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Bl. Basil Moreau

Bl. Basil Moreau by Robert Gerwing

Artwork Narrative:

Moreau Prayer
Lord Jesus, source of all that is good, you inspired Blessed Basil Moreau
to found the religious family of Holy Cross to continue your mission among the people of God.

May he be for us a model of the apostolic life, an example of fidelity
and an inspiration as we strive to follow you.

May the Church be moved to proclaim his saintliness for the good of all people.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Ask and you shall receive.”
I dare to come to you to ask that you hear my prayer.
It is through the intercession of Blessed Basil Moreau that I ask...

May I learn to imitate his holiness and service and look to him confidently in times of need. Amen.

His feast day is January 20.

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Blessed Basile Moreau, the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, was born in Laigné-en-Belin, in the Diocese of Le Mans, France, on Feb. 11, 1799.  In 1821, he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of LeMans. He later became a seminary professor, teaching philosophy and theology, while enthusiastically continuing to engage in pastoral work. He was known not only as an inspiring professor, but also a man of God who faithfully sought to grow in the image of Christ through prayer, personal asceticism, and service.

Moreau grew up amidst the turmoil of the French Revolution, and as a young priest he felt compelled to revitalize a Church devastated by years of civil war. With nearly two-thirds of France’s clergy and religious exiled or killed, Moreau organized a group of Auxiliary Priests to preach, teach, and bring the message of Christ to those in neglected towns and villages.

In 1835, his bishop asked him also to oversee the Brothers of St Joseph, which had been founded by Rev. Jacques Dujarié to work as educators in rural parishes. He merged the priests and the brothers in1837. This association took its name from the town where it was based, Sainte-Croix or Holy Cross.

Moreau’s vision was to maximize the spiritual vigor of this association by modeling it after the Holy Family. He completed the Holy Cross family by founding a group of sisters, known as the Marianites, who were also involved in education and evangelization.

Moreau gave to each of the three groups a patron. He consecrated the priests to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the brothers to the pure heart of St. Joseph, and the sisters to the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of Mary. He also established Mary, under her title of Our Lady of Sorrows, as patroness for all of Holy Cross.

Soon the Church outside of France began seeking the assistance of Moreau’s fledgling congregation. He sent priests, brothers and sisters to other countries, including Algeria, the United States, Canada, and Bangladesh.

The Holy See officially declared Moreau’s group to be a religious congregation – the Congregation of Holy Cross – in 1857 by approving the association's Constitutions. The Holy See required that the sisters be separate from this congregation of priests and brothers. The sisters later were approved as three separate congregations.