Blessed Basile Moreau: Ave Crux Spes Unica

Author: Br. Omukuyia Benard, C.S.C.

Blessed Basile Moreau C

Blessed Basile Moreau’s spirituality was influenced by several factors and personalities; the Sulpician seminary, Saint Ignatius of Loyola alongside his spiritual exercises, and the Benedictine abbot and liturgist Dom Gueranger. Such an amalgamation of diverse influences is what was handed over to the Congregation of Holy Cross to be lived, deepened, and constantly safeguarded. His spirituality was anchored on the dictum Ave Crux Spes Unica - Hail the Cross our Only Hope.

The mystery of this spirituality is situated in the reality of the world, in the past and within the here and now. Fr. Moreau openly embraced the mission that Christ had entrusted to the Church by laying a great emphasis on holiness as he perceived himself and his members as apostles working on behalf of Christ. Fr. Moreau reflected that the goal of any Christian vocation is to make God known, loved, and served. 

According to Fr. Moreau, the experience of the French revolution had distorted the view of religion, and the only way of bringing hope to people was evangelization through education. He thought of education based on five pillars; the development of the mind, cultivation of the heart, enkindling zeal for service, encouraging hope in the cross, and uniting with others as a family. He insisted that the goal of education of the mind and heart calls for zeal within recipients to be able to set the world on fire. This zeal has to be born out of love for God and neighbor.

Thus, as Holy Cross members, we are first neighbors to those we serve. We live in the same enclosures with the people we serve, and this affirms our desires and efforts to be inclusive.

As heirs of Fr. Moreau’s spirituality, we are keen on following in his footsteps through our vowed life. The evangelical counsels free us to enter a deeper relationship with Christ by carrying out different apostolates. We strive not only to prepare good people for society, but also for eternal life in the world to come. Our institutions are a case in point; we carry out a spiritual and vocational formation that enables students to live out their baptismal identity and calling.

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As men with hope to bring, and as stewards in our missions, we aim “… to work for the sanctification of others by ministering to them” (1886 Rules). We rely on divine providence through which God nourishes, sustains, and provides for our necessities. Our proportional response to God’s fidelity yields the joy of the resurrection and the pain of the cross. This offers us more hope, that nothing can change the reality, that God is present and alive.

Our hope is further based on the fact that the heritage of our congregation is living and evolving. Many adaptations are taking place to the cultures and contexts we live in and minister. We are international, multicultural, and our diversity offers a lot to hope for!

This reflection celebrating the Feast of Blessed Basile Moreau, the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, was written by Br. Omukuyia Benard, C.S.C. Br. Benard is from the District of East Africa and is now pursuing his doctoral studies in philosophy in Rome.