|Fr. Basil Moreau, C.S.C., the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, was born in 1799 in a small village near Le Mans, France. He grew up amidst the turmoil of the French Revolution. 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, Fr. Moreau helped restore hope by organizing a group of Auxiliary Priests to preach, teach and bring the message of Christ to those in neglected towns and villages.
In 1835, at the bishop’s request, Fr. Moreau took direction of the Brothers of Saint Joseph, a group of young men formed into a teaching community in 1820 by Fr. Jacques Dujarié. Following his vision of starting a new religious community modeled on the Holy Family, Fr. Moreau united his auxiliary priests and the Brothers of St. Joseph in 1837 to form the Congregation of Holy Cross. Four years later, he founded a women’s group, the Marianites of Holy Cross. Together, the Holy Cross religious, united by their founder and their vows, ministered first in France, and later in other parts of Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Africa—always going to places where the needs were the greatest.
Fr. Moreau remained Superior General of the Congregation of Holy Cross for many years, enduring trials of every sort. Despite his struggles, he continued to bring hope to others through his preaching and retreats. Pope Benedict XVI beatified him on September 15, 2007, Our Lady of Sorrows, the feast day of the Congregation of Holy Cross. Blessed Fr. Moreau remains an inspiration to men and women who live his vision of “bringing hope to others” in more than 15 countries throughout the world.