Remembering Father Moreau’s beatification

Holy Cross will grow like a mighty tree and constantly shoot forth new limbs
and branches, which will be nourished by the same life-giving sap.
–Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau,
Circular Letter 65, June 15, 1854

It has been 10 years since 72 Sisters of the Holy Cross joined with other members of the Holy Cross Family of brothers, priests, sisters, associates and ministry colleagues for the beatification of their founder, Father Basil Anthony Moreau, in Le Mans, France. At that time, one of the many ways the sisters honored their founder—both at the motherhouse at Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana, and in communities where sisters live and minister around the world—was by planting trees.

Prior to the September 15, 2007, beatification, the sisters were asked to “animate” or bring to life what the beatification meant to them. “We would like groups of sisters to plan a ceremony in which a tree is planted, symbolizing the fact that Holy Cross has taken root in a variety of places and cultures,” wrote Sister Marilyn Zugish, CSC, of the beatification Animation Committee. “As you know, the image of the vine and branches was very dear to Father Moreau, who also believed that Holy Cross would grow ‘like a mighty tree.’”

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Trees take root around the world

From Bangladesh to the United States, sisters eagerly planted trees, shrubs and bushes—including 60 flowering trees in São Paulo in honor of the Congregation’s six decades of ministry in Brazil. Sister Mary Margaret Weber, CSC, recalled the tree planting at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, 10 years ago. 

“We chose Our Lady of Lourdes as the site for the tree because of our history there,” Sister Mary Margaret explained. “When the parish was founded, Sister Bettina Batchelder was named the first principal of the school (1954) before the pastor was named for this newly-formed parish. That’s rather unique in our history.

“There were three trees planted: one in honor of Father Moreau; one to honor Sisters Bettina and Miriam Regina, the first and last Holy Cross principals; and one in honor of the Sisters of the Holy Cross and their service in the parish,” Sister Mary Margaret said, noting that one tree survives today.

Moreau Remembrance Garden springs forth

At the motherhouse, the Congregation planted a garden with trees, shrubs and flowers in honor of Father Moreau’s beatification. The Moreau Remembrance Garden, dedicated on May 3, 2009, was designed by Hank Mascotte and came to fruition through the efforts of Tom Stimson, grounds manager at Saint Mary’s, and Sister Jeanette Fettig, CSC, then the Congregation’s director of Development. A Book of Remembrance containing the names of loved ones rests in the sacred space of the garden, located adjacent to the Church of Our Lady of Loretto. Everyone named in the book is remembered daily in the prayers of the sisters.

“The garden is a place of peaceful meditation—interweaving nature, memory and spirituality—where the legacy of Blessed Basil Moreau, the Holy Cross congregations and those whose names are inscribed in the Book of Remembrance are honored for years to come,” said Sister Jeanette. 

In looking through the pages of this annual giving report, Holy Cross is indeed continuing to grow like a mighty tree, thanks to many friends, benefactors and partners in ministry. Father Moreau would be pleased, and the Congregation is deeply grateful.

Add the name of your loved one to the Moreau Garden Book of Remembrance.

© 2016 Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. All rights reserved.