Holy Cross sisters, brothers, priests and lay collaborators in Canada gathered on January 20 at St. Joseph’s Oratory, one of Holy Cross’s two congregational patrimonies, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Blessed Basile Moreau’s entry into eternal life.
The celebrations began with a Mass in the Oratory’s Crypt Church, which was built by St. André Bessette, the “Miracle Man of Montreal” who is the Congregation’s first canonized saint. The Most Rev. André Richard, Archbishop Emeritus of Moncton, New Brunswick, presided at the Mass, and Sister Denise Desrochers, C.S.C., offered the reflection on the readings.
In her reflection on Blessed Moreau’s life, Sister Desrochers said, “Father Moreau has placed us in the school of the Crucified and Risen Christ. Since the foundation, we are invited to attach ourselves to Jesus, to ‘put on Jesus Christ every day,’ to ‘become another Christ,’ as the title of Sister Cécile Perreault's book, published in 1988, indicates.”
Signaling out the importance that Blessed Moreau placed on union, both with Jesus and within his religious family, Sister Desrochers concluded: “Let us thank and praise God for the person of Basile Moreau, for his charisma and for the Holy Cross family which is called to unfold this grace and to pursue with zeal the mission of Jesus in the world and in the Church. Let us become more and more identified with Christ, like Fr. Moreau was, people united and led by the Spirit, men and women of forgiveness and reconciliation in our fractured and suffering world.”
The Mass concluded with the singing of a new hymn entitled “Basile Moreau and His Passion” which was composed by Gino Fillion and had been commissioned by a joint committee of the Holy Cross sisters, brothers, and priests in Quebec to mark the anniversary.
Following the Mass, the invited guests ascended to the floor which houses the heart of St. André Bessette for the inauguration and opening of a special exhibit on the“Heritage of Basile Moreau in Canada”. The exhibition, which was a collaborative effort of archives of the Province Canadienne, the Sisters of Holy Cross, and St. Joseph’s Oratory, will be on display at the Oratory until mid-July.
After having a chance to tour the exhibition, the Holy Cross religious and their lay collaborators gathered in Pichette Hall for a festive luncheon. Among the Holy Cross religious present were Sister Raymonde Maisonneuve, C.S.C., Congregational Animator of the Sisters of Holy Cross; Fr. Andrew Gawrych, C.S.C., Third General Assistant; Fr. Vijai Amirtharaj, C.S.C., Fifth General Assistant; Fr. Mario Lachappelle, C.S.C., Superior of the Province Canadienne; and Fr. Michael DeLaney, C.S.C., Rector of St. Joseph’s Oratory.
As part of the luncheon, Fr. Lachappelle offered an opening reflection on the legacy of Blessed Basile Moreau. The guests were also entertained by a presentation by Sister Liette Brault, C.S.C., and piano music played by first-year professed seminarian Mr. Meo Wilfrid Labossiere, C.S.C. Sister Maisonneuve added words of gratitude for the many who made the day’s celebrations possible.