Bl. Basil Anthony Marie Moreau
Founder of the Congregation of the Religious of the Holy Cross
Roman martyrology: In Le Mans, France, Blessed Basil Anthony Mary Moreau, priest, founder of the Congregation of the Religious of the Holy Cross ( † 1873).
Beatification date: 5 September 2007 at Centre Antarès, Le Mans, France by Pope Benedict XVI.
Born February 11, 1799 in Laigné-en-Belin, Sarthe, France. Ninth of fourteen children born to a poor but pious family during the French Revolution. His parents were involved in the Catholic underground during the anti-religious Revolution. Basil was educated by his priest. He entered the diocesan seminary in 1814, a school run by Sulpicians, which greatly influenced his spirituality. Ordained at the Old Visitation Convent Chapel of the Sacred Heart in Le Mans, France in 1821 at age 22.
Un-doing the damage of the French Revolution became the core of his ministry. Since most priests and religious had been forced into exile, it was almost like starting over in some parts of the country. Basil became a noted preacher and catechist, and wandered from town to town teaching and administering the sacraments. Assistant superior and theology professor at the seminary in Le Mans in 1835.
He soon gathered a group of like-minded priests, known as the Society of Auxiliary Priests, which soon worked with another informal group known as the Brothers of Saint Joseph. Discussion began on forming a religious institute, and in 1837 the two groups signed Fundamental Pact of Union, establishing the Congregation of the Holy Cross with the two groups being equal societies in one community. In 1841 a society of sisters was founded within the Congregation; the societies were called the Salvatorists, Josephites and Marianites after the three people in the Holy Family; they received formal approval in 1857, and today often call their congregations the Holy Cross Family.
He died on January 20, 1873 in Le Mans, Sarthe, France of natural causes. His beatification miracle was the 1948 cure of a Canadian woman suffering from Plevritis of the left lung, and was formally acknowledged on 28 April 2006.