Plaque Commemorating the 200 Years of the Brothers Dedicated in Ruillé-sur-Loir

Author: General Administration

200th Anniversary of the Brothers of St. Joseph

Following its recent meeting in Le Mans, the Congregation of Holy Cross’s General Council went to Ruillé-sur-Loir on the Feast of St. Joseph, March 19, for the belated celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the founding of the Brothers of St. Joseph. The original celebration had been planned by the previous General Administration but had to be postponed due to the pandemic.

Founded by Fr. Jacques Dujarié in 1820, the Brothers of St. Joseph became the Brothers of Holy Cross when Blessed Basile Moreau merged them with his own Auxiliary Priests in 1837 to found what is now known as the Congregation of Holy Cross.

Joining the General Council for the celebration were many members of the Congregation’s Mother Province in France, led by Fr. Paul Valentin, C.S.C., Superior, as well as several Sisters of Providence, including their Superior General, Sr. Josette Bijloos, S.P. The Sisters of Providence were founded by Fr. Dujarié in 1806.

Read more about the 200th Anniversary of the Brothers of St. Joseph

Several members of the town including the Mayor, Madame Galiène Cohu, and the Pastor, Fr. André Choï, also attended the Mass, which was held in Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul Church where Fr. Dujarié had served as Pastor. It is from there that he founded both the Sisters of Providence and the Brothers of St. Joseph in order to respond to the many pressing needs in France, especially in education, following the French Revolution. 


Fr. Valentin presided and preached at the Mass. In his homily, he offered a beautiful reflection on St. Joseph and his significance in the lives of both Fr. Dujarié and Blessed Basile Moreau and thus the Brothers of Holy Cross. 

Before the Final Blessing, Br. Paul Bednarczyk, C.S.C., Superior General of the Congregation of Holy Cross, and Fr. Valentin dedicated a plaque in honor of the 200th Anniversary of the founding of the Brothers of St. Joseph. Br. Bednarczyk gave a short reflection on the joy, gratitude, and hope that marked this important anniversary in the life of the Church in France and the Holy Cross Family. He said that the vocation of the Religious Brother has much to offer responding to the needs of the Church and the world of today, just as it did in the time of Fr. Dujarié.

The plaque hangs under the stained-glass window depicting their foundation by Fr. Dujarié, and bears in its inscription the words of Fr. Dujarié: “Never look back. Always walk ahead, until you are in possession of the glory of God.”

Praying at Fr. Dujarie's tomb

Following the Mass, the religious of Holy Cross and the Sisters of Providence proceeded to the Sisters’ Motherhouse for a delicious lunch of French cuisine. The General Council also took the opportunity to pray at the tomb of Fr. Dujarié, who is buried in the Sisters’ Mother Church. The Council prayed in a special way for all the Brothers of Holy Cross and an increase in vocations to the brotherhood.