Today marks the death of Father Basil Moreau (1799-1873), a French priest who founded the Congregation of the Holy Cross to addresss the pastoral and educational needs of the local Church, which was still recovering from the French Revolution. The community’s name is taken from the place where it was founded: Sainte Croix, a suburb of LeMans, France. Within a few years, the community had three branches for priests, sisters and brothers. Their first overseas mission was to Algeria in 1840, but their most successful work was in the United States. French-born Bishop Simon Bruté of Vincennes, Indiana, had asked the young community for help. In 1842 a group under the leadership of Father Edward Sorin founded the University of Notre Dame in South Bend. In 1844, Holy Cross Sisters started also started a school in South Bend that became St. Mary’s College. By the time of Moreau’s death, the community had established a vast network of colleges, schools, hospitals and orphanages stretching across America. In 2003, Father Moreau was declared Venerable and on September 15, 2007 he was beatified.
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