The Congregation of Holy Cross: Anchors of the Mission
Holy Cross priests and brothers anchor the University’s Catholic character and spirit. Of the members of the Congregation on campus, 37 live in residence halls, and nine of them serve as rectors. Twenty-four Holy Cross religious teach in the classroom in some capacity.
This is the essence of the Holy Cross model of education: forming students both inside the classroom and beyond it.
“Moreau insisted that we work, teach, and live with students because ministry is based on knowing people. You can’t minister to someone you don’t know,” said Rev. James King, C.S.C., religious superior of the Notre Dame Holy Cross community. “The essence of what we do is to form students personally and spiritually.”
Today, members of the Congregation are found across campus, working in administration, serving in chapels, living in residence halls, and teaching in classrooms. They gather in Corby Hall for meals and common prayer, oversee the daily operations of campus life, celebrate Mass, counsel students, and provide instruction in everything from science to social justice to liberal arts.
Literally since day one, the Congregation has been working to fulfill the vision of its founder, Blessed Basil Moreau, “to prepare useful citizens for society ... to prepare citizens for heaven.”
In the troubled times following the French Revolution, a young priest named Basil Moreau assembled other priests to educate and revitalize the Catholic community in the region around LeMans, France. Shortly thereafter, he accepted responsibility for the Brothers of St. Joseph, a group founded 15 years earlier. In 1841, Blessed Basil united the priests and brothers within a single association, the Congregation of Holy Cross, and the community began to grow internationally through its educational and missionary activity.
In one of the Congregation’s first missionary efforts, Moreau sent Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C., and a group of brothers to the American frontier in the early 1840s to found a university. Today, priests and brothers of the Congregation continue to animate the University of Notre Dame with their mission to be “educators in the faith.”