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Moreau, Basil Anthony


Religious founder; b. Laigné-en-Belin (Mayenne), France, Feb. 11, 1799; d. Le Mans (Sarthe), France, Jan. 20, 1873. Basil Antoine Marie Moreau was the son of a country wine merchant. After attending the local College of Château-Gonthier, he studied at the seminary in Le Mans. After ordination (1821) he returned to this seminary as professor and as assistant superior. He was deputed by his bishop to establish in Le Mans a convent of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge of Angers. This project involved him in controversy with St. Maria Euphrasia pel letier concerning the relationship of this house with the recently-founded Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the good shepherd. Moreau was assigned in 1835 to reorganize the Brothers of St. Joseph, founded in 1820. In 1837 he founded the holy cross congregation by uniting this institute of brothers with the Auxiliary Priests of Le Mans, whom he had organized in 1833 to assist the diocesan clergy. Moreau founded also the marianites of the holy cross (1841). The original purpose of this congregation of sisters was to provide for the domestic services of the Holy Cross Congregation, but the scope of their activities broadened later. The Congregation of Sisters of the Holy Cross and the Sisters of the Holy Cross and Seven Dolors, which developed from the Marianites of the Holy Cross, also regard Moreau as their founder (see holy cross sisters).

Moreau played a leading role in the movement to restore freedom for Catholic education in France by weakening governmental monopoly in this field. The college that he opened in Le Mans, even before the Falloux Law, was one of the first Catholic colleges to receive full teaching rights. Moreau started other colleges throughout France. He also published worthwhile pedagogical works. He extended the work of his religious foundations to Italy, Poland, India, Canada, and the United States. Dissension within these foundations clouded his last years. He was buried in the cemetery at Sainte-Croix, a suburb of Le Mans, until 1938, when his remains were transferred to the church in Sainte-Croix, where the motherhouse of the Holy Cross Congregation was located. The Decretum super scripta in Moreau's beatification process was issued in 1961.

Bibliography: É and t. catta, Basil Anthony Mary Moreau, tr. e. l. heston, 2 v. (Milwaukee 1955). g. maceÓin, Father Moreau: Founder of Holy Cross (Milwaukee 1962).

[e. l. heston]

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