Arise, Shine; for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” – Isaiah 60:1
In the history of the world, the turn of the century is always marked with significant changes. So the end of 18th Century and beginning of the 19th Century saw an earth-shattering event due to the French Revolution, and it was a great watershed moment for the Congregation of Holy Cross in the Church.
Our founder Blessed Basile Moreau was born on February 11, 1799, in a small village in France not far from the city of Le Mans. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of LeMans on August 11, 1821, at age 22, and served as seminary professor of philosophy, dogma, and Sacred Scriptures. Seeking to respond to the pastoral needs of his time, he sought to establish a community of three societies (priests, brothers, and sisters), modeled on the Holy Family.
Placing his deep trust in Divine Providence, Moreau endured many trials and sufferings, even officially resigning as Superior General in 1866. In his last days he lived with his own blood sister in LeMans, as he was put out of the very community that was very dear to him and went for the heavenly reward on January 20, 1873.
Our founder is a shining star in the galaxy of the Universal Church, who has shown the way and lived as burning star till the end of his life—a life lived on duty of God till the end.
Once while praying a pious old man asked, “Who are you, God? He answered “I AM,” but, “Who is ‘I AM’?” the old man asked. He replied, “I AM Love, I AM Peace, I AM Grace, I AM Joy, I AM Strength, I AM Safety, I AM Shelter, I AM Power, I Am the Creator, I AM the Comforter, I AM the Beginning and the End, I AM The Way, Truth and the Light.” With tears in his eyes, the old man looked heaven and said, “Now, I understand, but, who am I?” God tenderly wiped the tears from his eyes and whispered, “You are Mine.”
Similar to this old man was our founder Basile Moreau. He was very confident of the Divine Providence and was also very compassionate towards the poor in need.
Love founded on grace and sacrifice is sure to grow and bloom in all the days to come. Moreau was sure of the future fruitfulness of the Congregation, and he based his confidence solely on his faith in God and the active presence of Mother Mary. The goal of the Congregation and the pursuit of holiness were the foremost in his mind and heart. His pursuit of sanctity was not for self-glorification; rather, it was the expression of the depth of his relationship with God. He was a global man who was aware of the poverty of the local scenario well.
Today as we honor the 146th death anniversary of our founder Blessed Basile Moreau, may his fortitude give us a holy example to combat it, and may his prayers bring upon us the grace we need to follow the path of God. May his Spirit enlighten what’s dark in us, strengthen what’s weak in us, mend what’s broken in us, bind what’s bruised in us, heal what’s sick in us, and lastly revive whatever peace and love has died in everyone of us.
This reflection for the Feast of Blessed Basile Moreau, the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, was written by Fr. Kanikkai Jeyrai, C.S.C. A member of the Province of North East India, Fr. Kanikkai currently serves as the Director of St. André Minor Seminary in Bodhjungnagar, Agartala. The last picture is of Fr. Kanikkai and the men of St. André Minor Seminary with the bust of Fr. Moreau on their property.