Renewal of Vows

150th Anniversary

As part of its celebrations of the 150th Anniversary of Blessed Basile Moreau’s entry into eternal life, members of the Congregation of the Holy Cross throughout the world made a devotional renewal of their religious vows on August 15. It was on that date in 1840 that Father Moreau made his Perpetual Profession of Religious Vows to Bishop Jean-Baptiste Bouvier in Le Mans, France.

Blessed Moreau’s profession of religious vows was the fulfillment of a call that he had been experiencing for some time to give greater stability, apostolic zeal, and fraternal communion to his growing “Association of Holy Cross” through the religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

As Blessed Moreau would write later in Circular Letter 65: “The members of the Association are to form but one same family, united by the bonds of mutual charity and the three vows of religion. In this way, Notre Dame de Sainte Croix will grow like a mighty tree and constantly shoot forth new limbs and branches, which will be nourished by the same life-giving sap.”

Four years prior to Blessed Moreau’s own Profession, during their annual retreat in August 1836, he had received the first religious professions of Brothers of St. Joseph. It took him until 1840 to receive permission from his bishop for himself and the first Auxiliary Priests to make their Profession of Religious Vows. In the afternoon of the same day that Blessed Moreau professed his Perpetual Vows, he received the Perpetual Professions of four Auxiliary Priests, among them Fr. Edward Sorin, C.S.C., who went on to become the third Superior General of the Congregation.

To mark the anniversary of Blessed Moreau’s Perpetual Profession during this anniversary year of his entry into eternal life, the Congregation’s Commission for Consecrated Life and Heritage adapted the Rite of the Devotional Renewal of Vows found in the Congregation’s Book of Ritual Prayer. Options were provided for celebrating the renewal of vows during either a Eucharistic celebration or the Liturgy of the Hours.

Eternal God, loving Father, mindful of your call, to share in the mission of Christ, your Son, we affirm our commitment to the apostolic religious life. In the footsteps of our Founder, Blessed Basile Moreau, we wish to continue living the gospel in this way, and so we renew before you today our vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, according to the Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross. Believing in the presence of the Spirit in our lives, we rely upon your grace to strengthen our resolve to be ever faithful to this commitment.

Many communities of the Congregation chose to hold special liturgical celebrations to renew their vows as together brothers; others celebrated the rite during their regular daily liturgy.

As another part of the day’s celebrations, Fr. John DeRiso, C.S.C., who was the first Rector of the International Shrine of Blessed Basile Moreau in Le Mans, France, offered a live reflection on the meaning of the religious vows for Blessed Basile Moreau.

View a photo gallery of about an international sampling of the community celebrations within the Congregation on 15 August to make a devotional renewal of religious vows, watch the video of Fr. DeRiso’s presentation, and read a summary of the day's events.