Basil Moreau: Essential Writings by Kevin Grove and Andrew Gawrych

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Key Takeaways
  1. Above everything else, Father Moreau believed that the imitation of Christ is the key to success and happiness in life. Central to this was love of the cross – “Learning to love the cross as a sign of real hope was the spiritual core of Moreau’s theology
  2. “Love causes love. Never underestimate the power in this.” – Fr. Moreau
  3. Moreau was known for his unrelenting confidence in the beauty of the future
  4. Amazing that an unknown local seminary professor funded a fully global religious order in the Congregation of Holy Cross
  5. “This integrated theology flows from Moreau’s belief that to imitate Jesus Christ is “to seek to know Jesus Christ. By studying him, you will come to know him. By knowing him, you will come to love him. By loving him, you will be imbued with his Spirit and thenceforth you will imitate him.” Thus, for Moreau, a faith that seeks understanding is also a faith that practices imitation. It is this combination of study and imitation that then yields a “knowledge of Jesus Christ that is life-giving, profound, luminous and practical.”
  6. The French Revolution played an important role in Moreau’s intellectual, spiritual and educational formation – focus on charity as well as rigorous study schedule with prayer, fasting and mortification
  7. Moreau had three main intellectual and spiritual influences – Sulpician and French School spiritualization, Ignatius of Loyola (ongoing development of the community’s spiritual lives); liturgical spirituality through Dom Gueranger at Solesmes and silent retreats at La Trappe
  8. Moreau spent over 29 years, more than half his priesthood, founding, shaping, teaching and leading the international congregation of educators
  9. Holy Cross predates Moreau but he was the one to formalize it by joining the Brothers of St. Joseph with the Auxiliary priests
  10. Religious life with communal living of vows of poverty, chastity and obedience was central to Moreau’s vision for the Holy Cross
  11. Two main reasons for resignation as superior general of the Holy Cross – Financial woes and disagreements concerning governance of the Sisters (Vatican wanted a separate governance structure but this unity was central to Moreau’s vision)
  12. Sorin took over as super general once Moreau resigned and moved the general administration to Notre Dame which upset Moreau as they had an informal agreement that it would stay in France
  13. Moreau’s spiritual emphases include divine providence, union and zeal but all inherently tie back to imitating Christ
  14. One must continually strive for a perfect life which includes a life of obedience, discipline, punctuality, community spirit, zeal for the interior life, edification and devotion to work.
  15. Circular Letter 14 (pg. 379) lays out Moreau’s vision for the Holy Cross. It is a short read and worthwhile
What I got out of it
  1. Interesting read on a man who came from a small town and through hard work and a great vision was able to set up an international congregation for educators