In his first circular letter to the Brothers of Saint Joseph, whom the designs of Providence had entrusted to his care, Blessed Basil Moreau wrote, “Receive all that I have written to you as the outpouring of a heart that burns with the desire to help you.”
From the beginning of our institute, our father in religion was ever devoted to us who have been “received into the bosom” of the Congregation. He vowed to “stop short of no sacrifice” when our welfare or that of our community was at stake. His life and his life’s work most assuredly bore that out.
Our holy Founder’s most fervent goal, for himself and his spiritual sons, was to be one with the Lord. Conformity to Christ meant making the Lord’s attitudes, virtues, thoughts, and affections our own so that we might say with the blessed apostle, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2, 20). With a heart burning with the desire to help us, he exhorted his sons in Jesus Christ to be united with the Lord and with each other, so that we might be ever more effective in our mission to make God known, loved, and served, and thus save souls.
Our blessed Founder’s affection for his religious community led to the cross – the cross of sacrifice, of unjust treatment, and of being wrongly judged. Ever eager to follow after the Lord as his good and faithful servant, and with a heart burning with love for our Institute and for us, Blessed Basile Moreau willingly took up the cross of suffering. Uniting his cross to the Cross of Christ, which he hailed as his only hope, our spiritual father’s sufferings did not fail to yield a rich harvest. By the grace of God, the seeds planted and watered by our holy Founder’s toil and tears have produced fruit thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold! The small sapling that was the motherhouse at Notre-Dame de Sainte-Croix has “grown into a stately tree” shooting forth “new limbs and branches…nourished by the life-giving sap” of fraternal charity and the vows of religion.
As we celebrate his feast day on January 20, we give thanks to God for the life and witness of Blessed Basil Anthony Mary Moreau – a priest of outstanding holiness and heroic virtue. We find in his teachings and example a path to sanctity, a way of love, a mission to embrace.
We invite those who are inspired by Moreau’s life and spirituality to join us in finding strength and confidence in the assurance that he whose heart burned with the desire to help us, desires to help us still, as he makes intercession for us before the Lord whom we serve.
This reflection for the feast day of Blessed Basil Moreau was written by Fr. John DeRiso, C.S.C., the director of the office of vocations for the Congregation of Holy Cross, United States Province of Priests and Brothers. See pictures of the Shrine and read spiritual reflections written by and about our blessed Founder by visiting www.facebook.com/moreaucsc. Learn more about the Founder of Holy Cross.