Anthony Deydier

Anthony Deydier, was a French priest, missionary and teacher.


Early Years in America

Deydier was born in France on April 30, 1788. He left his native country on June 10th, 1810 on the same boat as Simon Bruté, accompanying Benedict Flaget. After his ordination to the diaconate he refused ordination to the priesthood and he taught for four years at Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland, (which was where Father Bruté spent most of his early years in America), eventually ending up in Albany New York as a private tutor. According to one source, he had received minor orders in France and when he arrived in the United States, he taught music in New York City. Apparently his association with Brute at Mount St. Mary’s is what led him eventually to his priestly ordination. Bruté reportedly asked him to come to Indiana. That call obviously struck a chord in Deydier because it was in the missions that he spent the remainder of his life. Bishop Bruté ordained him on March 25, 1837 in Baltimore.

Missionary work in Indiana

After his ordination as a priest he was sent to Evansville, Indiana. He apparently did not find many Catholics. The day after his arrival, on May 4, 1837 he celebrated Mass in a tavern, at the corner of First and Locust. He then returned to Vincennes, but was then sent back to Evansville in November 1838, after conducting a collection tour in September of that year. From then on he remained in Evansville. Much of his time was taken up ministering to the workers on the Wabash and Erie Canal. Deydier’s life in Evansville was not one of leisure. Saint Theodora Guerin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence, St. Mary of the Woods wrote in her journal “So extreme was his poverty and so complete his destitution, that I shall run the risk of being accused of exaggeration in describing it.” He founded the parish of the Assumption in Evansville. Deydier remained until 1859, when he retired to the “Highlands” at Vincennes. He died on February 11,1864 and was buried in the orphanage cemetery, which is now part of the St. Vincent de Paul Parish.

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