The Bruté Society and its members




When I arrived in Evansville 2 ½ years ago, one of the first things I heard about was the Bruté Society. I heard about it because, as the Director of Stewardship, it would from that day forward be my responsibility. (For some background on the Bruté Society and the award, see

The Bruté Society, and the induction into the society, is in recognition of a lifelong commitment to Catholic stewardship, evidenced by one's actions at the parish. The selection is made by one's peers within the parish, which makes it exceptionally meaningful. It is not based on making a gift of any size, or of being friends with the pastor. Rather, it is about others seeing in the recipient the selfless giving of their time, talent and treasure simply for the glory of God.

It is a great honor for me to be a part of the Bruté awards. The best part of it is the interaction with the recipients, as it is a lesson in humility and love of the Church.

The awards are made at a special Mass celebrated by Bishop Joseph M. Siegel. There are a lot of moving parts to all this, including finding out who is attending; who is not; who is bringing guests; and who is not. I have been in contact with the recipients, gathering this information and answering the many questions that come up.

Every person I have encountered has told me they feel unworthy of this recognition. Every one. In one conversation, a recipient said to me, “Surely there are many people far more deserving of this award than me.” I chewed on that for a few seconds and then told him that the people in his parish had a different opinion. I then told him that it seemed to me that if a person thought he should get the award, he probably shouldn’t get the award.

I had a couple tell me that they are so undeserving of the recognition since all they did were “day-to-day actions.” Those are things we don’t really think about, but that still need to be done.

I talked to a woman who is in her late 80s who said, “You send your kids to school, say ‘yes’ when people ask you to do something, or help out in Church. Just doing whatever needs to be done.”

The recipients of the award are humble servants of God. They do the things necessary to carry on the faith because they are the right things to do. There is much to be learned from their actions and great wisdom to be gleaned from their words.

There are 130 people receiving the award this year. The Bruté awards have been given annually since 1991, and there have been nearly 2,500 people recognized over the years.

The Bruté Society was new and unknown to me when I got here, but not anymore. I am humbled by the outpouring of service and generosity of the people in our diocese, and I am truly blessed to serve them.

In a future edition of The Message, we will publish the names of the newest members of the Bruté Society. Thanks be to God for their embodiment of Catholic stewardship.

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