The Missionary Legacy
of Father Moreau

The Auxiliary Priests of Le Mans were originally founded as a missionary association. Before he died Father Moreau authorized the establishment of Holy Cross missions in Algeria, Italy, Canada, India, and Poland -- and, in the United States, in Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, and Pennsylvania.

The Vatican regarded the United States as mission territory until 1908. In the nineteenth century American bishops (who often started their clerical careers as European priests) would return to Europe to recruit missionaries to help support their efforts in the vast territories of the New World. So it happened that in 1836 Bishop Simon Gabriel Bruté, the first bishop of Vincennes in Indiana, came to Le Mans and spoke at the seminary where Father Moreau taught. In 1839 Bishop Bruté sent his Vicar General, Father Celestine de la Hailandière, back to France to ask Father Moreau to send missionaries to the western wilderness. While he was there, Hailandière found out that Bishop Bruté had died and that he himself was expected to serve as the next bishop.


University of Notre Dame