume Gabriel Bruté de Rémur’s former possessions on display at St. Mary’s Spiritual Center and Historic Site in Baltimore is the Bible that once belonged to his friend, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Before her death in 1821, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton – who professed her first vows at St. Mary’s and is the first saint born in the United States – gave Bishop Bruté her Bible, said Sulpician Father John C. Kemper, executive director of the Mother Seton House and St. Mary’s Spiritual Center and Historic Site.
“Bishop Bruté was so important in Elizabeth Seton’s life,” said Father Kemper, who noted Bishop Bruté was also St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s spiritual director. “It is, in many ways, a homecoming for the Bible.”
Born in France, Bishop Bruté was a physician, Sulpician priest and professor.
He was a faculty member at St. Mary’s Seminary Paca Street location, founder of Mount St. Mary’s College and Seminary in Emmitsburg and president of the college from 1815 to 1818, Father Kemper said. Bishop Bruté was the first bishop of Indiana, which was the Diocese of Vincennes and is now the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
The artifacts at St. Mary’s fill five cases and came from archives in Baltimore, Indiana and Paris, said Father Kemper, who arranged the display. In addition to the Bible, items include Bishop Bruté’s crosier, sketches, letters and a handwritten book, among other things.
The exhibit runs through June.
While the bishop “struggled his entire life with his spoken English,” Father Kemper called him “brighter than a new penny.”
Of Bishop Bruté’s accomplishments, Father Kemper believes the bishop would cherish most his friendship with St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Bishop Bruté died in 1839 at age 60 in Vincennes, Ind. and is being considered for beatification, according to information from St. Mary’s Spiritual Center and Historic Site.
“I’m thrilled with the exhibit,” Father Kemper said. “Bishop Bruté is an example for us today in so many ways. He took a while to discern God’s call. He followed his heart and his journey led him to the United States.”
If you go:
The Historic Site Visitor Center at 600 N. Paca St. in Baltimore is open Monday through Friday, noon-3:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 1-3 p.m.
The exhibit is free.
For information, call 410-728-6464, 410-523-3443 or visit stmarysspiritualcenter.org.