Holy Cross Heritage
Bishop McNamara High School is sponsored by the Brothers of Holy Cross, Moreau Province, who are members of the Congregation of Holy Cross, an association of Catholic religious brothers and priests who lead extraordinary lives by bringing hope to others.
Founded by Blessed Basile Moreau on March 1, 1837, in a small village outside of Le Mans, France, the mission of the Congregation is to make God known, loved, and served. Fr. Moreau brought together a group of brothers, auxiliary priests, and for a period of time, sisters, compromising one holy family in imitation of the Holy Family. He believed that the work that God had entrusted to Holy Cross extended beyond the borders of France to the rest of the world. Within a few short years of founding Holy Cross, Moreau sent his priests, brothers, and sisters from France to many destinations around the world.
In 1841, Fr. Moreau’s vision carried the men and women of Holy Cross beyond France to Algeria (1840), the United States (1841), Canada (1847), Italy (1850), and East Bengal, or present-day India and Bangladesh (1852).
On May 13, 1857, Pope Pius IX approved the first Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross. This approbation made Holy Cross an official religious congregation under the direct authority of the Holy See. As part of its approval, however, the Vatican required that the sisters be in a separate congregation with a separate governance structure from the priests and the brothers. That same year, on June 17, the Congregation’s Conventual Church of Notre-Dame de Sainte-Croix was consecrated in Le Mans.
In 1903, all religious orders in France were suppressed, and North America became the focus of Holy Cross’s subsequent expansion. Numerous educational institutions, parishes, and other ministries were founded in the United States and Canada during these decades.
In the twentieth century, Holy Cross expanded its work establishing missions in Chile (1943), Brazil (1943), Haiti (1944), Ghana (1957), Uganda (1958), Peru (1963), Kenya (1978), Mexico (1987), and Tanzania (1999). With the most recent establishment of a religious presence in the Philippines (2008).
On September 15, 2007, Blessed Basile Moreau was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church. Three years later, the first Holy Cross saint, Saint André Bessette, known as the “Miracle Man of Montreal,” was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 17, 2010.
Today, the Congregation of Holy Cross is an apostolic religious congregation composed of two distinct societies of over 1,200 religious brothers and religious priests “bound together in one indivisible brotherhood.” Through their vowed religious life, their apostolic work, and their conviction that “the cross is our only hope,” they strive to be men with hope to bring in the 16 countries in which they live and serve.
As living witnesses, the Congregation’s mission remains the Church’s mission by working as educators in the faith. In all of its ministries, whether schools, parishes, or other works of missionary outreach and social justice, the Congregation works side by side with its lay collaborators educating hearts and minds and building communities of the coming kingdom.