The Religious Legacy
of Father Moreau

Saint Ignatius Loyola organized the Jesuits along military lines. Basil Anthony Moreau organized Holy Cross as a family. In one of his circular letters he wrote: "Our Association is a visible imitation of the Holy Family wherein Jesus, Mary and Joseph, notwithstanding their difference in dignity, were one at heart by their unity of thought and uniformity of conduct." (Moreau Circular Letter 14). Gary MacEoin wrote: "Basil Moreau took the family as his model, and the strengths and weaknesses of his organization were those of a family bound more by common aspirations, common experience, mutual affection, and sharing of sufferings, than by the cold words of a contract." (MacEoin, p. 6).

Different family members have different roles, but their union in love assures that a certain harmony will persist whatever misunderstandings or disagreements may occur. In his first circular letter, Father Moreau wrote: "Union: One Mind and One Heart -- To succeed in the important undertaking entrusted to us, we must be, first of all, so closely united in charity as to form but one mind and one soul." (Moreau Circular Letter 1). He recognized the diversity of talent and corresponding diversity of vocations: "There will not be a single member of our association who will not make his own personal contribution to the progress, according to his strength, intellectual ability and particular aptitudes. One will do intellectual work and another manual labor; this one will teach, that one will administer the sacraments; and all the while this activity of the individual will help the community; and the activity of the community will, in turn, help each individual." (Moreau Circular Letter 65).

"If we are not animated by the spirit of the saints, the important work of Holy Cross will come to naught, and our efforts for the sanctification of youth will be vain and useless."
(Moreau Circular Letter 8).


University of Notre Dame