Earlier this week, on July 1, forty Holy Cross sisters, brothers, and priests wrapped up their pilgrimage in France. Over two weeks, they visited sites important in history of Holy Cross as well as in the lives of Blessed Basil Moreau and other key figures from the origins of the community in Le Mans. They also spent time reflecting and sharing on the spirituality of Holy Cross and its application within the various cultures and ministerial settings in which they served.
While this year’s pilgrimage was specially planned for Holy Cross religious who have made their Perpetual Profession of Vows in the past five or six years, it is sponsored annually by the Marianites of Holy Cross. It is open to not only members of Holy Cross, but also the community’s lay collaborators.
“It’s important for all Holy Cross religious, especially our young religious,to learn as much as we can about our founder and our history,” said Rev. Steve Lacroix, C.S.C., director of Old College Undergraduate Seminary for the U.S. Province at the University of Notre Dame. “Our world today looks a lot like the world in which Fr. Moreau founded our congregation,so ifwe want to be effective instruments of the new evangelization, we would be wise to follow his example.”
Guiding the pilgrims for the two weeks was a team of Holy Cross sisters, brothers, and priests who gave presentations each day addressing topics relating to the history and spirituality of the religious family founded by Moreau.
“It is for us a grace to have this opportunity to know better Father Moreau and the other important people from the beginnings of our foundation. What a blessing to be able to walk in their steps,” said Sr. Dadeline Jean, C.S.C., who is a nurse in Haiti. “Each place that we have visited has touched us at the depths of our heart, for they are the places where they lived these moments of joy and pain, places where they prayed.”
There were also daily opportunities to gather for prayer, including Mass and Liturgy of the Hours in Latin with the monks at Solesmes and a communal renewal of baptismal promises at the fount where Mother Mary of the Seven Dolors was baptized.
“I was touched by this experience because I learned that the Cross is God’s grace; it is not about suffering,” said Sr. Becky Hien Do, C.S.C., who is a missionary in her native country of Vietnam. “It became an entrance into new life.The Cross is a gift to those that follow Him as a sign of blessing.It offers consolation in the most difficult times.The Cross purified our souls and transforms us into hopeful people.
“God invites me today to a new mission in my homeland country.I’m now being renewed. I hope to keep the Holy Cross dream alive by continuing to transmit the Holy Cross heritage to those that have no hope.”
Besides visiting the Sainte-Croix quarter of Le Mans, where Moreau founded Holy Cross, the pilgrims also visited, among other sites: Ruille sur Loir, whereRev. Jacques Dujarie served as pastor and where he founded the Brothers of Saint Joseph and the Sisters of Providence; the Solitude of the Savior, the home of the Marianites of Holy Cross; and Ahulle, the hometown of Fr. Edward Sorin.