Thoughts on the Holy Family

Holy Family

The Founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Blessed Father Basil Moreau, C.S.C., founded our community with three societies under one rule, to be modeled on the Holy Family of Nazareth. While the C.S.C. sisters (today composing three separate congregations) were early given their own leadership, Father Moreau’s vision of a community modeled on the Holy Family still influences Holy Cross in many ways. He adopted and developed the idea from (Servant of God) Father Jacques Dujarie, who first organized the Brothers of St. Joseph as a band of teachers to re-evangelize post-revolutionary France. Each society of C.S.C. religious has a member of the Holy Family as their special patron, and all of them together venerate the Holy Family. The Brothers venerate especially St. Joseph, the Priests the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Sisters the Blessed Virgin under the title “Our Lady of Sorrows.” Those are the patron saints of Holy Cross, the three principle Patronal Feasts, and Our Lady of Sorrows is the Marian patroness for the whole family of Holy Cross.

Father Moreau often gave homilies and preaches retreats on various topics for parishes and other groups of the faithful. A common topic for him was the Holy Family or one of the three members of it. On this Feast of the Holy Family, we have provided a couple of excerpts touching upon the life of the Holy Family from a Meditation on St. Joseph composed by Fr. Moreau.

Excerpts from a Meditation on St. Joseph by Bl. Basil Moreau, C.S.C.

In this passage, Fr. Moreau examines what to make of how little the Scriptures speak of St. Joseph:


In this meditation on the virtues of St. Joseph, we shall not present them in detail and historical sequence. For this we have not the means since both Gospels and tradition keep an extraordinary and almost absolute silence on the subject. This very silence, however, says the utmost to us and makes our incomparable patron greater in our eyes than many words could do. Surely the one who conceals what he could advantageously make known to the world, who hides marvels most fitted to awaken its admiration, is truly virtuous and worthy of highest esteem Think, then, of the prodigious matters our saint could have revealed to the world he who was the intimate confidant of the Virgin Mother of God, the recipient of visits from angels, the foster father of the infant Lord, he who was initiated into the plan of the redemption of the human race. The hidden life of the new Joseph and the silence of the Gospels in his regard are, then, proof of his very great holiness, and they make him the more worthy of veneration in that they show him more like to Jesus and Mary. What was said of Jesus during the thirty years while the Holy Family lived obscure and inseparable? Only that He grew in age and wisdom before God and man and that He was submissive to His parents. And what was said of the Virgin of Nazareth? Only that she kept and pondered in her heart all that she saw and heard said of her divine Son.

In this selection, Fr. Moreau reflects on the Holy Family as a visible icon of the Holy Trinity:

This supernatural transformation made St. Joseph worthy to be one of the visible trinity that the house of Nazareth sheltered. In this trinity Mary held the place of God the Father, since she became the Mother of the Savior just as He is the Savior’s Father. Jesus kept His rank in this trinity of earth, between Mary and Joseph, as between the Father and the Holy Ghost in the Trinity of heaven. Joseph held the place of the Holy Ghost, being the love of the Mother and the Infant God, as the Holy Ghost is the love of the Father and the Son. These three persons who represent so visibly the invisible Trinity represent also the unity of God, for the three of them have morally but one heart and one soul.

The Holy Family

Do you think, my dearly beloved, that God could have elevated St. Joseph to a higher degree of glory and crowned him with greater honor? What may have been said in the conversations of this adorable Family, what were the thoughts that enlightened their minds, the sentiments that animated their hearts, is not given us to understand or even know. I can say only that I think the whole celestial court was attentive to this ravishing spectacle of heavenly love and listened devoutly to the conversations of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

Basil Moreau Essential Writings

These selections were taken from, Basil Moreau Essential Writings. This book contains some never before published writings of Blessed Moreau, and can be purchased from Ave Maria Press.

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