SHRINE OF BLESSED BASIL MOREAU
On Saturday, January 20, the Shrine will celebrate with joy the feast of Blessed Basil Moreau: priest, founder, and apostolic missionary.
The feast day program is as follows:
Mass at 10:30am in the church of Our Lady of Holy Cross/Shrine of Blessed Basil Moreau, followed by a meal at the collège Saint-Julien (5 rue de Tascher).
The Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady will be prayed at 3:30pm at the Solitude, home of the Marianites of Holy Cross (35 rue de la Solitude).
Solemn vespers at 4:00pm at the Solitude, with guest homilist Father Paul-Antoine Drouin, Vicar General of the Diocese of Le Mans. Reception to follow.
On Sunday, December 17, pilgrims gathered at the Shrine of Blessed Basil Moreau to pray vespers in the presence of the heart of Saint Vincent de Paul. The important relic is being carried to sites throughout France in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Vincentian charism.
The vespers liturgy served as the occasion to bless and install in the shrine a statue of Saint Vincent de Paul. A gift from the Marianites of Holy Cross, the statue came from the chapel of their former clinic and mother-house in Précigné.
Father Moreau saw in the life of Saint Vincent de Paul a model of virtue and of the imitation of Christ. He encouraged his religious of Holy Cross to emulate the saintly priest who was known to ask himself: “What would Jesus Christ do in my place?”
Though they lived nearly two centuries apart, there are interesting parallels between Saint Vincent de Paul and Blessed Basil Moreau. Both men came from humble backgrounds and were marked by a family spirit which exercised an important influence on their future foundations. During their seminary formation, they imbibed the piety of what came to be known as the French School of spirituality. Both placed great value on silence and prayer, and, at the same time, were oriented toward the active life. They responded with zeal to the needs of the times in which they lived: in particular, the spiritual impoverishment of people in the French countryside. They both had a talent for organization. They drew from the ideas of Ignatius of Loyola in the development of their congregations and were strong proponents of the formation of priests. They benefited from having talented women at their side: Louise de Marillac (who collaborated with Vincent de Paul in the foundation of the Daughters of Charity) and Léocadie Gascoin (who collaborated with Basil Moreau in the foundation of the Marianites of Holy Cross). They also established (not without difficulty) foundations in other countries, and in the course of time their works spread throughout the world. Lastly, the heart of each was seized by a burning desire to love God and to make him known, loved, and served.
Father Moreau’s devotion to Saint Vincent de Paul was encouraged by his Sulpician spiritual director, Gabriel Mollevaut, who once wrote to Moreau: “All is found in the life of Saint Vincent de Paul, which is the handbook of all missionaries and of all good priests: speak and act like him, and you will be assured of success.”
Vincent de Paul, whose feast is September 27, is the patron saint of charitable works, including of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, founded by Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813-1853). A friend of Ozanam, Father Moreau was the first to establish a conference of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in an educational institution, with the goal of instilling in the students a sensitivity to the plight of the poor.
O Saint Vincent de Paul, model of charity, may we follow your example of loving service to the poor. Inspire us to offer hope and the good news of Jesus Christ to all who are in need. Amen.